Who Will Be Kate Middleton's Lady-in-Waiting?

03/01/2011 at 12:00 PM EST

Kate Middleton's sister Pippa to be her lady-in-waiting?
Pippa (left) and Kate Middleton
Richard Young/REX USA
Kate Middleton is getting more than just a husband on April 29 – she'll also be gaining a right hand woman: the traditional lady-in-waiting.

The role of lady-in-waiting usually goes to a friend or relative, and while speculation suggests that Kate's sister Pippa would be a prime choice, she may not officially take on the role just yet.

"Diana didn't use her sisters until years into the job," royal watcher and author Judy Wade tells PEOPLE. "Up until then she had someone who was steeped in the royal background, and Kate might do the same. If Pippa does do it, it will likely be on a part-time basis."

So who might this royal-steeped lady be?



Lately, Kate's been getting help from Helen Asprey, an assistant in Prince William and Prince Harry's office who was on hand for Kate's first joint engagements with William in Anglesey and St. Andrews last week.

While Kate got down to the business of royal duty, Helen played the role of all-around helper, carrying flowers that people handed to Kate and attending to whatever needs the future princess may have had.

So could Helen – or another royal employee – be one to take on the role? It's a possibility. "She is already working in the office," says Wade. "And she's obviously a close ally."

But if Kate should employ the help of her sister Pippa down the line, she'd be in good company: In addition to Diana, Prince William's stepmother Camilla also enlisted her sister's help when she joined the royal family.

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