Kate Middleton is gradually being introduced to her future role as Queen.

Queen Elizabeth II and her courtiers want to shield the Duchess of Cambridge from future scrutiny.

Unlike Diana, who married the heir to the throne, Kate married the second in line to the throne.

Kate will succeed Camilla as Queen Consort and assume additional royal duties.

Kate recently joined the Duke of Kent as co-president of Scouting, which may become her sole patronage.

Kate will become a more valuable resource as she learns more about her future role.

Kate has the Queen's confidence and support.

Kate's children are now in school, which gives her more time and freedom to take on new responsibilities.

Although the Queen may live another ten years, Kate's role as the heir's wife is expanding.