Kate Middleton to have special royal privilege taken away due to 'financial challenges'

Kate Middleton will have a special honor taken away amid pandemic cuts

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge attends day 13 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships
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Kate Middleton will celebrate her milestone 40th birthday in January next year but she’s set to miss out on a special royal birthday tradition due to royal financial struggles. 

Kate Middleton will turn 40 on January 9 next year, but despite the momentous occasion, she will reportedly miss out on an established royal custom, with royal "financial struggles" in the wake of the pandemic being to blame. 

From the moment Kate married the Queen’s grandson, Prince William, she has become a significant member of the Royal Family, committed to her royal responsibilities. The couple continued to carry out significant engagements via video calls throughout the pandemic. And on her 39th birthday earlier this year, Kate issued a message thanking staff working on the “front line” as she marked the day at home at Anmer Hall with Prince William and their three children.

Now an unexpected change means that next year, Kate Middleton's milestone 40th birthday will see her miss out on one long-standing royal birthday custom. 

Meanwhile Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew will have to skip the tradition, too.

As reported by Hello! magazine, Westminster Abbey is changing its bell-ringing schedule for 2022. 

Traditionally, the bells of this magnificent Abbey, where Kate and William tied the knot, are rung to mark not only the Queen’s birthday, but the birthdays of all four of the Queen’s children, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. 

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to the Covid-19 vaccination centre at Westminster Abbey

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Though from next year this will sadly no longer be the case. Instead, the publication reports that the bells will only be rung for the birthdays of the Queen and Prince Charles from 2022.

A spokesperson for Westminster Abbey reportedly stated, "The Abbey bells can be heard ringing out before services and in celebration of church festivals. The bells have also traditionally been rung to mark the birthdays of senior members of the Royal Family."

They went on to explain the reasoning behind this surprising change, reflecting on the "financial challenges" that have been posed by the recent pandemic and suggesting that Her Majesty had been involved in the decision. 

"Due to the financial challenges posed to the Abbey by the Covid-19 pandemic, and in consultation with Buckingham Palace, the bells will now ring only for the birthdays of HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales." 

Queen watches a flypast by the RAF Red Arrows as she attends a military parade

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo - Pool/Getty Images)

During the Covid-19 pandemic, bell-ringing was suspended, though in previous years Kate had enjoyed this special birthday tradition, as did her husband and children. The Westminster Abbey bells were also rung at her wedding to Prince William which took place there back in April 2011, likely making this an even more special custom for the Duchess.

However, whilst Kate Middleton won't have the privilege of this significant birthday custom next year, she and Prince William will likely be planning to celebrate her big day with their nearest and dearest.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!