As Kate Middleton joined Queen Elizabeth on a recent drive to church near Balmoral castle in Scotland, she looked ready to get back to her royal duties — and ready to be a monarch herself. The Duchess of Cambridge, 36, wore a pair of diamond-and-pearl earrings borrowed from her grandmother-in-law that had been gifted to the Queen for her 1947 wedding by the ruler of Bahrain. Was it a signal that Kate is moving even closer to the throne? 

“Kate has already taken on some of the Queen’s patronages, like Wimbledon and Action for Children,” a royals insider exclusively told Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “She is starting to take up a lot of the Queen’s workload.”

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Kate’s schedule promises to be busier than ever this fall when her kids go back to school. Prince George, 5, “will settle into more structured courses,” said royals expert James McCourt; Princess Charlotte, 3, will return to preschool; and Prince Louis, 4 months, is about to start teething. 

In October, Kate’s maternity leave ends and she will resume her public responsibilities. But Kate is determined to “remain a hands-on mom,” said McCourt, and she’s becoming an expert at juggling work and family. “Being organized comes naturally to Kate,” the insider said. “Her biggest goal is to ensure that she fulfills all her duties as well as spending quality time with Charlotte, George, and Louis.”

Her first step is ensuring George settles back into school, and she’ll likely go with him on his first day. At Thomas’s Battersea day school, George will study math, science, and geography, and take “everything from swimming lessons to ballet,” McCourt told Closer. “Reading homework will be sent home every night,” he added, and Kate happily will help her son with his studies. “William and Kate always prioritize their relationship with family above public service,” said McCourt.

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To prepare for when her full-time royal commitments resume, Kate and Prince William, also 36, “have sat down together to discuss how they’ll balance parenting with their schedules,” the insider shared. It’s no small worry, because before having Louis, “Kate made three times as many appearances in 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.”

With so much on her agenda, Kate looks forward to downtime. To keep fit, she sometimes does “a simple workout at home,” McCourt said, and the insider added, she’s “become a huge yogi after being taught by Meghan [Markle],” her sister-in-law.

Kate’s most restorative time, though, is spent with William. “William and Kate have the occasional date night,” McCourt shared. The couple “enjoy activities together,” like skiing or spending the night cooking and watching movies. “This helps strengthen the bond between them,” he told Closer. Even when she returns to her royal duties, and after she and William step up to the throne, “it’s clear their relationship is built on a solid foundation,” said McCourt. “They are best of friends.”

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