How kate middleton and meghan markle are tackling royal life differently and on their own terms e! news

"When Prince William announced that he was marrying Catherine Middleton there were a lot of raised eyebrows at the palace," Prince Charles’ former press secretary Colleen Harris admitted to People. "People were quite shocked that he was marrying what they would call a commoner, an ordinary middle-class girl with no background in royalty or aristocracy. People then sort of thought, an ordinary person can grow up and marry into the royal family….How exciting!"

She’s certainly adapted to the role. Knowing what’s expected of the wife of a presumed future king, Kate is careful not to step one L.K. Bennett-clad toe out of line. She accessorizes her modest hems and feminine frocks with $7 John Lewis Barely-There Non-Slip pantyhose and has perfected the so-called ankle-crossing duchess slant.

And when she shares details of her personal life, they’re generally of the I-love-being-a-mom variety, like when she penned a letter for Children’s Hospice Week proclaiming, "Spending quality time together is such an important aspect of family life and for me, as a mother, it is the simple family moments like playing outside together that I cherish."

"Kate is hugely dutiful," royal biographer and Majesty editor Ingrid Seward noted to People, "but she is quite strong and leading the way behind the scenes." So while she may not be declaring herself a proud feminist on the official British monarchy website or shutting down the notion that women need assistance in finding their voice and causes they care about, she is quietly doing her part to gently steer the aristocracy in a more modern direction.

"I have found her incredibly wise," Lorraine Heggessey, CEO of the Royal Foundation told People, revealing it was the University of St. Andrews grad that suggested the family’s organization hone in on mental health issues. (Of key importance to her, per her website bio: "supporting the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children, the impact of addiction on children and families, and the necessary measures to support children suffering from family breakdown.") While Kate "is not somebody who pushes herself forward," said Heggessey, "she is very confident in her views. She often spots the nub of the issue or a critical thing that needs dealing with."

Expect her to provide a similar boost to the patronages she chooses as well. The charity cookbook she supported as her first royal project is already a bestseller, she makes waves simply by shutting a car door and should one wonder about the effect she has on fellow Brits they need look no further than yesterday’s trip to Sussex where she was heartily embraced by an adoring fan.

With all eyes trained on her, the UN Women’s Advocate is carefully considering which causes to champion. "She’s interested in getting involved in youth-focused charities, which can incorporate a broad spectrum of her interests," an insider tells E! News. Of utmost importance are those that focus on female empowerment, Royal Foundation CEO Heggessey told People: "She’s a very smart woman, and I think she will find her royal voice in a way that suits her personality."

Sources predict that much like her late mother-in-law Princess Diana she will hone in on just a select few charities. "Diana put in so much time with the organizations she worked with," a source told Us Weekly of her dedication to just six charities. (By contrast, Kate lists 14 patronages on her official website.) For Meghan, predicts another insider, "it will be the same thing as Diana—more time with smaller organizations that she can truly help grow and that she can grow with at the same time." (On that list: the Diana Award, an organization that strives to continue the princess’ legacy with the help of mentoring programs and anti-bullying initiatives.)