Royal Family understood importance of ’embracing’ Kate, says ex-aide

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The Royal Family acknowledged it was important to “embrace Kate”, after Prince William fell in love with her, no matter what “mistakes” were made in the past with the late Princess of Wales, it has been claimed. Ed Perkins, who worked as a press secretary for Queen Elizabeth II between 2007 and 2012 before working for two more years for Prince Harry, Prince William and Princess Kate, described the now Princess of Wales as a “breath of fresh air” when she arrived on the royal scene.

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Appearing on the new ITV’s documentary The Royal Crown: Inside the House of Windsor, Mr Perkins said: “Kate was, you know, a breath of fresh air.

“The public recognised that, but I suspect the family also understood that whatever mistakes had been made previously with Diana, it was important to embrace Kate and to understand the role that she could bring would potentially be massively important.”

While Mr Perkins didn’t detail which “mistakes” he believes the Firm had made with Princess Diana, other commentators have spoken about the issue in the past.

Last year, Ken Wharfe, a former royal protection officer who worked closely with Princess Diana, claimed the Firm found dealing with the late princess’ popularity “very very difficult”.

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Recalling the frenzy sparked across the country by the relationship between the then Kate Middleton and the future King, the ITV docu-series’ narrator said: “The story of a prince and an ordinary girl plays unexpectedly well with the public.”

Kate and William met at St Andrews University in Scotland during their first year, in 2001.

The pair became close friends first, and remained so for several months before beginning their romance.

While in Scotland, thanks to the media embargo placed on the prince to allow him and other students to study and live their private lives without the intrusion of the public eye, Kate and William were able to develop their relationship much like many other couples.

The pair are believed to have started a romantic relationship in May 2002 and, after having shared an apartment with a few friends, got their own place in 2003.

The following year, their relationship was made public after they were photographed cosying up together on the slopes at the Klosters Ski Resort in Switzerland.

In December 2006, Kate and her doting parents made an important first appearance in public with Royal Family members to support William on the day of his graduation from Sandhurst.

The now Prince and Princess of Wales briefly split up in 2007, an experience Kate recalled during the interview that followed the announcement of her engagement to William.

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She said in November 2010: “At the time, I wasn’t very happy about it. But actually, it made me a stronger person. You find things about yourself that maybe you hadn’t realised. I really valued that time for me.”

Speaking about the first few years of Kate as a royal girlfriend, Mr Perkins said: “We were seeing the heir to the throne with a girlfriend who was ever so slightly out of the mould.

“This wasn’t somebody who the family had grown up with. This was an individual who had come from a reasonably normal background, albeit still a privileged background. But certainly it wasn’t aristocratic, and certainly it wasn’t royal. Kate at the time was… was one of us.”

Kate and William married in April 2011 and have welcomed three children. As the future Queen and King, they have become pivotal members of the Firm.

All episodes of The Real Crown: Inside the House of Windsor are available to stream on ITVX here.

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