As the royal family shifts to prepare for the eventuality of Prince Charles assuming power, Kate Middleton and Prince William are taking a much more prominent role — and, according to numerous royal sources, they make a “great double act.” Of course, that much was obvious last week when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge helped Queen Elizabeth greet dignitaries at Buckingham Palace’s Diplomatic Reception.
Photos from the evening seem to suggest the queen-consort-to-be and her heir-to-the-throne husband handled the evening with an impressive level of ease. Styled regally in the Lover’s Knot crown and a navy-blue velvet Alexander McQueen gown, Kate easily looked the part. William appeared natural and laid-back, laughing as he held court with high-profile visitors. “They combine grace and regal presence with a lovely human touch. They are gracious and natural and yet able to really connect,” a guest who reportedly attended the gala told People.
The royal event also made it clear that Kate can hold her own — a fact fully evident during the couple’s October tour of Pakistan, too. “They are a great double act,” a senior royal source insisted. “People make much of William giving the big speeches, but Kate is there too, asking questions of presidents and their wives. These things are easier when they are side by side.”
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Meeting the Prime Minister and President of Pakistan — The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge called on Prime Minister @ImranKhan.pti and President @Dr.ArifAlvi, where they offered their thanks for the warm welcome they have received in Pakistan. 📷 PA / Kensington Palace #RoyalVisitPakistan #Pakistan
What’s even more impressive about Kate and William’s emerging joint royal persona is that there’s no handbook for moving up in the monarchy (well, that we know of anyway). The skills they’ve acquired so far have come through what you might call on-the-job training. Explained royal biographer Ingrid Seward to People, “They are being prepared every day… they learn by observing and by experience.”
So, a few hiccups along the way are understandable. For Will and Kate, the most recent came on Monday when a clip from their BBC holiday special with Mary Berry aired. According to ET, Kate seems to abruptly shrug off William’s hand when he places it on her shoulder — and, not surprisingly, much is being made of the awkward interaction. However, without their input, it’s impossible to know Kate’s reason for the brush off (maybe she was just repositioning herself and the timing was unfortunate?). Either way, royal sources tell People that Kate and Will are a united front.
“The monarchy is approaching a very challenging period of change. Charles is going to have his work cut out coping with the transitions,” said royal historian Robert Lacey. “It’s good to have that reassurance in the new generation that there is someone stepping up to the plate.”