Kate Middleton's Expressions During The Queen's Procession Hint At Her Level Of Grief

The royal family's most senior women have been in the spotlight following the loss of their matriarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Anne has been making history and winning hearts with her public displays of affection for her mother. Not only did Princess Anne accompany Queen Elizabeth's casket as it traveled from Balmoral Castle to Westminster Abbey, she was seen curtsying to her mother one final time while they were in Scotland.

Kate Middleton — now Catherine, Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge — has also been seen grieving Queen Elizabeth. The two shared a longer, closer relationship than many realized; the princess met the queen back in 2008 and was named a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victoria Order, which British Heritage explains is a rare award given to those who perform special services to the queen.

On Wednesday, September 14, the Princess of Wales walked with Prince William and other members of the royal family in the procession following Queen Elizabeth's casket into Westminster Abbey. Dressed in all black, Catherine was seen wearing a large gold brooch — a gift from Queen Elizabeth, per Hello! Magazine.

But on Twitter, Catherine's expressions were the focus of discussion. "Catherine gulping back her emotion, and seeing the gulp go down the muscles of her throat...kills me," one royal watcher wrote. Another pointed out that it appeared the princess had been "crying quite a bit." 

"She's trying so hard not to cry," another person tweeted. "I know that look."

Catherine and Queen Elizabeth shared a closed relationship

Catherine Middleton, the newly-named Princess of Wales, tugged at the heartstrings of those watching the procession of Queen Elizabeth II's casket. Clearly emotional, Catherine and her husband, the Prince of Wales, remained stoic while honoring the late queen, though it was likely Catherine was reflecting on her close relationship with the monarch. Back in 2019, an insider close to the royals gave their two cents about Catherine's relationship with Queen Elizabeth, sharing that the two would often spend time with one another and discuss the future of the monarchy together. 

"Kate and the queen have always had a special bond, but they developed a deeper friendship after she and [Prince] William moved from Anmer Hall, Norfolk, to Kensington Palace, which is within walking distance of Buckingham Palace," the source shared at the time. "Sometimes they'll casually catch up over afternoon tea. But other times, they'll have more formal meetings, where the queen will give intense one-on-one training about taking on the crown."

The queen was confident in William and Kate's future as rulers

While King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla are now the reigning couple of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth countries, it's William and Catherine, Prince and Princess of Wales, that represent the future of the monarchy. Charles, as of publication, is already 73 years old and has a far lower approval rating than William and Catherine (not to mention that Camilla's approval rating sits at a measly 40%). As it happens, Queen Elizabeth II herself viewed William and Catherine with great confidence, and did what she could to nurture the couple's relationship. 

"The thing about Kate is, the queen was impressed she adored and loved William for himself, not for his title," royal biographer Andrew Morton told OK! Magazine. "She spends a lot more time supporting and nurturing the relationship between William and Catherine than she did with Charles and Diana. It's pretty clear she wasn't going to make that mistake again." 

Given the personal interest the queen paid to Catherine, and her legacy as a ruler, it's no wonder the Princess of Wales is significantly grieving the family's loss.