Has it really been two years since we watched the common-born Kate Middleton captivate a global audience by saying "I do" to England's beloved Prince William?
April 29, 2011, saw Middleton bag one of the most eligible bachelors in the world, earn herself the title of Duchess of Cambridge, and do so with a sweetness, and a simple kind of chic, that anyone could admire.
Though she was a tad out of her element, Kate easily slipped into her high-profile role. Over the past 24 months, she and Will learned how to manage a crown-given house, tour the world to act out royal duties, and fulfill what is likely their biggest obligation: making a royal heir. (Watch our reel of their greatest hits below!)
One of their most most marked characteristics as a couple, and what makes them so appealing to the rest of us, is an overwhelming humility: They live humbly in North Wales in a converted farm house, where Will has been serving a three-and-a-half year tour in the royal air force.
Nesting went down with movie dates in their town of Anglesey, Kate taking charge of the kitchen (declining a formal staff and getting dinner on the table herself), and running their own errands while they became acquainted with wedded bliss. Aside from the whole royal thing, they seemed … normal.
But now, with two years of experience under their belt and a baby on the way, it looks like life will change considerably for the modest pair. Omg! takes a closer look at what's ahead for the Duke and Duchess…
Fancy New Address. The sleepy green hills of Anglesey will be but a memory come summertime as Will, Kate, and her bump are palace bound!
The Duke and Duchess will take up residence at London's Kensington Palace, which is no doubt full of fond memories from William and Harry's childhood. They grew up on the grounds with their mother Diana.
Will and Kate are moving into Apartment 1A. Not only does their new pad have 20 rooms, which will undergo a reported $1.5 million renovation at the expense of the Queen and Prince Charles, but it also has a pretty fabulous past.
Princess Margaret, the Queen's sister, lived there in the swinging sixties with husband Lord Snowdon. An in-demand young royal couple themselves, the house became a hotbed for glamorous parties reportedly frequented by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. (Perhaps we can look forward to Will and Kate throwing splashy soirees with One Direction and the Beckhams?)
As for the impending arrival of the royal heir, Kate has chosen an interior decorator for the important task of setting up the nursery, though details are a matter of England's national security and will likely remain under wraps.
And should the stress of the big city start to weigh on the young family, the Queen has appointed an even more glamorous retreat for her grandson and his wife: Anmer Hall, a 10-bedroom mansion nestled near the Queen's own in Sandringham, the eastern countryside of England.
And when the Queen says retreat, she means it. The property will also undergo extensive renovations with security in mind. Amner sits near a public church, so the home's main driveway will be rerouted.
A major planting of shrubs and trees has also been commissioned. You know, just in case anyone wants to lounge by the pool without telephoto lenses. A four-car garage on the property will be converted into an "equipment room," with speculation saying it will act as a hub for royal guards.
Job Titles. Prince William has always cut a handsome figure in his military uniform, but the son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana has a birthright that's about service among the people.
William will transition out of the armed services and focus fully on his business as Prince, which will consist of a variety of philanthropic work to prepare for his eventual ascent to the throne. The flurry in activity reportedly comes as his grandmother, 87-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, takes on fewer projects to allow the younger generation of royals to shine.
While Kate's priority will be raising their little one, she'll also take a major role in Will's eponymous charitable foundation, which he shares in name with brother Prince Harry.
In March, the royal family made a move to trademark the couple's names for future use in the foundation's programming. We'll be seeing her moniker atop a "variety of goods and services," according to the palace, in support of the foundation's causes.
Royal Pains. Of course, year three of Will and Kate's union won't just be about beefed up security and fancy new digs. This is a period of transition, and will likely be their biggest test yet because when the royal baby arrives sometime in July, excitement will be at fever pitch.
"It is a very difficult situation to juggle really, because the public does have a right to know, it is the future King or Queen that Kate is carrying, but at the same time there is an element of privacy that they would like to keep," royal expert Victoria Arbiter told E! in December.
The royals will have to confront the issue of the famously aggressive British press under a new lens: with the safety and integrity of an heir in mind.
Will and Kate feel strongly about their privacy, but have been cooperative with inclusiveness when it comes to happier occasions like this. This balance will be necessary to maintain public approval, and their own mental well-being behind closed doors.
A Higher State of Your Highness? So these upgrades, some for security, some for comfort, and some for a lifestyle more befitting of a future King and Queen. But does it change how their own subjects (and global fans) relate to them?
In a word, yes. The Prince's office currently has a staff of nine, and that can only expand as their homes and family do the same. As Kate's public works increase, so will her machine -- which is just as reliant on loftier pursuits like stylists and image consults as any army is on its artillery.
But don't kiss the power couple with the common touch goodbye just yet. They've come a long way playing by their own rules -- they just have a bigger purse than most.
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