Kate Middleton's Magazine Photographic Debut Contains Hidden Easter Egg

Kate Middleton's first official photographic front cover for a print publication contains a hidden Easter egg with a special environmental meaning.

Kate was asked by step-mother Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall to take her portrait for the front cover of Country Life, a magazine dedicated to countryside pursuits, which she has guest-edited to mark her 75th birthday released July 13.

Camilla's commissioning of Kate follows the young royal's growing reputation for her photographic portraits, having taken and published official birthday images of her three children for a number of years.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall for Country Life
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall has guest-edited a special issue of "Country Life" magazine marking her 75th birthday. The front cover portrait was taken by the Duchess of Cambridge at Ray Mill, Camilla's country home. HRH The Duchess of Cambridge/Country Life/Future PLC

Kate also previously collaborated with a number of holocaust survivors, the Royal Photographic Society (of which she is patron) and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust to take a series of striking images in 2020.

Of Kate's photographing Camilla for the cover, Country Life editor Mark Hedges said in a press release:

"We are thrilled to have our Guest Editor captured so magnificently by royal photographer The Duchess of Cambridge.

"We understand this is the first time a formal portrait of The Duchess of Cornwall has been taken by The Duchess of Cambridge for a magazine and we are honoured to have been chosen to be the first to publish this beautiful photograph.

"The photographs are superb and we would be delighted to offer The Duchess of Cambridge another commission!"

The photograph of Camilla is extremely traditional with the attributes of a conventional countrywoman including sensible knit cardigan, floral print dress and obligatory trug basket containing cut flowers.

Hidden Easter Egg

Within the basket of flowers, though, hides the Easter egg that's a symbol of Country Life's dedication to championing environmental causes, including sustainability.

On one of the floral blooms resting in Camilla's basket in the portrait a small illustration of a ladybug is superimposed.

This, according to Hedges, is considered an Easter egg for readers who regularly search through the magazine to see if they can spot the hidden ladybug.

"The ladybird has developed a cult following," he said.

"It's the equivalent of Where's Wally for the sustainable age! I had a letter from a reader in Australia who said she had caught a friend using a magnifying glass to try to spot it."

Country Life first started using the hidden ladybug easter egg in 2019 for their sustainability issue, and since June 2020 it has been a regular staple of the magazine, earning many dedicated fans.

In May 2021, the magazine released its annual sustainability issue and hid within its pages 30 ladybugs with varying degrees of difficulty to keep readers engaged.

Duchess of Cornwall Ladybug Easter Egg Cover
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall was photographed by The Duchess of Cambridge at her country home, Ray Mill, for the cover of Country Life. On the final cover a ladybug has been superimposed on the image as an Easter egg for readers to spot. HRH The Duchess of Cambridge/Country Life/Future PLC

The inclusion of a ladybug on Kate's first magazine cover image is a tribute to the royals' love of the countryside, as well as the family's continued championing of environmental causes including Prince William's Earthshot prize.

Camilla is the third member of the royal family to guest-edit Country Life, following Prince Charles, who undertook the project to mark his 65th birthday in 2017 and his sister, Princess Anne, who guest-edited the issue marking her 70th birthday in 2020.

Whether it is appropriate for members of the royal family to guest-edit magazines was a hotly debated subject when in September 2019, Meghan Markle made headlines by guest-editing British Vogue.

Royal commentator and regular critic of Meghan's, Dan Wootton, went on British morning show Lorraine, in the days after the Vogue release denouncing the move as "idiotic".

"The queen will think this is an absolutely idiotic, ridiculous decision as do I," he told host, Christine Lampard.

"Remember Meghan doesn't want to be a celebrity, she says she wants to be a royal. Royals don't guest-edit magazines, celebrities guest-edit magazines."

Camilla's Country Life issue follows her own collaboration with British Vogue, to which she gave her first in-depth print interview in a number of years for their July issue.

In her interview, the royal touched on a number of difficult subjects including her treatment by the press during the difficult years of the breakdown of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage.

"It's not easy...I was scrutinized for such a long time that you just have to find a way to live with it," she said.

"Nobody likes to be looked at all the time and, you know, criticized ...But I think in the end, I sort of rise above it and get on with it. You've got to get on with life."

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Kate Middleton Magazine Cover Easter Egg
The Duchess of Cambridge's first magazine cover photograph taken of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has a secret Easter egg hidden within its image. A ladybug was superimposed. JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images/David McNew/Getty Images