As a member of the royal family for over eight years, Kate has impressed those around her by supporting her husband while following her own passions


By Monique Jessen and Simon Perry
December 19, 2019 01:53 PM

One day Kate Middleton will serve her country as Queen, but for now, she takes a very pragmatic approach to her role as a working member of the royal family.

“She knows the importance of the institution and her role to play,” a source close to Kate tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “She knows that being a member of the royal family is a bit like having a contract, you sign on the dotted line and you deliver.”

In the last eight years since marrying Prince William, many think that Kate has done just that. She has impressed royal insiders with her ability to support the work of her husband while continuing to build on her own charitable portfolio in early-childhood education and development.

“Kate is in her element right now, she’s really stuck at it and persevered with what she believes in,” adds the friend.

Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Chris Jackson/Getty

With William taking on more official responsibilities recently and two major oversees tours planned for the royal parents in 2020, the couple leans on each other and compliments each other’s work.

“They are a great double act,” says a senior royal source, adding: “People make much of William giving the big speeches but Kate is there too, asking questions of presidents and their wives. These things are easier when they are side-by-side.”

On Wednesday, the Cambridges attended the Queen’s annual Christmas luncheon at Buckingham Palace. Next week, they will spend Christmas as a family of five at their country house of Anmer Hall in Norfolk.

Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Can’t get enough of PEOPLE‘s Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

Their two eldest children Prince George and Princess Charlotte are expected to take part in the traditional Christmas Day walk to church with the Queen, where hundreds of fans wait to catch a glimpse of the royal family.