From her impeccable sense of style to her sweet, motherly energy, there are few things not to like about Kate Middleton — and apparently, Queen Elizabeth has always thought so, too. According to royal expert Katie Nicholl, the monarch has had an affinity for the now-Duchess of Cambridge since the very start, even going so far as to abandon royal protocol in her favor on one of their first meetings.
According to Nicholl's book, Kate: The Future Queen, the gesture in question occurred when Kate joined the royal family for a trip to Balmoral in Scotland — one of the Queen's favorite places — for the first time years ago. While Middleton was only Prince William's girlfriend at the time, Her Royal Majesty was sure to make the newcomer feel at ease by allowing Kate the rare opportunity to bring along her camera to take photos of the Scottish estate and surrounding grounds.
Nicholl recalled the experience in her book, writing, "until now, the Queen had met Kate only fleetingly at the wedding of Peter and Autumn Philips, but she went out of her way to make her feel welcome, giving her permission to take pictures at Balmoral."
Although it may seem like a small gesture, the author reiterated that Queen Elizabeth deterring from the norm was incredibly rare, adding, "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 instance proved to be just the start of Kate's passion for photography meshing with the royal family. Most recently, she put her skills to work by photographing Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, for the cover of Country Life magazine's July 13 issue.