CB covered the news last Friday, when the Princess of Wales announced her plans to attend Trooping the Colour. Kensington Palace published a new photo of Kate in the woods, a visual signifier that she is literally “not out of the woods,” health-wise. The Matt Porteous photo was widely criticized on Friday night for being yet another heavily edited pic coming out of the palace. That conversation sort of got overshadowed by Kate’s first public appearance in nearly six months, when she came out for Trooping. So… how did all of this go down behind-the-scenes? Page Six had an interesting story about why Kate made the choices she made:

Kate Middleton went so far as to rewear a dress from her closet in order to keep her return to the public eye a secret — while making contingency plans if she felt ill on the day, sources tell Page Six. The cancer-stricken Princess of Wales was keen to join her family at King Charles’ birthday celebration and Trooping the Colour parade this past Saturday. But there were only a few people kept in the loop. Kate personally called her father-in-law — who’s also being treated for cancer — to tell him the good news and he was “delighted” she could attend, the king’s spokesperson told Page Six.

Well aware that her appearance would cause a commotion around the globe, 42-year-old Kate — who had not made a public appearance since Christmas Day — quietly called upon royal photographer Matt Porteous for a top-secret shoot at home last week. Kate penned an extremely personal message to be issued alongside her latest photo, admitting there are “good days and bad days” and stressing that she is “not out of the woods yet.” Dressed down in jeans, a white T-shirt, brown blazer and sneakers, the princess was captured by Porteous soaking up the lush greenery of the Windsor estate close by her home, Adelaide Cottage.

Being outside gives her strength and “being connected to nature is something that continues to support her recovery,” a source told us. “She enjoys spending personal time on the things that give her energy and positivity.”

When it came to Kate’s outfit for the parade, she chose to “upcycle” a white dress she first wore on the eve of King Charles’ coronation last year, with her hair swept into an updo beneath a white hat by Philip Treacy. She accessorized the outfit with her Cassandra Goad Cavolfiore pearl studs — previously worn to Prince Louis’ christening in 2018 and Wimbledon in 2023 — and the Irish Guards Regimental brooch, nodding to her role as the regiment’s honorary colonel. The simple white and black dress by British designer Jenny Packham was updated with black trim and ribbon embellishment on the neckline, as well as a black belt. While repeating the dress made a sustainable fashion statement, it also served another purpose.

“Just by reworking what she already owns, it allowed Kate to keep this secret [of her appearance] within her very closest and most trusted team,” said Bethan Holt, Fashion Director at the UK Telegraph. Kate is still believed to be working with her longtime stylist Natasha Archer.

“We definitely know that Kate has tailors in house to help make something fit her perfectly, and they could have easily added the new belt and that bow detail at the neckline, so Jenny Packham may not have even known Kate was going to re-wear the dress,” said Holt. However, Holt added, Packham is one of Kate’s “most trusted” designers. She pointed out that Kate has worn a custom Packham dress every time she left hospital with each one of her newborn children. “Those are very intimate, important moments, so it’s a natural decision that Kate would turn to Jenny once again,” said Holt.

When it came to Saturday, behind the scenes, staff at both Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace worked together to ensure there would be appropriate contingencies if Kate felt unwell or unable to travel to the Horseguards Parade and step on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

[From Page Six]

Re: the Packham dress, that was one of the better upcycles I’ve seen from Kate. I thought it was a new dress, I didn’t realize she just added My Fair Waity ribbons to a Packham dress we saw just before the coronation last year. Now, do you think recycling an old dress had another purpose? Has Kate not been dress shopping in the past six months? I guess she hasn’t been shopping, because we surely would have heard about it, or heard if Natasha Archer was picking up clothes for her. So Kate sort of had to go with something already in her closet, right?

As for the Porteous photo… Christopher Bouzy was doing breakdowns of how the pic was edited and he was being attacked by British media figures for it. Which is big “tell” that something in the milk ain’t clean about the photo.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red, Matt Porteous/KP.