IT became obvious at Prince Philip’s funeral that the future of the Royal Family is safe — with Kate as their new rock.
Immaculately-dressed and elegant in pearls, she looked like a regent-in-waiting.
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But by gently reuniting warring brothers William and Harry, the Duchess of Cambridge showed she has the quiet qualities of a Queen.
Support for her husband has been unswerving ever since, as Kate Middleton, she married Prince William ten years ago.
And at the end of Saturday’s moving send-off, she consoled William’s visibly-upset father, Prince Charles, 73, with a kiss on the cheek and a comforting hand on his shoulder.
Moments after that, Kate played peacekeeper between William, 38, and Prince Harry, 36.
In the months and years ahead, the 39-year-old Duchess will be the person that not only Charles but also the Queen and their whole family will come to rely on as they feel the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh.
William’s biographer Brian Hoey said: “They say cometh the hour, cometh the man. But in the Royal Family’s case, it’s a woman.
“Thank God for Kate — she is the rock the monarchy will depend on. On Saturday, she behaved absolutely impeccably.”
Experts agree that in many ways Kate is just like the Queen Mum – a devoted mother who totally supported her husband, George VI, through the abdication crisis and the Second World War.
Mr Hoey, who has interviewed both the Cambridges, said: “The Queen Mother had star quality, which Kate has in abundance. But unlike the Queen Mum, the Duchess has the ability, just like Princess Diana had, to get on with people from every walk of life.
“She will be the perfect Queen consort for William when he becomes King.”
At times during Saturday’s service in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, Harry looked awkward as he sat on his own — socially distanced but outcast by his relatives.
Princess Anne, Sophie Wessex and her husband Prince Edward did not once acknowledge him.
The fallout from the Sussexes’ controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey had not disappeared.
Royal watcher Ingrid Seward said: “After the things that Meghan said to Oprah about the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate would have been quite entitled to also avoid Harry.
“She has just got beautiful manners — taught by her mum Carole — and when she sees an awkward situation, she steps in. That’s why she talked to Harry.”
'Lean on her more and more'
After the 50-minute ceremony, the Queen returned to her Windsor apartments in the Bentley State Limousine.
Other family members chose to walk in the sun instead of taking cars. That was Kate’s opportunity to break the ice and speak to Harry, with William by her side.
According to sources, the brothers had exchanged only texts since Harry’s return from Los Angeles at the beginning of the week. Kate then appeared to hang back so he could talk to William for a few moments without her.
Ms Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine said: “Harry must have felt awkward because he knew the hurt he had caused but Kate was charming to him.
“Kate is a mum of three, she has a husband she needs to support — and I don’t think there is enough time in her life to hold grudges.”
When Philip retired in 2017, he moved to Wood Farm on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, close to the Cambridges’ home at Amner Hall.
It was there that Philip spent time with Kate talking to her about her role when William is King.
One of William’s concerns after the death in 1997 of his mother, Princess Diana, was to balance protecting his children from the paparazzi while allowing access to take pictures.
Arthur Edwards, The Sun’s royal photographer, reveals it was Kate who had the solution — by learning photography so she could take the pictures of their children.
He added: “Kate is able to put people at their ease. Her approval rating is through the ceiling.
“She always looks good, never gossips and has total respect for the Queen and her father-in-law. The Royal Family will come to lean on her more and more.”
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