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Queen Elizabeth II greatly admires how Kate Middleton is juggling her royal duties as the UK’s Duchess of Cambridge while being a hands-on mom, sources told royal expert Katie Nicholl for Vanity Fair on Friday.
“The Queen is a fan,” said the source. “Kate is unflappable. Her mantra is very like the queen’s keep calm and carry on approach in life, and she has the added benefit of making the royal family seem almost normal and in touch.”
Nicholl shared Elizabeth, 93, “is so grateful to the duchess who remains one of the most popular members of the family.” The mother of three, 37, is back to work after enjoying a break in Norfolk where she was spotted shopping for Halloween costumes with her children.
Nicholl also revealed the matriarch is especially proud of Middleton’s recent royal tour of Pakistan alongside her husband Prince William after the daughter-in-law received the Royal Family Order, the highest honor the monarch can bestow on a female member of the royal family.
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Queen Elizabeth II tours Queen Mother Square on October 27, 2016, in Poundbury, Dorset. (Photo Samir Hussein/WireImage)
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“It feels very much like this has been Kate’s year,” Middleton’s biographer Claudia Joseph told Nicholl. “She looks happy, in control and there’s a new confidence about her. I think Kate seems much happier than a year ago. She has three lovely children, has been honored by the queen for her hard work and is really well-liked not just here but around the world.”
Joseph pointed out that there’s a good reason why Middleton continues to be a popular royal over the years.
“She’s very much the girl next door, from how she dresses to how she behaves and interacts with people on engagements,” said Joseph. “She is likable and relatable and has made her very popular.”
Despite being a duchess, Nicholl pointed out Middleton still shops on the High Street for bargains and was even spotted drinking at a local pub, making her appear “refreshingly normal.”
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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits SOS Children’s Village, a charitable organization in the heart of the city, on October 18, 2019, in Lahore, Pakistan. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage) (Getty)
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Locals have also shared that in addition to joining other parents for a pint, Middleton also participates in the school run and drives the children herself. When not working at her office, Middleton frequently does the shopping and cooks for her family. She also loves to take her youngest son Prince Louis, 1, to local playgrounds and for walks in Kensington Park Gardens.
Sources close to Middleton also told Nicholl that while the royal was initially very cautious about being photographed in public with the children, she has a more relaxed approach these days. She and William, 37, were noted to have exchanged friendly conversations with the press back in Pakistan.
“They seem to be making a real effort and it’s paying off,” another source added. “They are getting great press.”
“As a couple, William and Kate seem stronger than ever,” said Joseph. “They are charming as a family and I think you can see how happy and confidant Kate is.”
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Kate Middleton and Prince William wave to well-wishers as they leave after attending the launch of the King’s Cup Regatta at Cutty Sark, Greenwich on May 7, 2019, in London, England. (Photo by Ben Stansall – WPA Pool / Getty Images)
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And Middleton is already gearing up for the near year. In 2020, she will continue her work with young people in the UK, specifically focusing on young children and “the importance of positive and healthy early childhoods.”
“It’s something she is passionate about and a long term project,” said a palace aid. “You will see much more of this kind of work in the near year. She’s very much committed to the cause.”
The news comes just days after Nicholl shared Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has been a “pillar of support” to Meghan Markle after the Duchess of Sussex admitted in a shocking documentary that the ruthless press scrutiny meant she was “existing, not living.”
“I think Camilla was probably just as surprised as anyone else when the documentary came out and perhaps didn’t realize how much Harry and Meghan were suffering,” a source close to Kensington Palace told royal expert Katie Nicholl for Vanity Fair on Thursday. “She wants everyone to get along and be happy. Her mantra is carry on and keep smiling. She doesn’t want to see anyone struggling and she is fond of Meghan and she could be a very good ally too.”
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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend The Prince of Wales’ 70th Birthday Patronage Celebration held at Buckingham Palace on May 22, 2018, in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
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Nicholl shared that Camilla, who officially became a member of the British royal family when she married longtime love Prince Charles in 2005, is known for steering clear of family politics, as well as the personal lives of Markle’s husband Prince Harry and his brother William. However, she is well respected within the palace for her “genuine and compassionate nature.”
Royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith pointed out the 72-year-old is the ideal royal to advise the 38-year-old, as someone who also married into the royal family and faced the tabloids for years.
Camilla was famously the subject of tabloids leading up to the 1996 divorce of Charles and Princess Diana of Wales. She was also targeted by the media when tapes of her phone calls with Charles, now 70, leaked to the press in 1993, resulting in what is now known as “Camillagate.”
Their relationship survived the numerous scandals and today, Camilla is viewed by the public as a royal dedicated to her duties.
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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is sung Happy Birthday by Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and the crowds gathered at the National Parks ‘Big Picnic’ celebration in honor of all 15 of the UK’s National Parks, during an official visit to Devon & Cornwall on July 17, 2019, in Simonsbath, England. Held in Exmoor National Park the picnic marks 70 years since they were created by the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
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“I think Camilla can easily empathize with Meghan because of what she went through in the media,” Smith explained. “At one stage, no one was more beleaguered by the tabloids than Camilla, but she was shrewd enough to know that antagonism would get her nowhere.”
“Meghan could learn an enormous amount from Camilla,” Smith continued. “I think Camilla is genuinely a kind person and while there are many differences the two of them, they have both been on the receiving end of some very negative press. The thing Camilla learned was how to cultivate a relationship with the press. I have watched her talk to reporters, be friendly with the photographers and win over the tabloids who had once tried to ruin her.”
Camilla isn’t the only royal who’s extending a helping hand. Nicholl shared Middleton has been in contact with Markle and is attempting to forge a better relationship between the couples after Harry hinted rumors of a sibling feud with William were true.
“On Sunday the erstwhile Fab Four will be together for the first time since the documentary aired at the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, their first joint appearance since they were photographed at a polo match in the summer,” said Nicholl.
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