Royal lessons for the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton

The Duchess of Cambridge is being privately tutored on the workings of Britain's institutions to prepare her for a lifetime of royal duties, aides have disclosed.

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The Duchess of Cambridge is being privately tutored on the workings of Britain's institutions to prepare her for a lifetime of royal duties, aides have disclosed. Experts on government, the arts and the media have been asked to visit St James's Palace to give the Duchess one-to-one briefings to ensure she has a thorough knowledge of the Establishment.

Since she returned from her tour of Canada and the US with the Duke of Cambridge in July, the Duchess has only carried out one official engagement, when she and Prince William visited areas of Birmingham affected by the riots last month. But behind the scenes she has been kept busy in recent weeks with a programme of meetings designed to prepare her for everything official life will throw at her.

A royal source said: "The Duchess is being briefed on how the State works, getting to know our national institutions better and learning more about organisations such as the arts, the media and the Government.

"It is a process that will carry on for several months but is being done privately. As well as meetings at St James's Palace, the Duchess is spending time carrying out private research of her own."

The highly structured approach to preparing the Duchess for life as a senior member of the royal family is in marked contrast to the experience of the Duke's late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, who complained of being thrown into official duties with no coaching.

The princess told friends that no forethought had been given to her future role when she married the Prince of Wales, and that Buckingham Palace staff "basically thought I could adapt to being Princess of Wales overnight".

The Duke of Cambridge has made it clear since the couple became engaged last November that his future wife would be given all possible support in being introduced to the demands placed on members of the royal family.

He was determined that the Duchess would not become isolated, in the way that his mother was, insisting that his wife's family should be welcomed into the fold rather than being "airbrushed" from public life.

The Duchess, 29, is understood to be dividing her time between London, where she is also meeting representatives of charities and good causes to decide which of them she would like to support, and the couple's home on Anglesey.

She is not expected to make any announcement on which charities she will patronise until the New Year. She is said to favour "project-based" support for individual campaigns rather than being tied down to a lifetime of support for a set number of charities.

Royal aides have kept the Duchess's official duties to around one engagement per month until the end of the year in order to give her time to get used to her new life. Next week the couple will open a new children's centre at the Royal Marsden cancer hospital in Sutton, Surrey, of which the Duke is president.

Away from her official duties, the Duchess is anxious to spend as much time as possible with her husband before his expected deployment to the Falkland Islands with his RAF squadron next year.

A source said: "Like any recently married couple, they attach huge importance to spending time together in the first few months of their married life."

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