Just one day after Queen Elizabeth died on September 8, the new King Charles III gave his first speech to the nation as monarch. In the broadcast, the King announced officially that his son Prince William and daughter-in-law Kate Middleton were now the Prince and Princess of Wales.
As William and Kate take on their new roles, a royal source tells PEOPLE the couple is focused on "deepening the trust and respect of the people of Wales over time."
"The Prince and Princess of Wales will approach their roles in the modest and humble way they've approached their work previously," the source adds.
The source says of Kate, "The new Princess of Wales appreciates the history associated with this role but will understandably want to look to the future as she creates her own path."
Charles served as Prince of Wales, the title traditionally associated with the heir to the British throne, for most of his life and had a special connection to the U.K. nation. But Kate and Prince William, both 40, also already have a strong relationship with Wales — in fact, it's where they lived as newlyweds and first-time parents!
JOHN STILLWELL/AFP via Getty Prince William in 2011
Prince William trained to become a helicopter pilot with the Royal Air Force's Search and Rescue Force, graduating from the Search and Rescue Training Unit at RAF Valley, Anglesey in Wales in 2010. According to Tatler, he was the first member of the royal family to live in Wales since King Henry VII in the 1400s.
Prince William and Kate announced their engagement in 2010, adding that they would continue to live in North Wales, where William worked as an air sea rescue pilot for the RAF.
Kate made her first official royal outing in Wales a few months later in February 2011. She joined William at the Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station, where she christened the new Hereford Endeavour lifeboat as William applauded his bride-to-be.
Chris Jackson/Getty Kate Middleton and Prince William in 2011
After the couple wed in April 2011, Wales was the setting for Prince William and Kate's life as newlyweds. It was also where they spent their first months as parents — they welcome their first child, Prince George, in July 2013.
Just a month after Prince George's arrival, Prince William made his first royal outing since becoming a father at the nearby Anglesey agricultural show, where he got a close-up look at birds of prey.
Chris Jackson/Getty Prince William in 2013
Also in August 2013, Kate stepped out for the first time since returning home from the hospital after George's birth to start the Ring O Fire Anglesey Coastal Ultra Marathon alongside William, not far from their Wales home.
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Although they relocated their home base to Kensington Palace in London — and then this past summer, to Windsor — as they grew to a family of five, Prince William and Kate returned to Wales often for royal engagements. Whether they were sampling ice cream (in February, no less!) or chatting with Cardiff University students over roasted marshmallows, the couple always left an impression.
Shahzeb Akhtar, an optometry student at Cardiff University who met Prince William and Kate in 2020, told PEOPLE, "They really bounce off each other well. They're a really friendly couple."
Alice Holloway, a law student, added, "They asked how the pandemic has impacted our wellbeing. From the start, they asked specific questions about how students are doing and what is being done on our behalf. The fact that they put the effort in on this issue helps lift it and be recognized that this is worth talking about."
Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/ Getty Prince William and Kate Middleton visit Wales in 2020
For Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee celebration weekend in June 2022, Kate and Prince William visited Cardiff with two very special guests: their eldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
The day was especially poignant for George, who is likely the next Prince of Wales, as the visit mirrored his father's first official trip to Wales when he was the same age. Back in March 1991, William joined his mother, Princess Diana, and father, Charles, in Cardiff. The excited crowds handed the young prince daffodils — the Welsh national flower — as he went on a walkabout outside Llandaff Cathedral.
Their appearance in Wales underlined one of the main objectives of the Jubilee weekend — to not only celebrate the Queen's 70-year reign but also stress the future and the succession of the monarchy.
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Just three days after Queen Elizabeth's death, Prince William spoke to the leading politician in Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford, in their first conversation since he and Kate were made Prince and Princess of Wales.
William said he and Kate have a "deep affection for Wales," as it was the setting for so many of their personal milestones.
During his conversation, William also vowed to serve the people of Wales "with humility and great respect."
Paul Ellis - WPA Pool/Getty Prince William and Kate Middleton visit Wales in 2019
William also spoke with Drakeford about how the couple is looking "forward to celebrating Wales's proud history and traditions, as well as a future that is full of promise. They will seek to live up to the proud contribution that members of the Royal family have made in years past."
William's call with Drakeford, who leads the Welsh Parliament or Senedd, followed the prince's first function as Prince of Wales — witnessing his father King Charles' solemn Accession and Declaration on September 10.
PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Kate Middleton and Prince William
Prince William and Kate visited Wales for the first time since becoming the Prince and Princess of Wales as soon as they could — on September 27, 2022, one day after the royal family's mourning period for Queen Elizabeth's death came to an end.
"He is throwing himself into the new role," Rev. Steven Bunting, who hosted the couple at St. Thomas's Church in Swansea, told PEOPLE. "The fact that they've come straight here on day one says it all."
Bunting added that Prince William shared that he is learning Welsh, practicing the phrases "paned" (a cup, such as of tea) and "bara brith" (traditional Welsh tea bread).
Geoff Pugh - WPA Pool/Getty Kate Middleton and Charlotte
Princess Catherine especially charmed the little ones, including 2-year-old Charlotte, who helped the royal fill a care package, and 4-year-old Theo Crompton, who excitedly presented her with a bouquet of flowers at the RNLI Holyhead Lifeboat Station.
"She was fabulous. The kids all loved her. She doesn't talk down to them and can have a conversation — and they appreciate that," said Rachel Bunting, the wife of the reverend and mother of Charlotte, who wore a traditional Welsh costume.