London: The new member of Britain’s royal family Kate Middleton turns 30 on Tuesday, but royal fans expecting a grand birthday bash to mark the landmark will be disheartened.
Palace officials say the Duchess of Cambridge's birthday celebration will be a "low-key and private" affair, appearing to quash press reports that she will see off her 20s with a fun '80s themed party, complete with karaoke, in a throwback to her more carefree bachelorette days.
The choice of a muted event seems appropriate: After all, the duchess is not just starting the fourth decade of her life, she is also embarking on her career as a future queen, charged with renovating a monarchy that has become somewhat creaky with age.
"She's done very well, playing a very good supporting role to Prince William and complementing him as part of a team," commentator Robert Jobson said of her first few months as a royal.
"We've not seen much of her, but when she's in public she has performed with aplomb," added Jobson, who is the author of "William and Kate: The Love Story."
The past year has seen momentous changes for Kate, with a fairytale wedding to Prince William, travels around the world and glamourous appearances that marked her transition from commoner to the world's most talked-about princess and style icon. She has won rave reviews for her sparkle, her elegant sense of style, and her common touch with the public. The media, yearning for a young and beautiful royal, documented and largely admired her every move.
On Monday, they were out in force with the duchess again the centre of attention as she and William took to the red carpet for the premiere of Steven Spielberg's movie "War Horse" in central London.
But now that the excitement around her grand wedding has subsided, she is expected to quietly settle down into her royal duties, and for much of this year, that means helping
Queen Elizabeth II celebrate her Diamond Jubilee, without upstaging the monarch in her moment of glory, and also playing a supporting role at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Until recently, palace officials have been quiet about what exactly her role will be, keen to protect her transition into a fully fledged royal from the glare of the media limelight. The newlyweds, who live in a remote corner of north Wales, were said to favour a "quieter life" after the massive global media coverage of their April wedding. Outside of a tour of Canada and California in the summer, the duchess has only taken a handful of official engagements.
The former Middleton ventured out on her first solo engagement in October, a private charity dinner for about 30 guests, but is yet to make a public speech on her own.