Kate Middleton has been hailed as a "peacemaker," a "rock" for her husband Prince William, and a perfect future Queen Consort amid the royal family's fallout with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. A royal expert has now said that the Duchess of Cambridge should in fact thank Meghan for the surge in popularity she has achieved in this short while.

Royal expert Don Wootton started his Mail Online column by talking about Kate's fashion transformation at the recent "No Time to Die" premiere where she wowed everyone including "James Bond" star Daniel Craig in her plunging gold sequined gown. According to Wooton, the choice of her outfit itself reflected that the royal has come out of her shell with new-gained confidence.

"Gone was the conservative Sloane Ranger in dull outfits designed to keep her OFF the front pages and ensure she would never overshadow the Hollywood stars or other royals at whatever event she was attending. Welcome to the world Confident Catherine – an altogether new public figure, created by four years of toil, trauma and, yes, tiara tantrums," Wootton wrote.

"Friends and advisers of Kate believe the thoughtfully planned appearance at the highly anticipated new Bond movie is the culmination of a project designed to quietly elevate the princess from cautious wife to potential saviour of the monarchy," he added.

Wootton agrees with the perception that the Duchess will "soon be regarded as one of the most iconic women in the world – mature, graceful and every bit a future Queen, while still being daring and stylish when the occasion requires." However, he also holds a less-acknowledged opinion that her transformation into a royal "superstar" would not have been possible without her sister-in-law Meghan Markle.

"Kate, royal insiders insist, would never have had the confidence to make such a high-stakes appearance BM (that's Before Meghan). Her advisers had been trying unsuccessfully for some time to encourage the nervous Duchess to feel emboldened with her appearances and public work, but she preferred her husband to take the lead," the royal expert claimed, adding that the mother-of-three was convinced her role was that of a "loyal wife and doting mother" with a "no fuss, no drama" mantra.

Wootton said that those close to the 39-year-old also admit that the rivalry with Meghan is the reality of Kate's "butterfly-like" emergence. "Funny how a vicious and bitter rivalry with a sister-in-law trying to ruin it all can change everything," he exclaimed.

A senior royal insider told him about Kate's transformation, "She knew she was going to have to up her game – and she did. Now she's a royal Rockstar – everything Meghan should have been."

According to Wootton, the royal courtiers are now "smugly" enjoying Kate's emergence as an "unstoppable superstar" in the same week of the Sussexes' PR disaster due to their New York trip which has been criticised for their private jet trips and Meghan's fashion choices that were deemed inappropriate for the weather and event.

Meanwhile, a well-connected royal source said that there was a clear moment where an active decision was made to change Kate's look and attitude, after she acknowledged that Meghan had "changed the game and it was necessary for her to compete."

"That had already been going on between the Prince of Wales and his two sons for some time, but Catherine had never felt the need to get involved. She is the ultimate team player. But she soon became aware of how Meghan was trying to use the monarchy for her own personal gain and it helped Catherine understand the importance of the role she could play," the insider said.

The British royals
The British royals Photo: AFP / Paul ELLIS