'We're supposed to believe Kate Middleton is just like us, but there's nothing normal about her'
Published 12/10/2016 | 11:28
I unashamedly adore Kate Middleton.
I don’t refer to her as the Duchess of Cambridge –a Duchess is stuffy, she’s unrelatable and she has definitely never been pictured in sequin hot pants on roller skates.
We’re made to believe that she is just like us, not quite “The People’s Princess” like her late mother-in-law Princess Diana, but she is proving to be the most effective tool in the royal family’s arsenal when it comes to improving international relations.
Even her husband Prince William recognised her unwavering popularity in 2014 when he met American designer Ralph Lauren and said: “You probably would far rather [see] my wife.”
Her effectiveness in boosting morale has become more useful than ever to modern Britain as it embarks on a “charm offensive after Brexit”.
She enjoyed her first solo royal engagement abroad on Tuesday – a quick flight to Holland where she met King Willem-Alexander toured the historic Mauritshuis Museum and met with local teenagers who are being taught practical skills in a bid to keep them out of trouble.
"When I met her I told her my hands were dirty but she still shook it and said ‘sometimes my hands are dirty too’," volunteer Richenel Lensa said after meeting the princess.
It's the kind of line we have come to expect from Kate as she, William and Prince Harry as the faces of the next generation of the royal family.
The trio set up a mental health initiative called Heads Together which has brought together eight mental health charities and organisations to tackle the stigma around depression and other psychological problems.
And William and Kate in particular take these opportunities to discuss their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte to make them more relatable.
“Like most parents today, William and I would not hesitate to seek help for our children if they needed it,” she said in February with an honesty that is becoming trademark for them.
They are particularly keen to give their children a normal upbringing, but life in the royal fishbowl doesn’t allow much flexibility when it comes to controlling public interest.
They have George registered in a local €6-per-hour Montessori three days a week near their home in Norfolk.
However, their home is the palatial Amner Hall – a property gifted to them by the Queen after their 2011 wedding, which features 10 bedrooms, a tennis court, swimming pool and was subject to a two year refurbishment costing €1.7m to fit their needs.
Not exactly the starter home of the average newlywed couple.
She wore a Zara blazer to a party in May? Underneath it was a €3,750 dress by Dolce & Gabbana.
And that party was at the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle.
During their recent tour of India, Kate was overheard affectionately referring to her husband of five years as “babe”.
In Canada, Kate and William were pictured laughing and lovingly gazing at one another as they toured the country together for seven days.
And they earned praise from parenting experts for adopting the active listening parenting technique where they bend down to make eye contact while one of their children is speaking.
These trips create the best opportunities to portray the young royals as a “normal” couple – Kate might have looked carefree when she beat William in a boat race in New Zealand in 2014, but she’s doing it on a trip that cost an estimated $2m.
Similarly, in the Netherlands, she was pictured boarding a commercial British Airways flight to London from Rotterdam, but she did it in a custom made Catherine Walker suit dress.
Earlier as she toured the Mauritshuis, Kate came face to face with the world famous Girl With The Pearl Earring painting by Johannes Vermeer, wearing a pair of her grandmother-in-law’s pearl earrings for the perfect photo op.
The museum's director Emilie Gordenker, remarked that Kate was already familiar with much of the artwork, which was on loan from the royal collection, from Buckingham Palace.
And yet again, your idea that Kate is just like us was brought back down to earth with a bang.