How Kate Middleton’s Keeping Calm After Harry & Meghan’s Exit
No need to call in the cavalry: Kate Middleton doesn’t feel trapped.
Nor is she “furious about the larger workload” she’s had to take on as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle settled into a quieter life in Los Angeles’ toniest of enclaves or kvetching about the obligations expected of her. And while the Duchess of Cambridge may very well be exhausted, she is a mother of three, so it’d be quite remarkable if she felt particularly well-rested.
Much like all parents during this current coronavirus pandemic, she and husband Prince William are muddling through it, juggling work and newfound homeschooling obligations with seemingly endless rounds of fort-building and cookie-baking. “I’m sure you’re experiencing the same yourselves with your families and things,” she allowed to the hosts during a May appearance on ITV’s This Morning. “It’s unprecedented times, really, but we’re fine, thank you for asking.”
Which is good, because never has it felt more crucial for Kate to maintain the royal family’s trademark stiff upper lip.
All eyes have been on her and William since little brother Harry’s January bombshell that he was opting out of a life of walkabouts and heavily scheduled press trips. And with half of their generation’s full-time royals giving notice, it only seems logical that would shake out to an increase workload for England’s presumed future king and queen.
But despite Tatler‘s detailed anecdotes—a piece the palace made the rare move of denouncing—s close to the St. Andrew’s-educated duchess insist her beloved Lover’s Knot tiara isn’t weighing all that heavy on her head.
More than happy to log extra appearances gripping and grinning in her hosiery and L.K. Bennett pumps, “It’s the suggestion that she resents her duty and hard work which has upset her,” an insider told Vanity Fair of the Tatler piece. “She takes her role very seriously and has been working harder than ever. The idea she feels trapped and exhausted simply isn’t the case.”
Particularly when the 38-year-old has just found her stride.
Having worked on the particulars for awhile now, 2020 was to be the year Kate went public in a big way, the mother to Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2, agreeing to whatever bookings would help spread the word about her groundbreaking “5 Big Questions on the Under Fives” survey, meant to help further direct her efforts in providing assistance to young children, their parents and caregivers.
Should that mean sitting down for her very first podcast with Happy Mum, Happy Baby‘s host Giovanna Fletcher, she’s ready with relatable anecdotes about the mom guilt struggle. “Yes, absolutely—and anyone who doesn’t as a mother is actually lying!” she said when asked if she’s experienced that familiar pang. “Yep—all the time. You know, even this morning, coming to the nursery visit here, George and Charlotte were like, ‘Mummy, how could you possibly not be dropping us off at school this morning?'”
A January visit to a Welsh daycare center, meanwhile, saw the duchess getting candid about how tough it was for her after George’s arrival as a new mom, separated from friends and family on an island off the country’s north-west shore.
“I had a tiny, tiny baby in the middle of Anglesey,” she recalled while visiting the Cardiff spot. “It was so isolated, so cut off. I didn’t have any family around. William was still working with search and rescue doing night shifts. If only I’d had a center like this.”
Prior to this year, the duchess has done scant few interviews, so to suddenly see her switch course and speak rather openly about her feelings is shocking to be sure. But it’s all part of her mission to help other parents, a role she’s deftly carved out for herself in the near decade she’s spent as part of the monarchy.
“As a parent, I know how much we cherish the future health and happiness of our children,” she said at the daycare center. “I want to hear the key issues affecting families and communities so I can focus my work on where it is needed most. My ambition is to provide lasting change for generations to come.”
So if that requires her to truss out tales from homeschooling on television as Londoners watch from their breakfast table, so be it.
“George gets very upset because he wants to do all of Charlotte’s projects,” she shared during her appearance on This Morning, “making sort of spider sandwiches is far cooler than literacy work.”
And running mum and dad ragged is the most fun of all.
“The children have got such stamina, I don’t know how,” Kate exclaimed during an April BBC interview. “Honestly, you get to the end of the day and you write down the list of all the things that you’ve done in that day. So, you pitch a tent, take the tent down again, cook, bake. You get to the end of the day—they have had a lovely time—but it is amazing how much you can cram into one day that’s for sure.”
All the more impressive when you consider that between batches of cookies and make believe campouts, the patron of some 20 organizations has found the time to tend to her pet causes of mental health awareness and child development.
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Even a pandemic that moved their headquarters 112 miles north to their 10-bedroom Norfolk spread and their whole operation online didn’t do much to slow her down. She and William have gamely video conferenced in to schools and hospitals to offer a cheery hello and a few words of encouragement to doctors, midwives and new parents.
And while it’s certainly the royal way to never complain, never explain, she didn’t seem all that put out while serving as bingo callers for the residents of Cardiff’s Shire Hall Care Home, cheekily announcing numbers such as “six and two—tickety boo.”
Eager to move forward with the project she’s devoted herself so wholly to, she’s quite happy keeping her diary full, those close to her swear.
“She has really been enjoying the early years work and has found her stride and purpose,” an insider told Vanity Fair. “She sees this work as a life-long commitment and she has worked really hard on this campaign.”
Certainly, Kate couldn’t have found a better time to truly cement her footing in The Firm. When Harry and Meghan decamped for North America, they took with them some of the excitement and new life the American-raised former actress had breathed into the staid monarchy. And while Queen Elizabeth II is certainly a formidable woman, at 94, she’s hardly the person to make the royals seem hip no matter how many James Bond cameos she films.
“What has been reinforced throughout all of this is just how important the Cambridges are,” royal historian Sarah Gristwood recently told Vanity Fair. “There is a repositioning going on within the royal family and we are clearly seeing this. I think this is one of the most important stages in Kate’s life as a royal. As a young mother Kate was allowed to raise her children away from the media spotlight but now we are seeing a shift. She’s working harder, being more visible and we are also seeing more of the Cambridge children. Kate has been given a platform to take on a more prominent role. She’s not just accompanying William to engagements, she is doing things independently and voicing new ideas.”
So she’s not about to complain about logging a little overtime.
“Harry and Meghan leaving the firm has left a void and I think the royal family were at risk of looking out of touch and dowdy without them,” Gristwood continued. “With Charles and Camilla over 70, and Anne about to get there, and the Queen scaling back, there is a serious vacuum when it comes to star appeal at the heart of the royal family. This is Kate’s moment to shine.”