Kate Middleton has been hailed as a ‘peacemaker’ amid the deepening royal rift (Image: Getty Images)
Get our daily royal round-up direct to your inbox
Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later.Sign upWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Your information will be used in accordance with ourPrivacy Notice.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy notice
She's been described as the "jewel in the monarchy's crown" – and Kate Middleton is once again proving a force for good in the latest royal row.
As confusion grows over whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle informed the Royal Family about their decision to name their new baby daughter Lilibet, it has been reported that the Duke of Sussex texted his sister-in-law shortly after the birth.
While betraying the fragile relationship between Harry and Prince William, the message has cemented Kate's status as a "bridge" for the two brothers, according to the Mail on Sunday.
Experts have hailed the 39-year-old's increasing role as a peacemaker between the Firm and the Sussexes, following the latter's fractious move to America and a series of explosive interviews criticising the royals.
Kate's skilful handling of the crisis was on full display at Prince Philip's funeral in April, as she was seen walking with the brothers before quietly stepping away to allow them a rare chance to talk.
With insiders even suggesting she is stepping into the Duke of Edinburgh's shoes as the family 'confidante', here is how Kate has emerged as the royals' secret weapon.
Ramping up royal duties
After Harry and Meghan stepped down from royal duties, it was feared The Firm might struggle to honour their hundreds of public engagements.
However, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have tirelessly stepped into the breach by nearly doubling their commitments – despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Kate and Wills have nearly doubled their royal duties since the Sussexes stepped back from service
(Image: Getty Images)
From the start of the year until June, the couple carried out 174 engagements between them, according to The Times.
In comparison, in the same period two years ago – with 2020 affected by the pandemic – they carried out a total of 93, just over half the number.
Following Kate and Wills' successful recent tour of Scotland, royal author Penny Junor insisted they have become a "formidable pair".
Kate Middleton calls Prince Charles 'grandpa' – as lip reader reveals G7 chatter
Thomas Markle argues Prince Harry 'contradicts himself' with 'stupid' comments
“They have absolutely stormed Scotland,” she said.
“William has stepped up into a whole new league. Maybe it is in the aftermath of Harry leaving, and the Oprah interview, or maybe it is that now at the age he is he has more confidence, but I think William has upped his game.
"And Kate is just magnificent alongside him. They are a formidable pair.”
William's rock and 'sister Harry always wanted'
Kate has always been by William's side and reportedly supported him through the aftermath of the Sussexes' bombshell chat with Oprah Winfrey.
During the infamous interview, Harry and Meghan claimed a member of the family had expressed "concerns" about the colour of son Archie's skin before he was born.
Kate has maintained an 'open door police' with Harry throughout the years
(Image: Getty Images)
The allegations drew a terse response from William, who publicly insisted: “We’re very much not a racist family.”
Speaking to Ok Magazine, royal expert Katie Nicholl said the Duchess of Cambridge “has been there for William recently, especially after his conversations with Harry didn’t go too well".
She added that Kate “has always remained loyal to William despite how close she was to Harry. Her loyalties are with her husband and their family.”
Nonetheless, the Duchess' close friendship with Harry has proved invaluable as the brothers tentatively try to repair their relationship.
Over the years, Kate has always kept in close contact with her brother-in-law – efforts that stretch back to their time at university.
‘From the earliest days, Kate always maintained an open-door policy to Prince Harry," a source told the Daily Mail.
"While they were students she always made him feel welcome at the four-bedroom cottage they rented on distant royal cousin Henry Cheape’s estate, Strathtyrum, just outside St Andrews.
"The three also spent weekends together at the cottage, Tam-na-Ghar, on the Balmoral estate."
Queen 'didn't meet Lilibet on video call' after claims from Meghan and Harry pals
Harry, in return, has long spoken of his close bond with his sister-in-law, saying ahead of her wedding to William: “I’ve always wanted a sister and now I’ve got one.
“I’ve known Kate for years, and it’s fantastic that she is becoming part of the family.”
Skilful peacemaker at Philip's 'tense' funeral
The funeral of Prince Philip on April 17 was the first meeting between Harry and William since the Oprah Winfrey interview.
While Harry's remarks are said to have made it a "tense and difficult moment", the pair were given a brief chance to talk alone after the funeral.
Kate stepped back at the funeral of Prince Philip to give the brothers some time to speak alone
Kate, William and Harry were seen chatting as they left St George's Chapel and walked back to Windsor Castle's private apartments – before the Duchess quietly dropped behind.
Writing for Vanity Fair, Nicholl said: "Unsurprisingly it was Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who has previously acted as a peacemaker between the brothers, who instigated the much longed for truce after the service.
"As William chatted to the Dean of Westminster outside the chapel, she engaged Harry in conversation.
"In their masks it was impossible to know what was said, but somehow Kate managed to defuse a deeply tense and difficult moment."
Joe Biden says Queen reminded him of his mum after tea with monarch at Windsor Castle
An insider also told The Telegraph of Kate: "Being so close to her own siblings, Pippa and James, and having witnessed first-hand the special bond between William and Harry, she has found the whole situation difficult and upsetting.
"She is certainly someone who shies away from conflict, and will be hoping to sooth the tensions."
Duchess 'stepping into Philip's shoes'
In the wake of Prince Philip's death, Kate has also been credited for stepping up as a peacemaker in the family.
Despite his famously grouchy demeanour, the Duke of Edinburgh often took a personal interest in the well-being of his loved ones, with letters revealing his determination to save the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate chat after the funeral of Prince Philip
In a moving message to Diana, he once wrote: "I can only repeat what I have said before. If invited, I will do my utmost to help you and Charles to the best of my ability.
"But I am quite ready to concede that I have no talent as a marriage counsellor!"
She replied: "Dearest Pa, I was particularly touched by your most recent letter, which proved to me, if I did not already know it, that you really do care."
In an interview on 60 Minutes Australia, Nicholl suggested that Kate was now best positioned to take up the Duke's mantle.
"I think Kate is the glue. In the same way that the Duke of Edinburgh was always the one who would help resolve family issues," she said. "He was the patriarch of the family."
She added: "I see Kate stepping into that role. Trying to keep things together."
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph's Stella magazine, Camilla Tominey said the mum-of-three was fast becoming recognised for "how regal an operator she is".
Tominey, who has covered the Royal Family for more than a decade, said the Duchess' poise under scrutiny and commitment to the job are what make her ready for a future role as queen.
She wrote: "Her skilful handling of royal crises in recent months suggests that she is fast emerging as the jewel in the monarchy's crown."