- Before Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot in 2011, Queen Elizabeth "went out of her way" to make Kate feel welcome with the royal family.
- According to royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl, when the Queen first got a chance to really spend time with Kate during one of the royal family's trips to Balmoral in the summer of 2009, she broke royal protocol and gave Kate permission to take photos at the famed royal estate.
- In her book, Kate: The Future Queen, Nicholl points out that this was a "true gift to a photographer" and a "generous move on the part of the Queen."
In her book Kate: The Future Queen, royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl describes Kate's first Balmoral vacation with the royal family in the summer of 2009 and how Elizabeth made a huge exception to make her future granddaughter-in-law feel comfortable.
According to Nicholl, the trip marked the first time Kate had been invited to the main house at Balmoral while the Queen and Prince Philip were in residence and the press had jumped on the news, circulating unconfirmed reports that the Queen wanted to have lunch alone with Kate during the visit.
While the lunch remained unconfirmed, Nicholl did confirm another huge gesture Elizabeth made for Kate during the trip:
"Until now the Queen had met Kate only fleetingly at the wedding of Peter and Autumn Phillips, but she went out of her way to make her feel welcome, giving her permission to take pictures at Balmoral—a true gift to a photographer, with its turreted and Gothic-inspired architecture."
Nicholl also described why the gesture was even more meaningful than a standard breech of royal protocol (which is already huge, in and of itself):
"As a woman who has lived her entire life in the public eye, the Queen rarely lets her guard down, and very few apart from her family and closest friends get to see the real Elizabeth. Now Kate was being granted an audience in a most intimate capacity. It was a generous move on the part of the Queen and an astute decision, given that the romance seemed to be very serious."
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