Prince William and Kate's ninth anniversary: How they have transformed into the next royal generation

Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge emerge from Westminster Abbey after the wedding ceremony.   (Photo by Lewis Whyld/PA Images via Getty Images)
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge emerge from Westminster Abbey after the wedding ceremony. (Getty Images)

It’s been nine years since Prince William married Kate Middleton.

Their wedding captivated the nation, with 25m people watching in the UK, and 23m in the USA.

Since then, they have welcomed three children - Prince George, now six, Princess Charlotte, now four, and Prince Louis, who turned two a few days before their anniversary.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the couple has had to put aside some of their usual work in order to respond and reflect the health crisis.

With Prince William’s grandmother, the Queen, and father, the Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, both in the government’s age bracket of being high risk, it’s been a new time for the couple to shine.

While they would usually celebrate their anniversary privately, this year, they have no choice.

They shared a photo from the big day on Instagram and thanked followers and fans for their congratulatory messages.

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As they mark their copper anniversary Yahoo UK reflects on the big day and the nine years since.

Claudia Joseph, who has written several books about the duchess, recalled her favourite moments of the day.

She said: “I was working for ITN and was in the crowd outside Buckingham Palace when they kissed on the balcony. The atmosphere was electric.

“I loved the moment when William drove his new wife up the Mall to Clarence House in his father’s convertible Aston Martin DB6 with the number plate JU5T WED.”

As a new royal reporter, Victoria Murphy said it was “unbelievable” to cover such a huge event.

“It was the unexpected moments that stole the show, such as when they came out of Buckingham Palace in that Aston Martin with William driving. The car was decorated with balloons and an L plate and a number plate saying 'Just Wed' and that really set the tone that this is a couple who, yes, are royal and who have just had a hugely lavish wedding but they are also in so many ways also relatable.

“And I think that's a balance that William and Kate have continued to strike really successfully throughout their marriage,” she told Yahoo UK.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29:  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge drive from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House in a vintage Aston Martin on April 29, 2011 in London, England. The marriage of the second in line to the British throne was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and was attended by 1900 guests, including foreign Royal family members and heads of state. Thousands of well-wishers from around the world have also flocked to London to witness the spectacle and pageantry of the Royal Wedding.   (Photo by Chris Radburn - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William and Kate drive from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House in a vintage Aston Martin. (Getty Images)

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Long time royal reporter Phil Dampier, whose first royal wedding was Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s, said: “My abiding memory is that it really increased interest in the royals worldwide.

“Before that, they were really in the doldrums. It was nothing compared with the days of Diana.

“The interest was down and then the moment that Kate came on the scene, it exploded, and it has been massive ever since.”

He also said Kate’s appearance in the Royal Family led to more media attention from the US, with American news stations appearing at media points alongside British papers.

Much has changed over the last nine years. From newlyweds, the Cambridges have grown to a family of five, and have had to juggle their busy working diaries with their desire to be hands-on parents.

Britain's Prince William and his bride Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, pose for an official photograph, with their bridesmaids and pageboys, on the day of their wedding, in the throne room at Buckingham Palace, in central London April 29, 2011.  (clockwise from bottom right) Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Eliza Lopes, Grace van Cutsem, Louise Windsor, Tom Pettifer, William Lowther-Pinkerton. Photograph taken on April 29, 2011.  (ROYAL WEDDING)   REUTERS/Hugo Burnand/Clarence House/Handout    (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS IMAGES OF THE DAY) NO COMMERCIAL OR BOOK SALES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
William and Kate with their bridesmaids and page boys. (Reuters)

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Joseph said: “I think William and Kate have really grown into their roles in the past decade. They never put a foot wrong and are a great support to the Queen. When they got married, they were living on the island of Anglesey and were not full time Royals. Now they are great ambassadors for Great Britain.

“I think they have managed to get a balance between their life in the spotlight and their family life. They have brought up their children out of the public eye as much as possible but have given us a glimpse of them growing up on occasions such as royal tours and the children’s first days at school.

“They have been a tower of strength for the monarchy during the current lockdown, clapping each week for the NHS - William’s Blackadder spoof last week was genius.”

Murphy added: “Over the years they have slowly taken on more patronages, more responsibilities, made more appearances, done more travel, but it has been very gradual.

“I think for me a key moment was when they announced that George would go to school in London which very much signalled I think that the had accepted the capital would now be their main base whereas before it had appeared to be Norfolk which was where he went to nursery.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge and Prince Louis of Cambridge clap for NHS carers as part of the BBC Children In Need and Comic Relief 'Big Night In at London on April 23, 2020 in London, England.The 'Big Night In' brings the nation an evening of unforgettable entertainment in a way we've never seen before. Raising money for and paying tribute to those on the front line fighting Covid-19 and all the unsung heroes supporting their communities. (Photo by Comic Relief/BBC Children in Need/Comic Relief via Getty Images)
The family has made changes to their working life since coronavirus. (BBC/Getty Images)

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No shift in their work so far could have been as large as the coronavirus pandemic, as they, like the rest of the nation, have had to work from home and avoid travel.

They went back to Anmer Hall, their Norfolk home where they spent part of the early years of their marriage.

Dampier said: “[Their role] has come into sharp contrast in the last three to four months, because of Harry and Meghan, for want of a better word, quitting. As their popularity has gone down, in the UK anyway, William and Kate’s has gone up.

“They have not put a foot wrong since the coronavirus outbreak. I thought he was quite a good actor actually, that will come in handy.

“William seems quite natural with people.”

He added: “They have done things as a family, given access to the kids.

“They are happiest when they are living in Norfolk, where they can give the kids a relatively normal upbringing, go to the beach and to the forest.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey during their wedding service.   (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
Prince William and Kate at Westminster Abbey during their wedding service. (Getty Images)

For ‘commoner’ Kate, her world was turned upside down, but along with William, they have been keen to ensure a level of normal life is maintained at home for their children.

Murphy said: “One of the things that I have always been really impressed by with William and Kate is that they genuinely do seem to have managed to create as normal an environment as possible for their children despite their extraordinary circumstances.

“Having grown up seeing his mother pursued by photographers William was adamant that he didn't want that for his family and they have largely successfully managed to draw a line between their public and private life. They understand there is interest in their family and will release pictures of their children from time to time, but moments such as their first days at school have been managed differently to previous generations with only a small number of media physically present.

“I think Kate's upbringing and influence is a big driving force for how they have shaped their family life - in so many ways she is emulating her own childhood with hands-on parenting and lots of time outdoors. She married into this life in a goldfish bowl that is absolutely not normal, but she has somehow managed to stay incredibly grounded and bring very strong influences from her own upbringing into royal life.”

More than 2,000 guests attended William and Kate’s wedding at Westminster Abbey, and the Queen gave them the duchy of Cambridge as their wedding gift.

The day featured two dresses, two receptions, a carriage procession through central London, flypasts and two kisses on the Buckingham Palace balcony.