There’s no set curriculum, no “British Monarchy 101” classes for someone marrying into the royal family, but Kate Middleton has been getting a series of private “lessons” to help her acclimate to becoming the Duchess of Cambridge.
In recent weeks, Kate has had meetings with a parade of experts on the media, government and the arts at St. James Palace. The wide-ranging briefings are aimed at easing the jarring transition into her very public role as wife of the future King of England and preparing her for long-term membership in the royal family.
“The Duchess is being briefed on how the State works, getting to know our national institutions better,” a “Royal source” told The Telegraph. “It is a process that will carry on for several months but is being done privately.”
The source added that “the Duchess is spending time carrying out private research of her own.”
The Telegraph and other papers observed that Kate’s formal orientation is in marked contrast to the preparation given to Princess Diana, who, when she married Prince Charles, is reported to have complained that the Palace “basically thought I could adapt to being Princess of Wales overnight.”
To help her adjust, Kate’s official appearances are limited to roughly one a month for the rest of the year. She’s said to divide her time equally between London, where she attends her briefings, and Anglesey, where she lives with her husband.
In other royal-related news:
• It doesn’t sound as though anyone gave Mike Tindall lessons on marrying into the royal family. Tindall’s wife, Zara Phillips, apparently left England today (Tuesday) on her way to Dunedin, New Zealand join her husband. The BBC’s Dan Roan tweeted: “Dunedin Airport could be busier than normal on Friday. That’s when Zara Phillips arrives to catch up with Mr. Tindall – & there’s no VIP exit.” Tindall was caught up in a tabloid scandal last week after he was seen with a blonde in a bar during a “Mad Midget Weekender” event.
• Kate might have had her detractors at New York Fashion Week, but they’re nowhere to be found in London, which is nearing the end of its Fashion Week, reports Reuters.
“I think she is the new queen of fashion,” said designer Julien Macdonald. “She’s young, she’s every little girl’s dream and she always looks chic and sophisticated.”
Designer Daniella Helayel, who created the blue dress that sold out within 24 hours after Kate’s engagement, was understandably upbeat about the Duchess’s appeal: “I think she is great, I’m very fortunate that she likes to wear Issa.”
Another designer whose clothes Kate has worn also had high words of praise: “I think she’s brilliant, she’s brilliant for England,” said Alice Temperley, who designed the white dress Kate wore to Wimbledon earlier this year. “Perfect, perfect future Queen, she’s elegant, she knows how to hold herself.” The Wimbledon dress also sold out quickly after the Duchess wore it.
Overall, Kate’s been a stimulus to the £21 billion British fashion industry, said Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council. She’s provided an “opportunity teach the world again what Great Britain is about,” he said, but added: “It’s not just about her, they’re a good looking couple, they set each other off very well.”
• In keeping with her current low profile, Kate didn’t attend London Fashion Week. But Pippa did, attending the aforementioned Alice Temperley’s show last night. She wore the designer’s so-called “fan dress,” which The Washington Post gossip blog said was too short when she sat down. Here’s an AP report on the show itself: