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Kate: The Duchess of Cambridge

Aired June 3, 2012 - 20:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Catherine is incredible. It's almost like she's born for the role. This moment has kicked off a huge period of excitement, intensive global interest in the British royal family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's the vehicle that's housing, right now, Prince William and Kate. They're in that Range Rover.

ROYA NIKKHAH, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: I think her skill is to observe, to take advice from her husband and others in the royal household. And I think at the same time she definitely has a genuine empathy with people and people respond to her very well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god. It was overwhelming. Everybody went crazy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just so awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's perfect and beautiful and I love her.

AMANDA WAKELEY, FASHION DESIGNER: The thing that I think is wonderful about the duchess is that she has very much her own sense of self and her own sense of style. This is a big role that she has. And she always seems to get it right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think if people are happy in their own lives, then the possibilities, they will do well in the public eye as well it's very important. And as far as I can see, she's doing it beautifully.

CATHERINE, DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: I'm only sorry that William can't be here today. He would love it here.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Twelve months have now passed since Kate Middleton married the future king of England here at Westminster Abbey in London.

I'm Max Foster. And as CNN's royal correspondent, I've had a chance to watch Kate close up. A senior royal source has told me that she's completed her induction and has graduated as a fully pledged member of the royal family. It's been quite a year.

William and Catherine had announced their engagement less than six months earlier.

PRINCESS KATE: It's quite a daunting prospect. I'll take it in stride.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When's the happy day?


FOSTER: Leaving little time to waste to prepare the palace, the Abbey and all points in between for a fairytale wedding.

PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: We're like little ducks. Sort of calm in the surface but little feet under eater.

NIKKHAH: She wants to be like any other bride in charge of how her day would go. She was very keen and so is Prince William that that would not be taken care of her and organized by the Buckingham Palace or the Royal Household. She was incredibly hands on because she wanted it to be her day and it was her day.

FOSTER: Three mini buses lined up outside the hotel. Lots of people going into the hotel. Coming out in --

Well, this is where I was on royal wedding day. The Goring Hotel is where the bride's family was staying. Although I wasn't allowed this close on the day. There was a huge sense of excitement outside. The crowds. The media. Everyone waiting to catch that very first glimpse.

(Voice-over): Inside, Kate Middleton as she still was that morning, was getting ready for her date with destiny. As those around her recall.

JAMES PRYCE, HAIR STYLIST: We were there 6:30 or so. And, you know, we had -- to get her ready. Up in her suite there was also a real sense of calm, actually. She didn't expect to be treated any differently. And that made me feel very relaxed and I was able to sort of get on with my job. She didn't want anything too over the top. She wanted to feel herself and hopefully that was reflected in the dress and in the hair.


RICHARD WARD, HAIR STYLIST: For a young bride, if you're not careful, the way you dress the hair, specially with a tiara, it can be quite ageing. So that's something that we put a lot of thought into. All these little intricacies that we did on Catherine's hair, the twisting of the sides and sort of the fringe actually just coming gently -- coming over the forehead, you know, that -- they are all elements that add to softening that kind of look.

What I loved about that tiara is for me it was actually quite -- had a quite modern feel to it. And Kate chose it. And I just think that she couldn't have chosen anything better than that.

CHRIS JACKSON, GETTY IMAGES: I was lucky enough to be positioned right outside the front of Westminster Abbey. Probably about 30 meters from the front door. I was seriously nervous, and I was just -- had to get this picture, the exposure, spot on. As they come out the front door, the crowd roared. And (INAUDIBLE), you literally only had a matter of minutes, if that. They paused momentarily on the top of the steps and walked down to the carriage.

JUDY WADE, HELLO! MAGAZINE: The only word I could find to describe Kate on her wedding day was forthless. I saw her in the Abbey and I saw her floating down the isle. And she just focused, totally focused as if she was saying, I'm going to get this right, I'm definitely going to get this right. And she did.

FOSTER: If there was one moment when perhaps it dawned on Kate just what she had become, it was the moment she walked on to the balcony at Buckingham Palace. Wow, indeed. But overall, well, certainly not that anyone, even those close up, could see.

MILLIE PILKINGTON, COUPLE'S PRIVATE PHOTOGRAPHER: Within the minute I saw her in the morning right through to the end of the day, she was as composed as you could possibly imagine. I don't know where she gets her strength from.

FOSTER (on camera): How did you do that with that amount of pressure?

PILKINGTON: I don't know. She's very, very clever.


PILKINGTON: And very special.

FOSTER (voice-over): Still to come, learning from the past.

WADE: This marriage must work. They can't go back to the '90s when they had three of the queen's children split up and got divorced.

FOSTER: When "Kate: Duchess of Cambridge" returns in a moment.


FOSTER (voice-over): Royal tours are a big deal for the British monarchy. Queen of 15 sovereign states as well as the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II has unveiled statues and planted trees around the world. When the occasions demanded it, as head of the commonwealth of more than 50 countries, she's gone the extra mile.

(On camera): Buckingham Palace knows its role. The queen oversees its British soft power in action, helping make sure Britain still has clout on the world stage. But an 86-year-old monarch can't do it all on her own.

