See, the Queen isn’t so strict. Queen Elizabeth II let Kate Middleton break a royal rule on their visit to the Queen’s country residence in Balmoral, an area in Scotland. The rule-breaking happened in summer 2009 when Middleton — who wasn’t married or even engaged to Prince William at the time — was a guest at the Queen’s Balmoral estate.
According to royal biographer Katie Nicholl’s book, Kate: The Future Queen, the visit was Middleton’s first time at the estate when both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were home. The book also reported that there were rumors at the time that the Queen wanted to have lunch with Middleton alone while she was there because of her increasingly serious relationship with Prince William. Though it’s unknown whether the lunch actually happened, Nicholl reported that the Queen did offer one kind gesture to put the future-duchess at ease: allow her to take pictures, which went against royal protocol because of how private the royal family is of their properties.
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“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—a true gift to a photographer, with its turreted and Gothic-inspired architecture,” Nicholl wrote.
Though allowing Middleton to take pictures may not seem like the most generous act out there, it was actually huge step for the Queen and the royal family, according to Nicholl. “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,” she wrote. “Now Kate was being granted an audience in a most intimate capacity. It was a generous move on the part of the Queen and an astute decision, given that the romance seemed to be very serious.”
As fans know, Middleton has been an avid photographer for many years. Not only is the Royal Photographic Society one of her patronages (something the Queen passed down to her in June), but the Duchess of Cambridge is also responsible for the beyond-adorable photos of her son, Prince George, on his sixth birthday this year. It may have been a break in tradition, but when Middleton’s photos are this beautiful, who’s complaining?