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Despite everything that is going on in the world, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge have emerged as a singular force in the British royal family. Following Prince Andrew’s scandal in late 2019 and Megxit, the duo pressed forward with their royal duties while upholding their commitment to Queen Elizabeth II and the public.

Though Prince Charles will succeed the queen once she leaves the throne, it’s clear that Prince William is primed to take on the position when his time comes. The Duke of Cambridge has always known that he will one day become king. Therefore, he knew he would need a special person to be by his side.

The Duchess of Cambridge has taken to her role like a fish in the water. However, in the early days of his relationship with Kate, Prince William looked at Queen Elizabeth’s life as a model.

Prince William has always been very protective of Kate Middleton

Though Prince Harry has been more vocal about his protective nature towards Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, the Duke of Cambridge is equally protective of his wife. When the duo first began dating in 2001 while they were students at St. Andrews University, the prince denied that he and Kate were together.

When they finally did decide to go public, he asked Buckingham Palace to install a panic button for her. “William was aware of the situation and anxious about it,” royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl explained in Kate: The Future Queen. “He had seen firsthand how his mother had been harassed by the paparazzi and was determined that Kate not be subjected to the same treatment.”

Additionally, the Duchess of Cambridge had many years to get used to the intrusive British press and public before marrying Prince William in 2001. “We had been introduced to Kate early on, and we were instructed from the outset to give her every support possible,” a royal aide explained to Nicholl. “She was obviously the subject of a lot of press interest and intrusion from the paparazzi. William said we had a duty of care to her and her family and so we advised her on how to deal with the cameras. We told her to smile at the photographers so that there would be a better picture. She was given advice on how to manage the media, and we were there to support her if there was a crisis.”

Kate Middleton and Prince William’s romance wasn’t perfect

Though they were committed to one another, the Cambridges’ relationship did have its low points. The pair initially broke up in 2004, because they weren’t certain if they were ready for the long-haul.

The pair went their separate ways again in 2007 for a brief time when Prince William decided he didn’t know if the duchess was “the one.” However, he quickly saw the error of his ways. From there, the duo took their time before finally getting engaged in 2010 and tying the knot in 2011.

Prince William turned to Queen Elizabeth as a model for Kate Middleton

Obviously, life in the royal family is not easy. While Princess Diana and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex struggled in the role, the Duchess of Cambridge has soared. This is because she has modeled herself after the queen.

“[Queen Elizabeth] has always managed to differentiate between the public persona and the private one,” Penny Junor wrote in her book The Firm. “With Diana, there was no such demarcation; there had been no long preparation for a public role in life. The Queen was used to the cameras, used to the publicity, used to being the center of attention. Diana was not.”

Prince William wanted to make sure his wife had a chance to adjust. “I wanted to give her a chance to see in and back out if she needed to before it all got too much,” he said in their 2010 engagement interview. “I just wanted to give her the best chance to settle in and to see what happens on the other side.”