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4 Royal Predictions for Kate Middleton Ahead of Her 40th Birthday This Weekend

Happy (royal) birthday to Kate Middleton! The Duchess of Cambridge turns the big 4-0 this weekend—on January 9 to be exact. A milestone birthday is cause for celebration—and reflection—which is why we invited Bethan Holt, fashion news and features director for The Telegraph and author of The Duchess of Cambridge: A Decade of Royal Style, to drop by the Royally Obsessed podcast this week and share a few predictions not only for how Kate will celebrate this banner birthday, but also about what we can expect from her in the decade ahead.

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1. We Should Get A Brand-new Birthday Portrait

In the past, official birthday portraits—or casual birthday snaps of other members of the family taken by the Duchess of Cambridge herself—have been released annually via the Instagram account Kate shares with Prince William (@thedukeandduchessofcambridge). This year, Holt predicts we’ll get a new one. But questions remain: Will it be a shot of just Kate? Her and the kids? Who will the photographer be? Photos are typically released the morning of, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

2. Kate & William Could Decide To Host A Joint 40th Birthday Bash

Thanks to Omicron, the chance of Kate toasting the start of a new decade with a big-deal event are low. “The optics of a big gathering at the moment wouldn’t go over well, so there’s not going to be this whole big A-list celebrity party,” Holt says. But that wouldn’t be Kate’s style anyway, based on previous birthday plans. “Her preferred way to celebrate would be to have a nice dinner party at their home in Norfolk,” Holt adds. “Who knows, maybe [Kate and William] will have a joint party later in the year?” (FYI, William turns 40 on June 21.)

3. The Royal Family Will Be More Reliant On Kate Than Ever

As Kate enters her fourth decade, the pressure on her role within the royal family has never been greater. In the past year, we’ve watched as she has stepped more and more into the spotlight, stealing the show at the James Bond premiere and wowing the world as she took a seat at the piano for the Royal Christmas concert. “If you look at the royal family, you have the queen—and everyone adores the queen—but beyond her, I think Kate holds so much of the appeal and power. She is kind of the matriarch in waiting,” Holt says. “Yes, we have Camilla, and when Charles ascends the throne, she will certainly be the most senior woman in the royal family. But in terms of the royals as a brand and why the whole world is interested and wants to keep reading, Kate is pivotal to that. There’s a huge amount riding on her.” (Holt adds that Kate’s ability to think carefully and strategically about the projects she takes on—and her ability to pace herself given the longevity of the role—will continue to serve her well.)

4. Kate’s James Bond Dress Is Just The Beginning

When Kate stepped out in that Jenny Packham gown at the James Bond premiere last year, it was a sartorial win. It also is proof the Duchess of Cambridge is experimenting a bit more with fashion as she enters her 40th year. “The James Bond premiere was this amazing moment of Kate using the most ‘wow’ dress possible and all the glamour that went with it to really make a huge statement,” she says. “I think we’ve really started to see some unexpected things from her.” But Kate also knows when and how to mix in the classics, too, especially in moments of great significance. “The dress coat she wore to the carol concert and the fact that it mirrored the dress coat that she wore to Prince Philip’s funeral? That’s an example where it’s not this big flashy designer, but she’s using clothes to send a message. She’s becoming so good at that.”

For more from our conversation with Bethan Holt, listen to the Royally Obsessed podcast with co-hosts Rachel Bowie and Roberta Fiorito. Subscribe now or follow us on Instagram @royallyobsessedpodcast.