READY CROWN FOR THE
THE MUM OF THREE’S COMMON TOUCH IS SAVING THE MONARCHY AS SHE PREPARES TO STEP UP AND SUPPORT THE QUEEN
Just over 10 years have passed since Kate Middleton walked onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the first time after her wedding to Prince William and exclaimed “Oh wow” to the hundreds of thousands of well-wishers who had gathered below. While a lot has changed for the royal family in the decade since, the one constant has been the Duchess of Cambridge’s public popularity – and it’s become the monarchy’s greatest asset.
Two scandal-filled years for the British royal family saw Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk out, leaving accusations of racism in their wake, and Prince Andrew hit with a civil suit in a US court over shocking allegations of sexual assault. While the monarchy needs the guiding hand of the
Queen now more than ever, after losing her husband Prince Philip just days before her 95th birthday in April, Elizabeth has been preparing for the Prince of Wales’ succession to the throne upon her death.
“We’re in a period of what can be called a soft regency, in effect the Queen is standing back, not doing many roles,” royal expert Andrew Lownie told British newspaper The Express. “The roles that she is doing are being accompanied by Prince Charles, everyone is being prepared for Charles and Camilla,” he added.
Although Kate’s husband, 39, may only be second in line to the British throne, the couple will increasingly be called upon due to Charles and Camilla’s lack of popularity with the British public after starting their controversial
love affair while the prince was still married to Princess Diana.
“As a result, William and Kate, who seem to be very popular, are stepping into the position that Charles and Camilla had,” Lownie explained. “Because they are, I would say almost more popular than Charles and Camilla, they’ve probably been given a higher role.”
As the future queen beside William, Kate, 39, will continue to have an increasing amount of influence. Since becoming a member of the royal family in 2011, she has found her feet in her role and taken on more duties and increased her public presence.
The past 18 months saw Kate embark on two massive solo projects, the launch of her early childhood initiative, 5 Big Questions, and her pandemic photography competition, Hold Still. The latter won Kate praise for her efforts to “unite the people” during a time of great turmoil. “The Queen has always viewed her job to be a calming and consistent presence,” Elizabeth Holmes, author of HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style, told WHO’s sister publication People magazine. “If you look at Kate, that’s what she has made her job to be, too: a calm and consistent presence.”
While the Cambridges have some time ahead of them before they inherit the throne, some believe the monarchy would be better off if the crown skipped a generation and went straight to them. It’s not constitutionally possible, but the idea just won’t go away. “Kate was born ready,” her uncle Gary Goldsmith told 60 Minutes when asked if his niece was ready to lead. “With [Kate and William] the monarchy would thrive, rather than just survive.”