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Duchess Kate Will Have a ‘Lower Key’ 40th Birthday Celebration Compared to Meghan Markle Amid COVID-19 Spike, Royal Expert Claims (Exclusive)

Nothing too big! Duchess Kate’s 40th birthday plans will likely be altered amid the rise in COVID-19 cases in the U.K. and around the world, according to royal expert Jonathan Sacerdoti.

Related: Duchess Kate Through the Years: From Commoner to Future Queen Consort

“It’s going to be quite scaled back because of the COVID pandemic. I mean, here in the U.K., the numbers are back up again,” he exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, January 4. “There’s no lockdown in place, but [there’s] some resistance to big gatherings. It’s something that people just maybe don’t think is the best thing to do.”

The journalist noted that the royal family “will be keen to set an example to others” amid the continued health crisis.

“So even for a big, important birthday, like her 40th, and even being who she is, she’s choosing perhaps to do something lower key,” he added. “So [as] to set a good example.”

Duchess Kate Middleton Will Have a ‘Lower Key’ 40th Birthday Celebration Compared to Meghan Markle Amid COVID-19 Spike
Kate Middleton Shutterstock

The Duchess of Cambridge’s decisions surrounding her milestone birthday, however, may end up being compared to those of her sister-in-law Meghan Markle, who celebrated turning the same age in August 2020.

Sacerdoti told Us that the two celebrations will be very different, staying in line with the women’s opposite personalities.

“We saw how Meghan conducted herself for her 40th,” the British broadcaster explained. “Meghan, of course, did that video where she had her new, let’s say initiative, announced where she was trying to help people or to get back into work after many people had lost their jobs with COVID through mentoring.”

Related: Everything We Know About Kate and Meghan's Complex Relationship

The Duchess of Sussex, who shares children Archie, 2, and Lili, 7 months, with husband Prince Harry, marked her birthday by launching her 40X40 program, in which she asked 40 of her friends to donate 40 minutes of mentorship to women reentering the workforce during the coronavirus pandemic.

The August 2020 clip was shared on her Archewell website and featured a cameo by her 37-year-old husband, who popped in as a surprise and started juggling.

Duchess Kate Middleton Will Have a ‘Lower Key’ 40th Birthday Celebration Compared to Meghan Markle Amid COVID-19 Spike 2
Meghan Markle Kristin Callahan/Shutterstock

“I don’t think we’ll be seeing anything similar from Princess Catherine,” Sacerdoti said. “I think that we’ll be seeing something a lot lower key is what we’ve been told.”

Kate’s celebration will most likely resemble the way she celebrated turning 39 in January 2021, which included a day with her husband, Prince William, and their three children, Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3.

At the time, a source exclusively told Us that the duchess enjoyed a day at her Anmer Hall estate with immediate family amid COVID-19. Her little ones made her “the cutest birthday cards using paint, glitter and sparkles” and “gave her handmade birthday gifts and flowers, which they picked from the garden,” the insider added.

Related: So Sweet! Duchess Kate and Queen Elizabeth II's Bond Through the Years

While Kate and William’s royal duties have increased over the past few years — especially as Queen Elizabeth II considers handing off more of her responsibilities as monarch — Kate’s 40th birthday may not include the traditional hoopla that the family usually receives.

“She’ll even be missing out on a tradition of the bells at Westminster Abbey being rung for senior royal’s birthdays … because they’ve stopped doing that,” Sacerdoti told Us. “They will only do it for the birthday of the queen and Prince Charles. And that’s apparently a cost-cutting idea. So, poor Catherine won’t even be getting those bells run out.”

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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