Happy Birthday Catherine!
Today is officially the 39th birthday of Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge! While I love to write about and follow all of the women in the Royal Family, Catherine will always have a special place with me as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are what brought me into royal watching in the first place. While her birthday celebrations are expected to be quiet due to a third national lockdown, I hope she has a wonderful day with her husband and children. While there are some things that will make my list every year, keep reading to find out thirty nine of my favorite moments with the Duchess of Cambridge.
Hold Still Portrait Exhibition
Curating an exhibition with the National Portrait Gallery for future generations to look back to during lockdown while maintaining regular video calls with charities and frontline workers, helping to boost morale of the nation on top of homeschooling three children might be considered a few too many activities for some, but Catherine managed to do it perfectly. The Hold Still exhibition highlighted three main areas of lockdown, the new normal, frontline workers and acts of kindness. 100 portraits were selected for the final exhibition which are available to view online.
The Wedding of Catherine Middleton and Prince William
There is really only one word that could accurately sum up the wedding of Catherine Middleton and Prince William: Perfection. Most fans have an event or story that makes them interested in royal watching and their wedding was definitely mine. I replayed the coverage for days, admiring every element from her stunning Alexander McQueen Dress to the Carriage Ride and even the maple trees that lined the aisle. I still love to rewatch the highlights and look at pictures almost ten years on as it reminds me so vividly of the excitement of that day.
Clap for Carers
Another great moment amidst a terrible year was the NHS Clap for Carers initiative. The Cambridges participated twice, once with just the children applauding essential workers and they were then joined by their parents for the Big Night In event on the BBC. While the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had been speaking with frontline workers all spring, it was wonderful to see them join in during the national effort to let healthcare workers know how appreciative the entire country was.
The Birth of Princess Charlotte
While the birth of Prince George and Prince Louis were equally exciting, having a little Princess in the family was a definite highlight. While Catherine clearly adores all of her children, a relationship between a mother and daughter is incredibly special and seeing that relationship unfold over the last five years has been incredible to watch.
Catherine and the Scouts
After being associated with the Scouts for several years, Catherine was official made President of the organization (along with the Duke of Kent) in 2020. The Scouts help teach countless young boys and girls’ important skills while building their confidence and helping to give back to their community. As Catherine was once a member herself it was a very special appointment for her to receive.
The Birth of Prince George
The birth of a future King doesn't happen too often and a new mother pulling together a full blowout and beautiful dress less than 24 hours after giving birth is even more rare. Catherine was glowing while holding her new baby boy and it was clear how proud she was of her baby George. It was fans first glimpse as a family of three and the moment could not be understated for its significance.
The Children’s Princess
Catherine has made her interest in helping during the early years a priority in her work. As such she is often seen with and around children earning her the title of the Children's Princess. Whether it is a child she has just met or if it is one of her own children, she always lights up around kids and kids always seem equally happy to be near her. This year saw one of her biggest projects in the early years: the 5 big insights, which aims to understand and change the way the United Kingdom looks at children and maternal physical and mental health.
The Birth of Prince Louis
Catherine has become known for her impeccable post labor looks, greeting the public with her second son only seven hours after giving birth. Catherine embodies the fantasy of royalty in every sense. She was likely the most laid-back during Prince Louis first appearance since she has had so much experience at the traditional photocall on the steps of the Lindo Wing. She presented all three of her children outside of the Lindo Wing following their birth before being able to go home and enjoy a few months of maternity leave.
Royal Train Tour
Since most tours were cancelled in 2020, the Royal Train Tour was introduced as a safe means to visit places around the United Kingdom in order to thank frontline and essential workers after an incredibly challenging year. The tour brought some much-needed joy ahead of the holidays as many were facing a season unlike any other before, especially healthcare workers. It was a wonderful morale boost for so many and a special treat for fans who have been unable to enjoy some of the annual events we looked forward to in a typical year.
Missing 2020’s annual Christmas walk only made me realize how much I love it. Catherine has joined the family almost every year since 2011 (they spent Christmas 2012 and 2016 with her family in Berkshire) and it is one of only a few events where the entire family gathers. The 2019 walk was the first official walk to Christmas Day Church service with her children, The Duchess shined once again. While George and Charlotte both seemed slightly wary of the situation (lots of cameras and meeting strangers) William and Catherine were right there to support their children.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s Podcast Debut
During the promotion of the 5 Big Questions, Catherine made her podcast debut on Happy Mum Happy Baby. During the thirty-minute episode the Duchess spoke about the challenges she faced as a first-time mother as well as why she is so passionate about the early years. She spoke with Giovanna Fletcher about the importance of maternal mental health and the parts of motherhood she loves the most. Catherine had not done an extensive sit down interview since her engagement announcement in 2010 so the conversation was not only covering hugely important topics but giving fans a bit of an insight into the Cambridge’s family life.
