Palace soul sis­ters

Kate and Meghan re­write the royal rule book

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - This Week -

Just five months af­ter giv­ing birth, the Duchess of Cam­bridge has re­turned from her ma­ter­nity leave some­how look­ing more con­fi­dent and re­laxed than ever!

Show­ing no sign of the stress or sleep de­pri­va­tion that usu­ally comes from be­ing a new mother-ofthree, Kate, 36, breezed through a visit to Lon­don’s Say­ers Croft For­est School and Wildlife Gar­den, where she be­friended a bunch of city chil­dren who were get­ting a chance to en­gage with the nat­u­ral world.

Sport­ing a sleeker, slightly straighter hair­style, the duchess – in $60 skinny jeans from Zara, a $785 silk shirt and the same pair of $945 boots she’s been wear­ing since 2004 – was un­fazed as the kids de­scended on her, grab­bing her hands and hug­ging her.

She laughed as a be­sot­ted four-year-old girl named An­waar showed off with a plas­tic cup, then joined the kids on a “mini-beast hunt”, which saw them un­earth frogs, toads, worms and other creepy-crawlies.

“I’m go­ing to find a snake,” de­clared one girl, prompt­ing a smile from Kate, who only found a slug. But it was clear the duchess wasn’t

squea­mish – she con­fessed she’d re­cently spent two hours on a “spi­der hunt” with her two el­dest chil­dren, Prince Ge­orge, five, and three-year-old Princess Char­lotte.

“She re­ally un­der­stands the value of be­ing out­doors for chil­dren, es­pe­cially those in cities who never have the chance to get their hands dirty,” tells For­est school head Zoe Stroud, while royal watch­ers note that the brunette beauty – who gave birth to Prince Louis on April 23 – looked more tac­tile and nat­u­ral than she ever has be­fore, per­haps hav­ing sub­con­sciously picked up some tricks from the new Duchess of Sus­sex.

“Kate was very touchyfeely,” an on­looker tells

Woman’s Day. “She couldn’t stop smil­ing and hug­ging the kids. It’s a warm side of Kate that we’ve hardly seen in years. Es­pe­cially when she first joined the royal fam­ily, she was more shy and for­mal. But now she’s more re­laxed than ever, even smil­ing di­rectly at cam­eras like Meghan does – she’s re­ally turned on the charm.”

Aunt watch!

Though Kate has only just re­turned from ma­ter­nity leave, there are al­ready ru­mours cir­cling that she may be preg­nant with her fourth child. How­ever, our palace sources in­sist it’s not true just yet. But she has been busy sup­port­ing her sis­ter Pippa Matthews, 35, who was due to give birth to her first­born any mo­ment as we went to press.

Only once she’s be­come an aunt, then she and Prince Wil­liam, 36, might start try­ing for one fi­nal baby. A royal in­sider tells us, “Louis is a dream child and Kate’s al­ready feel­ing back to her­self, so it could be sooner rather than later. Wil­liam al­ways wanted four chil­dren, like the Queen, and Kate’s not get­ting any younger, plus they want the age gaps be­tween the kids to be as small as pos­si­ble.”

An­other well-placed source adds, “If all goes to plan, she ex­pects to be preg­nant again by the early part of next year. Kate is very or­gan­ised and while she had prob­lems con­ceiv­ing the first time around, it hap­pened very quickly with Char­lotte and Louis.

“Frankly, Kate can’t wait – she’s 37 in Jan­uary and she can’t imag­ine be­ing preg­nant when she’s 40. And while Wills pulls a face like he’s in no rush to have an­other child, the truth is that he loves be­ing a dad. The more the mer­rier, he says in pri­vate.”

In the mean­time, af­ter Wil­liam re­turns from Africa, the cou­ple are plan­ning a ro­man­tic mini-break in St An­drews, Scot­land, where they first met and fell in love, in or­der to spend some qual­ity time to­gether – some­thing they’ve both been crav­ing since Louis came along.

We’re told they’ll be stay­ing in the lux­u­ri­ous royal suite of the ex­clu­sive Kin­net­tles Ho­tel, with an in­sider adding, “They’re rev­el­ling in be­ing par­ents to their three beau­ti­ful chil­dren, but they’re very much look­ing for­ward

to some time off, leav­ing Grandma and Grandpa Mid­dle­ton to step in.

“Wil­liam’s ar­ranged a pri­vate din­ner at one of their old favourite haunts, a fam­ily-owned Ital­ian res­tau­rant that they used to fre­quent on date nights in their univer­sity days. They’ve also planned to do some of their favourite hikes, as well as some wine-tast­ing, which is some­thing Kate wants to make the most of be­fore she falls preg­nant again!”

Gar­den gig­gles: It’s thirsty work for the schoolkids, who are a lit­tle dumb­struck by their VIP com­pan­ion.

Above: Kate prob­a­bly won’t be pass­ing on this par­tic­u­lar trick to her brood at the palace. alace. Five months af­ter hav­ing Prince Louis, Kate’s look­ing cool as a cu­cum­ber for her ca­sual come­back.

A hunt­ing we will go! The tiny troopers line up be­fore join­ing Kate on a na­ture walk.

Crown­ing glory! The duchess gets a hug for help­ing with their craft work.

Kate’s lit­tle tour guide. “Come with me, Miss. I’ll show you where the wild things are!”

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