Cathrine, Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton

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Kate Middleton is in hiding. Or at least that's what several websites are claiming after she opted out of being Prince William's date to a wedding last weekend. He ended up taking Pippa as his plus-one instead.

This is not the first time she's been AWOL, however.

Before she became the Duchess of Cambridge, she was a regular guest at the various society nuptials she was invited to. But ever since she co-starred in the Royal Wedding of the Century at Westminster Abbey in 2011, saying her I-dos in front of 2 billion people, she's been shying away from cake and toasts and choosing to stay home instead. Meanwhile, William has attended at least five weddings without his wife since they tied the knot.

Her supposed last-minute snub of yet another high-society wedding this past week has led to an unusually high level of angst among  royal watchers who are now questioning what could be behind her mysterious disappearance:

Could she be pregnant with baby No. 3? Chock that one up to wishful thinking.

Is it possible she's suffering from postnatal depression? Leave the woman alone, please.

Or is she, as one social media commenter put it, just really unfriendly and unsociable? And the answer to that one is, not likely. Almost everyone that has met Kate says she is as charming as can be!

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton

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So how about everyone just gives poor Kate a break?

Sure, she has perfect hair and a selection of tiaras to pick from in her wardrobe, but sometimes, I think we forget she's actually a real person who, just like us, has days where her mascara clumps and she accidentally spills tea down her designer dress. (That she's already worn three times, because she's awesome.)

William and Kate don't have an army of staff and instead make do with one nanny. They have chosen to try to give Prince George and Princess Charlotte as normal an upbringing as possible and as a result, life isn't always going to be easy.

Prince George, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton

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William's job as an air ambulance pilot means his shifts sometimes don't end until midnight. On top of that he has royal duties to fulfill (and they are plentiful, trust me). The balance of the two alter egos, as a royal and a civilian, is going to come in handy when he finally becomes king, because he will have a better understanding of the real world.

But that so-far successful balancing act also means he is very, very busy.

So life for Kate Middleton isn't all glitz and glam. Her mornings are not just spent trying to decide which designer Wellies she is going to wear to take Lupo for a walk. She's a mum of two kids under the age of 3, is married to a man who works long hours, and doesn't have a ton of help on hand. And she also has her own work commitments with her various charities and royal duties.  

Wow, she almost sounds normal when we describe her that way!

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

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But unlike regular folks, William and Kate are also having to come to terms with an alarming new reality in the form of some very serious security concerns.

Last week the palace took the unusual step of pleading with the public to behave themselves because the hunt for a pap photo of Prince George had gone too far. In the past, the royal family has tried to have a gentleman's agreement with the press; granting us some official access (photos on special occasions—birthdays, christenings, etc.) but in exchange have asked for a certain level of privacy. They want George and Princess Charlotte to be able to grow up as normally as possible, enjoying some freedom rather than being  imprisoned behind the palace walls.

Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte, Prince William, Christening

© Mario Testino / Art Partner

But now George has been exposed to danger. Someone crossed the line. And the demand for pictures is getting worse. I can't imagine the worry Kate must be feeling when the lengths people are going to is laid bare for us, with paparazzi said to be hiding in the trunk of their cars or trying to entice George on the playground by using other children to bring him closer. It would give any parent sleepless nights.

William and Kate might live in a palace (or two...) and have a ton of security around as well, but they also get death threats and a study showed that 40 percent of the "most persistent stalkers" in the U.K. are said to have an obsession with the royal family.  Now, the true lengths people have been going to to follow their little boy have been revealed—and it's only going to get worse once Charlotte gets older.

So who can blame Kate for not traveling the four hours in a car to attend a friend's wedding on the other side of the country? She missed someone's nuptials; it's not the biggest deal in the world. We can all be a little flaky from time to time when it comes to hanging out with our friends.

She also knows from previous experience, if she had attended, no one would have been focused on the beautiful bride as she walked down the aisle. So let's give Kate some space and allow her the freedom to be a normal person, so that she can cope with her family's unique challenges on her own terms.

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