Royal Tour Australia 2014
During the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's 2014 tour of Australia, the family of three visited several parts of the commonwealth nation bringing an adorable eight-month-old Prince George along for engagements at Australia Zoo, play groups and received a very large stuffed wombat. Motherhood looked amazing on the Duchess and she has proven countless times since then what an incredible mother she is.
Catherine at Wimbledon
I really missed annual events this year, Wimbledon being one of them. Even before her marriage to Prince William, Catherine enjoyed going to Wimbledon to watch matches during one of the biggest tennis tournaments of the year. She has been a longtime fan of the sport and has been seen playing with friends and family. Since joining the Royal Family, the Duchess of Cambridge has attended Wimbledon almost every year and has become patron of the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Her appearances at the match each summer are another exciting annual event fan can typically look forward to.
Royal Tour Canada 2016
During their first tour as a family of four, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge brought their two young children to Canada. In another feat of parenting, Prince George and Princess Charlotte were remarkably well behaved and it was the first chance fans got to see the family's dynamic in public. It was Prince George's second tour (he had previously visited Australia in 2014) and it marked Princess Charlotte's first international tour. The visit included meetings with the Prime Minister, charitable visits as well as highlighting the important relationship between Canada and the United Kingdom.
The 5 Big Insights
Prior to lockdown in 2020, Catherine introduced the 5 Big Questions; a survey to find out how and what the United Kingdom thinks about the first five years. The survey was the largest of its kind in the U.K. and led the five big insights which Catherine debuted at the end of the year. She shared during the introduction of the project that she wanted to find out what the public knew already and what their biggest concerns about the early years were. The answers will steer her work for years to come in order to be sure she addresses the concerns and questions facing parents now.
Royal Tour Pakistan
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visit to Pakistan was one of the most complex tours they undertook from both a logistical and security standpoint but it would have been impossible to tell. Catherine looked incredible in more traditional pakistani dress (as did Prince William) and they balanced all of their biggest charitable interests beautifully while also fulfilling their Royal duties during meetings with the Prime Minister and President of Pakistan.
A Berry Royal Christmas
The Berry Royal Christmas special was an hour of perfect royal television. Another great British institution, Mary Berry, joined the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to host an early holiday party for people who would be working or volunteering to help others during the holiday season. Before the party, Mary Berry accompanied the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to some of their respective charities to learn more about the work that they did and the people they would be throwing a holiday party for. The special included visits to private engagements, holiday themed recipes and more details about charities that the Cambridge's support.
Catherine’s Lockdown Style
While most of the world was living in sweatpants, Catherine was showing up in dresses, blouses and beautiful sweaters. Her lockdown style was definitely price conscious as she re-wore pieces as well as debuting new styles from Zara and Marks & Spencer. Even as businesses slowly began reopening, she dressed more casually seemingly mindful of the style shift the world had gone through in the past several months.
William and Catherine with the Obamas
The role of the Royal Family must always remain politically impartial in order for the monarchy to continue in a democratic society. However, the visit with the Obamas was seen by all parties as a smashing success. During the U.S. presidents second term, the visited the Duke and Duchess (as well as Prince Harry) at Kensington Palace. Before enjoying a night with the adults, Prince George met the former president and was able to thank him in person for a rocking chair that the Obama's had sent when he was born.
Royal Tour India and Bhutan
During their 2016 tour of India and Bhutan, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge showed that they were great at both work and play. The tour was an important opportunity to enrich the relationship between India and the U.K. and William and Catherine did a phenomenal job of representing the U.K. They were able to seamlessly switch between serious and impactful engagements like their visit to the Taj Mahal while also having tons of fun in other moments such as when they played cricket.
Catherine at Royal Ascot
The Duchess of Cambridge has attended Royal Ascot on three occasions, and each of them could be called out as a favorite moment from Catherine. Royal Ascot is one of the more formal daytime events that the royals attend each summer. Wardrobe dictates more modern dress and headwear for all the royals. It is one of the few annual occasions to see both senior and minor royals together and fans are given more of an opportunity to witness more of their familial relationships in real time.
