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British RoyalsThe Cambridges

The Duchess of Cambridge at 40: a new royal family

Photo: Kensington Palace

The Duchess of Cambridge has made no secret of the importance she places on family. As she celebrates her 40th birthday, Royal Central looks at how Catherine and William are building a new royal family.

Entering their eleventh year of marriage, Catherine seamlessly fitted into the royal family from the beginning. She has taken on multiple patronages, many relating to mental health, including physical activity and expressing oneself through the arts. And she and William are raising their three children – Prince George, aged 8 and third in line to the throne; Princess Charlotte, age 6 and fourth in line and Prince Louis, age 3 and fifth in line. 

Catherine has commented on the ‘Happy Mum, Happy Baby’ podcast how positive a childhood she had and how involved her parents were and how she wants that for her children. “I had a very happy childhood. It was great fun – I’m very lucky, I’ve come from a very strong family. My parents were hugely dedicated to us – my siblings. I really appreciate now as a parent how much they sacrificed for us.”

That goal is evident in the children’s formative years. William and Catherine make sure to be around for school pickups and drop-offs, they take family vacations and are present for the everyday moments of life.

“I remember that from my childhood – doing the simple things, going for a walk together, and that’s really what I try and do with my children as well because it totally strips away all the complications, all the pressures… as a parent and I think these experiences as well mean so much to children and the world that they’re in which is a real adventure for them at that age.” Catherine added she is at her happiest when “I’m with my family outside in the countryside and we’re all filthy dirty.”

The work of raising well behaved children seems to be paying off. There have times when the family has been spotted shopping. Often the children have their own spending money and can pick items themselves but are kept to a budget. When these reports come out, the shop employees or fellow shoppers always comment on how polite and pleasant the children are. And though she may be raising a future monarch, Prince George and his siblings are not spoiled and have chores.

Catherine and William want their children to have as ‘normal’ an upbringing as possible, especially George, who will follow in his father’s footsteps with the throne and all the responsibilities that come with it in front of them.