Kate could not be more lovely in her first ever podcast
I can remember watching Kate’s first speech as the Duchess of Cambridge in March 2012. She looks, and sounds, absolutely terrified. She looks beautiful, but her two minute and 27 second speech at one of her patronages is absolutely painful to watch. You can take a look for yourself here. Even Kate at the end gives a look of “Yikes.” Look for it. You’ll see it.
Contrast that with her absolutely dazzling 34-minute podcast interview that was released this past weekend, and you’ll see a woman truly transformed over the last eight years.
We’ve seen Kate in small snippets like the clip above, but the closest we’ve ever come to seeing her personality shine like it does on the most recent episode of the “Happy Mum, Happy Baby” podcast (you can find it wherever you get your podcasts) is her engagement interview with William. It’s not even really comparable, though, because Kate lets William do most of the talking. This time, for 34 minutes, it’s Kate’s time to shine.
I cannot tell you how dazzled, stunned, and awed I was by Kate in this candid, real, raw interview. She has gone from “Wait-y Katie” (her nickname during the period she was William’s professional girlfriend, waiting on an engagement ring) to, as fellow Royal Watcher Elizabeth Holmes (no, not that Elizabeth Holmes – this Elizabeth Holmes) said, “Relate-y Katie.” I literally want to be Kate’s best friend. And I don’t care that she is the Duchess of Cambridge. Even if she were the schoolteacher or the CEO or the nurse that lived down the street, I want to be Kate’s friend. She’s witty, charming, funny, affable, and just lovely. Even if you’re not a mom (I’m not), take a listen. You will fall in love with her.
Kate went on the podcast – which is incredibly popular in the U.K. and is hosted by Giovanna Fletcher – to promote her new initiative, the Five Big Questions survey. But the interview turned into so much more than just that.
Here are some revelations:
· This is not news, but Kate suffered from hyperemesis gravidrum – or severe morning sickness – during the first trimester of all three of her pregnancies. She said that William felt helpless while she was in the midst of it: “I got very bad morning sickness, so I’m not the happiest of pregnant people,” she said. “Lots of people have it far, far worse, but it was definitely a challenge. Not just for me but also for your loved ones around you, and I think that’s the thing, being pregnant and having a newborn baby and things like that, impacts everybody in the family. You know, William didn’t feel he could do much to help and it’s hard for everyone to see you suffering without actually being able to do anything about it. I was really sick. I wasn’t eating the things I should be eating. But yet, the body was still able to take all the goodness from my body and to grow new life, which I think is fascinating.”
· She also opened up about the presenting of the new baby to the world at the Lindo Wing tradition – which I have always been very open about finding really, really creepy – and how it was “slightly terrifying, slightly terrifying, I’m not going to lie”: “Everyone had been so supportive and both William and I were really conscious that this was something that everyone was excited about and, you know, we’re hugely grateful for the support that the public had shown us, and actually for us to be able to share that joy and appreciation with the public, I felt was really important,” she said. “But equally it was coupled with a newborn baby, and inexperienced parents, and the uncertainty of what that held, so there were all sorts of mixed emotions.” She also laughed about William’s carseat moment – remember that? – joking that not everyone thought he did a very good job as a first-time dad.
· She and William didn’t know they were having a boy with George, but when they found out their first child was a boy upon his birth, William was elated: “Seeing the pure joy on his face – it was really special,” she said.
· She talks about her own idyllic childhood and how she hopes to give her three children the same: “I had an amazing Granny who devoted a lot of time to us – playing with us, doing arts and crafts, and going to the greenhouse to do gardening, and cooking with us – and I try and incorporate a lot of the experiences that she gave us at the time into the experiences that I give my children now,” she said.
· She’s very passionate about getting her kids (and herself!) outdoors: “There are also the environments you spend time in as well: a happy home, a safe environment,” she said. “As children, we spent a lot of time outside and it’s something I’m really passionate about. I think it’s so great for physical and mental wellbeing and laying [developmental] foundations. It’s such a great environment to spend time in, building those quality relationships without the distractions of ‘I've got to cook’ and ‘I've got to do this.’ And actually, it’s so simple.”
