Inside Kate Middleton's pressure to be perfect

2020 has not been an easy year for the royal family. In addition to the coronavirus pandemic hitting home — Prince Charles was the first British royal to contract the disease – the House of Windsor has had to contend with the lasting fall out from revelations of Prince Andrew's ties to the disgraced, late billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Additionally, while January 2020 saw Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to enact 'Megxit', other shakeups in the younger generations' social circle have surely provided additional stressors for members of perhaps the most scrutinized noble family in the world.

Among the most affected might be Kate Middleton. The Duchess of Cambridge returned to official public service in June 2020, "after a three-month pandemic lockdown," per People, which is, without a doubt, an entirely new frontier — and an overwhelming one, at that. According to People, while Kate continues to be "a real core of strength" for the royal household, it doesn't mean that the weight of her duties — and the stress that accompanies those duties — isn't also present.

So how is Kate taking on these burdens while continuing to move forward? And is it possible that even the resilience of a duchess can reach its breaking point? 

Even Kate Middleton isn't 'superhuman'

Author and historical biographer Sarah Gristwood has made a career out of examining women of nobility whose historical significance has previously been understated. In an exclusive with People, Gristwood, who wrote Elizabeth: The Queen and the Crown, noted that she believes Kate Middleton would "have to be superhuman not to feel the pressure" of resuming her public duties without the support system she once had. Not to mention the fact that she's the future queen of England.

"Those who know her say there is a real core of strength, and she did set her mind to the job," Gristwood stated.

It seems a number of crown insiders agree with Gristwood's sentiment. One anonymous source divulged to People that in addition to creating a complex, emotional sense of loss, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's exit has also created a larger amount of work for both Kate and her husband, Prince William.

"Without Meghan and Harry, there is going to be a phenomenal workload on Catherine and William," the palace insider revealed. "None of the older [generations] can do it all. The pressure is on the two of them."

One of the downsides of being a member of the royal family is the extreme public scrutiny it entails, and if Kate is, indeed, wrestling with processing what's now expected of her, commentary from at least one popular British publication surely hasn't done much to help.

Despite rumors, Kate Middleton is forging ahead

As People pointed out, a cover story on Kate Middleton featured in the July/August 2020 issue of Tatler magazine prompted a rare statement from the royal family, slamming the publication for alleging that the Duchess of Cambridge felt "exhausted and trapped" in light of her new workload.

"This story contains a swathe of inaccuracies and false misrepresentations which were not put to Kensington Palace prior to publication," a Kensington Palace spokesperson stated (via People) in response to the Tatler tell-all. Some interpreted the statement as an allusion to Kate's ability (or inability) to handle pressure post-'Megxit'.

According to another anonymous source close to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate "certainly would resent someone saying that she is struggling," which, to be fair, most of us would, too. The source also dished to People that they also personally know that "it really isn't the case."

"If anything, she is relishing the role more than ever," the insider added. "And she will do it all to the best of her ability."

Whether or not Kate is actually struggling, her years-long experience with being in the public eye (not to mention her actual work as a philanthropist, a representative of the royal family, a parent, a partner, and queen-in-training) can speak for itself. And above all, when all is said and done, even a royal is just a person.