Maybe we’ll never have Duchess Kate’s palace or wardrobe, but we can live like her in other, more meaningful ways.
Prince William and Catherine at a children's rugby tournament during their tour of New Zealand and Australia. Dunedin, April 2014. AFP Photo | POOL | David Rowland
Nobody—and nobody’s life—is actually perfect, but some days I look at Prince William and Duchess Kate, and I believe in near perfection.
But here’s the thing: it’s not because their life together looks amazing (the beautiful houses, the beautiful kids, the beautiful clothes, the beautiful cars, etc.), it’s because of their values. I’m in awe of the way they raise those beautiful kids, and the good and kind things they do with their time and wealth. Their commitment to using all of the advantages life has afforded them for good stands to shame even the best of us.
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And sometimes their perfection might make me feel less-than, or even a little jealous. But most days, I love them for it. Even though there are many things about His and Her Royal Highnesses’ lives that you or I may never be able to emulate, we can try to do similar good in our own marriages, parenthood, and community. We can be thankful for the resources we have, and live out solid, everyday values that make this world a better place.
To take a page out of Will & Kate’s playbook, I broke their perfection down into seven down-to-earth values that we, too, can emulate:
At a recent visit to a child bereavement center, William helped make “memory jars” with kids who’d lost parents and loved ones and spoke openly about the pain of losing his “mummy” at a young age. After telling one boy how angry he felt after his mother died, he encouraged kids to keep talking about their grief and their loved ones. Something he has admitted that he struggled with as a child himself. As one mom said, “Bereavement—and particularly child death, which is so unbearable to think about—is something William is shining a light.”
Being honest about our pain, and our weaknesses, can help shine lights in the lives around us as well. You never know who will be helped by your truth.
Time and again, people note how shockingly approachable and “regular” William and Kate are. When Kate met with a group of women about the challenges of motherhood recently, the event organizer said, “All the mums said how much she talked to them as just another mum.”
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The duchess has clearly mastered the art of approachability—something that doesn’t come naturally to all of us, even if we aren’t princesses. But being approachable is often just good manners—it’s being hospitable, even when you’re not hosting at home. To be a listener, as Kate is, someone with whom people can talk and open up to is a gift we can all give to friends and new acquaintances alike.
3. Family first
In sharp contrast to the way royals of yore were raised, William and Kate make a point of including their children in their lives and in their work where possible, a “one-piece life” sort of approach. During their recent trip to Canada, the kids came along! (We love the picture of Kate crouching in heels while giving giving sweet George a “reminder” on how to behave.) Though it’s great to have time away (see below) from the kids, there’s something about including our kids in our grown-up duties that makes everyone feel wanted, needed, and loved.
4. Marital unity
As great as it is that they include the kids, William and Kate also know the importance of the two of them as a unit together. Marriage—whether you’re royalty or not—does not mean two people need to give up their individuality or time alone, William and Kate do a lot as William and Kate. And though we know they must have their bad days—days when they’re as irritated with each other as even the best spouses get—it’s great to see them together. They’re usually laughing, smiling, supporting one another in their roles. And it’s a great reminder that this is what the world (and our kids) need to see from us.
5. Brotherly love
What third wheel? Clearly, William and Kate have never made Prince Harry feel anything other than welcome with them. Whether they’re heading to Grandma’s or to a charity event, we love seeing the three of them together. It’s a great testament to William and Harry’s enduring friendship—but also, of Kate and Harry’s. We all know that when we marry, we don’t just marry one person but marry into a family. They’re a great model of building friendships and memories within our families.
6. Work ethic
Yes, royal hard work looks different than “commoner” hard work. Still, I’ve long been impressed by William’s commitment to his (part-time) job as a air ambulance pilot. Certainly since he doesn’t “need” to work. And yet, he does. In fact, William’s boss claims he has a “demanding role” and that William “relishes the challenge of being a modern working father and husband, combining his royal and charitable duties with this work as an air ambulance pilot.”
Rumor has it that William will step away from his job to focus more on his royal duties, which will certainly have some nice perks, but is also still an exhausting job he’ll need to work hard at. And yet, work that brings the family together, not apart. He will need Kate’s support and guidance, just as she will need his. We too, can know the value of a hard day’s work that supports our families, and the value of families who support us in those roles.
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As William and Kate step more into their public roles, they’re also upping their involvement with the charities they support. And the Duke and Duchess support a lot of charities—including a Foundation Princes William and Harry established in 2009—in word and in deed. I especially love the charities they support together. It’s a wonderful thing when couples—and families—share a causes they love and support.
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