Kate Middleton turns 32 today, and is expected to celebrate quietly and privately with a dinner at her new home, Kensington Palace, for family and close friends.
No doubt she will be reflecting on what has been a momentous year for her and William personally, but it has also been a year in which William’s wisdom in rejecting the royal norms and marrying a commoner has been utterly vindicated in terms of the Royal family’s brand.
It should not be forgotten how brave a decision that was of William to make, and for the Queen to allow. There was significant opposition to the idea of Queen Kate – the daughter of an airline pilot and an air hostess with a token black sheep uncle – from the old guard in the establishment and the palace, but almost all of that aversion has now quietly melted away in the face of Kate's success.
The fact that Kate’s first born turned out to be a boy after all helped, of course. It shouldn't have done, but it did, with the traditionalists relieved that fate intervened to make sure massive changes to the constituion were not, after all, immediately neccesary.
The year was of course dominated by the birth of Prince George in July, and since then Kate has maintained a distinctly lower profile, making only a handful of public appearances for particularly favoured charities - including one notable game of volley ball just a few weeks after the birth during which she inadvertently flashed a super-toned post-baby tummy. As Kate has grown in confidence, her staff at Kensington Palace have also embarked on a deliberate strategy that when Kate does make an appearance, she increasingly does so on her own.
William has been quiet as well – too quiet some in the British press pack have been grumbling – determined to ignore criticism of his controversial decision to take a ‘year off’ and spend a significant amount of time with his new family. The course on which he is now enrolled at Cambridge is at least part of the answer to why he took a transition year after leaving the army, as is the almost month-long tour of Australia that he and Kate will set off on in March, as soon as the course finishes.
It seems certain that, later this year, Kate will try to get pregnant again. The royal family prefer summer birthdays, so the Royalist suspects an announcement will be made towards the end of the year, although given Kate’s age, the couple could try to add to their brood sooner. If they left 18 months between their first two children, that might mean the couple would think about getting pregnant again in March or April.
The rumour is that Prince George was conceived on the royal tour of Singapore when Kate and William were photographed toasting with water. Might a second baby be made in Australia?