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Kate Middleton Helps Queen Elizabeth Host NATO Leaders at Buckingham Palace — Without Prince William

When the prince is away, the future queen will… entertain world leaders. On Tuesday night, future queen Kate Middleton helped Queen Elizabeth host NATO heads, including Donald Trump, during a reception at Buckingham Palace. Kate’s husband, Prince William, was unable to attend as he’s currently on a royal tour in the Middle East. In his stead, the Duchess of Cambridge stood alongside Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as the royal family formally received visiting leaders of various states and governments.

Also on hand to welcome guests in the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace were Prince Edward, Princess Anne, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and Princess Alexandra. Noticeable absences outside of William include Prince Andrew, who is currently entangled in a messy public scandal, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who are in the midst of a six-week royal hiatus.

The reception serves as one of the central showpiece events of the two-day NATO meeting celebrating the 70ths birthday of the alliance. So, it goes without saying it’s an important occasion — and one that Kate is reportedly feeling more confident than ever helping to helm. “She is finding her voice,” a palace source told People.

In recent months, Kate has been taking on more responsibility in her role as the future queen and William as the future king. Earlier this week, it was revealed that she’d spent two days working in the maternity ward of a London hospital — a top-secret project that had garnered quite a bit of public curiosity. Per People, the duchess shadowed the staff to become further educated about children’s early development.

Early childhood development has emerged as a major theme in Kate’s royal work, which is reflected in several of the patronages passed to her by the queen. Earlier this year, while speaking to a group she’d assembled to help educated her more on these formative years, Kate touched on her ultimate goal. “I hope my long-term commitment to working in the early years will help make a difference over a generational timescale,” she said. “Your thoughts and advice continue to be hugely valuable as I shape my thinking for the years ahead.”

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