Inside Kate Middleton's Relationship With Her Daughter Charlotte

Though the royal family is a complex institution full of press offices and insider relationships, it's also just that — a family. It's easy to forget that amid all the pomp is a connected group of individuals trying to navigate the same twists and turns as any other family would. Though the rest of us don't have the royal rota to concern ourselves with, we all know what it's like to navigate the complications of a family; the royal family is just like the rest of us in a lot of ways.

When we think about the future of the royal family, Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their three children immediately come to mind. William, of course, is now Prince of Wales and the direct heir to the British throne, assuming the role after Queen Elizabeth II's passing and King Charles III's ascension. Kate, who is now Catherine, Princess of Wales, is one of the most popular and approved family members among the British public — and has been for quite some time — so it's no wonder that she's considered the royal's secret weapon. Part of her charm is her dedicated role as a mom, and her relationship with her daughter Princess Charlotte is as heartwarming as it is fairly normal.

Kate and William announced they were expecting their second child when George was just 13 months old

Shortly after Prince William and Kate Middleton got married, questions about a baby popped up. Everyone was wondering when the couple would start having kids, and the world was thrilled when they announced Kate's first pregnancy. Prince George was brought into the world with all the celebration a royal baby can expect, and just 13 months later, the royal duo announced that another royal baby was on its way. As noted by the BBC, the palace as well as then-Prime Minister David Cameron extended their congratulations to William and Kate, though their well wishes didn't save the then-Duchess of Cambridge from a difficult pregnancy. Reflecting on the experience after Princess Charlotte was born, Kate described her second pregnancy as "utterly rotten."

"I was really sick. I wasn't eating the things I should be eating and yet the body was still able to take all the goodness from my body and to grow new life, which I think is fascinating," she said (via Hello!). Of her husband's approach to her second pregnancy, Kate shared: "William didn't feel he could do much to help and it's hard to see you're suffering without actually being able to do anything about it." Though she had a rough go of it, Kate welcomed a healthy baby girl. Princess Charlotte was born on May 2, 2015, turning the family of three into a bustling group of four.

Kate has encouraged her daughter to talk about her emotions

Though the royals deal with the same familial problems as the rest of us, they are known for their stiff-upper-lip mentality. The late Queen Elizabeth was a stickler for tradition, sticking to her role as the head of the Church of England and denying her sister Princess Margaret from marrying the man she loved since he was a divorcée. She even evaded then-Prince Charles' wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles for the very same reason, and though she was a mother of four, she never came across as a particularly hands-on parent. 

Prince William, however, was brought up by the beloved late Princess Diana, and she was adamant to change the royal way of doing things. Often hugging her boys and giving them access to as much of a normal life as possible, Diana certainly turned the tide, and Kate Middleton took notice, encouraging her daughter Princess Charlotte to talk about her emotions.

In a rare interview, William reflected on his and Kate's tactics with Charlotte. Though she was just 2 years old at the time, William and Kate were dedicated to her emotional process. "Catherine and I are clear that we want both George and Charlotte to grow up feeling able to talk about their emotions and feelings," he said (via Express). "Emotional intelligence is key for us all to deal with the complexities of life and relationships."

One of the first tidbits Kate shared about Charlotte had to do with the late Princess Diana

When we think back to Prince William's upbringing, he and Prince Harry were often spotted in public with their mom, enjoying trips to theme parks, hitting up McDonald's, and going to school. As the children of the direct heir, they were consistently in the spotlight, but William and Kate Middleton have taken a different approach with their kids. Keeping them away from the headlines as much as possible, the tidbits the public has received about Princess Charlotte and her siblings have come from their parents — in that sense, Kate has very much controlled the narrative surrounding her children. With that in mind, one of the first details about Charlotte's personality came from Kate herself, when she revealed that little Charlotte loves dancing noting that the young princess was already enrolled in dance lessons (via Town & Country). We can just see it now — the adorable princess in a little tutu, how cute!

William echoed the sentiment during an official event when he asserted that his daughter loves to dance (via Town & Country). Such a hobby is indicative of the late Princess Diana, who famously loved dancing and supporting the English National Ballet during her life. "She [Diana] loved dancing; she was a fantastic dancer," William once shared about his mom with the national ballet's artistic director Tamara Rojo. Perhaps little Charlotte will follow in her grandmother's balletic footsteps.

Little Charlotte had a love for this cartoon, which Kate shared during her second birthday

It's easy to believe that the children of the royal family don't enjoy a "normal" life — they go to events and have made debuts in public like they're celebrities. But as noted by People, Kate Middleton has made sure that Princess Charlotte and her brothers live as normal of a life as possible, and an insider shared what that dynamic looks like after visiting the family at their home in the English countryside. Kate greeted the insider at the door holding Charlotte — then 2 years old — and 3-year-old Prince George was "clinging to her ankles."

