Prince William and his wife Kate mark a decade of marriage on Thursday, with the popular couple increasingly seen as the future of the British monarchy as other royals age or disappear from sight.
The second in line to the throne, William, 38, and Kate, 39, were married at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011, after meeting at university and dating for more than seven years.
They now have three children – Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis, three – and their family represents several generations destined to head the century-old institution in the years to come.
After 10 years of performing individual and joint royal functions as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they have been formally known since they were married, the couple is among the most popular members of the monarchy.
“We really do have an almost normal family in the Cambridges as we have seen in the royal family and that all bodes well for the future,” said royal writer Penny Junor before the anniversary.
The pair has been more in the spotlight recently during a tumultuous period for the royal family that included the death of Queen Elizabeth II’s 99-year-old husband, Prince Philip, William’s grandfather.
The monarchy was also shaken by Prince Harry and wife Meghan’s decision to step down from the institution last year and move to the United States amid rumors of a feud with his brother William.
Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, followed their departure by giving a bombshell television interview in March, in which they accused the monarchy of racism and did not support them.
Harry also said that William and his father, Prince Charles, were “arrested” by the royal convention, while Meghan pointed out Kate as having made her cry before her 2018 wedding.
The accusations gave a rare glimpse of the strained relations between Britain’s most famous family and the four youngest royalty, who have since been dubbed the “Fab Four”.
The explosive charges, which engulfed him for weeks, led William to defend the institution he would eventually lead, telling reporters, “We are not a racist family.”
Harry seemed to begin to heal any lasting feud with his brother after supposedly spending several hours with him after Philip’s funeral earlier this month, his first public meeting since the furor.
The saga seems to have won few fans for Harry and Meghan in Britain, with polls showing that its popularity remains low, while most royals have received a boost recently – probably due to sympathy for Philip.
Kate, in particular, drew much praise for her behavior and style at her funeral, with an impressive photograph of her arriving in a car wearing a black veil and a face mask causing waves around the world.
The image, in which his eyes are fixed on the camera lens, drew comparisons with William’s late mother, Princess Diana.
“She has such poise and elegance and is not competing with William,” added Junor of Kate. “Everything in it is measured. She is an adult. “
The couple, who started dating when both were studying at St Andrew’s University in Scotland, became engaged in 2010 after William proposed Diana’s engagement ring.
“When I first met Kate, I knew there was something very special about her,” he said in an engagement interview.
During her early years as a couple, Kate kept her distance from the important events of the monarchy, but was gradually integrated into her future duties and is widely seen as a real employee and unofficial family photographer.
With William, they were especially active during the last year of confinement, from baking products for vulnerable local people to making video calls, supporting key workers and promoting mental health initiatives.
Research shows that they have significant popularity.
William is much more preferred than his 72-year-old father, with about a third of Britons wanting him to succeed his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
Meanwhile, Kate is the third most popular member of the family, behind the 95-year-old queen and William. Two-thirds of people have a positive opinion of her, according to a YouGov poll published on Tuesday.
Kate has no royal lineage, so her title will officially be Queen Consort when William eventually inherits the throne. But for most, she will simply be the queen of Britain.
“I think she has been absolutely extraordinary and a model for what a future queen should be,” said Junor.