Royal Tour Canada 2011
The couples first big overseas tour came only a few months after their wedding but they already appeared to be professionals at royal life. Catherine carved out a new modern but modest fashion for the royal family and I can recall googling "Navy and White three-quarter length sleeve knee length lace dress" to try and replicate one of the outfits she wore. This tour was easily where I fell in love with the Duchess's sophisticated style and it set the newly minted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's royal life to a great start.
Catherine and Photography
The Duchess of Cambridge has been an avid photographer for a long time and has taken portraits of her children for several of their major milestones. She also is patron of the National Portrait Gallery and has proven her skills with photography, through curating an exhibition during lockdown for the National Portrait Gallery, to family portraits, special sessions to honor holocaust survivors and portraits of rural Pakistan. Catherine has worked on encouraging the younger generation to pick up the camera during workshops with the Royal Photographic Society, another one of the Duchess's patronages.
The Queens Diamond Jubilee Year
While I was stunned by the Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day and I fell in love with her style during the Cambridge's first tour, I really fell in love with Catherine during the Queens diamond jubilee year. 2012 was a big year for the royal family between the 2012 Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, The Diamond Jubilee, a tour of Singapore, Malaysia, Solomon Island and Tuvalu as well as a baby announcement before the year ended. Despite all of the pressure placed on her in a still fairly new role, Catherine navigated it with ease. She proved herself a valuable asset to the Royal Family through her care and dedication to her work as well as remaining graceful and poised under such pressure.
Back to Nature Gardens
While she continued certainly proved herself a formidable force in 2020, it was 2019 that the Duchess of Cambridge began taking larger projects as they seemingly finished growing their family and were committing to life as full-time working royals. One of her biggest projects to was the RHS Back to Nature garden that she codesigned. The Garden was such a success that it was shown at RHS Hampton Court before finding a permanent home in the form of a play area at Wisley. The gardens aimed to reconnect kids with nature with features like a rope swing, tree fort and a tent made of branches.
Catherine on Zoom
While I didn’t know how much I would come to love watching the Duchess of Cambridge’s zoom calls at the beginning of last year, it was a definite highlight of 2020. While I am more excited than I can say to eventually return to normal engagements (whether that happens this year or next), I do sincerely hope that the virtual format won’t completely go away. This year Catherine not only spoke to charities and organization in the United Kingdom but in Canada and Pakistan as well. Being able to hear some more of the conversations she has with volunteers and organizations has highlighted her caring and genuine nature.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at BAFTA’s
BAFTA was one of the few events this year that was able to proceed as scheduled. Catherine has attended the annual BAFTA awards several times over the years. It is one of the few events where the Duke and Duchess are interacting with entertainment stars and therefore, it is one of the more glamorous nights on the couples calendar. A beautiful dress and an extravagant night out only happens a few times each year and therefore, it has become a favorite to anticipate.
Catherine practices Wizardry
When my two favorite British Institutions - The Royal Family and Harry Potter - came together the result was genuinely magical. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry visited Leavesden Studios in 2013 when William and Catherine were expecting their first child. They toured the studio and partook in some wand dueling exercises in the fun and laid back engagement, it was clear they all had a wonderful time and are also fans of the books and movies.
The Duchess of Cambridge and the Queen
The Queen and Duchess of Cambridge have done a handful of public engagements together through the years and fans have been given small glimpses into their relationship during family events as well. It is clear that the Queen does her best to guide both Catherine and Camilla (as they will be the next two Queen consorts) and her majesty certainly has a lot of wisdom to impart.
Catherine and Sports
Catherine has always been athletic, having played sports throughout primary and secondary schools as well as taking part in charity rowing and sailing competitions through the years. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge haven't hidden their competitive natures and some of the friendly competitions they have had through the years made some of the best royal moments of the decade. Catherine doesn't shy away from sports no matter the occasions (including in high heels and dresses). She has spoken about the benefits of physical exercise for mental health and leads by example with her own love of exercise and athletics.