· Kate points to a specific photo she took of Charlotte, where she is leaning down to smell a bluebell flower, as one of her favorite moments of parenting: “I’ve got this one photo of Charlotte smelling a bluebell, and really for me it’s moments like that mean so much to me as a parent,” she said. “I try every day to put moments like that in, even if they’re small or even if I don’t have time.”
· Kate confirmed rumors that she had used hypnobirthing – a birthing method that uses self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques to help the mother feel physically, mentally, and spiritually prepared and to lessen her awareness of anxiety, fear, and pain during childbirth – and, in her way, joked “I’m not going to say that William was standing there sort of, chanting sweet nothings at me. He definitely wasn’t. I didn't even ask him about it, but it was just something I wanted to do for myself. I saw the power of it really, the meditation and the deep breathing and things like that, that they teach you in hypnobirthing, when I was really sick, and actually I realized that this was something I could take control of, I suppose, during labour. It was hugely powerful.”
· She also references why this work – of early childhood development – matters so much to her: “I think ultimately if you look at who’s caring and looking after and nurturing children in the most vital period, from pregnancy all the way to the age of five, you know parents and carers are right at the heart of that, and families are right at the heart of that, and although I’ve spoken to the scientists and the service providers, it’s so important to listen to families,” she said. “What is it that they aspire to? What are their challenges? It’s going to take a long time – I’m talking about a generational change – but hopefully this is the first small step: To start a conversation around the importance of early childhood development. It’s not just about happy, healthy children. This is for lifelong consequences and outcomes.”
For her part, host Giovanna Fletcher was shocked at Kate’s candor: “I don’t think I expected to hear any of it," she said. “I love hearing her very honest answers, how articulate and intelligent she is about early years... and how playful she is as well when she’s talking about her own kids. It’s a very unique position to be in when raising kids... The grassroots of it is we are all doing the same thing, we’re all having sleepless nights, going through potty training or whatever it is... and I think having the Duchess on really highlights that.”
I seriously can’t overstate how far Kate has come in her Royal life. This brilliant Vanity Fair article is worth a read to see how far Kate has come: “Once so terrified of public speaking that her hands would physically shake, Kate was so relaxed, she made the interview sound like she was having chat over a coffee with an old friend. Fletcher, who describes the experience of sitting down with the Duchess as a great privilege, also told Vanity Fair that it was surreal. She thought she was only going to have ten minutes with Kate following an official engagement to a London nursery for Kate’s continuing work on improving the early years for children, but they got on so well the talk ran to over half an hour. ‘I didn’t expect any of it, I’ve never heard her speak so openly before,’ Fletcher said about the interview.
That’s something of an understatement. This is the most revealing interview Kate has ever done, and those who know her say it’s the Kate they know: friendly, self-deprecating, and funny.
The public has of course heard Kate speak before. There have been many (sometimes stiff) public speeches and, somewhat amazingly given she has been in the spotlight as a royal for nearly a decade, only one interview (to CNN during the Cambridges’ tour of Pakistan). For the most part Kate has deliberately remained in the background, but now she is emerging center stage.
Last year a friend of the Duchess’s told Vanity Fair that ‘motherhood has been the making of Kate.’ What is apparent is that since that terrifying moment when she faced the world with her tiny bundle of joy held tightly in her arms, Kate has found her feet, her confidence and her stride.”
I am overwhelmed!
As dramatic and possibly traumatic as the Harry and Meghan exit was and is, maybe this is the moment Kate needs to truly be able to shine as she was always meant to. And if this podcast is any indication, she’s got a whole lifetime ahead of being the relatable, lovely, affable, perfectly imperfect queen consort we need.
We won’t be seeing William and Kate for a bit – George and Charlotte are on vacation from school, and the Cambridges are taking some time off (after a very hectic start to 2020) to be with them, as well as little Louis.
Until then, immerse yourself in Kate’s first podcast and count your lucky stars that she’s our duchess.