Happy birthday, Kate Middleton!
Thursday marked the Duchess of Cambridge's 38th birthday and she received quite the fanfare from the royal family. In a special shout-out from the official Royal Family account, which posted a series of pictures of Kate and Queen Elizabeth II together over the years, Her Majesty sent her well wishes: "Wishing The Duchess of Cambridge a very Happy Birthday!"
Kate also got a sweet birthday wish from the Kensington Palace Instagram account. Sharing a stunning portrait of the mom of four dressed casually in a sweater and jeans while taking in the beauty of nature, the post read, "Thank you everyone for all your lovely messages on The Duchess of Cambridge's birthday!"
In-laws Meghan Markle and Prince Harry also chimed in with a message of their own, leaving the b-day girl a comment from the official Sussex Royal account saying, "Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Cambridge today!"
Their comment comes one day after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that they were stepping back from their royal duties, a decision that blindsided the royal family. Once news broke of their shocking decision, BBC News reported that Meghan and Harry never informed Buckingham Palace, Prince Charles or Prince William of their plans to make their announcement, which according to a spokesperson for the palace, left the Queen feeling "disappointed."
As per their statement, Meghan and Harry will "carve out a progressive new role within this institution" while "continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen" and working "to become financially independent."
Being that this is an unprecedented move for the royal family, there's no telling what the future will bring. "We do not know how this will play out in the next months, the next few years," a royal expert told E! News. But as their statement stressed, Meghan and Harry intend to maintain a positive relationship with the royal family.
"We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties," the couple said in their statement. "Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support."
In addition to establishing a new identity for themselves and kick-starting their new Sussex Royal charity initiative, Meghan and Harry also announced that they and 8-month-old son Archie Harrison will be spending more time across the pond.
"We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages," the statement continued. "This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity."