A look back at royals as they hit the big 3-0

No one is saying that your 30th birthday marks the end of an era, but it definitely may the beginning of the end of the era.

As Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge turns the corner toward a fourth decade on Monday (a "low-key" affair, the palace says) we look back at some of the images of other royals as they hit 30.

We'll start with the matriarchs of the current generation: Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mum) in 1930, with her 4-year-old daughter and future Queen Elizabeth. On the right, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II done by Pietro Annigoni in 1956. By this time, the Queen was marking her third year on the throne and had two children (Charles and Anne).

Queen elizabeth 1930 with princess elizabeth Annigoni Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II 1956












Below, here are two royal beauties that were the regal sex symbols of their day. By 1959, 30-year-old Grace Kelly had already led a pretty full life, having conquered Hollywood with her movie roles and then capturing Prince Rainier's heart to become Princess of Monaco in 1956. Right, Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth's sister, was a well known London socialite at 30. The year she turned 30 -- 1960 -- she also married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, a marriage that ended in 1978.

Grace kelly 1959 Princess margaret 1960















For better or worse, Princess Diana (below left), is the yardstick by which Kate Middleton is often measured. The big difference, though, is that Kate is still a royal rookie at age 30. By the time Diana turned 30 -- July 1, 1991 -- she had been married 10 years, had two boys, and was in the final death spiral of her marriage to Charles. Here princess contemporary at the time, Sarah Ferguson (below right), was still enjoying her royal life at the age of 30 (1989) and was the new darling of the media for her sometimes cavalier approach to royal life.

Princess diana 1981 oct. canada Sarah Ferguson 1989















 Finally, some photos of non-UK royals. Queen Rania of Jordan, left, married Abdullah II of Jordan in 1993, when she was 23. By the time she celebrated her 30th in 2000, she had three children and had begun her public service work with the Jordan River Foundation. Over in Spain, Princess Letizia turned 30 in 2002, when she was still just the girlfriend of Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish throne. Her first marriage, in 1998, ended in divorce after a year.

Jordan's Queen Rania 2000 Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and his fiancee Letizia Ortiz 2004









How will Kate fare in her 30th year? It will be hard to top her 29th year, as her emergence on the world stage -- both as a royal and as a style icon -- has been an unqualified success. The education of Kate will continue, there are those who see a 'forever young' quality about the Duchess. Perhaps the poet Robert Frost was right: "Time and Tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of thirty."




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re "some photos of non-UK royals." earlier image of Miss Kelly, aka Monaco royal is also "non-UK".
As Wife-of George VI, mother of "Lillibet", the role of Queen Mother is a quarter century in the future when when she is Widow-of and Dowager Queen (mother of a living monarch). Lots of years when she known without the reference to the future.

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