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When I was growing up, Princess Diana was the only princess that any girl my age dreamed of being. Sure Disney had their cartoon princesses, but Diana was the real thing: stunningly beautiful and statuesque, always making appearances at events in fancy gowns and jewel-encrusted tiaras. But as the “People’s Princess”, Princess Diana was more than that. Her warm heart shone through in every public appearance she made, and she made countless of them, most in the name of her beloved charities.

As I grew up, I was less interested in her exterior as a princess and more intrigued by the woman that had the gall to have an opinion and a mind of her own in a very traditional royal family. Sure she made mistakes (cheating on her husband Prince Charles) but she also endured her own heartbreak (finding that Prince Charles was in love and cheating on her with Camilla Parker-Bowles).

Princess Diana appealed to the masses on a personal level because she showed us that she was human and falliable like us all. Sadly, just when it seemed that she was settling into life as a newly divorced yet vibrant woman, the unthinkable happened. I often remember the moment when I found out she died, and later watching CNN cover the scene of the car crash that took her life. To be honest even now looking at all the pictures of her while preparing this post, I got a little teary-eyed. She truly was an inspiration and reminds me to do good unto the world but to not be afraid to pave your own path.

Princess Diana, the People's Princess

For this generation of young girls, there is a new royal on the scene to look up to: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (or Kate Middleton as she is most often known). She is the woman that “Kate-lovers” (bloggers and royalists who adore her and follow her every move) feel has set the world on fire but if I’m being truthful, I do not entirely agree. At this moment, Kate is more akin to the steady flame of a candle than to a bright spark that can light up everything around her as Princess Diana was.

In due time Kate will make her true mark, but for now she has stepped into her role as a princess as gracefully as Diana did but seemingly with more confidence and preparation. This is a woman who already knows who she is and is not about to change that, whereas Diana had to do all that growing up under the scruntinous spotlight of the paparazzi. Many find Kate to be without real substance because she appears so polished all of the time, while others defend her for being the epitome of grace under pressure.

Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate Middleton

Personally, I love that Kate is classy and graceful. She takes her role as a representative of the royal family seriously and it shows. But, even though she handles herself impeccably in public, I have a feeling that in private Kate is a woman not afraid to speak her mind, just as Princess Diana learned to do. After all, if you are going to marry a Prince and put yourself in the position to constantly be told what is the right thing to do and how to do it, you best have a bit of a backbone!

So how does she do it? How does Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge/Kate Middleton live classy but stay sassy? A few tips based on my research on the topic of Kate:

1. Know yourself. You are the only person who truly knows what your boundaries are, so take some time to set some when it comes to different parts of your life. One of Kate’s priorities is family and we all know how hard it is to please family members, especially during the holidays. She has broken the tradition of being present at multiple royal family engagements during Christmas to ensure she spends time with her family as well.

2. Hold your ground on the things that matter to you and don’t falter when the pressure is on. Sure, Kate could have tried to be the perfect daughter in law when it comes to family time, but she stood strong and now she’s created a new tradition for her soon-to be family for the holidays. This is something we can all relate to. With trying to juggle it all, sometimes you just have to say no or no, but __ (what you can do) if necessary.

3. Take some time to de-stress. Sure we can’t all afford a getaway to Mustique or the coast of France like Kate and Prince William do from time to time, but you can do other things to relieve stress like take a walk, go to yoga, have coffee with a friend, or do something that gives you joy. I love to spend Sundays leisurely blogging then making a delicious meal. That’s just me and how I truly relax and recharge myself for the week ahead. Find what works for you and make sure you set time aside to do this from time to time.

4. Give yourself grace when you make mistakes or let someone down. I often am harder on myself than I need to be when I have to break a commitment or have screwed something up, even though I know I am not perfect and never will be. We can’t do everything right all the time and sometimes this is a blessing in disguise. So when things don’t go exactly as planned, give yourself a break and don’t dwell on it. Move on to the next thing and try your best to do it well.

5. Life is short so do what you enjoy and spend time with the ones you love. Maybe not a lesson straight from Kate, but one that every classy and sassy lady needs to be reminded of once in a while!