Kate Middleton ‘stepped into Prince Philip’s role’ amid royal rift: ‘Will you talk?’

Kate Middleton 'blossoming' in her role says Sacerdoti

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The red carpet will be rolled out for the new ‘Fab Four’ in Glasgow this week. Prince Charles and Prince William will be joined by Camilla and Kate at COP26 in Scotland’s second city. The Queen was due to attend and host a diplomatic reception, but announced last week that she had “regretfully” accepted doctor’s advice to stay at Windsor Castle. She will instead send a pre-recorded message to the world leaders and delegates.

William and Kate, who were always due to support Her Majesty at tonight’s reception, will still attend.

The Cambridges have just returned from a half-term holiday with their three children: Prince George, eight, Princess Charlotte, six, and Prince Louis, three.

They were seen at Heathrow Airport last week, checking into the luxury Windsor Suite.

Since Prince Philip’s death earlier this year, other royals have had to step up to the plate.

The Duke was associated with some 992 charities in some way, shape or form, although he stepped down from royal duties in 2017 aged 96.

His role was not just limited to a professional level, however, it was on a familial level too. 

Philip was very much the peacemaker within the Royal Family, according to royal expert Katie Nicholl.

She told the 2021 documentary ‘Kate: A Young Queen in Waiting’ that the Duchess of Cambridge has started to fill this void in some respects.

She said: “Kate has been, very much, a peacemaker behind the scenes.

“It’s no secret that the brothers fell out really very badly. At one point they weren’t even talking.

“There have been deep strains and tensions, and a rift which has really divided the heart of the Royal Family.”

Kate, Ms Nicholl said, has found this very upsetting. She said the Duchess “ultimately brought them together”.

She continued: “In many ways, the Royal Family have lost the patriarchal figure.

“Prince Philip was often the one who would sort out rifts within the family, and here was Kate stepping into that role.

“I don’t think anyone could have watched the funeral and not thought of the brothers walking behind Diana’s coffin.

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“William didn’t want to walk and Philip said to him ‘if I walk, will you walk?’ and I think we’ve almost seen Kate say to William ‘if I talk, will you talk’.

“She instigated what seemed like a very natural coming together of the boys, and they did talk.”

Ms Nicholl was referring to reports that William was initially hesitant to walk behind his mother’s coffin at her funeral in 1997, but his grandfather promised he would walk with him to support him.

Then, at Philip’s own funeral, Kate appeared to manoeuvre the brothers to speak to one another. She was seen speaking to Prince Harry, before they were joined by William, and then Kate left the brothers to speak alone.

In recent years, William’s relationship with his brother Harry has been very strained. The pair’s feud escalated, according to Ms Nicholl, when William urged his brother to take his time and “not rush into anything” with then-girlfriend Meghan Markle.

She said: “That really was the beginning of what was, up until then, an unbreakable brotherly bond.”

Harry is said to have taken offence at the advice and that distance began to emerge between them.

William recently mentioned his brother by name in a speech at a reception to thank the donors who contributed to the Princess Diana statue, which Harry did not attend.

The Mirror’s royal editor Russell Myers said last week on ITV’s Lorraine that “tensions are still running high” between the brothers, and that the now-infamous Oprah Winfrey interview is “still ingrained in the memory”.

Ms Nicholl, however, emphasised the importance of Kate “instigating” the brothers talking.

She said: “Kate wouldn’t admit it, but she is actually quite like the late Duke of Edinburgh, very modest, but she played an important role in that.”

It has been suggested that Harry and Meghan could return to the UK this Christmas after the Queen’s recent stay in hospital.

It would have been their first Christmas as a family of four in California after the birth of Lilibet in June. Mr Myers said: “I don’t think we would have seen them.

“They’ve just moved to California, it’s going to be their first Christmas over there [as a family of four]. However, this does slightly change things and will Harry want to get on a plane?”

He added: “Anything can happen and I think they might just change their mind on this occasion.”

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