A royal happy birthday is in order! Kate Middleton turned 38 on January 9, just over one week into what is already shaping up to be a busy year for the Duchess of Cambridge. The mom-of-three kicked off another circle around the sun a few days early by reportedly hosting a group of close friends at her and Prince William’s Amner Hall country home over the weekend. And while that private birthday celebration surely won’t be the only opportunity for downtime in 2020, Kate’s 38th year looks to be pretty packed.
We probably don’t have to remind anyone that last year was a bit bumpy for the entire royal brood. Rumors of a family rift, Prince Andrew’s fall from grace, Prince Philip’s car accident (and, later in the year, hospitalization) — even Kate and William went through a rough patch in the public eye. But this is a new year and, with it, a fresh slate.
For Kate, her birthday serves as a springboard into what’s poised to be her biggest year in the royal family yet. With Queen Elizabeth II continuing to prepare Prince Charles to lead the royal family, the Cambridges likewise keep growing in responsibility. And from what we can tell about Kate’s 2020 schedule so far, she’ll have plenty of opportunities to step into her rising power.
Here are some of the highlights on the horizon for the Duchess.
1. A Trip to Bradford
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will travel to Bradford on Wednesday 15th January to visit a number of projects which support the community and promote cohesion within it, in one of the UK's most diverse cities #RoyalVisitBradford pic.twitter.com/Dc5JTG48Ns
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 8, 2020
Kate and William will embark on their first official engagement of 2020. “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will travel to Bradford on Wednesday 15th January to visit a number of projects which support the community and promote cohesion within it, in one of the U.K.’s most diverse cities,” Kensington Palace tweeted.
2. A Reception for the U.K.-Africa Investment Summit
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, will host a reception at Buckingham Palace to mark the UK-Africa Investment Summit on Monday 20th January #InvestInAfrica 🌍 pic.twitter.com/dEiQCULQkd
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 8, 2020
On Jan. 20, Kate and Will are slated to help Queen Elizabeth with a royal event. Per the Palace, “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, will host a reception at Buckingham Palace to mark the U.K.-Africa Investment Summit on Monday 20th January.” The summit brings together senior representatives from African countries to highlight the quality of investment opportunities in Africa and underscore the U.K.’s commitment to economic development on the continent.
3. The BAFTA Awards
Ever wondered why William attends the BAFTAs every year? Well, he’s actually the President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). As such, he’s sort of expected at the star-studded soiree — the British equivalent of the Academy Awards. And since 2017, Kate has accompanied him. So, she’ll likely continue in that tradition this year as well.
4. Prince Beatrice’s Wedding
The royal family has another wedding looming, and we already can’t wait to see what Kate wears. She’ll undoubtedly be in attendance this spring (an exact date has yet to be announced) when William’s cousin Princess Beatrice ties the knot. The daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, Beatrice announced her engagement to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in September 2019.
5. Easter at Windsor Castle
The Queen has been joined by the Royal family as she celebrated her 93rd birthday at an Easter Sunday service at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. #QueensBirthday #QueenElizabeth #HappyBirthdayHerMajesty pic.twitter.com/dPXnLJ4cTx
— The Royal Family Channel (@RoyalFamilyITNP) April 21, 2019
Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down… to Windsor Castle! As is customary, the royal family gathers to celebrate Easter with the Queen. Kate will likely be photographed this year walking to Easter church service on Apr. 12 at St. George’s Chapel with the Queen, Will, the Cambridge kids and other members of the royal family.
6. The Birthday of Prince Louis
On April 23, Kate and Will’s youngest child turns two. Although the Cambridges celebrate their children’s birthdays privately, they do acknowledge them publicly. Last year, they released three previously unseen photos of the toddler (taken by Kate!) to commemorate the occasion.
7. The Birthday of Princess Charlotte
Shortly after her little brother’s birthday, Princess Charlotte turns five on May 2. And, no, the Cambridges haven’t spilled their precise plans. However, we do know Kate will be busy on Charlotte’s birthday — baking. “I love making the cake,” she told baking icon, Mary Berry, in their festive special A Berry Royal Christmas. “It’s become a bit of a tradition that I stay up till midnight with ridiculous amounts of cake mix and icing and I make far too much. But I love it.”
8. The 75th Anniversary of VE Day
Prime Minister Winston Churchill joins Royal Family 1945 on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on VE Day, end of WW2 in Europe left to right: Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill, King George VI, Princess Margaret. pic.twitter.com/kvm2fVYLYl
— History Lovers Club (@historylvrsclub) December 18, 2019
A celebration to honor the end of World War II in Europe, VE Day will be observed from May 8 to May 10. During the various events that take place across the U.K. over this weekend, the Queen and senior members of the royal family will be at the forefront. That includes Kate and Will. It’s a special time for the Queen, who once recalled how she and her sister, Princess Margaret, snuck into the celebratory throngs on May 8, 1945, when the war came to a halt. It was, she said, “one of the most memorable nights” of her life.
9. Trooping the Colour
On June 13, Kate will stand alongside the rest of the royal family as they celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 94th birthday. If you’re thought her birthday was on April 21, you’re not wrong. That is her actual birthday, and she usually spends it privately. However, the occasion of the Queen’s birth is also marked publicly with a birthday parade known as Trooping the Colour. A brilliant display of military pageantry, it features more than 1400 soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians, capped off with a fly-past by the Royal Air Force.
An avid tennis fan and player, Kate often attends major events for the sport — and not surprisingly, that includes Wimbledon. For the second year in a row, she made a day-date of it with sister-in-law Meghan Markle. Will the women meet there again this year? Only time will tell (especially in light of Meghan and Prince Harry relinquishing their senior royals status), but we hope they do. Even if not, though, Kate will likely still go in her capacity as Patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC).
11. Prince William’s Birthday
Welcome to the party, Wills! That’s right; Kate has a few months on her royal hubby. He doesn’t turn 38 until June 21. While the Cambridges didn’t disclose how they celebrated the prince’s birthday in 2019, several members of the royal family did toast him on social media.
12. Prince George’s Birthday
It’s hard to believe, but Kate and Will’s oldest child turns seven this year. For his sixth birthday, Kensington Palace released a precious series of photos taken by Kate that show off her son’s gap-toothed grin. And although unconfirmed by the royals, Hello! magazine reported that George had a laid-back “after-school” soccer-themed birthday party with his classmates at St. Thomas’s Battersea prep school.
13. Her Brother’s Wedding
It’ll be a milestone moment for the Middleton family this year when Kate’s only brother, James Middleton, marries French financial expert Alizée Thévenet. The couple announced their engagement in October 2019. “She said OUI,” James adorably captioned a snapshot of the two, adding, “Our secret is out but we couldn’t be happier to share the news.” It remains to be seen if Kate will have any special role in the nuptials. But who knows? 2020 could see Kate serve as a bridesmaid on her brother’s big day.