In a letter to the Duchess, Mail on Sunday columnist Sarah Vine marks her milestone birthday with phrases of hard-won knowledge 

Sarah Vine offers the Duchess of Cambridge some advice

Sarah Vine presents the Duchess of Cambridge some recommendation 

 Forty, hey? The large 4-0. I keep in mind it properly. Humorous: on the time I felt so outdated. After all, now I’d give my proper knee substitute to be your age once more (solely joking: it’s only a spot of arthritis – Voltarol normally does the trick). However you realize what they are saying: you don’t know what you’ve received till it’s gone.

Forty. Arguably one of the best age for a lady. All of the loopy uncertainties of your 20s now distant reminiscences; these exhausting, frenetic 30s out of the way in which. The essential pillars of life – accomplice, youngsters, house, profession, hairdresser – roughly in place. Sufficiently old to be taken severely, to have an honest profession on the go, to have lastly learnt the best way to apply liquid eyeliner with out wanting like a two-year-old let free with a Sharpie; but nonetheless younger sufficient to show heads (and the way: that gold costume on the Bond premiere was a knockout) on an evening out.

Forty is the type of age once you’re not afraid to open brown envelopes in case you uncover you’ve by accident spent £300 on scented candles in a second of weak point in Diptyque. While you ebook your Ocado Christmas slot in September, once you keep in mind to place the garbage out the evening earlier than as a substitute of waking with a begin to the sound of the bin lorry disappearing across the nook. The age once you stack your dishwasher like a professional, once you cling up your garments earlier than you go to mattress, once you mysteriously discover you will have stamps in your purse, simply in case.

Forty: the age of accountability. But in addition of confidence. You recognize what fits you, you realize what you need, what you want, what you’ll and won’t put up with. You’re confident sufficient to face up for your self – or others – when folks overstep the mark. You don’t have time for individuals who allow you to down. Nor do you a lot thoughts in the event that they badmouth you to others. Your life is just too wealthy, too busy to essentially care. In the event that they’ve received an issue with you, that’s their loss. Allow them to cope with it.

Forty is when you may nonetheless take a look at your self within the mirror within the mornings and assume to your self, that’ll do. When the prospect of one other baby, or certainly a primary baby, shouldn’t be but out of the query. The menopause, with all its emotional and bodily upheaval, remains to be a very good decade away. Though I’d say it’s by no means too early to begin desirous about HRT.

It’s a world of comforting certainties – and but one that’s nonetheless filled with prospects. And that’s a really thrilling place to be. That mentioned, few girls get to the age of 40 fairly as sorted as you’re – or at the least appear, Kate. You’ve gotten grown into your position as mom, spouse and future queen with uncommon grace and magnificence. You’ve discovered your home on the planet in a method that few of us ever do. And also you’ve carried out it below some very tough circumstances. Anybody can see from the traumas of the previous few months that life within the Royal Household is way from straightforward. So many pressures, so many complicated feelings, so many seismic occasions. And on prime of that, as for all of us, the challenges of Covid. From the standpoint of an outsider, it appears to me you’ve met all these challenges with energy and maturity.

Not solely have you ever needed to be there to your husband William as he offers with the inevitable grief of shedding his grandfather, the added royal obligations and the not inconsiderable heartache attributable to his brother Harry, you’ve additionally had to ensure your three youngsters get all of the love and a spotlight they want – whereas on the similar time stepping up your individual position as a key Royal.

It has not gone unnoticed how over the previous 18 months you’ve change into the standout member of the youthful era of Royals, the one one who can at all times be relied on to say and do the precise factor, even below essentially the most tough of circumstances. You handle to be each a protected pair of arms and a showstopping, stardust presence. And that’s fairly a mixture.

So 40 is a spot to have a good time. And you’ve got a lot to sit up for, not least on the household entrance. Your youngsters are at that age once they begin to change into much less bodily demanding – sleepless nights, up at daybreak, countless vitality – and emotionally and intellectually extra fulfilling. Their particular person personalities, their likes and dislikes, their quirks will change into much more compelling. As a mom, I keep in mind loving this stage, when they’re sufficiently old to have correct conversations, but nonetheless younger sufficient to be in awe on the world round them – and of their mother and father. I at all times assume that if I might have one want it might be to have yet another day with my two once they had been aged six and 4. Treasure that point, as a result of it’s gone all too quickly.

But when I might provide one other phrase of recommendation, it might be to not overlook about you. It’s really easy, as girls, to change into swept up within the lives of these we love and nurture and to neglect our personal wants. As wives, moms, daughters we’re at all times someway on the very backside of our personal to-do lists – and it’s not a very good place to be.

I don’t know you in any respect, Kate, but it surely appears to me that you just’re a type of conscientious head-girl varieties who by no means likes to let anybody down. At all times fixing everybody else’s issues, at all times smoothing over the cracks. The sort who can at all times be relied on in a disaster. And whereas that’s a very good factor, it’s all too straightforward to get into the behavior in your 40s of placing your individual wellbeing to at least one facet: cancelling that pilates class as a result of one of many youngsters has a snotty nostril, suspending that physician’s appointment as a result of there simply aren’t sufficient hours within the day. However what it’s a must to keep in mind is that when everybody depends on you, you will have an obligation to maintain your self. As a result of if you happen to spring a leak, so to talk, the entire ship dangers sinking.

And that doesn’t simply imply taking care of bodily well being, however psychological well being too. It’s onerous for girls at one of the best of occasions to be taken severely past the home sphere. For somebody in your place, married to a prince of the realm, there’s a tendency for the world to see you as simply one other consort, simply one other wholly owned subsidiary of The Agency. However you owe it to your self to carve out an identification distinct from all that. One thing that’s yours, and yours alone – and that nobody can take away from you. Preserve going with the images: not solely are you good at it, it’s a non-public ardour that can function a reminder that you’re a lot greater than only a spouse and mom.

One closing piece of recommendation, if I could. Ladies of their 40s usually give in to temptation to exit and get smart, sensible haircuts. Don’t. You’ve gotten superior hair. Get William to purchase you a Dyson Airwrap as a substitute. In addition to that huge fortieth birthday diamond, after all.

Love, Sarah