It was the summer of 2011 and she was back in the spotlight just two months after her marriage to Prince William.
The couple, who became Duke and Duchess of Cambridge upon their wedding, traveled across Canada, passing through Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and the Alberta, before heading to Los Angeles.
The 11-day trip changed the public face of British royalty, introducing the idea of a modern monarchy that was accessible, accessible and down-to-earth.
Obviously still during the honeymoon period, there were many displays of romantic affection between the newlyweds, with William putting his arm around his wife as she gazed at him, distraught.
Express Royal correspondent Richard Palmer was there to witness it all. “There was that informal side about William and Kate that no one had seen before,” he recalls.
“They just looked natural enough and not that rigid. Kate was always nervous about showing affection in public, but at the Calgary Stampede rodeo there were some really good jokes between them.
A skilled lip-read reporter spotted Kate showing off the leggings worn by a rodeo rider, telling William, “We should put you on a pair!” It was quite racy.
There was romance in the air as well when William took Kate mid-tour for a surprise “second honeymoon”. Leaving their entourage behind, they paddled across Blatchford Lake for a leisurely meal and an evening alone on uninhabited Eagle Island in the Northwest Territories.
Another nautical activity led to a playful rivalry between them, both 29 years old. After facing off in a dragon boat race at Dalvay Lake, the triumphant Duke consoled his wife with a hug at the finish line.
“We hadn’t really seen their competitive side before that. It was a demonstration of how they brought a new face to royal tours, ”says Richard.
A pivotal moment, which demonstrated a change in popularity from William to Kate, took place in Ottawa, where the couple laid wreaths at the Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Describing the atmosphere, Richard said, “I remember the excitement and the big crowds chanting, ‘We want Kate, we want Kate!’ I think some of them even moaned when the couple broke up during the walkabout and it was William, not his wife, who approached them.
Poignant scenes were also played out, including their meeting with Diamond Marshall, a six-year-old patient with adrenal cancer, who dreamed of meeting “a real princess”. The exchange between the little girl, sadly deceased in 2014, and the couple hit the headlines around the world.
Richard says, “They were both lovely to Diamond. Kate, above all, was really natural to her. It showed how good they were with children before they had their own. “
It was also noticed how the Duchess’s body language mirrored that of her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales. Richard recalls, “They both followed Diana’s lead on this trip. We saw them kneel down to be up to the kids while talking to them.
In another effort to appear relatable, the couple’s tour entourage had been reduced to a group of seven. But there were still unforeseen incidents, particularly Kate’s “Marilyn Monroe moment” at the international airport in Calgary, when her yellow Jenny Packham dress was caught in a sudden flurry and revealed more than she expected.
“There were several reactions. Some people had fun, others wondered how she had let it be, ”says Richard.
“Kate was dating William long before their wedding and was used to constantly having to be self-aware, but there was a lot of pressure on this trip, with the eyes of the world on her. Not many people could have done it, but Kate is doing admirably. “