Catherine at Trooping the Colour
Another annual event on the Royal calendar that we unfortunately missed out on this year was the Queen's annual Birthday Parade, Trooping the Colour. Catherine has attended each year the parade has been held since her wedding to Prince William in 2011. While she is known for her thriftiness she debuts a new outfit almost every year and this is where most of her children made their first public appearance. It is one of only a handful of times we see the entire Royal Family together during the appearance on the balcony and it is another event that will hopefully find a way to go on in 2021 (pending vaccine distribution and public safety measures)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in New York
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has a whirlwind tour of New York over three days in 2014. At the time, Catherine was expecting the couples second child, Princess Charlotte and the expectant parents seemed relaxed and happy despite the crazy schedule. Visits on the trip included a gala for St. Andrews 600th anniversary dinner, a visit to the 9/11 memorial, a court side N.B.A game, meetings with U.S. political figures and a charity visit to North side Centre for Childhood Development.
It was one of the couples most relaxed tours despite the high profile political leaders and entertainment stars they met. Despite Basketball not being the biggest sport in the U.K. Catherine seemed engaged throughout the game and really showed off her diplomacy skills during meetings with Bill DeBlasio and Hilary Clinton.
Catherine’s Maternity Style
The Duchess of Cambridge always looks impeccable, a delicate balance of polished modern styles with classic and timeless elements and her maternity style showed off the very best elements of this. She chose silhouettes that were modest with some more modern accents and showed her growing baby bump off by her signature move of gripping her clutch just below her bump.
William and Catherine’s dating years
William and Catherine met at St. Andrews University in 2001 but it wasn't until three years later that there was confirmation of their relationship. While they both dealt with media attention during these years, they navigated it together quite well. They weren't often seen together, apart from the occasional night out or at polo matches. Catherine attended Prince Williams passing out ceremony in 2006 which was one of the first events she attended officially as Prince Williams then girlfriend. Despite media attention and pressure to marry, the couple made sure their relationship was on their terms and nobody else's, which is one of many reasons they continue to have a great marriage for nearly a decade.
Catherine at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Barely a month after having her third child, The Duchess of Cambridge joined the rest of the Royal Family at St. George's chapel in Windsor for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Her two older children served as a pageboy and bridesmaid in the wedding before standing on the steps outside of the Chapel with their parents during the bride and grooms first kiss. The Duchess of Cambridge re-wore a coat by Alexander McQueen and a light-yellow fascinator for the family wedding.
Royal Visit Poland and Germany
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge brought their children with them on a five-day tour of Poland and Germany. It was Prince George's third official tour and Princess Charlotte's second. Catherine not only looked immaculate on this tour but she showed off her incredible skills as a mother. Not only were Prince George and Princess Charlotte incredibly well behaved between their greetings for important dignitaries and giving some adorable waves to the public but during a small tantrum after Princess Charlotte fell on her way towards the plane, Catherine showed the world her superior mothering instincts, calming her daughter in a matter of seconds.
St. Patricks Day
While the parade was unfortunately cancelled in 2020, one of my favorite annual events on the Cambridge Calendar every year is St. Patrick's day. Catherine is able to pull out one of her many stunning emerald green coats and enjoy a day mixed with military ceremony and some laid back drinking (Guinness, of course). Prince William is Colonel of the Irish Guards so the day is a very special celebration for him and he even wore his Irish Guards Uniform on his wedding day. Current lockdown restrictions are expected to be lifted before St. Patrick’s day in March so (pending the distribution of vaccines and safety measures) the parade will hopefully go on in 2021, if in a smaller capacity than most years.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Ireland
One of the only foreign tours in 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Ireland at the beginning of March to celebrate the relationship between their two nations. The visit occurred at the beginning of March, before lockdowns became the norm and coronavirus was still being joked about in most countries. It was their first visit to the Republic of Ireland where they highlighted some of the best parts of Irish Culture and well as attending engagements that focused on their passions of mental health, children, the environment and sport.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s patronages
The Duchess of Cambridge has championed numerous causes since joining the Royal Family in 2011. This past year saw her work in Mental Health and early years expand with aid to frontline workers and the release of the 5 big insights. The causes she has championed have prompted discussions both in the U.K. and globally that is starting to change the conversation around these topics. Her patronages reflect and connect to these two main areas of work and she has been very careful about which patronages she takes on to ensure she is able to help them to the best of her abilities. This year she became President of the Scouts and her role as patron of the Nursing Now campaign proved timely when there was a massive need for nurses and a deeper appreciation globally for the invaluable work that they do. The younger generation of royal are trending towards having fewer patronages which allows them to dedicate more time to the causes they lend their support to.