Kate Middleton “Guides the Family” and Acts as a Modern Matriarch, Former Royal Private Secretary Says

It has been an especially stressful month for the new Princess of Wales.

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

Kate Middleton is the new Princess of Wales, a future queen, and a current matriarch to a royal family in the midst of a sea change. With the death of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth last month, Kate is stepping into the role of the family’s matriarch, “not in the sense of an older woman in a twin set and pearls, but she guides the family and advises [Prince William] when he wants it,” Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, William’s former private secretary, tells People.

The past month has seen Kate move her family from Kensington Palace in London to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor, oversee her three children’s first week of school at Lambrook, and grieve the loss of the backbone of the family, the late Queen, who the family mourned from her death on September 8 until the end of the royal mourning period on September 26. (Obviously, the royal mourning period may have ended, but the grief over the tremendous loss likely never will.) She has also started a new job, essentially, as Princess of Wales, in the midst of everything else going on. She is also, as ever, steadfastly supporting her husband in his new role as Prince of Wales, which includes managing the $1.3 billion Duchy of Cornwall and helping plan his father’s coronation, set for May 6, 2023 at Westminster Abbey.

A source close to the family tells People that it has been a stressful time, especially for Kate, who is the first Princess of Wales since William’s mother, Princess Diana, held the title. (Technically, Camilla, Queen Consort was Princess of Wales from her marriage to King Charles III in 2005 onward but did not publicly go by the title because of its close association with Diana. She instead was referred to as Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.)

“King Charles III bestowed the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales to Prince William and his wife the day after the Queen’s death, and Kate’s popularity has only soared,” the outlet writes. “However, the newly minted princess now faces inevitable comparisons with Diana, the best-loved royal in modern history. Like the woman whose iconic sapphire engagement ring she wears every day, the new Princess of Wales has undertaken ambitious projects throughout the United Kingdom on child development, mental health, and family well-being.”

As for her late mother-in-law’s legacy, palace sources say Kate “appreciates the history associated with this role but will understandably want to look to the future as she creates her own path.”

“She will do so with humility and by acknowledging the past, but in her own way,” Lowther-Pinkerton adds.

Eventually, the five-member Wales family—William, Kate, and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis—will move from the four-bedroom Adelaide Cottage into Windsor Castle. But “for now, cottage life is much like it is at their country retreat Anmer Hall in Norfolk, where the kids and their friends are in and out of the swimming pool. George will flop onto the sofa beside his father, while Charlotte makes a beeline for familiar guests,” People reports.

As one close family friend puts it, theirs is a life of a “modern royal family doing normal things,” even in the midst of a rather abnormal reality.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.