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Prince William and Kate celebrate a decade together

Prince William and his wife Kate marked a decade of marriage Thursday, with the popular couple increasingly seen as the British monarchy’s future as other senior royals age or recede from view.

Second-in-line to the throne William, 38, and Kate, 39, married at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011, after first meeting at university and then dating for more than seven years.

They now have three children — seven-year-old Prince George, Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis, three — positioning the family to head the centuries-old institution for decades to come.

After 10 years carrying out solo and joint royal duties as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they have been formally known since tying the knot, the couple are among the most liked monarchy members.

“We really have as near to normal a family in the Cambridges as we’ve ever seen in the royal family and that all bodes well for the future,” said royal writer Penny Junor ahead of the anniversary.

William and Kate thanked people for their “kind messages” Thursday and shared a video of them enjoying time with their children at the beach and roasting marshmallows around a fire.

“We are enormously grateful for the 10 years of support we have received in our lives as a family,” they said on Twitter.

– Strained relations –
The couple have been more in the spotlight recently during a tumultuous period for the royal family that has included the death of Queen Elizabeth II’s 99-year-old husband Prince Philip, William’s grandfather.

The monarchy has also been rocked by Prince Harry and wife Meghan’s shock decision to step back from the institution last year and move to the United States, amid rumours of a rift with his sibling 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 failing to support them.

Harry also said William and their father, Prince Charles, were “trapped” by royal convention while Meghan singled out Kate as having made her cry ahead of her 2018 wedding.

The accusations gave a rare glimpse into strained relationships within Britain’s most famous family and the four younger royals, who were once dubbed the “Fab Four”.

The explosive charges prompted William to defend the institution he will eventually lead, telling reporters: “We’re very much not a racist family.”

Harry appeared to begin healing any enduring rift with his brother after reportedly spending several hours with him after Philip’s funeral earlier this month, their first public meeting since the furore.

– ‘Very special’ –
The saga appears to have won Harry and Meghan few fans in Britain, with surveys showing their popularity remains low while most royals have received a boost lately — likely due to sympathy over Philip.

Kate in particular drew widespread praise for her demeanour and style at his funeral, with a striking photograph of her arriving by car wearing a black veil and face mask making waves around the world.

The image, in which her eyes stare down the camera lens, drew comparisons with William’s late mother, Princess Diana.

“She has got such poise and elegance and she’s not in competition with William,” Junor added on Kate. “Everything about her is measured. She’s a grown-up.”

– Popularity –
Kate and William have been especially active during the past year of lockdowns, from baking goods for local vulnerable people to carrying out video calls, supporting key workers and promoting mental health initiatives.

Polls show they enjoy significant popularity.

William is far more preferred than his 72-year-old father, with around a third of Britons wanting him to succeed his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II instead.

Meanwhile, Kate is the third most popular family member behind the 95-year-old queen and William. Two-thirds of people had a positive opinion of her, according to a YouGov poll published Tuesday.

Kate has no royal lineage, so officially her title will be Queen Consort when William eventually inherits the throne. But to most, she will simply be Britain’s queen.

“I think she has been absolutely extraordinary and a model of what a future queen should be,” said Junor.

Punch

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