Kate Middleton and Prince William's 11th Wedding Anniversary: "An Anchor for the Country"

Experts comment on their evolution as a couple.

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Happy anniversary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!

The two are celebrating 11 years of marriage today, April 29, and it's fair to say they have gone from strength to strength over the course of their relationship (which started circa 2001, per Us Weekly).

For our own celebrations, Marie Claire reached out to body language expert Andy Coley, and love coach and founder of Be What Matters Haifa Barbari for their thoughts the royal couple's evolution.

"If I could sum up Will and Kate’s past, present and future in a sentence it would be, 'A couple who grows together stays together,' and we’ve witnessed their evolution and growth from first bikini charity walk (where it was reported sparks first started to fly), to party nights at Boujis in Kensington in their early 20s, to growing into adulthood and stepping into their royal responsibilities together," Barbari says.

"They fell in love, had a break-up and make-up—they’re human. However, unlike many couples, they transformed through life stages together and now, it appears they’re blossoming as they enter their 40s."

But their royal roles didn't always come naturally for the Cambridges. "In the earlier days, photos of them in the public domain are much more formal, both are very upright, straight, smiling but in a more 'forced' way," Coley says.

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But they soon grew into their new lives. "Not long after the birth of Prince George, William seems to be looking to Kate, it seems a very protective touch, making sure that she’s OK and perhaps that she’s really enjoying the attention," Coley continues. "Their photos look a lot more natural and the smiles warmer and more genuine."

Prince George Of Cambridge First Birthday

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For Coley, it wasn't until after Louis was born that the two truly relaxed into their royal duties. "As they are both maturing as royals and as parents, with the birth of Louis, Kate in particular seems to be clearly getting into her stride, much more in her zone of comfort and shining as her own person and not just part of a couple," Coley says of pictures taken circa 2017 and 2018.

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In latter years, Coley sees a certain maturity in the couple. "Their formal photos still retain their personal presence with the added maturity of Kate's experience combined with her humor, added to William's training and upbringing within the Windsor family," he says. "This gives a mix of formality and approachability from their two energies."

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Visit Lancashire

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For Barbari, it's clear that despite the challenges they've encountered, Prince William and Kate Middleton have worked and worked and worked at their marriage and their love.

"If there was an anchor for the country, it would be Will and Kate," she says.

"I say this because love doesn’t just happen. Sparks happen. Chemistry happens. Attraction happens. It happened for Will & Kate at university. Love however, is a behavior. Love is created. Love is a daily practice.

"Meaning, love is a conscious act where two show up for each other every day to consciously choose to love, to act from a place of love, to react from a place of love, to communicate from a place of love, to show love and to grow new love together as each person grows over time.

"Nothing stays the same and it is a choice to love each other today and through evolving together. We’ve witnessed Will and Kate do this time and time again and I wish them even more love, patience and growth into the years and life stages ahead."

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit The DEC

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As for what the future holds for the royal couple, Barbari integrated a tarot card into her commentary. "They got The Knight of Wands which is the archetype of all things passion," she explains. "It’s fire energy. Adventure. Sparks, bedroom passion, creativity, perhaps getting creative together here. The advice is to prioritize keeping the spark alive between them this year and integrate some adventure into their relationship and life."

Wishing them nothing less.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.