It’s been more than six years since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made it official. Six years since you (maybe) woke up at 5 a.m. to catch a glimpse of Kate Middleton’s gown as she walked up that dramatic aisle at Westminster Abbey, her first steps into her new life as a member of the a royal family — which now includes two new, incredibly adorable members and one more on the way! Throughout their relationship, William and Kate have flouted tradition again and again — though typically, their choices have been received with lots of love. Christopher Andersen, the author of the new book Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne, breaks down some examples of their rebellious behavior.
They live outside London.
Yes, they have an apartment in Kensington Palace, but they actually hang their hats (and fascinators) elsewhere. “Where they really live is a place called Anmer Hall, on the grounds of Sandringham in Norfolk,” Andersen says. “It’s far to the north of London. That’s where they spend 90% of their time, because it’s close to his work.” Staying out of the city allows them to shop at the supermarket like normal folks.
They repeat clothes.
Royal watchers can easily recognize Kate’s favorite designers and go-to items because she wears them all the time. “They wear things more than once, which is unusual because they have unlimited funds,” notes Andersen. Yes, the fashionista is just like us! Check out more of her repeat offenders. The rule even extends to her children, albeit for other reasons.
They are raising their kids.
When it comes to little George and Charlotte, “They’re not having them raised by a coterie of nannies behind palace walls,” Andersen says. “Charles had no real exposure as a small child to the world outside the royal circle. She does have a nanny, but really Kate is a hands-on mom.” The Cambridges are following in Diana’s footsteps with that one.
They went to college.
Speaking of schooling, when/if Kate is coronated one day, she’ll be the first queen of England with a college degree! Of course, they met in college, which allowed them to have a very un-royal courtship. “They were friends first, and able to live in this bubble shielded from the press,” Andersen says. “They were ordering Chinese food and taking bike rides, and going to the pub like anyone else.”
They regularly release photos of their family.
Past royals didn’t exactly have the option to tweet and post online, but this royal couple releases photos on Twitter and Instagram at regular intervals and on special occasions (heck, it’s even a job they’re hiring for right now). It’s a bit more shrewd than sweet, though. “William is very press-shy, for all the obvious reasons. He blames the press for his mother’s death, to some extent,” Andersen says. “Kate Middleton is the coolest head in the royal family. She knows how to handle them, and one way to handle them is to release photos on your own terms.”
Kate is not an aristocrat.
A key part of this particular royal romance is that Kate wasn’t chosen for her noble upbringing or lineage. “Camilla didn’t approve of Kate, and thinks of her as a coal-miner,” Andersen says. In addition to having an education, “Kate will be the first working-class queen.”
They are affectionate.
Occasionally, William and Kate will wrap their arms around each other, or lean in, or jubilantly celebrate a sports victory with a hug. Most recently, they even engaged in a little PDA during an awards ceremony. “You never see Prince Phillip and Queen Elizabeth hug or touch each other in public,” Andersen says. “I will say that William and Kate aren’t crass about it. They still maintain a level of dignity.” But of course!
They actually like each other.
They are snuggly in public because they truly have feelings for each other. It’s rarer than you might think. “Infidelity has been the hallmark of the royal family for centuries,” Andersen says. And as depressing as that fact is, William and Kate represent a turning of the tide: a union of romantic love, as opposed to a marriage of political strategy. Cheers to them!