(Voice-over): And, besides, when there's a bona fide star in your midst, it's just a good idea to send them in your place.

NIKKHAH: Canada was a huge test for her. It was their first joint overseas tour. Her first real public engagement on behalf of the royal family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to the 2011 Calgary stampede.

NIKKHAH: She did not put a foot wrong.

FOSTER: Media interest was enormous. As were the numbers who turned out to see them.

WADE: It was a very exhausting, very grueling tour. You know, hopping from one place to another.

PRINCE WILLIAM: Happy birthday, Canada.

WADE: In Ottawa on Canada Day, it was the largest ever crowd they'd ever had. And it was a boiling hot day, and there she was in sort of -- all dressed up in long sleeves and a hat and just must have been awful to keep smiling like that.

FOSTER (on camera): Crowds screaming, Will and Kate, Will and Kate. Pulling up here --

(Voice-over): And from my vantage point, too, I was struck by her poise. But to get a real up-close sense of the duchess, nothing beats being one of the crowd. As this simple but revealing footage shot by a well wisher in New Brunswick seems to capture so well.

PRINCESS KATE: Hello, very nice to meet you. Oh, my gosh, hi. Hello, hello, nice to meet you. Hi, girls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. Hello. Welcome to New Brunswick.

FOSTER: At one point, Kate even agrees to pose for a photo. Handing the camera to her senior aide. Provoking some disapproving looks from one of the security officers.

Throughout the trip, as throughout the year, her mentor, her main coach, was William.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You really saw in Canada a lot of the time in engagements he was guiding her, often physically guiding her through engagements, always checking to see how she was coping, always checking to see if she was handling walkabouts OK and her side of the crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: William is totally in control of everything. He's seen what happened to his mother, and he doesn't want that to happen to his wife.

FOSTER: The legacy of Diana, Princess of Wales, continues to cast a shadow over Britain's royals. Given little say or support by the palace in how things were done, her marriage to Prince Charles was not a happy one.

WADE: In the early days with Diana, you'd see other members of the royal family quite peeved that Diana was getting all the attention, all the photographers were clustered around her and ignore them. They didn't like it. And eventually her husband didn't like it either. But with Kate, it's a little like let's hope -- this marriage must work. It's -- you know, they can't go back to the '90s when they had three of the queen's children split up and got divorced. FOSTER: Kate does not shy away from the parallels with Diana. She wears Diana's engagement ring, for instance. I'm told she takes the comparisons as a compliment. But she's doing things her way.

WADE: The fact that they have said we don't want a lot of flunkies around, we can do it all ourselves, we'll go to the supermarket. As a result they're bringing the monarchy much close to the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the royals have never experienced rush hour traffic, but we're geniuses at it here in Los Angeles, California.

FOSTER: Perhaps the challenge for Kate and William going forward will be staying close to the people. When the people see them as superstars. As I saw firsthand when their North American tour wound up in California. The screams for the movie stars were substantial. But they were nothing compared to those that greeted the arrival of William and Kate.

Here in Los Angeles, as nowhere else, a fairytale sells big.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They've had so much scandal in their family, and now Will and Kate are taking over and she is beautiful and perfect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I heard they're coming out here, I wasn't going to miss it for the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They seem like such a down to earth, nice, young couple. I think they're going to bring respect back to the monarchy. I think they're going to save the monarchy, to be honest with you.

FOSTER: Never mind saving the monarchy. This event was about leveraging their celebrity in the service of the British film industry.

(On camera): The duke and duchess, what do you think they can get from this evening?

NIGEL LYTHGOE, BAFTA LOS ANGELES: Well, it's -- they're not getting from it in truth. They're giving it. Because they are acting as magnets to try and get all of these executives here tonight.

FOSTER: And have you met the duke and duchess before?



RUDD: No. Absolutely. They're people you don't meet.

FOSTER (voice-over): Still to come --

WAKELEY: She really has the potential of becoming the modern day Jackie O.

FOSTER: The style defines. When "Kate: Duchess of Cambridge" concludes in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WAKELEY: I would describe her style has neat, useful and on occasion appropriate. I think she really has the potential of becoming the modern-day Jackie O.

FOSTER (voice-over): Every time the duchess of Cambridge steps out in public, the fashion world is on tenderhooks.

WAKELEY: I particularly remember her going to the opening of the Marsden wearing one of our felted wool dresses. Just because she looked amazing in it. And she looked modern and really beautiful.

TONY DIMASSO, L. K. BENNETT: Best selling item would be this sledge. The Duchess of Cambridge has worn this shoe a few times on her trip to North America. We have a tough time keeping this shoe in stock.

FOSTER: It's called the duchess effect. And whether it's couture like this Diane Vonn Furstenberg dress, all off the peg like the sledge, no one moves the market quite like Kate. L.K. Bennett's rapid expansion into the United States. Five store openings in its first year with up to 10 more planned for next year has coincided with the emergence of the duchess of Cambridge.

