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“The Queen Is A Fan“: The “Unflappable“ and Relatable Kate Middleton Is Having a Moment -

“The Queen Is A Fan“: The “Unflappable“ and Relatable Kate Middleton Is Having a Moment

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The Queen is known to have her favorites when it comes to royal women, among them the hard-working Sophie, the Countess of Wessex— and now, it seems, Kate Middleton.

Despite reports that Her Majesty doesn’t have an “intimate relationship” with the Duchess of Cambridge, royal sources insist the Queen holds Kate in high regard and admires how she juggles her royal role with a busy family.

“The Queen is a fan,” said a source. “Kate is unflappable. Her mantra is very like the Queen’s keep calm and carry on approach in life, and she has the added benefit of making the Royal Family seem almost normal and in touch.”

Given some of the less positive coverage the royal family has had to endure over the summer, it’s perhaps no surprise that the Queen is so grateful to the duchess who remains one of the most popular members of the family. Kate is back to work after a half-term break in Norfolk, where she was seen shopping for Halloween costumes with the children.

Having awarded her granddaughter in law the Royal Family Order , the highest honor the monarch can bestow on a female member of the family at the end of last year, the Queen was reportedly thrilled with the Cambridges’ recent tour of Pakistan, which saw Kate give her first-ever TV interview and make headlines around the world with her well-considered wardrobe choices and her unusual decision to stop the royal convoy so the couple could meet a local family.

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The Queen’s seal of approval is merely the cherry on top for a duchess who has enjoyed a successful year. “It feels very much like this has been Kate’s year,” said her biographer Claudia Joseph. “She looks happy, in control and there’s a new confidence about her.”

Joseph continued, “I think Kate seems much happier than a year ago. She has three lovely children, has been honored by the Queen for her hard work and is really well liked not just here but around the world.”

When it comes to popularity polls, Kate has always scored high largely because of her relatability. “She’s very much the girl next door, from how she dresses to how she behaves and interacts with people on engagements,” Joseph said. “ She is likeable and relatable and that has made her very popular.”

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The fact that she still shops on the High Street, and was spotted drinking at a local pub last weekend show that while she is a duchess, she is also refreshingly normal. Last month the royal was spotted shopping for Halloween costumes at a supermarket in Norfolk. The onlooker who spotted Kate browsing the shelves with her children told *The Sun*, “It was lovely to see her just being a normal mum shopping with her kids. I love how she just goes about her normal life, she is so down to earth.”

According to parents at George and Charlotte’s school, in addition to joining other moms and dads for a pint at the HOllywood Arms pub, Kate often does the school run and drives the children to Battersea in South London in the family’s Discovery. While she works at her office most days, she is also hands-on at home, doing the shopping and often cooking meals for her and William and the children. She also loves to take Louis to local playgrounds and for walks in Kensington Park Gardens.

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Sources close to Kate, who was once very cautious about being photographed in public, particularly with the children is more relaxed these days. Earlier this year she and William allowed the children to be filmed enjoying the garden Kate helped to create for the Royal Chelsea Flower Show and the couple took Prince George to his first football match where the excited six year old cheered on his father’s team Aston Villa. Their decision to fly as a family in economy class to Scotland this summer was also widely praised.

While they have in the past been wary of the press, the couple have made a point of engaging with the media and the couple enjoyed several friendly off-the-record conversations with the travelling press pack in Pakistan. “They seem to be making a real effort and it’s paying off,” an additional source told *Vanity Fair*. “They are getting great press.”

Certainly the Cambridges seem to be enjoying a high, something royal watchers credit to their relaxed chemistry and wholesome family image. “As a couple William and Kate seem stronger than ever , they are charming as a family and I think you can see how happy and confident Kate is,” Joseph said.

Kate has also found her feet in her royal role., and next year will see her continue the work she is doing with young people in the UK. The Duchess has chosen to focus on very young children and the importance of positive and healthy early childhoods.

“It’s something she is passionate about and a long term project. You will see much more of this kind of work in the new year,” said a palace aide. “She’s very much committed to the cause.”

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