The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate, celebrates her 40th birthday on Sunday with popularity at the zenith and an increasingly important role within the British royal family, alongside her husband Prince William and their three children.
Born Catherine Middleton and nicknamed Kate, this former art student, commoner, entered the UK’s most scrutinized family in 2011. For many, the wife of the heir to the throne’s eldest son today symbolizes the future of the monarchy.
This always impeccable brunette who fulfills her official commitments with a smile, reflects an image of reliability at a difficult time for a monarchy which closes ranks in the face of scandals and divisions.
Kate again delighted her fans and an already enthusiastic press during a Christmas concert at Westminster Abbey broadcast on television, dedicated to those who worked during the coronavirus pandemic. She accompanied on the piano the singer Tom Walker who interpreted his title “For These Who Can’t Be Here” (For those who cannot be present).
Kate and her husband William, who will turn 40 in June, have gained visibility since the onset of the health crisis: in videoconferences with caregivers or by recounting their confined life with their children George, Charlotte and Louis – in a large house in the countryside – and the vagaries of home schooling.
With restrictions eased and Elizabeth II, 95, curtailing her activities, they stepped up official appearances, from the world premiere of the new James Bond film to the COP26 climate summit.
Kate has also developed themes that are dear to her like early childhood and, alongside William, mental health and environmental protection.
– Imperturbable –
The couple’s former private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, cited his down-to-earth and unfazed sides as one of his strengths.
“She takes the time to talk to people,” he told The Times, comparing her to Queen Elizabeth II’s mother, a symbol of British resistance during WWII: “When things need to be do, she does them “.
At the start of her relationship with William, at the Scottish University of St Andrews, Kate’s social background, from the middle class, was talked about a lot, as well as her ability to fit into the world steeped in traditions and traditions. of royalty conventions.
But she, in any case in public, gave the impression of bending with good grace to the obligations linked to her role in the royal family – the opposite of her sister-in-law Meghan, unloved by the tabloids and not very popular with of the British.
The media have been quite sympathetic to her, especially since Meghan and her husband Prince Harry walked away from the royal family and moved to the United States.
– “Without personality” –
Some attribute the media’s differential treatment of Kate and Meghan to a contempt for those who flaunt easily, against the grain of a very British phlegmatism.
Kate has also suffered some criticism, especially on her impeccable appearance. Novelist Hilary Mantel has even accused her of looking like a “window mannequin with no personality.”
Kate is however seen in the royal family as someone who can be relied on at a delicate time, between the explosive confidences of Harry and Meghan and the sexual assault charges against the Queen’s second son, the Prince. Andrew.
In the storm, the royal family tightened on a small number of members. And like William, his father Charles rose to prominence, preparing to succeed Elizabeth II.
Considering Charles’ age (73) and his low popularity, many commentators already see his future reign as a transition before the arrival of William and Kate.
“They will certainly give the monarchy, after such old monarchs, a sense of modernity which is probably necessary to help its continuity,” monarchy specialist Robert Jobson told AFP.