KATE THE GREAT
YOU South Africa|20 January 2022
The Duchess of Cambridge is coming into her own as she celebrates her milestone 40th birthday
MAXINE PETERS

SHE was in her teens when she started dating one of the world’s most sought-after bachelors. She married the future monarch when she was in her 20s and had three children, including a future king, when she was in her 30s.

Now the Duchess of Cambridge has turned 40 and royal watchers are saying it’s the decade she’s going to really take on the royal mantle and show why she’s perfect to be a future queen.

Kate, who celebrated the milestone birthday on 9 January, is flourishing right now, a royal insider told People magazine. “She has really come into her own.”

The queen has been slowing down and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step down as senior members of the royal family two years ago means Kate has had to step it up a notch.

It’s something she’s done with great success, insiders say.

“We are seeing a queen in-waiting,” royal expert Katie Nicholl says in the documentary True Royalty’s Kate: The Making of a Modern Queen.

“We are seeing the duchess take on more duties, more royal engagements, more of a public profile than ever before.”

It’s not a life Kate imagined for herself but it’s one she’s doing with grace. “All Catherine ever wanted was a house in the countryside, loads of kids, dogs, and an AGA [stove],” a family friend told The Sun newspaper.

“She wasn’t interested in having a big job or becoming famous. Family life is incredibly important to her, and motherhood has been the making of her. Now that she feels she’s achieved that, there’s time to turn to her public role and what she wants to achieve there.”

Kate will play an even bigger role now that Prince Philip is gone, says royal correspondent Camilla Tominey. “Kate is becoming recognised for how regal an operator she is.

“Her skilful handling of royal crises in recent months suggests that she is fast emerging as the jewel in the monarchy’s crown.”

SLOW & STEADY

At heart she’ll always be Kate Middleton, the cutesy college girl Prince William fell in love with while they were students at University of St Andrews in Scotland.

But she has gone from “self-effacing” newlywed to a “resilient” member of the royal family since the pair tied the knot on 29 April 2011, body-language expert Judi James told the Daily Mail.

The reason for her successful transition is that she didn’t rush into it, experts say.

During her early days as a royal, Kate battled with nerves but she has become a more self-assured public speaker.

“It’s not something that she relishes doing at all,” an insider told Hello! magazine. “She’s not a put-yourself-out-there, extroverted type of person – it’s just not who she is. But she knows it’s an important way for her to make a positive contribution and there are times that you need to get out there and speak for things you believe in.”

She’s carefully crafted her role over the years, thinking carefully about her public persona. “Today there is definitely confidence and poise there. She has learnt to overcome her shyness,” says royal commentator Ingrid Seward. “She has taken it gently, she didn’t go headlong into everything.”

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