Quiet 30th party for Kate as she grows into role as future queen
KATE Middleton was today planning to celebrate her milestone 30th birthday with a low-key family gathering -- rather than a big party.
The future queen of England had been reported to be planning to see off her 20s with an Eighties-themed party, complete with karaoke, in a throwback to her more carefree bachelorette days.
But the choice of a muted event seems appropriate. After all, the Duchess of Cambridge is not just starting the fourth decade of her life -- she is also embarking on her career as a future queen, charged with renovating a monarchy that has become creaky with age.
"She's done very well, playing a very good supporting role to Prince William and complementing him as part of a team," commentator Robert Jobson said of her first few months as a royal.
"We've not seen much of her, but when she's in public she has performed with aplomb."
The past year has seen momentous changes for Kate, with a fairytale wedding to Prince William, travels around the world and glamorous appearances that marked her transition from commoner to the world's most talked-about princess and style icon.
She has won rave reviews for her sparkle, her elegant sense of style, and her common touch with the public.
On her last full day as a twenty-something, the duchess was again the centre of attention as she and William took to the red carpet for the premiere of Steven Spielberg's movie War Horse in central London.
But now that the excitement around her grand wedding has subsided, she is expected to quietly settle down into her royal duties.
Until recently, palace officials have been quiet about what exactly her role will be, keen to protect her transition into a fully fledged royal from the glare of the media limelight.
The newlyweds, who live in a remote corner of north Wales, were said to favour a "quieter life".
That is set to change. The duchess also has a busy year ahead with the queen's diamond jubilee, that will take see numerous celebrations throughout Britain and the Commonwealth, peaking in a major celebration in London in early June. The royals are expected to play a supporting role by travelling overseas to represent the queen. William and Kate are due to journey to Malaysia, Singapore, the Solomon Islands and the tiny Pacific island of Tuvalu as part of the festivities.
William and his wife have also indicated that they intend to take up residence at an apartment in London's Kensington Palace once his military commitment at an air base in Wales has been met.
That will give the likely future king and queen even more visibility in the capital.