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Every Mother’s Day tributes flood onto social media in honor of moms across the globe. And in 2020 even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took time to share cherished photos of themselves with their mothers. This included an image of the late Diana, Princess of Wales with her two young boys, William and Harry. But it was actually an unexpected snap of Kate Middleton’s mom, Carole, that caught most people’s attention.

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Now, the picture was surprising to some extent because the public doesn’t get to see much of Kate’s side of the family. And neither do the Middletons speak out about their now-royal family member, publically, for obvious reasons. Host of the royal-centric podcast HeirPod Omid Scobie explained to listeners, “It’s very rare we actually even see her family members mention Kate’s name in public.”

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In fact, Carole, her husband, Michael, and their children, Pippa and James, have been this way since Kate became Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Scobie explained, “They’ve been extremely quiet for obvious reasons ever since she married into the Royal Family.” But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t at least spotted spending time together.

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For Carole’s part, the press and public have come to know her as a doting grandmother. Yes, she doesn’t speak to the media about her royal ties but often looks after Kate and William’s three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Of course, that’s only when they need looking after.

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Indeed, because William and Kate have made their children’s care a priority throughout their time as parents. And their decision to hire only one nanny, Maria Borrallo, was an unprecedented decision as far as royal child-minding goes. So when Borrallo’s not around, and they can’t do the job themselves, the Duke and Duchess enlist Carole and Michael to look after their children.

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And Carole has done so on a number of occasions. In December 2019 for instance, photographers captured her leaving Kensington Palace, where she was thought to be babysitting while her daughter and son-in-law prepared for an event at Buckingham Palace. Kate’s mom has also watched the kids when their royal parents have gone on tour to places like India and Bhutan.

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But that’s about as far as Carole’s public appearances go with the royal family. And her choice to remain out of the spotlight is why the Duke and Duchess’s Instagram post for Mother’s Day got so many people talking. Indeed, the public relished a glimpse into the life of the notoriously private future queen and her mother.

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Catherine Elizabeth Middleton came into the world on January 9, 1982, entering a life much different from her future husband’s. However, her father Michael’s side of the family did have links to the British aristocracy, and the family benefitted from a healthy trust fund because of it. Even so, both he and his wife, Carole, originally worked in aviation.

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In fact, Michael’s career as a flight dispatcher took the family from their home in Berkshire, England, to Amman, Jordan, when Kate was only two years old. Once she turned three, she spent her days there attending an English-speaking nursery school. But the Middletons wouldn’t stay in Jordan for long, making their return to the United Kingdom just two-and-a-half years later.

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Once back in England, Kate’s life resumed as normal. Her parents signed her up to attend St. Andrew’s School, a private institution near their Berkshire home. And life in and out of academia proved idyllic for the future royal. She spoke about her childhood on an installment of the podcast Happy Mum, Happy Baby in February 2020.

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Kate said, “I had a very happy childhood. It was great fun and I’m very lucky I come from a very strong family. My parents were hugely dedicated. I really appreciate now as a parent how much they sacrificed for us. They came to every sports match, they’d be the ones on the sideline shouting, and we’d always have our family holidays together.”

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And Kate’s teachers at St. Andrew’s remembered Michael and Carole’s daughter as a down-to-earth, dedicated student. For instance, Kevin Allford, who taught her physical education, told the Press Association that the future Duchess was a “hard worker and very conscientious.” He also noted that she was “a tremendous athlete and swimmer,” as was her sister, Pippa.

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In fact, like most sisters, Kate and Pippa did many of their activities in tandem. The girls took part in a Berkshire Brownies club, picking up new skills, earning badges and going on field trips together. Their pack leader, June Scutter, recalled to People that the future Queen of England and her sister, “were just ordinary children, nothing different from any others.”

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Furthermore, Kate’s humble upbringing also allowed her to explore an interest in the performing arts – namely, in theater. At 11, she starred in St. Andrews’ production of My Fair Lady as the lead character, Eliza Doolittle. To add to that, she acted in the Victorian-era drama, Murder in the Red Barn.

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Not every moment of Kate’s childhood was as pleasant as these, though. For instance, she enrolled at the Downe House boarding school for a short period but the other girls bullied her. Later, she attended Marlborough College, studying art, biology and chemistry and playing a full rota of sports.

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After graduating from Marlborough College, Kate went onto travel the world during a pre-university gap year. Yes, she studied at the British Institute in Florence, trekked to Chile and rowed the Solent, a strait that separates mainland England from the Isle of Wight. After that, though, it was time to return to school, this time at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

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And fans of the royal family will know what happened next. Kate moved into St. Salvator’s Hall, where Prince William also lived while studying at the same institution. In fact, the pair started dating soon after their initial meeting in 2001. Four years later, the Duchess graduated with a degree in art history, turning her tassel alongside her future husband.

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From there, life changed for the entire Middleton family. Yes, Kate and William announced their engagement to the world in November 2010. The future King of England had even given his bride-to-be a ring that his mother, the late Princess Diana, once wore. Then, they exchanged vows at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011.

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Approximately 300 million people across the world watched William and Kate’s wedding. And they got to know her close-knit family in the process. Her sister, Pippa, served as her maid of honor. Also, her parents and brother attended the ceremony, just one of the special royal moments they’d get to witness in spite of their relatively normal lives before.

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Gradually, William and Kate welcomed three children of their own – George, Charlotte and Louis. Becoming a mother herself gave Kate perspective on growing up with her siblings and parents in Berkshire. On the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast, she spoke about how it influenced her own parenting.