DIMASSO: When she wears it, the phone in our stores keeps ringing because customers seem to follow her, and then they want to wear the product that she's wearing.

FOSTER: After Kate wore this dress from British retailer Reese when she and William met the Obamas, it sold out within minutes.

WAKELEY: She champions British design, not just the designers, but all the way through from the high (INAUDIBLE).

WADE: We're all writing every day about what she's wearing because there's no other story. If it keeps up like this with Kate turning up and people just writing about what she wears, then she'll get a very shallow, trivial image. But that will change inevitably, I think, because she'll be doing more interesting, more challenging jobs.

FOSTER: Those jobs really began earlier this year when Kate embarked on her first solo engagements. As a new member of the royal family, there was never any doubt she would give her patronage to a number of charities. The palace encouraged her to take her time choosing which ones. Among the causes she settled on were art therapy, addiction and children's hospices.

GRAHAM BUTLAND, EAST ANGLIA'S CHILDREN'S HOSPICES: Early November, out of the blue, a telephone call, would we mind if she visited one of our hospices.

FOSTER (on camera): You wouldn't mind at all, I'm sure.

BUTLAND: Well, we thought about it and said, no, by all means. So she came along and she spent about four hours with us. Talking about what we did. It was clear when she arrived that she had done a lot of homework.

JULI BEATTIE, THE ART ROOM: We've read in the papers that she's going around looking at territories and her interests were art and art therapy. So we thought we shouldn't miss opportunities like this. We wrote a letter and we explained what she did. She'd actually done her research. She'd already found the Art Room on the Web site.

FOSTER: How much of financial difference has it made having her on board?

BEATTIE: I had a fantastic conversation with somebody who was obviously, you know, they must have so many charities ringing up. And when I mentioned that the duchess had given us her royal patronage, I want granted an interview within 24 minutes -- 24 hours. So great. Made a huge difference she really has.

FOSTER (voice-over): The people around Kate are clearly very impressed by how she's got on. When I talk to them, they describe her as strong-willed and professional. Nothing much fazes her, they tell me.

The final test in this first year as a royal was the performance of her first public speech. And it epitomized Kate, if it was delivered slowly, perhaps even labored in places, that's because she was determined not to fluff it.

PRINCESS KATE: When I first visited the hospice in Milton, I had a preconceived idea as to what to expect. Far from being a clinical, depressing place for sick children, it was a home. Most importantly, it was a family home. A happy place of stability, support and care. It was a place of fun.

FOSTER: But it's not really about oratory anyway. Kate seems to connect with people in a more fundamental way, making a particular impression, I've seen, on young people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, she's made me more interested in royalty, I think. More interested in the royal family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Newcomers, definitely a big fan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And I think because she came from an ordinary background, it makes us really interested.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That she used to be like us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even though she's royal, she understands us as a person and we understand her.

FOSTER (on camera): So the Duchess of Cambridge, the savior of the British monarchy? Well, it's too early to say that. But as she and Prince William settle in here at Kensington Palace where he lived as a boy, it's clear she has support from the top down. JOHN MAJOR, FORMER PRIME MINISTER: People forget the Queen may be monarch. She's also a mother and a grandmother and a very human person. Of course, she wants her grandson and her grandson's wife to be successful. And, of course, she offers help. And they'd be foolish not to take it. Now, plainly, one can even looking from the outside, one can see what a good relationship actually exists there.

NIKKHAH: They seem genuinely happy and comfortable in each other's company, whether it's watching a fashion show or visiting university or on a girl's day out. I think the queen is delighted that her grandson has married someone who he seems so well suited to. Who has been able to adapt to conditions in the royal family and that new role.

FOSTER: And as for Kate's father-in-law, Prince Charles, well, he and Kate are very close, I'm told. They make secret visits to the opera and art galleries together. Sharing a passion for the arts that neither William nor Harry truly share. For joint engagements they've developed something of a double act. He, the old duffer, she, the competent young woman.

Everyone, it seems, is desperate to make sure history doesn't repeat itself. Because no matter how appealing the fairytale, alternative storylines do exist.

WADE: It's a hard, horrible life. I mean, everybody thinks it's wonderful. Oh, you have a luxurious life. No, you don't. It's a golden prison that you live in for the rest of your days. But Kate's opted for it and she must know what she's in for because she knew William for nine years. I figure she feels that it's worth it if you love the man enough, you'll put up with it.

NIKKHAH: I think she does enjoy it. She seems -- she seems very happy whenever she's out and about. You never get a sense of her being uncomfortable. She looks very easy in her own skin. I think she must be enjoying it.

FOSTER (on camera): I hear you. Can you hear me?

(Voice-over): Kate Middleton embarked on a remarkable journey a year ago.

MAJOR: To find whatever you do is subject to publicity, whatever you wear is the subject of comment. It's not easy at all.

FOSTER: As Duchess of Cambridge, she's now a global superstar. Though she wears her power lightly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is that respect that they have for who they are and where they are. Even with all that you still got the sensitivity of the way they're holding hands and the smiles.

FOSTER: History and the weight of expectations might seem daunting. But the young couple will take their time, determined to write this story themselves.