2018 ended with the beginning of a new era – we saw completely different Catherine that we had been seeing up to 2017. After her third maternity leave, when The Duchess of Cambridge stepped out for the first time, the aura around her was changed. There was a new level of comfort and confidence in her personality.
It’s like she got everything that she wanted – she had a loving husband, cute and adorable kids, a dog and happy homes in both London and the countryside with lots of family support. A typical British girl’s wish came true and now she is happy beyond her dreams. I have always believed the birth of Prince Louis was the real game-changer for both William and Catherine. After making her home a happy base for her family, In 2019, The Duchess started to branch out. The year started with a Sunday church service with Queen in Norfolk.
The Duchess’ public work involved a great deal of mental health and childcare but in 2019, with her first official engagement, it became clear that Early Year Intervention is going to be the focus of her public life. As a mother of 3 children, Catherine has learnt a lot about the importance of strong and happy early years in life. In 2018, she brought academics, practitioners and charities together to form a steering group to develop a significant new body of work that will ultimately support all efforts to provide children with the best possible start in life. In 2019, her first initiative towards the goal was the announcement of her ‘Back to Nature’ Garden.
The Duchess of Cambridge was set to co-design a garden ‘Back to Nature’ for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show with award-winning Landscape Architects Andree Davies and Adam White, of Davies White Landscape Architects that opened from May 21 to 25 May in 2019.
As expected and talked about in 2018, The Duchess of Cambridge kept her work-load pretty light in January 2019 to give enough time to her kids. After King Henry’s Garden visit, She visited the Royal Opera House (A patronage that I believe one day she will be having), Launched Family Line at Family Action, and was joined by husband Prince William for a visit to Dundee to inaugurate V&A Museum.
February started with a family photograph at an official engagement. We got a bit more details about her upcoming garden before she dazzled the A-list celebrities with her royal elegance at BAFTA. She joined experts at Mental Health in Education Conference before attending a gala dinner of 100 Women in Hedge Funds. Catherine concluded February with an unannounced 2 days visit to Northern Ireland with Prince William.
In the first week of March, The Duchess of Cambridge joined Queen Elizabeth to commemorate the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales. March month saw more engagements for Catherine that included a visit to Blackpool, annual Commonwealth Service, a visit to Children centre in a dazzling new look, return of BAFTA gown at NPG Dinner, a regal appearance at St. Patrick’s Day Parade, opening of Bush House with Queen, new patronage and her return to Scouts. Wow, that was a lot in one month.
May was probably one of the busiest periods for Catherine in 2019. She was undertaking engagements that included a visit to Anna Freud Centre, Launch of new initiative the King’s Regatta Cup, a visit back to her first home Wales, marking of D-day at Bletchley Park.
On the Family front, the Cambridge family celebrated Princess Charlotte’s 4th birthday.
Ahead of the grand opening, Palace released bit-by-bit information of works behind the garden development, The Duchess of Cambridge giving the final touches to the garden, the key role of Cambridge kids in the garden and how some school kids helped The Duchess in the finishing. The highlight of the month was the revealing of her ‘Back to Nature’ Garden that was attended by the Her Majesty Queen along with the members of the royal family.
The month ended with a garden party at the Buckingham Palace and annoucement of a very important milestone of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal journey – Pakistan tour.
Next was a month of traditional royal events. June started with the US State Banquet, Catherine took the salute at Beating Retreat Ceremony for the first time before the annual Trooping the Colour Parade. Then came a visit to Cumbria and Action on Addiction Gala Dinner.
A very fun engagement of the Month was Catherine joining Blue Peter Team ahead of the big royal day of Annual Garter Service where she joined Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Letizia and Queen Maxima with Duchess of Cornwall and Countess Sophie.
After attending the Ascot Day where she debuted the much-awaited label Elie Saab The Duchess of Cambridge accepted another patronage before ending the month with very unexpected but powerful news of Pakistan visit that showed the growing role of William and Catherine in the Windsor household.
July brought a new home to her ‘Back to Nature’ Garden and what could be possibly her favourite event of the year – the start of Wimbledon. Catherine joined royal family members on the christening of Prince Harry’s son Archie. What we loved the most in this month was the appearance of Prince Louis at a Polo Match. Catherine took her love for the garden and outdoor to next level before having a ladies’ day at Wimbledon.
The last highlight of the month was The Duchess of Cambridge presenting Wimbledon trophy for the first time before going on a family vacation in Mustique from where the Cambridge couple shared Prince George’s birthday portraits.
September brought a lovely start with Princess Charlotte starting her school and giving some lovely pictures. Finally the journey of ‘Back to Nature’ came to an end. But The Duchess of Cambridge remained busy with a visit Sunshine house and naming of RRS in Birkenhead. Throughout the year, Catherine showed how she became a true Princess of Children by putting the focus of her public role in the early years.
October was going to be one of the most anticipated months of the year, This month took the grand role and power of royal diplomacy to another level. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were set to visit Pakistan – the most complex tour they have ever undertaken. The couple had a warm-up with a visit to the Aga Khan centre.
The arrival in Rawalpindi set the tone for the whole Pakistan visit. The couple started the tour with a focus on education and conservation. After meeting President and Prime Minister of Pakistan, the royal couple enjoyed a dazzling night in Pakistan where William showed his side of sartorial diplomacy. Next day was focused on the environment and social issues while the Lahore visit started with kids.
We got some iconic moments from Badshahi Mosque and Shaukat Khanam Hospital. The day ended with some weather trouble that caused some cancellations on the last day. But William and Catherine made the most out of the situation. The extremely complex yet equally successful visit keep on giving us even after its conclusion. The month ended with Palace releasing info about this year’s BBC Radio1 Teen Awards reception.
After the busy October, the Cambridge couple started November with some family time with kids at Anmer Hall and came back to royal duties at the launch of Emergencies Trust. As expected Duchess was at the Remembrance Festival and Service with Queen. The Duchess of Cambridge joined The Duke at the launch of Shout before opening the ‘Nook’.
This year Catherine was back to the Royal Variety Performance. As the kids’ nanny, Maria was on vacation, and no babysitter was available, The Duchess of Cambridge had to step back from the Tusk Awards but she met with the nominees at Palace.
December month of 2019 brought a beautiful end to the royal decade. Since getting married in 2011, Catherine was moving ahead in her life one step at a time while making small but impactful changes and the last month of the decade cemented that perception. December had an alternative chain of cheerful and regal engagements.
The end of the decade began with a very special Christmas event ‘A Berry Royal Christmas’ with British Cookery Queen Mary Berry and after a cheerful event, The Duchess of Cambridge came back for a global event of NATO Reception to assist the Queen. Catherine accepted the new Family patronage – Family Action this month followed by the annual Diplomatic Reception. The annual Pre-Christmas lunch brought us a glimpse of Prince George joining Gan-Gan on an official engagement.
The highlight of the month was Prince George and Princess Charlotte making their debut at Sandringham Christmas Service. The year ended with The Duchess of Cambridge writing a letter of appreciation to the Nurses and Midwives.
The year was without any doubt Catherine’s most successful year as a royal. In her public role, she was stepping out and her focus area was more clear with a project set to launch in 2020. When it came to her role as senior royal, the visit to Pakistan showed us a glimpse of her position and its impact.
On the style front, we got to see her trying something out of her comfort zone of shift dresses and beige/black pumps. Media finally started to acknowledge the calm and serene presence of The Duchess of Cambridge in the royal household. From behind the royal doors, we saw the glimpse of the future that involves Catherine one day stepping out as The Princess of Wales. I will conclude the year 2019 as her first year of training as Princess of Wales in-waiting.