Spending time with your partner’s family in the early days can sometimes be daunting – especially if they are royals.
And there’s no doubt the Duchess of Cambridge would have felt nerves ahead of her first few visits to Balmoral – the Queen’s Scottish summer retreat.
However, it seems in the early days before she married Prince William, the Queen was keen to make Kate feel welcomed in the family – and it’s believed she did this by giving her a rare privilege.
According to author and royal commentator Katie Nicholl, the monarch allowed Kate to take photos while at Balmoral, knowing how much she loved photography.
It may not sound like a big deal to the average person, but as Katie explains this simply wasn’t the done thing usually.
In her book, Kate: The Future Queen, she wrote: “Until now the Queen had met Kate only fleetingly at the wedding of Peter and Autumn Phillips, but she went out of her way to make her feel welcome, giving her permission to take pictures at Balmoral.”
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And according to Katie, this and being invited to Balmoral showed how the Queen was ready to let Kate into the inner royal circle.
She added: “As a woman who has lived her entire life in the public eye, the Queen rarely lets her guard down, and very few apart from her family and closest friends get to see the real Elizabeth.”
The Queen stays at Balmoral for her summer holiday each year and is in currently in residence there.
Over the course of her stay, which usually extends into September, the Queen invites family members to stay with her and they take part in a range of outdoor pursuits.
The royals are said to love going on walks around the estate’s 50,000 acres as well as enjoying picnics and barbecues.
But her holiday this year will definitely look somewhat different – not least as it will be the Queen’s first summer break to Balmoral since the death of Prince Philip in April.
The Queen’s granddaughter Princess Eugenie previously spoke about her grandparents’ love of the retreat.
She told the programme Our Queen at 90: “It’s the most beautiful place on earth. I think Granny is the most happy there, I think she really, really loves the Highlands…walks, picnics, dogs, a lot of dogs, there’s always dogs, and people coming in and out all the time.
“Family-wise we’re all there, so it’s a lovely base for Granny and Grandpa to be – for us to come and see them up there where you just have room to breathe and run.”
And one photo, actually taken by Kate, shows how much the Queen and the late Prince Philip loved being surrounded by family there.
Released after Philip’s death in April, it shows the late Duke of Edinburgh with the Queen in 2018, surrounded by seven of their great-grandchildren.