Behind a seemingly innocent snap of Kate Middleton, there’s a distinct hint that she’s ready to play a big role in the royal family.
In most jobs, top notch performance can earn an employee a promotion or a proper workplace pat on the back or even, in extreme circumstances, a Woolworths mud cake offered in their management.
But the royal family? Well, they do things a little bit differently.
When the Queen wants to express her pleasure with one of the constantly shrinking members of the Windsor household, she has no end of money to buy trinkets and treats to cover her lucky “employees”.
Take in 2019 when she made Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in recognition of her outstanding work with the Duchess or in 2018 when she made the former grand- son Prince Harry, the apple of his eye. , one of his official aides-de-camp.
Distributing priceless pieces from the royal jewelry collections is another must-have act from Her Majesty, such as the permanent loan of pearl earrings to Kate Bahrain (which feature pearls given to her for her wedding in 1947) or the Japanese four-string choker. that the monarch herself wore regularly.
This week, we can add something new and surprising to this list of royal accolades that she can craft: zooming in her very special Bentley.
See, last weekend when Kate and her husband Prince William were seen leaving the London Cenotaph after Remembrance Day commemorations it wasn’t in their usual family Audi or even the electric Jaguar which they use on occasion, but in what appeared to be one of the very own specially built State Bentleys.
Perched in the backseat and looking suitably dark, the Cambridges flew in (literally) regal style.
Since the Royal Family isn’t exactly short on vehicles (not vintage cars or horses or bikes or even helicopters), this transport choice clearly wasn’t born out of necessity.
On the contrary, the 95-year-old woman lending the couple her bespoke wheels translates to a very clear signal of approval and the symbolism of the future king and queen consort walking in a car with a crown slapped on the door is impossible to miss. .
The sight of Kate driving around in Her Majesty’s car reflects just how much the Duchess has come a step forward in recent times, especially as the vicissitudes of age catch up with the once indefatigable ruler.
On Sunday, before the Cambridges’ remarkable exit, it was Kate who had taken the usual place of the sovereign after the queen stepped down less than two hours before with a sprained back. With the distribution of HRHs on the Commonwealth and Foreign Office balconies overlooking the cenotaph likely to be quickly redeveloped, it was Kate who took first place between Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.
Likewise the day before at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall where it was positioned upright in the center of the first row of the royal box.
It all comes a full month after the Queen first canceled a series of medically-ordered events before being secretly hospitalized overnight in October. With this current health crisis underway and the Queen having no public appearances scheduled until Christmas, it could very likely be Kate who bravely takes over.
Visibility has been and always will be the key to the monarchy. (As the Queen once said, “I have to be seen to be believed.”)
To this end, the at least temporary withdrawal of Her Majesty from public appearances could leave a sort of vacuum.
While Camilla, as the wife of the next king, may be the obvious candidate on paper, and although she has been able to build a bank of public respect for her work on issues such as domestic violence, she does not. will never be a widely worshiped person. figure.
Formidable? Sure. Huge fun? Everything but guaranteed. But a dazzling public figure who can charm the masses? Unfortunately not.
Which leaves Kate as the only possible candidate to step in and step up.
Sure, she may have been largely written off by Fleet Street and social media in her debut from HRH-dom, drawing a constant stream of criticism for her penchant for going to Mustique on the reg, but now she is enjoying sustained public approval with a YouGov poll in November found that 78% of Britons had a positive opinion of her. (Only the Queen and William have better numbers.)
Not only did she successfully meet the key job demands of a future king’s wife – busting an heir and not one but two substitutes – but she exceeded expectations (or at least mine) for what she did with her royal platform.
While her first act as a member of The Firm has widely seen her timidly clinging to a constant stream of unnecessary sleeves during her visits to regional community centers, a growing confidence has seen her shaping her role into something. something much more substantial in recent years.
Her main area of focus has long been early childhood, ages 0 to 5, a charitable goal that superficially seems like an obvious choice as something harmless and suitably niiiiiiiice. It might be very easy to dismiss this as an easy path to choose, but the reality is what prompted her to take this is the understanding that intervening during these crucial years can play an important role in preventing cancer. homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues. later in life.
If there was ever a test of the Duchess of Cambridge’s royal courage and the sheer number of harmless sweaters in her closet, it was during the pandemic, during which it is universally believed that she played a blindfold – the 39-year-old has proven to be the MVP of the Royal Family, appearing on Zoom calls with everyone from schoolchildren to nurses in Mount Isa.
Like the Queen Mother 80 years earlier, Kate projected a steady reliability and cheerfulness in the face of a national crisis. (And that wasn’t until months after it was revealed that her husband William had the virus in April.)
Then there was her performance during the Endless Sussex Drama, having returned to work amid the ruts and high-tension emotions of Megxit. She, as 101 inexpensive tea towels asked, kept her calm and continued.
In April, it was Kate who stepped in and played the role of peacekeeper after Prince Philip’s funeral, bringing Princes William and Harry together in a conversation and thus avoiding coverage of the grim event from being completely overwhelmed by stories of brothers in conflict and bad blood.
Interestingly, Kate wore the Queen’s pearl and diamond choker that day.
In fact, in hindsight, after more than ten years of work, Kate’s record remains completely unblemished. She never created a media scandal, generated real controversy, or showed up anywhere she was supposed to do without a hat. (Even less getting your toes sucked …)
Instead, she diligently and conscientiously applied herself to keeping the institution of monarchy and the hat industry afloat.
Is it any wonder then that his boss and his mother-in-law handed him an ever-growing list of his own former official roles? In 2016, Kate succeeded the Queen as godmother of the national charity Action For Children and the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (home of Wimbledon), in 2019 as godmother of the Royal Photographic Society and the same year, as sponsor of Family Action.
In 2018, she only became the second Royal Patron, after the Queen Mother, for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Nursing Now campaign and in 2020 was appointed Co-Chair of The Scouts (along with the Duke of Kent) and whose the queen is patron.
Back in the days when the Cambridges were dating, and later when they got engaged, there was a certain breed of commentators who seemed to like to use the word “community” as derogatory when it came to Kate. Now, William’s choice of the future queen looks like nothing less than a masterstroke and the one move most likely to keep the monarchy alive for decades to come.
No wonder then that his Gan-Gan lets him borrow one of his Bentleys …
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a number of major Australian media titles.