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Kate said, “What resonates the most is the simple things. I see that now with my own children. Life now is so busy and distracting and sometimes simple things like watching a fire on a really rainy day provides such enjoyment. I remember that from my childhood, the simple things, like going for a walk together, I try to do this with my children.”

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What’s more, those quieter moments helped her royal brood to retain some sense of normality, especially at such young ages. Kate said, “It totally strips away complications and pressures. I think those experiences mean so much to children and the world they’re in which is a real adventure at that age.”

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Just as her parents encouraged her into sports and spent time with her, Kate hoped to inspire other parents to do the same. She explained, “As children, we spent a lot of time outside and it’s something I’m really passionate about. I think it’s so great for physical and mental wellbeing and laying those foundations. It’s such a great environment to actually spend time in, building those quality relationships.”

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Another important part of Kate’s childhood was her relationship with her grandmother – something she has clearly tried to repeat by keeping her mother, Carole, in the fold. The Duchess recalled, “I had an amazing granny who devoted a lot of time to us, playing with us, doing arts and crafts and going to the greenhouse to do gardening, and cooking with us.”

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Of course, the public has yet to learn what activities Carole and her royal grandchildren like to do together. But it’s clear that she maintains a close bond with them and with her daughter, too. And the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrated her with a sweet Mother’s Day post in 2020.

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You see, the United Kingdom celebrated Mother’s Day on March 22, and the Duke and Duchess shared four photos on Instagram to mark it. The first featured Kate in the foreground and her husband in the background, carrying Charlotte and George during a piggyback ride. And the second featured a personality who remains embedded in the British consciousness to this day.

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Indeed, the second photo showed a much younger Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry, huddled around their mother, the late Princess Diana. And the last picture in the slideshow featured a very sweet Mother’s Day card crafted by none other than Kate’s eldest son, George. Now, that left one last photo – and it featured Kate’s mom, Carole.

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And the photo highlighted something that fans had never noticed before about Kate and Carole. Yes, the mother and daughter looked very much alike. One fan wrote, “Wow! I never noticed such a strong similarity before.” Another commented, “Omg they look so alike.” And then there was another post reading, “Good genes run in the family!”

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Like William and Kate, other royals shared their well wishes on Mother’s Day. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex – Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – posted their own tribute to moms everywhere. On their Instagram, they wrote, “No matter what you call your mum, this Mother’s Day in the United Kingdom, we honor the mums all over the world who do so much every single day.”

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Furthermore, Princess Eugenie – cousin to William and Harry and tenth in line to the throne – shared a touching thought too. She first highlighted her mother, Sarah Ferguson, the former Duchess of York. Eugenie wrote, “Today, I want to celebrate my mumma but also all the amazing mothers out there.”

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And Princess Eugenie sought to highlight those mothers who couldn’t be with their children on the day, including professionals such as healthcare workers, writing, “I would like to celebrate all the mothers that can’t be with their children today because they are saving lives… Today and every day we should tell our loved ones how much we love and cherish them.”

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Not to be outdone, the Queen commemorated the day similarly, too. On her official Instagram account, she shared an image of her and her mother in 1951, when they were Princess Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth, respectively. To caption the photo, she wrote, “Mothering Sunday is a chance to thank and celebrate all mothers and caregivers, wherever they may be.”

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Now, the moving photo of the young Princess Elizabeth in the fifties with her mom was a rare share for the monarch. For you see, she usually kept her own expressions of affection private, such is part of what’s known as “royal duty.” But the glamorous snap, taken in London while the pair donned dresses and large bonnets, had a nice touch to it.

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Since Mother’s Day, Duchess Kate and the other royals have been keeping themselves busy. For her part, the future queen has begun to step into the spotlight more after years of working on her charity causes behind closed doors. Marlene Koenig, an expert in the royal family, spoke to Express.co.uk about the change.

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And Koenig explained how Kate, “has been doing behind the scenes work for several years now, meeting with her charities to discuss projects. I think she prefers the slow and steady kind of work, taking on work more slowly, but surely.” One of her main causes is early childhood development, for which she launched a nationwide survey to improve best practice in the United Kingdom.

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Mind you, Kate has apparently proven herself in child development as she has studied the subject, becoming somewhat of an expert, according to a source who spoke to Stella magazine. They explained, “She doesn’t just want to talk about this issue, but to build an evidence base for action.”

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That desire explains why Kate has spent so much time honing her child-development knowledge. The source continued, “She understands the science and she’s now respected by the people in the sector because she’s spent years trying to work it all out. So it is only natural for people to want to hear more from her about it.”

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What’s more, it’s a great thing that Kate has people listening, too. You see, the source said that the Duchess’ work would be just as important in the future as the headline-grabbing issues that the world faces today. They said, “It’s easy to dismiss work on child development as nice and cuddly, but the social side of this is as significant as climate change.”

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For Kate, though, the issue’s personal – she has three young children of her own, after all. And, with two of her little ones enrolled in school, the future queen has more time to dedicate to her patronages. As Koenig told Express.co.uk, “Family life matters to William and Catherine as they juggle an increasing number of engagements.”

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And, of course, it was Kate’s upbringing that showed her just how important these childhood moments and milestones are. She learned those lessons from her parents, Michael and Carole, who serve as ever-present grandparents to her children – and the latter of whom was her inspiration for Mother’s Day.

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