Meghan Markle, Prince Harry Share Birthday Message for Kate Middleton After Stepping Back From Royal Duties

Kate Middleton celebrates her 38th birthday on Jan. 9, and the Duchess of Cambridge has been receiving plenty of well-wishes from fans and family alike. To celebrate Middleton's birthday, Kensington Palace released a photo of the duchess sitting on a fence, smiling at something off-camera and wearing a gray sweater over a collared gingham shirt and jeans.

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Thank you everyone for all your lovely messages on The Duchess of Cambridge’s birthday! Photo 📷 by @MattPorteous

A post shared by Kensington Palace (@kensingtonroyal) on

"Thank you everyone for all your lovely messages on The Duchess of Cambridge's birthday!" the Kensington Palace account shared alongside the snap, which was taken by photographer Matt Porteous and features Middleton in the same outfit she wore for her family's 2018 Christmas card.

The top comment on the post is from Sussex Royal, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Instagram account. "Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Cambridge today!" it reads along with a heart and cake emoji.

On Thursday, Middleton was photographed driving to her home at Kensington Palace, wearing a green puffer jacket as she sat behind the wheel of her car.

The Duchess of Cambridge's birthday comes one day after Harry and Markle announced that they plan to step back as senior members of the royal family.

"After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution," the couple shared in a statement on Instagram. "We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment."

"We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages," the statement continued. "This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support."

Photo Credit: Getty / Pool/Samir Hussein