It’s a key milestone in anyone’s life and as she celebrates her 40th birthday this week, the Duchess of Cambridge is entering her prime. Settled and fulfilled in her roles of wife and mother, she has carved out a progressive role for herself as a senior working member of the royal family
As she enters her fifth decade, HELLO! has spoken to some of those who know Kate best, from royal insiders and friends to charity representatives. They reveal how Kate is a “natural introvert” who has overcome her shyness to use her platform for good, but is “very self-deprecating and funny too”
They describe how the Duchess is motivated by the long-term impact of her work, focusing on “decades, not years, not months, not quarterly cycles”. And they reveal how she spontaneously attended the vigil for Sarah Everard because “she felt it was really important to be part of the moment,” only telling Palace staff about it afterwards.
After a decade in public life, Kate has not only embraced her official duties and patronages, but gone a step further in making a focus on the Early Years her life’s work. And when she sat down at the grand piano to accompany Tom Walker at the Abbey last month, she looked every inch the polished public performer.
For those who know her well, it was a moment that was years in the making. “She’s had a remarkable year, built on years and years of planning,” a royal insider tells HELLO! “She’s taken her time and really done things in her own way. I think she would say herself that she wasn’t born to be a public figure. She’s a reserved person and she’s incredibly thoughtful, but she would never have sought a public role if it hadn’t been for the man that she married.”
When it comes to public speaking, “It’s not something that she relishes doing, at all,” says the insider. “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 some times that you need to get out there and speak for things you believe in.”
Royal watchers have also observed a greater willingness to use her voice and how she has overcome her nervousness around public speaking without any formal training. “She works really hard to make sure the words are her words and really prepares,” says the insider. “So when people hear her speaking it’s genuinely what she believes. What you see is what you get.”
So when her husband Prince William asked her to present one of his Earthshot Awards back in September, Kate immediately said yes. “It was a big television moment, millions of viewers and everyone else was a celebrity,” says a friend. “A few years ago, that would have been a much more stressful thing for her. But because she has taken risks and put herself out there on other things she’s cared about and she’s seen that she can do it, she’s just much more confident.
“Of course she had nerves on the day. But people respect that and like [the fact] that she’s not flashy and you’re seeing an authentic person trying to do good work.”
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