With developments such as the recent rumor that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are planning to move to Canada and relinquish their titles, the future of he British Royal Family has never been in greater doubt.
Despite all the uncertainty, however, Prince William will almost certainly be crowned king at some point -- and it seems that Kate Middleton is already hard at work preparing for her future role as one of the world's most high-profile diplomats.
Kate turns 38 tomorrow, and it seems that as her kids get older, and she enjoys more free time for travel and other pursuits, the Duchess of Cambridge has decided to devote her upcoming years to mastering her future duties as queen consort.
There are rumors, of course, that this re-invigorated sense of purpose is the result of Kate's ongoing feud with Meghan.
After all, Meghan has toured Africa and North America in the past six months, while Kate has scarcely left London during that same period.
Duchesses are not required to travel, of course, but for some, this disparity created the appearance that Meghan was more devoted to her philanthropic pursuits than Kate.
Certain sketchy media outlets ran with that narrative, but it seems that Kate's recent efforts to bolster her public image have little to do with her feelings toward Meghan and much to do with the fact that the future is closing in.
"I believe the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s position will continue to evolve, with them resembling more of a new-look Charles and Diana in their hugely successful early days on the world stage, becoming a major force in the UK’s soft-power diplomacy," historian and royal expert Robert Jobson recently told the Daily Mail.
Jobson believes that while there's no reason to doubt the health and longevity of either the Queen Elizabeth or her son, Prince Charles, who is next in line for the throne, Will and Kate are very eager to prepare for the demands of life on the throne.
He adds that we can expect to see more globe-trotting from Harry and Meghan, as well.
"I would expect them to spend more time in the US and maybe make an official visit to Canada," says Jobson.
Meanwhile, Jobson says, Charles and Camilla will also be traveling more, as Charles begins taking on his mother's duties as a sort of unofficial king recent.
"I would expect them to spend more time in the US and maybe make an official visit to Canada," he predicted.
As for Kate, her preparations involve more than simply taking on a more hectic travel schedule.
According to a new report from The Sun, Kate is spending with a new group of friends these days, and while few of them have met the Queen, it seems they're all the type who would earn her approval.
There's Zoe Warren, daughter of the Queen's racing manager (and we all know how serious Elizabeth is about her horses); teacher and Anmer Hall resident Sophie Carter; and Hannah Carter, wife of a wealthy Norfolk "landowner."
Some Kate has known for years, others are new additions to her inner circle.
Following last year's scandal in which Prince William allegedly cheated on Kate with her longtime friend Rose Hanbury, the Duchess has mostly distanced herself from the hedonistic Norfolk crowd, but a few survived this latest round of cuts.
We're sure Elizabeth appreciates Kate's latest efforts to adopt a more queenly lifestyle -- even though Will's wife will never really be queen.