Kate Middleton’s Friend claims she has moved on from the drama with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Kate Middleton Harry and Meghan


As future queen, royal author Valentine Low tells PEOPLE that Kate “has the long-term interests of the monarchy and royal family at heart”


Kate Middleton Harry and Meghan

After several years of family strain, claims and allegations from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are in the rearview mirror for Kate Middleton and Prince William — and there is no sign of reconciliation between the two couples.

“She’s moved on and William has too,” a friend of Kate’s says in this week’s issue. “She’s very focused on what matters going forward. They aren’t looking back.”

As her 42nd birthday approaches on Jan. 9, Kate can assess her first full calendar year as the Princess of Wales. And while she may not be monarch, she has replaced Queen Elizabeth, who died at age 96 in 2022, as the best-known female member of the royal family — and one who wields an increasing amount of influence.

“She takes things seriously — and thank goodness for that,” a source close to the royal household says.

Adds Simon Lewis, former Buckingham Palace communications chief and cohost of the BBC podcast When It Hits the Fan, “She’s very much seen as a player at the center of team Windsor.”

Kate’s quiet confidence has led to the success of her “Shaping Us” initiative — a campaign centered on the importance of the first five years of a child’s life. She honored those who work in the early childhood sector at her Christmas carol concert on Dec. 8, where she and William were the most senior royals in attendance.

As Princess Kate confidently led Prince William and their children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, into Westminster Abbey for her third annual carol service, it was her time to shine. Already seated in the Abbey were her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, sister Pippa and extended members of the royal family, who all showed their support for the Princess of Wales on her big night. The absence of King Charles, 75, and Queen Camilla, 76, signaled that this was Kate’s crowning moment.

“She is carving out a special place for herself, which is celebratory,” royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith says. But the festive event came amid a wave of controversy.

Just days prior, the publication of Omid Scobie’s new book Endgame described Kate as “cold” and unwelcoming to royal newbie Meghan and — in a Dutch translation of the book — Kate was named alongside Charles as the royals who allegedly took part in conversations about the skin color of Prince Harry and Meghan’s son Prince Archie before he was born. (Buckingham Palace says aides are “exploring all options,” including legal, following the publishing error that led to the names being included.)

Like other royal consorts in history, Kate has developed a toughness behind the scenes as she supports her husband and future king William. “She has this public image of being nice and smiley and, dare I say, innocuous,” says royal author Valentine Low. “But she is actually strong-minded, strong-willed and prepared to fight for what she wants and what she thinks is right.”

Her steeliness came into play in the immediate aftermath of Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021. After the Duke and Duchess of Sussex alleged that there were “concerns and conversations about how dark” their son Archie’s “skin might be when he’s born,” Buckingham Palace released a 61-word statement on behalf of Queen Elizabeth. The statement pointedly noted that “some recollections may vary” regarding what was discussed in the interview — and Low writes in his book Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown (out in paperback in September) that Kate played a key role in pushing that phrasing.

“She thought it was very important this did not go unchallenged. She showed real strength and determination to make things clear that there was perhaps a different truth,” Low says. “Kate thinks strategically,” he adds. “She is going to be queen one day and has the longterm interests of the monarchy and royal family at heart.”