When Kate Middleton arrived at King Charles III’s coronation in May, the world got a glimpse of the princess who will one day be queen consort.
The Princess of Wales joined the British royal family at Westminster Abbey for the crowning ceremony of her father-in-law, 74. All eyes were on the mother of three as she wore a jewel-hued Alexander McQueen gown that was paired with a Jess Collett x Alexander McQueen silver headpiece.
The 41-year-old has come a long way since she married Prince William, the heir to the British throne, in 2011. Following Queen Elizabeth II’s death in September, several royal experts agreed that the focus has been on the princess as she supports the future king.
The queen, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, passed away on Sept. 8, 2022 at age 96.
“Kate Middleton is always being compared to Princess Diana, Queen Camilla, even the late Queen Elizabeth II,” Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” told Fox News Digital. “But people don’t give Kate enough credit for being a genuine original.”
“Don’t forget, all those women were born to the purple,” Andersen shared. “Diana was a Spencer, which meant she came from a long line of powerful and wealthy aristocrats. Camilla is the granddaughter of a baron. And from the age of 10, Elizabeth knew that she would someday be queen. Kate, however, is a descendant of coal miners. Her mother grew up in public housing and worked as a flight attendant. Not only will she be the first truly commoner queen, but she will be the first queen with a university degree.”
The princess, born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, attended Marlborough College where she excelled in sports. However, it was at the University of St Andrews in Scotland where she met the elder son of Princess Diana and the former Prince Charles.
First friends and then housemates along with two other students, William and Middleton became romantically linked around 2004. Middleton graduated in 2005 with a degree in art history. As the romance blossomed, William complained about press intrusion and Middleton’s lawyers asked newspaper editors to leave her alone. Still, the couple briefly split in 2007. William, 41, later admitted that they were both young and trying to find their way.
The tabloids dubbed Middleton “Waity Katie” for her patience during their courtship. The couple eventually married in 2011.
Andersen alleged that Middleton had a strong critic behind palace doors – and it was not the queen.
“Conscious Camilla made it known to Charles that she didn’t think Kate was right for William – that she felt Kate was beneath William, and certainly not ‘queen material,’” Andersen claimed. “Queen Elizabeth, on the other hand, was impressed with how Kate never allowed anything to get to her. Kate maintained a quiet, almost regal sense of dignity – the sort of ‘keep calm and carry on’ attitude that the monarch herself so famously embraced. After deftly navigating the treacherous waters of the royal court for over a decade, Kate proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that she would be a huge asset to the monarchy.”
Royal author Kate Nicholl originally claimed in her book “William and Harry” that the late monarch was bothered by the number of vacations Middleton and William took together before their marriage. She believed Middleton needed “a proper job” before officially entering the royal family. While Middleton was said to be “stung” by the queen’s words, she followed her advice.
“I believe the late queen, quite keenly, helped Catherine to understand that the busier she is, the less personal drama she attracts,” Kinsey Schofield, host of the “To Di For Daily” podcast, told Fox News Digital. “Queen Elizabeth advised Catherine pretty early on to find a hobby that she could consume herself in. The new Princess of Wales dived headfirst into fashion, photography and even her mother’s party planning business… She had years to develop what her niche would be before officially becoming a member of the royal family.”
According to Andersen, there were no hard feelings between the queen and William’s longtime love.
“The two women hit it off from the very beginning,” he said. “Whenever they got together, the queen and Kate traded sly glances and giggles; they were always clearly delighted in each other’s company.”
“The same could not be said for the late queen and her daughter-in-law Camilla,” Andersen alleged. “The current queen is still looking over her shoulder, always aware that Kate is always there, waiting in the wings. It’s a popularity contest Camilla can never hope to win, and she knows it.”
“It must be terribly frustrating for her,” Andersen added.
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace previously told Fox News Digital they do not comment “on such books.”
During the years under the royal microscope, Middleton has largely avoided criticism, adopting the royal maxim “never complain, never explain.”
This was apparent in 2021, when Meghan Markle alleged in her televised interview with Oprah Winfrey that Middleton made her cry during a disagreement over flower girl dresses leading up to her royal wedding. Middleton and her office responded with silence.
Markle, a former American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married Prince Harry, Middleton’s brother-in-law, in 2018.
“You can’t deny that the last few years have been chaotic for the royal family,” said Schofield. “Between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Prince Andrew… Catherine and Queen Elizabeth II spent a significant amount of time debating procedures and next steps with members of staff and senior royals… Kate obeyed the queen’s ‘never complain, never explain’ mantra. She’s never spoken out and discussed what happens behind the scenes. In this way, she maintains that mystery that made Queen Elizabeth II so special.”
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, stepped back as a senior royal in 2019 following his controversial friendship with late American financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their exit in 2020, citing what they saw as the media’s racist treatment of the duchess and a lack of support from the palace. They now reside in California.
British royals expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News Digital that the queen’s relationship with Middleton grew stronger during her final years.
“Demure and dutiful, she was a stalwart for the queen, which was so appreciated by her majesty,” said Fordwich about the Princess of Wales. “Whilst, in contrast, Harry and Meghan were intent on causing stress and strain for… the queen in her waning years.”
“Importantly, she didn’t try to emulate the queen, but rather has forged her own unique identity, a full fulcrum role,” Fordwich shared. “It has resulted in her being viewed as a central and critical senior member of the royal family and embraced by the public… Beyond her work in front of the cameras, many close to her share that she regularly writes to and makes telephone calls to the people she meets during her official duties.”
“Towards the end of her life, the late queen was so incredibly thankful for Catherine,” chimed Schofield. “She could trust Kate with her family’s legacy and the future of the monarchy. In the queen’s last few months, Catherine was stoic, strategic and obedient.”
Andersen added that “the queen was grateful to Kate for all of it.”
Middleton’s place as the wife of a future king and the mother of another has become more prominent in the months following the queen’s death. Schofield pointed out that Middleton has secured many royal engagements near her home so that she remains accessible to her three young children.
Royal watchers agree that all eyes will continue to be on her. However, they are already convinced that the monarchy is well protected.
“Since Queen Elizabeth’s death, a huge burden has fallen directly on William’s and Kate’s shoulders – the weight made all the heavier without Harry and Meghan there to share the workload,” said Andersen. “William sometimes shows the strain, but never Kate. The future of the monarchy is in their hands, and they know it.”
“Frankly, their future subjects know it too,” he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.