How Kate Middleton Is Modeling Herself After Queen Elizabeth: 'Never Complain, Never Explain'

How Kate Middleton Is Modeling Herself After Queen Elizabeth: 'Never Complain, Never Explain'

Updated on November 29, 2022 18:08 PM by Ella Bina

Royal Rule

The unspoken rule of the royal family, "never complain, never explain," has drawn a lot of attention in recent years, particularly in reference to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Prince William and Kate Middleton after their recent Caribbean visit. The phrase was first used by British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who served two terms under Queen Victoria, rather than as a member of the royal family. In this week's cover story for PEOPLE, the Queen's biographer Sally Bedell Smith says, "Catherine has learned by observing." She will have absorbed a lot from this Queen."

Posses similar qualities

Although they are 56 years apart in age, the Queen and Kate possess similar qualities for the job, including quiet stoicism, unwavering confidentiality, and steadfast commitment. Their allegiance to the throne is unshakeable, and their public personas are carefully managed; as a result, their opinions on divisive political topics are seldom heard. The Queen's unofficial maxim for public life, "Never complain, never explain," is also embodied by Kate. It's unlikely that the Queen ever formally instructed Kate because she doesn't like to give out clear "lessons," according to sources. Instead, historian Sarah Gristwood tells that it's possible that the Queen treated Kate the same way she treats prime ministers in their relationship.

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Prefers to do than to say

"The Queen has always preferred to do rather than to say," says the author of Elizabeth: Queen and Crown. "With her audiences with her prime ministers, if there has been actual advice, it would be a discreet 'I think that went rather well' rather than actual instruction." Kate is a contemporary lady who is nevertheless obedient to the "firm," or the family business's centuries-old hierarchical structure. According to Gristwood, "It's a personal willingness to conform to the requirements of the institution." That may seem like an unappealing or unglamorous quality, but it's crucial if you want to be a successful cog in the royal wheel.

Kate's attire

Even now, Kate frequently dons jewelry that was lent to her by the monarch because she was inspired by her sense of fashion. The Queen always chooses vivid colors for royal engagements so that admirers can easily identify her in a throng; Kate has done the same. According to a friend, the Queen "has this defined style, almost like a uniform, which also works for Kate."

Ready for royal duties

Two months after the U.K. and the world celebrated the Queen's 70 years as monarch, she is starting her summer vacation at Balmoral Castle in Scotland this week, and she is doing so with confidence that Kate and her husband Prince William are prepared for their royal duties in the months and years to come.

They "are representing the Queen impeccably," adds Bedell Smith. "They're showing a kind of dedication she would be proud of. And that probably gives her hope."

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