Kate Middleton ignores Queen’s number one rule

The Duchess of Cambridge missed a key event in the royal calendar this week – and she did it for a very unexpected reason.

It used to be that as a queen, you could do just about anything you wanted.

Invade Calais, seduce Sir Walter Raleigh, or, as Queen Victoria did, simply go to Scotland for many years and refuse any work.

Our current queen has inherited a much more limited royal paradigm. No talk of politics, no daytime drinking, no invasion of Catholic countries, and no real power. In turn, she could wave as much as she liked and open parliament from time to time.

Queen Mary summed up the rigidity and repetitiveness of royal working life when she said, somewhat sardonically, “We never get tired and we all love hospitals.”

The future Queen Catherine is clearly not happy about this.

Yes, of course, the woman now known as Kate, Duchess of Cambridge has opened many hospitals and is doing a great job of raising the level of care to Diana’s when needed. Surely even Mary with the face of a boot would have approved of the custom of the Duchess to cuddle with a sick child.

But this week’s events are all the proof we need that Kate has no intention of following the same predictable path as all the women who have come before her.

On Tuesday, Ascot returned in full swing for the first time since 2019: it’s the annual gathering of horse-obsessed royals and horse hangers-on who have happily returned from the pandemic. Traditionally, the five-day event was a firm commitment in the royal diaries and nearly all of the Windsors came forward and had a great time.

This year’s picnic has seen something of a return to normal. Zara Tindall and her husband Mike, along with Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, have appeared on numerous occasions beaming and proving that a girl can indeed get a wonderful dress for just four figures.

Meanwhile, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, also performed at their best, twice leading the carriage procession.

All of this would have been par for the course for the privileged course were it not for the fact that two royals had apparently gone AWOL: Her Majesty, who had returned to the First’s castle with her legs crossed and watching the whole thing on TV, and Kate and her husband Prince William.

Their habit has been to attend at least once, with the exception of 2018 when Kate only recently gave birth to Prince Louis.

But this week, they’ve wasted their time on the worst: work.

On the same day, when the royal cousins ​​were back in fashion and enjoying the sunshine, Kate was holding a round table meeting of her Early Childhood Center, which included not one but two government ministers. The images couldn’t be brighter: one in pretty hats and knick-knacks, the other Kate in a suit in an office cluttered with books, sitting across from Sajid Javid, Minister of Health, and Will Ive, minister families. Heck, they even had one of those four tables they usually set aside for peace talks or UN meetings.

While Kate has regularly brought together an entire battalion of early childhood development scientists, scholars, thinkers and researchers over the past few years, this week’s meeting was the first time she’s attracted government ministers, in a clear escalation of her seriousness and her ambition.

This is far from an isolated case.

The Court Circular, the official daily bulletin of royal activity, used to be just a plaque unveiled after a visit to the pediatric ward following a ship’s christening, a monotonous list of benefactors at arm’s length.

While Diana, Princess of Wales veered off the beaten track, it did so during her 15-year tenure as a working member of the royal family, a gradual rebellion against the status quo and a drive to do things her own way. .

One need only look over the Court Circular over the past few months to see how dramatic Kate has gone further, expanding her work on this issue with the kind of professionalism and single-minded dedication that has traditionally been at odds with the Windsor Way.

Already this month, between the Platinum Anniversary and the Garter Day visit, Kate met with, among others, a professor of developmental neuroscience and psychopathology, an expert in maternal mental health, and the CEO of survey company Ipsos.

AT sketch for the telegraph titled Why we wanted to work with the Duchess of Cambridge, Dr. Xand van Tulleken, a public health specialist, along with his twin brother, Dr. Chris van Tulleken, a virologist, wrote: , peripherally involved. And it’s not one man’s fancy idea that it would be “nice to do something for the kids.”

“There is nothing immaterial in this work.”

Can you imagine Her Majesty taking the time to speak with a professor of developmental neuroscience and psychopathology?

Never before have we seen a future queen want to spend her time sitting in rooms full of people with PhDs rather than people with Hurlingham Club memberships.

What’s so shocking here, but so wonderful, is that no one foresaw this. Kate has never been over-read, academic, or even hard-working.

Remember the version of Kate that made headlines for years? The woman who was constantly accused of being too fond of swimming down the King’s Road, buying beautiful dresses and planning a trip to Mustique?

Of course, the Duchess of Cambridge was generally considered pretty and prolific enough for a future Queen concert, but for years she stood by for nothing.

Never ever.

It always seemed that during her tenure as queen, she would serve as a purely decorative addition to the royal household, and her greatest contribution to the monarchy would be the injection of fresh DNA to produce photogenic heirs. Oh, and it would look good on stamps.

Instead, what we got is a delightfully goofy duchess whose dedication to bettering society goes far beyond charity for the cameras. What is clear is that she is doing stupid things here – meetings, reading, round tables, homework. Not only that, she does all this with the clear understanding that it will not result in any immediate dividends, PR or anything else.

As Kate said this week, “I’m committed to this long-term vision – it will take generations to change this landscape, but I hope this is the beginning of a change.”

Over the past few years, as the world has been busy watching the Harry and Meghan show play out in all its bloody emotional glory, and then play out a nasty mess with Prince Andrew, Kate has grown into a force to be reckoned with. .

A force that doesn’t shy away from getting dangerously close to the Westminster brawl. The royal family, of course, must stay away from anything that has even the slightest hint of politics. Call it the first rule of royalty, if you will.

However, Kate is not messing around with her Early Childhood Center, but rather wants to play a role in shaping policy and therefore even potentially public spending in the future, and it is quite obviously in a large part in the political realm.

Who would have thought that a woman whose biggest contribution to British society was raising a nude wedge in the public mind could do something so delightfully radical?

If Queen Mary saw what the Duchess of Cambridge is doing now, she would have had a fit of rage. Can there be a higher form of praise than this?

Daniela Elzer is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a range of leading Australian media outlets.

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