Prince William and Kate Middleton 'Have Broken the Cycle' of Troubled Royal Marriages

Taking lessons from both their parents' marriages, Prince William and Kate Middleton are a united front, prioritizing steadiness and stability in their marriage and for their children

Royal historian Robert Lacey, author of the best-selling Battle of Brothers, exclusively writes this week's PEOPLE cover story, offering insights on the state of the monarchy, the Queen's legacy in action, and William and Kate's eye toward their future on the throne

Prince William and Kate Middleton marked their 10th wedding anniversary this past spring with a set of new portraits in which the royal couple (who were together for eight years prior to their engagement) beam and embrace.

Whether they're glittering on the red carpet or stepping into nature with their three children, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge represent a united front — supportive spouses and partners in parenthood.

According to royal historian Robert Lacey, William's steady, stable relationship with his beloved Catherine makes for a sharp contrast to the generations of strained royal marriage before theirs.

"The House of Windsor has an abysmal track record of marital failure, but William has broken the cycle," writes Lacey, who surveyed the future king's fraught relationship with his younger sibling, Prince Harry, in Battle of Brothers.

<a href="https://people.com/tag/prince-william/" data-inlink="true">Prince William</a> and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge 'No Time To Die' World Premiere, Royal Albert Hall, London, UK - 28 Sep 2021
Shutterstock

Lacey gives much credit to Kate, whom he describes as an "empathetic outsider from middle­ class origins."

And while Kate's parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, remain happily married after 41 years, the marriage of William's parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, was already irreparably broken as they passed their own 10th anniversary. Eighteen months later, Prime Minister John Major would announce their separation in December 1992, triggering a years-long, highly scrutinized divorce that undoubtedly shaped William's approach to his own marriage and family. (The couple finalized their divorce in August 1996, and Diana died in a car crash in Paris one year later.)

10/11 cover

Lacey notes that Kate understands the importance of her role as future monarch's consort and mother to a future king and key royals — and that providing stability in all those areas is paramount.

She and William "have focused on ... working to ensure that all three of their children — [Prince] George, 6­-year-­old Princess Charlotte and 3­-year-­old Prince Louis — enjoy the peaceful childhood that eluded William and Harry."

duke and duchess of cambridge
Jacob King/Getty

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!

The couple's former private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton told PEOPLE Royals that William "has the experience of knowing where the institution sits and seeing it evolve," while Kate "brings this pragmatic awareness of what it's like to be from a decent, down-to-earth family."

He added, "They have a solid bond through these last 10 years. If you had scoured the realm you couldn't have got a better pair, frankly."

Related Articles