Royal expert Duncan Larcombe discusses all things royal in his column for Woman magazine, The Royal Insider.
The column features Duncan's expert insight on royal news as well as insider information from his palace sources.
PLAIN JANE TO PRINCESS KATE - BUT THIS IS JUST THE START
BLINK and you could have missed it. One of the most astonishing, yet long-awaited, developments in the soap opera that is the British Royal family, was in danger of slipping under the radar. Amidst the historic ‘first speech’ from King Charles III, his tribute to both his mother, son and the Queen Consort at his side, was a piece of news we’ve waited 19 long years to hear: Arise Princess Kake.
Within hours of Her Majesty’s death, the new King was finally giving his much-adored daughter-in-law the promotion she survived sleepless nights and sweated tears to earn. And now, as the first Christmas without Her Majesty approaches, it will be the once-shy child of an air stewardess who is about to take center stage.
As the Royals gather for the festive period, the family will look for Kate and Camilla to fill the void left by the Queen. Matriarchs who from now on will be expected to take the lead whenever the rest of the family is in residence. How things have changed in such a small space of time.
I first met Kate during what was only her second Royal ski trip in April 2005. On the slopes and in the resort at night, she barely left her boyfriend William’s side. This was a nervous first taste of what life was like dating a prince and restrictions of publishing details of her romance were front page news.
The Kate I remember was the shy-looking brunette dressed head-to-foot in ski gear, marching up the street in the middle of Klosters. She was surrounded by a posse of young friends, and the sister from whom she was inseparable at the time.
Growing up it was Pippa who had stolen the limelight from her slightly less streetwise sister. On that first occasion, Kate seemed only a spectator as she walked with ‘Pippa’s’ group of friends up toward the center of the pretty Swiss village. But as soon as one of them spotted the press photographers jumping up as they all walked past, Kate’s whole demeanor started to change. She stood up straight, held her head up high, and fixed the biggest smile on her face as she prepared to walk past and be pictured.
To this day I don’t know whether she enjoyed the attention but when I later mentioned this to William he smiled in affection for Kate. Apparently she had nervously asked her boyfriend what to do if photographers approach, and she had been told not to speak, just stand up straight, smile and she’d be fine.
At school Kate was normally covered in mud from that afternoon’s sports match. She didn’t even seem that bothered the day the future king himself played rugby against her school. Who could have imagined that one day she would be given the honor of becoming the first Princess of Wales since the late Diana.
Over the years she has quietly emerged as a favorite Royal for many who share her challenges as a mother and feel they identify with the journey she is on. One day when William is king, Princess Kate will be Queen Consort, exactly the same role Camilla has now. Until then we should be thankful that her relationship with William seems stronger than ever and by his side they will share the challenges that lie ahead.
What the Footman Saw
Christmas will look and feel very different this year as the Royals prepare for their first festive season without Her Majesty. But one thing will be clear: the family will come together like never before. Rather than seeing this as a chance to avoid the rigmarole of traveling to Sandringham, I’m told they will almost all attend.
In the past, the annual festive gathering was by far the most important on the Royals' private calendar and a chance for them to regroup at the end of the year.
Seems this is one tradition that’s here to stay for now.
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Duncan Larcombe is an award-winning journalist and former Royal Editor of The Sun. As well as this prestigious role, he also worked as the paper’s Defence Editor, which saw him reporting from the front line with British and American troops in Afghanistan.
Throughout his career, Duncan has become a leading expert on the Royal Family, in particular Prince Harry, having written the best-selling biography Prince Harry: The Inside Story.
On top of his successful career as a writer, Duncan is regarded as a leading royal commentator and is a regular fixture with US TV network, ABC.
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