"There was no formality at all," the guest shared of the interaction with the royal and her children. "It really was like any other family sitting down to lunch, with George and Charlotte eating their homemade food in their high chairs and toddling around with their toys."

Noting that Charlotte's life in the country was full of arts and crafts and her affinity for the cartoon "Peppa Pig," the guest told People that Kate and Prince William were largely raising their kids on their own — shunning the history of governesses and royal nannies. "You'd think that Kate and William would have an army of staff to help them out, but it really was just them and the children," the guest said. What we wouldn't give to sit and watch "Peppa Pig" and share tea with Kate and Charlotte.

Kate revealed a hilarious truth about Charlotte and George's dynamic

The term "royal siblings" has become mired, as Prince William and Prince Harry's ongoing feud redefined such a term. But when it comes to William and Kate Middleton's own kids, the trio has a hilarious dynamic. Of course, Prince George came first, followed by Princess Charlotte and later Prince Louis, the hilarious little brother who often steals the show. Not only is Charlotte the only girl in the mix, but she is the middle child — you can just guess where this is going.

As noted by People, Kate stopped for a "mummy chat" with Samantha Burge, the wife of a Royal Marine commando, during an official visit back in 2017. Swapping stories about their kids, Burge later told reporters that Kate shared a rather hilarious truth about Charlotte's role in the family — she calls the shots.

"She [Kate] said that Charlotte is growing up really fast. She is the one in charge," Samantha reflected after her chat with the royal. "We have both got 2-year-olds and they are ruling the roost." Royal watchers, of course, know that Charlotte has often told her older brother what to do during public outings. From fixing his posture during the national anthem to bowing at Queen Elizabeth's coffin during her funeral procession — a rather touching moment — Charlotte clearly knows royal protocol like the back of her hand and isn't afraid to tell her siblings what to do.

Kate oversaw little Charlotte as she played an important role on this special day

If there's one thing we love about the royals, it's that they know how to put on a great wedding. The weddings often feel like events of the decade, and royal watchers have likely noticed that the bridesmaids and page boys that serve in royal weddings are children. This is a tradition that dates quite a ways back, and the use of children in these roles is supposed to symbolize innocence and purity — though the meaning may be a little outdated these days, it's a tradition that is still honored to this day.

Though it wasn't technically a royal wedding, Princess Charlotte served as a bridesmaid for her aunt Pippa Middleton when she married James Matthews in 2017. The princess looked absolutely adorable on the day and was overseen by none other than her mom, Kate Middleton. As noted by Good Housekeeping, Kate corralled the kids as they got in position for the ceremony, looking flawless while doing so. Prince George, of course, was a page boy for Matthews, and Charlotte looked adorable in her little white dress and flower crown.

At one point, Charlotte looked a little overwhelmed with the day's festivities, but her mom was right there to offer a comforting hand, all while flashing her radiant smile at her little boy, George, who stood in front of her. If anyone knows how to multitask on the job, it's Kate.

Charlotte began to pick up Kate's own mannerisms at an early age

It's amazing what habits we can pick up from our parents without even realizing it — from the way we speak to how we carry ourselves to the little habits we do subconsciously, many of us have our parents' mannerisms down. Princess Charlotte, as you may have guessed, is no exception and royal watchers were quick to point out how the young princess has adopted quite a few of Kate Middleton's characteristics over the years.

As noted by The Mirror, a particular habit of Kate's was first pointed out amid the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, when she attended a number of virtual events and was seen on camera. Fiddling with her ponytail, wrapping a curl around her fingers, and then flicking it back behind her, Kate was seen repeating the process a number of times while chatting with teachers at the Ribbon Academy. Who has picked up such a habit? You guessed it, Charlotte.

The Mirror detailed that a royal fan account on TikTok was the first to point out that Charlotte has mimicked the exact same hair-flipping habit, especially in instances where she appears a little bit nervous. At just 6 years old at the time, Charlotte was already picking up her mom's subtle ways, perhaps even without realizing it.

Charlotte was famously at the center of one of Kate's most high-profile arguments

The royal feud. It's touched just about every corner of life for Prince William and Kate Middleton, and one of the biggest points of contention between them and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has Princess Charlotte right in the middle. 

As Harry wrote in his memoir, "Spare," he was eager to introduce his brother and sister-in-law to Meghan when they first started dating — he wanted them to be the foursome that he had always dreamed of. That goal, however, was more of a mirage than anything else and the dynamic between the two couples quickly evaporated with time. Perhaps the most high-profile fight between Kate and Meghan materialized after the 2018 royal wedding, and it all had to do with bridesmaids' dresses.

