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What Will Kate Middleton Do When She's a Princess?

Kate Middleton, Prince William Chris Jackson/Getty Images
William & Kate's Royal Wedding

What exactly is Kate Middleton expected to do once she marries Prince William?
—Aud T., via the inbox

You mean besides popping out rosy-cheeked, duty-minded male heirs to show up at the polo grounds in dandy top hats? Plenty, mate, plenty. And by plenty, I mean...

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Trips. Lots and lots of trips.

"When you marry the heir to the throne, the first thing that happens is you take on a level of civic responsibility," says MSNBC journalist and royals expert Martin Bashir.

"You represent the queen on a number of trips" around greater Britain, including, of course, Scotland, Ireland and other bonny sods. (Catch that photo of Will and Kate christening a new lifeboat in February? I think Kate wore turkey feathers. Anyway, that sort of jape.)

The travel won't end there.

Let's not forget the Commonwealth, that collection of 54 nations that regards the British Queen as its symbolic leader. We're talking lands ranging from Canada to India, from Papua New Guinea to Nuaru. They're all countries that would love, just love, to host a visiting princess, for the prestige, and also just for plain old PR.

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Closer to home, Middleton also will be expected to act as a sort of booster. British political leaders often visit foreign countries with ceremonial figures in tow for added flash and glam. Middleton will surely provide at least some of said flash and glam when Downing Street needs some help dazzling another country.

"The burden is actually enormous," Bashir tells me.

And lastly, there's the charity element. The Queen herself supports—no joke—more than 200 charities.

"Each member of the royal family is expect to take responsibility in a number of those charities," or charities of their own choice, Bashir explains.

How best to support those charities? Raising money and awareness, of course! Which equals...

You guessed it. More trips.

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