Carole Middleton and son James arrive at Will and Kate’s wedding
The Queen is said to have a strong relationship with her granddaughter-in-law, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. Some commentators even claim she has a “direct line to speak to the Queen”, which Kate uses to ask the monarch for advice and to provide updates on her great-grandchildren. As Kate will one day become the Queen consort when her husband Prince William ascends the throne, it makes sense for the monarch to take a special interest in her.
However, she is thought to have had some major concerns about Kate when her engagement to William was announced.
There was a fear that Kate could end up feeling as isolated and cut off from her family as Princess Diana did, and so the Royal Family were determined to integrate her tight-knit relatives into the fold.
Shortly before Kate walked down the aisle, the Queen invited her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, to Windsor Castle for lunch with Prince Philip for their first ever meeting.
A senior royal source said: “It was a lovely lunch, very warm with lots of laughter and I think helped put everyone at ease.”
Queen held private lunch with Kate’s parents Carole and Michael Middleton ‘to break ice’
Carole and Michael were welcomed into the royal fold
They were accompanied by some household staff, such as the Queen’s private secretary and equerry, before the Middletons returned to their home in Berkshire.
An insider explained: “Her Majesty thought it would be a nice gesture and was genuinely keen to meet them.”
Royal commentator Rebecca English noted: “The meal started at 1pm and lasted just under an hour and a half — Her Majesty has never been one to linger over lunch.”
Notably, neither William nor Kate were invited to the get-together.
The Duke of Cambridge was on duty as an RAF search and rescue pilot in Wales, while Kate was pictured shopping on the King’s Road in London the day before.
But, Kate herself had only met the Queen a handful of occasions at this point.
READ MORE: Royal Family feared Kate Middleton would ‘become second Camilla’
The Middletons were once said to be spending more time with the Cambridge children than the royals
They first met in 2008, the year after the couple had gone through a brief and tumultuous split.
Following their reunion, William pledged to one day marry Kate as long as she was willing to wait until he was ready.
Then, by the time the royal’s cousin Peter Phillips got married, the couple’s romance had become serious enough that she was introduced to the Queen.
Despite initial concerns about Kate not having locked down a long-term job before marrying into the Firm, the Queen soon embraced the Duchess into the fold.
Her affection for the Middleton family even extended to a particularly friendly occasion in 2016.
The Queen invited Carole and Michael to stay in her Scottish estate, Balmoral Castle, rather than in one of the nearby buildings as is the usual protocol for guests.
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The Queen is now close with Kate
The Middletons outside the Lindo Wing after Kate gave birth to George
She also encouraged William’s mother-in-law to go on a guided tour of Balmoral, reportedly knowing it would be photographed to showcase their good relationship.
Royal commentator Richard Kay noted: “This was William’s idea.
“He very much wanted his grandmother to make them especially welcome. They were at the top of a very long guest list.”
The special treatment followed tense reports that there was a chasm growing between the royals and the Middletons over access to Prince George — with Kate’s family reportedly spending much more time with the future king than the Firm.
However, any such reports are clearly in the past.
The Middletons are a very tight-knit family
Royal commentator Duncan Larcombe recently claimed that Kate “strikes that balance between bowing to her as head of the Royal Family in public but being able to check in with her as the great-grandmother to her children”.
He also claimed that as Kate’s 10th wedding anniversary approaches, it’s “highly likely” that the Queen is “planning a special secret something to honour Kate’s 10 years in the Royal Family”.
An insider also told US Weekly that the pandemic has resulted in the pair becoming much closer, and Kate has been the Queen’s “rock”, which has made it easier for the monarch to adapt to “her new life at Windsor”.
‘When the Middletons met the Monarchy’ airs tonight on Channel 5 at 9.30pm.