As detailed by Page Six, Kate and Meghan did not see eye to eye when it came to the dresses that Charlotte and the other bridesmaids would wear on the big day. It was initially reported in the British press that Meghan made Kate cry while they were planning the outfits, causing the rift between the couples to extensively widen. Of course, Meghan famously contradicted the headlines during her interview with Oprah Winfrey (via YouTube), claiming that it was the other way around — Kate made her cry over Charlotte's bridesmaid dress, and the palace didn't do anything to correct the narrative playing out in the headlines.

This expert asserted that Kate and Charlotte's relationship is now at a turning point

Princess Charlotte is transforming into a young lady in front of our eyes. She is expressive, dynamic, and clearly capable of holding her own — this could present her mom Kate Middleton with a new challenge as her daughter starts to march to the beat of her own drum. Moreover, body language expert Judi James weighed in on how Kate could be challenged by her independent middle child.

Charlotte famously joined her parents at the Commonwealth Games in 2022, and it was one of the first times royal watchers could see her interact with her mom one-on-one. According to James, Kate was serious about engaging and informing Charlotte at the event (via Express), but the mom of three might need to change her tactics soon.

"[Kate used] some very expressive gesticulation in what looks like a bid to build her enthusiasm, anticipation and excitement for the sport they are watching. But judging from Charlotte's facial expressions and body language, Kate could soon become redundant in this role and start to just sit back and relax in public, as Charlotte looks the most enthralled member of the entire royal party," James said (via Express). "There's a point in every parent-child relationship where there is a sense of friendship growing out of the nurturing role." Perhaps we'll start seeing Charlotte and Kate on a more equal playing field moving forward.

Kate and Charlotte's closeness was on full display during this sad affair

Though Princess Charlotte and her mom Kate Middleton might be moving into more friendship-oriented territory as she gets older, every little girl needs her mom's comfort now and then. The grief throughout the royal family was on full display in the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth's death, and though they were not present for all of the events, Charlotte and her older brother Prince George attended their great-grandmother's funeral alongside their parents. As noted by Page Six, Kate appeared keenly aware of her children's emotions on the day in question, and regularly placed a hand on Charlotte's back or shoulder as they got through the day. Holding her daughter's hand as they made their way into Westminster Abbey, it was clear that Kate was both grieving herself and in full mom mode.

The queen's passing didn't necessarily come as a huge shock to the world, given her age and the health struggles she had been facing in the months prior to her death, but it still rocked the royal family to its core. Particularly close to the monarch, Charlotte was pictured sobbing at her great-grandmother's funeral, and the photo stopped even the most ardent anti-monarchist in their tracks. But, regaining her composure like the little boss she is, Charlotte relied on her mom's guidance throughout the day and still showed her brother who was in charge when she nudged him to follow proper royal protocol.

The mom of three has a relatively hands-off approach with Charlotte

When we think about the royal institution as a whole, it can come across as rather insular and a bit stuffy — there doesn't seem to be a lot of room for individuality, but it certainly appears as though Prince William and Kate Middleton are changing that dynamic for the better. In their first holiday appearance after Queen Elizabeth's death, William, Kate, and their three children took part in the famous Christmas walk to St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. Keeping a firm hand on Prince Louis, the rambunctious prince who always seems to get himself into trouble, the royal parents let Princess Charlotte navigate the event largely on her own accord. As noted by body language expert Judi James (via The Mirror), such a tactic is indicative of the parent's "hands-off" approach.

"Charlotte was pulling ahead as they walked towards the church and George has gone from being the rather shy-looking boy holding his father's hand to the older brother keeping an eye on and showing nurturing and directional signals towards the four-year-old Louis," James told The Mirror, noting that Charlotte's striking out on her own was a deliberate move by William and Kate. The parents of three certainly have their hands full with Louis alone, and Charlotte's cool, calm, and collected approach certainly puts her in a league of her own.

Kate and Charlotte have already bonded over this shared interest

There is one thing that pretty much everyone knows about Kate Middleton — her wardrobe is on point. Kate has rocked a number of different styles but one thing is clear — she always looks good, and Princess Charlotte is taking notice. Charlotte and her mom attended the Commonwealth Games together in 2022, and people quickly witnessed the little royal rocking an outfit very indicative of her mom's style. Charlotte wore a navy blue and ivory striped dress for the occasion that featured a little white collar. With her cute braids, the little princess looked the perfect combination of polished. The dress was from designer Rachel Riley, and the design in question is referred to by the fashionable among us as the Breton stripe (via Express). Who's worn this look many times? Well, Kate, of course.

In the few times that we've seen Kate in more casual attire, she has often rocked a Breton stripe. On one occasion, the princess stepped out in a Breton striped shirt and white shorts, giving us just that little flash of leg that keeps royal watchers on their toes. Shortly after the Commonwealth Games, Kate was seen in the print yet again, clearly indicating that it's a favorite of hers and her daughter's. Imagine getting to bond with Kate over clothes — sounds like a bit of a dream come true.