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Having grown up in Bucklebury, a picturesque Berkshire village, Kate has country bona fides, and she regularly escaped to Balmoral with William when they were students at St. Andrews. She has taken shooting lessons and has walked the fields and hills as her husband shot pheasant and grouse. She is unlikely to go out riding with the 85-year-old Queen, since Kate is allergic to horses. But there is always fly-fishing, which the late Queen Mother did in Scotland's River Dee into her early 80s, often wearing pearls with her waders.
5. Support William without overshadowing him
Elizabeth has by definition been the center of attention from the moment she became Queen. To create a dignified persona at a young age, she was instructed to stifle her smile in public by her staid paternal grandmother, Queen Mary, who wore a tiara to dinner every night, even when she was dining alone with her husband King George V, and who toward the end of her life touchingly said she wished that just once she had climbed over a fence. Nor would Elizabeth look directly at photographers, as her mother did. "Over time you know that she'll look in a certain direction, so you can catch her," said Robin Nunn, a longtime photographer of the royal family. "The trouble is that unlike my mother, I don't have a naturally smiley face," Elizabeth once ruefully remarked.
The Queen Mother taught her daughter timeless lessons ("If you find something or somebody a bore, the fault lies in you"), how to withstand the stares of thousands of people and how to walk at a measured pace. While the Queen was trapped by the restraints of propriety required by her role, her mother had more freedom to display her enjoyment, and so does Kate.
Like the Queen Mother, Kate has a radiant smile that she flashes readily, and she has shown a similar warmth and ability to connect with virtually anyone. Equally important, she avoids drawing attention to herself and appears comfortable working a crowd in her husband's wake. Nor is William likely to feel upstaged as his father so often did by the magnetic Diana. As a couple, William and Kate have become what Prime Minister David Cameron has called "the team of the future." For the Queen, on the eve of her Diamond Jubilee, they are the key to keeping her dynasty strong in the new millennium.
Smith's Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch will be published on Jan. 10 by Random House