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Exclusive: Former PM: William and Kate reinvigorated monarchy

By Max Foster, CNN Royal Correspondent
updated 5:29 PM EDT, Thu May 3, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former British PM impressed by young royals
  • John Major tells CNN: I think that Catherine has been faultless so far
  • He says Prince William is helping modernize the family's image

Editor's note:

London (CNN) -- The former British Prime Minister, Sir John Major, has credited the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine, with reinvigorating interest in the British monarchy.

Speaking about the couple's wedding last year he told CNN: "It was a truly lovely day and I think the whole world saw that. And of course, that helps."

Major also acted as a guardian for Prince William's interests after his mother died and maintains close links with the monarchy. In 2005 he was made a Knight of the Garter which is the highest honor the Queen can bestow.

Major told CNN: "People see that iconic figures -- whom they see only at a distance and they perhaps never meet -- have the same emotions, same feelings, the same cares, the same loves that they have in their own lives. I think the Royal Family has communicated that better in the last couple of decades than perhaps at any earlier time in our history and it has had an impact."

Major notes how Prince William in particular has helped modernize the family's image: "People are very happy with the way he has risen to the challenges he faced and I think even more than that, they see him as a very human individual and I think that is very important."

Getty Images photographer Chris Jackson talks to CNN about key images of Kate Middleton: "I was lucky enough to be positioned right outside the front of Westminster Abbey. I was seriously nervous. I had to get this picture. As they came out the front door, the crowd roared and I was just shooting away and you literally only had a matter of minutes, if that." Getty Images photographer Chris Jackson talks to CNN about key images of Kate Middleton: "I was lucky enough to be positioned right outside the front of Westminster Abbey. I was seriously nervous. I had to get this picture. As they came out the front door, the crowd roared and I was just shooting away and you literally only had a matter of minutes, if that."
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Royal photographer\'s year with a duchess Royal photographer's year with a duchess
The newest addition of the British royal family, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, celebrates her first wedding anniversary with Prince William of Wales, Duke of Cambridge, this weekend. She's been on the move since her marriage, including playing field hockey with the British team in London on March 15. The newest addition of the British royal family, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, celebrates her first wedding anniversary with Prince William of Wales, Duke of Cambridge, this weekend. She's been on the move since her marriage, including playing field hockey with the British team in London on March 15.
Sisters on the move
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Photos: Kate and Pippa: Sisters on the move Photos: Kate and Pippa: Sisters on the move

William is a search and rescue pilot for the Royal Air Force and must decide soon if he wants to stay on in the service for another three years.

"I think his service career is something that matters a very great deal to him, as it does to Prince Harry. So I think he is well aware of the responsibilities that lie ahead but there's a greater freedom these days for members of the Royal Family to pursue their own lives than perhaps there has been sometimes in the past and in the case of Prince William, he's pursuing that in terms of his military career," Major said.

And what of the newest addition to the royal family?

"I think that Catherine has been faultless so far and I think the whole world has seen that," says Major.

A royal source told CNN last month that Queen Elizabeth II has given the Duchess of Cambridge a lot of time as she settles in to the family.

Major adds: "Of course she wants her grandson and her grandson's wife to be successful and of course she offers help and they'd be foolish not to take it. Now plainly, one can, even looking from the outside, see what a good relationship actually exists there and one forgets sometimes."

The former prime minister says the Catherine has handled the pressure of her high profile brilliantly.

"It isn't easy -- suddenly to find yourself the focus of world attention, to find whatever you do is the subject of publicity, whatever you wear is the subject of comment. It's not easy at all. It's a tremendous imposition suddenly. It takes a lot to get used to but she has very good advice and I think she has handled it as well as it could possibly have been handled."

When I asked the former prime minister if she was a natural, her replied: "Oh I think she's a natural. Don't you?"

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