Kate became the Duchess of Cambridge when she married Prince William in April 2011, but her introduction to the queen came three years prior at William’s cousin Peter Phillips’ wedding to now-ex-wife Autumn Kelly. At the time, the monarch was “very friendly” toward the now-duchess.
“She was very welcoming,” the Duke of Cambridge said during a post-engagement interview alongside his soon-to-be bride. “She knew it was a big day and everything was going on with Peter and Autumn, [but] she had wanted to meet Kate for a while, so it was very nice for her to come over and say hello. We had a little chat and got on very well.”
As she grew more comfortable in her senior royal role, Kate became a positive presence for her grandmother-in-law. “More than anything, knowing she can rely on Kate and [William] to handle matters in her absence is the greatest comfort she could ask for,” a source told Us Weekly exclusively in August 2020, noting that Kate was a “rock” for the queen throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“Her Majesty sees the Cambridges as the future of the monarchy and trusts Kate and William’s judgment implicitly,” the source explained at the time. “Kate asks for advice about speeches she’s due to make, whom she can depend on most within the palace and protocol dos and don’ts. The queen’s more than happy to impart her wisdom — she’s proud to be Catherine’s go-to adviser about royal life.”
While the Duchess of Cambridge admired Elizabeth’s continued poise throughout her decades-long reign, she won’t be afraid to mix things up when she and William eventually find their places on the throne.
“Kate has flourished into a queen in waiting in front of everyone’s eyes,” a second insider revealed in November 2020. “Kate may change some of the outdated royal rules when she becomes queen [consort].”
Not only was Elizabeth a trusted advisor to both Kate and William until she died at the age of 96 in September 2022, but also a loving great-grandmother to their three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. While she may appear serious on the exterior, the queen has a playful side too, which Kate hinted at during a January 2019 visit to Islington in London.
When a youngster asked the duchess if the queen enjoys eating pizza, Kate replied, “You know, that’s such a good question. I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe next time I see her, shall I ask?”
The Duchess of Cambridge mourned the queen in September 2022. The monarch died at age 96 at her Balmoral estate in Scotland and was buried in Windsor with her late husband, Prince Philip, who died in April 2021.
“And while I will grieve her loss, I also feel incredible grateful,” Prince William said, in part, in a statement prior to the funeral. “I have had the benefit of The Queen’s wisdom and reassurance into my fifth decade. My wife has had 20 years of her guidance and support.”
Keep scrolling for a look back at Kate’s sweetest moments with the queen: