Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee: Kate Middleton’s Role
June brings a major touch of pomp to England as Brits celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne. Other than the Queen, perhaps no other member of the royal family is as eagerly watched as Kate Middleton, known to her countrymen as Duchess Catherine.
Sunday on the Barge
The Duchess will join Prince William, the Queen, and other royals on Sunday, June 2, on the royal barge. The barge will travel up and down London’s Thames River, at the center of 1000 other boats in a royal flotilla celebrating the event. This is a big day, as it falls exactly 59 years after the day Elizabeth was crowned Queen: June 2, 1953 (Elizabeth was actually proclaimed Queen upon her father’s death in February 1952, but the coronation was a major event and was performed later).
Music-loving Kate is no doubt looking forward to Monday’s BBC concert outside Buckingham Palace. Will she sing along as Elton John, Paul McCartney, and Stevie Wonder perform? Those with good zoom lenses will have to report.
Tuesday’s Service of Thanksgiving
Tuesday features a National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Prince William’s parents Prince Charles and Lady Diana married in 1981. Kate will attend, along with many other royals. Then, it’s off to Westminster Hall for a Diamond Jubilee lunch before embarking on a journey that may recall memories of her wedding last spring: she’ll travel by carriage along a processional route back to Buckingham Palace.
There, she and Prince William will join the Queen and other royals on the balcony where Will and Kate shared their famous kiss last year after their wedding. This time, they’ll be watching for a Royal Air Force flypast celebrating William’s 86-year-old grandmother.
Duchess Catherine seems to have entered the royal family with none of the angst suffered by Prince William’s late mother, Princess Diana. William’s father, Prince Charles, has referred to Kate as “my darling daughter-in-law,” and sources have described the Queen as “extremely fond” of Catherine as well.
It’s easy to find reasons for all this affection. Kate and William have helped spark more interest in the royal family, who had seen its popularity waning in recent years. Kate has performed her royal role flawlessly since her engagement to William. She has given a speech, and has appeared at numerous official functions, with virtually no mistakes. The Queen also approves of Kate’s practical nature: Kate is not overly fond of shopping, and has been seen several times — horrors! — wearing dresses worn previously. She’s not fussy, and most of all, she makes Prince William happy.