Queen Elizabeth Shocked Everyone By Allowing Kate Middleton To Break This Strict Protocol

The royal family isn’t known for breaking rules. And that’s precisely what makes it so newsworthy when they do go against tradition and ignore centuries worth of strict protocol. Queen Elizabeth, an ardent traditionalist, makes headlines whenever she decides to break her own rules.

Way back when Prince William and Kate Middleton were dating, the Queen did precisely that when she allowed Kate access to one of her most treasured spots and even allowed her to take photographs there. Here’s why the Duchess of Cambridge should be truly honored by the privilege.

Kate Middleton and Queen Elizabeth
Kate Middleton and Queen Elizabeth | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Kate Middleton was invited to Balmoral before she married Prince William

It was the summer of 2009 and Prince William and Kate Middleton weren’t even engaged yet. At this point they’d been dating for several years — and had broken up twice — but no one knew when (or if) they’d tie the knot. Still, Queen Elizabeth must have realized that her grandson was serious about Middleton, or she never would have extended an invitation to one of her favorite places.

The Queen spends her summer holiday at Balmoral Estate in Scotland and her family claims it’s here that she finally relaxes and takes a break from the real world.  “I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands,” Princess Eugenie said during the documentary Our Queen At Ninety.

It’s an honor to be invited to join the Queen at Balmoral

Queen Elizabeth loves spending time with her family and hosts various guests throughout her months-long stay at Balmoral. In 2009, she invited a surprising and special guest — her grandson Prince William’s long-term girlfriend, Kate Middleton. Usually, only family members are permitted to visit the Queen while she’s on holiday.

As royal biographer Kate Nicholl explained, this was Middleton’s first time visiting the special place while Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were in residence. And the Queen gave her special access while she was there.

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We invite you to take a sneak peek at The Duchess of Cambridge’s #RHSChelsea ‘Back to Nature’ Garden! The woodland wilderness garden aims to get people back to nature, and highlight the benefits of the natural world on our mental and physical wellbeing. Speaking ahead of @The_RHS garden unveiling, The Duchess of Cambridge said: “In recent years I have focussed much of my work on the early years, and how instrumental they are for outcomes later in life. I believe that spending time outdoors when we are young can play a role in laying the foundations for children to become happy, healthy adults.” Some features of the #ChelseaFlowerShow garden include: 1. A swing seat hanging below the garden’s centrepiece, a high platform tree house, encouraging creative play and discovery for all generations. 2. The high platform tree house is inspired by a bird or animal nest and provides a wonderful place to retreat and look out through the trees. The treehouse is made from chestnut, with hazel, stag horn oak and larch nest cladding. 3/4. The garden is aiming to inspire interaction with the natural environment through its multi-sensory, green and blue plant scheme. The garden will be filled with incredible edibles, plants for craft activities, forest scents and a diverse range of plants, shrubs and trees of different heights and textures. The garden forms part of Her Royal Highness’s ongoing work on early childhood development and her mission to support efforts that give every child the best possible start in life. The Duchess has committed to making early childhood development the focus of her work in the years to come, and believes that providing children with the opportunity to spend time outdoors can play an important role.

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Kate Middleton was even allowed to take photos

“Until now the Queen had met Kate only fleetingly at the wedding of Peter and Autumn Phillips, but she went out of her way to make her feel welcome, giving her permission to take pictures at Balmoral—a true gift to a photographer, with its turreted and Gothic-inspired architecture,” Nicholl wrote in her book Kate: The Future Queen.

Understandably, Queen Elizabeth is leery of anyone toting around a camera, especially when she’s relaxing in her private vacation retreat. The fact that she allowed budding photographer Kate Middleton to take pictures of the estate and trusted her in that way proves how much respect the Queen has for her.

The Queen and Kate Middleton have a close relationship

It’s clear that the Queen’s initial impressions of Kate Middleton and her relationship with Prince William were spot on. In 2010, Prince William proposed and now they are happily married with three children. The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge still have a close relationship and mutual respect for each other that began way back in Balmoral.