Kate Middleton will celebrate her 42nd birthday on Tuesday with a “low-key” family gathering that will include a special birthday tea and a homemade cake. Sources close to the future queen said there would be “no major celebration” but instead a relaxed and informal tea party at the family’s Windsor home in the afternoon.
With Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis back at school, celebrations are deliberately understated and according to a friend, “Catherine doesn’t have any official royal engagements planned for her birthday, but it’s still a working day with meetings in her diary. I expect she will be looking forward to spending the afternoon with the children.”
While she’ll commemorate the day with family, Princess Kate will not see King Charles and Queen Camilla who are spending the first weeks of 2024 in Scotland. As Vanity Fair exclusively revealed last month, the King is keen to start the new year at his beloved Birkhall rather than taking a prolonged break at Sandringham where the family spent Christmas and where the late Queen would remain in residence until her spring schedule started.
“Charles and Camilla are in Scotland but there will be phone calls and presents sent,” a family friend said. That won’t however be the gift of Birkhall, Charles’ Scottish residence, despite speculation the king plans to gift it to Prince William and Princess Kate. “While there is a shuffle of royal houses currently ongoing and speculation that William and Catherine might be getting Birkhall, now they are the Prince and Princess of Wales, I am told that the King plans to keep the residence because he loves it so much as does Camilla,” the friend added.
Back in Windsor, members of the Middleton family are expected to visit Kate on Tuesday. And the Princess is understood to have had a small celebration with friends at the family’s countryside home Anmer Hall in Norfolk, where they have just enjoyed an extended Christmas and New Year break.
In previous years, Kate has marked the milestone by sharing a special photograph on social media. For her 40th birthday three new portraits were released by photographer Paolo Roversi, however, even for her big 4-0 there was no big event. “Catherine isn’t into big flashy occasions and really just likes to spend her birthday quietly with her family and close friends,” a friend said. Meanwhile, the bells of Westminster Abbey, where William and Kate were married in 201, will ring in accordance with a tradition afforded to all senior members of the Royal Family.
As for Kate’s 42nd year, it is expected to be busy, with both the Prince and Princess of Wales carrying out an increasing number of official duties in support of King Charles and Queen Camilla. It has also been rumored that the Princess may carry out a solo tour overseas.
Since the late Queen Elizabeth’s death, William and Kate have taken on a more central role within the royal family, stepping up and attending high profile state events and visits alongside the King and Queen.
According to the Daily Mail, King Charles could bestow the greatest honor on Kate as a show of his appreciation for all that she has done. “There is much chatter in royal circles that King Charles might even seal his daughter-in-law’s new position in the near future by appointing her as a Royal Lady of the Order of the Garter,” the tabloid reported. The order is one of the oldest and most prestigious accolades to be awarded by the monarch. Currently Queen Camilla, Anne, Princess Royal, and Princess Alexandra are Royal Ladies of the Order of the Garter while Prince William, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew and the Dukes of Kent and Gloucester hold the rank of Royal Knight.
Kate has spent more than a decade carrying out engagements on behalf of the crown. She has also carved her own philanthropic portfolio focusing on the importance of early childhood, young people, mental health awareness and addiction. Sources close to Charles say he “adores” his daughter-in-law and is keen to publicly recognize her contribution. It looks set to be an exciting year for Princess Kate.