Duchess Kate Middleton is a beloved member of the British royal family. However, her path to royal life has been a winding road. The duchess met Prince William during her freshman year at St. Andrews University in 2001. The duo dated on and off for a decade before marrying in April of 2011.
Still, it was certainly a journey worth traveling. Despite a few hiccups and scandals here and there, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge seem very happy. Unlike her sister-in-law, Duchess Meghan Markle, Middleton has been able to ease into royal life and gain acceptance from the British public and press.
Kate Middleton and Prince William made a marriage pact
After reuniting in 2007 after breaking up for the second time, Middleton and Prince William made a marriage pact. The press had been relentless about their lack of engagement, even dubbing the duchess, “Waity Katy.” Since their pact to marry when they were truly ready was a secret, it did not ease the concerns of the press, public, or Middleton’s family.
Royal expert Katie Nicholl told Vanity Fair, “I know that it was the Christmas of 2009 when [Kate’s mother] Carole was getting quite concerned. Kate was nearing 30, there was still no ring on her finger.” Thankfully the prince popped the question during a vacation in Kenya in the fall of 2010 and the pair wed less than a year later.
Though they aren’t exactly stuffy– the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a more old-fashion approach to royal life. It’s something Middleton expected when she married the future Crowned King. “She knows the importance of the institution and her role to play,” an insider told People. “She knows that being a member of the royal family is a bit like having a contract, you sign on the dotted line and you deliver Kate is in her element right now, she’s really stuck at it and persevered with what she believes in.”
In fact, when the duchess first got engaged to Prince William her analysis of what it meant to be a member of the British royal family was even more rigid then it is now. Royal commentator Rupert Bell explained, “In a way, Kate is a traditional, English rose as it were.”
Kate Middleton tried to change her image before marrying Prince William
Back in 2008, after reuniting with the prince for the second time, the duchess began to analyze her image. She sent out an email to her close friends with a rather awkward request. Columnist Adam Helliker told Sunday Express, that in the email, Middleton asked her friends to stop calling her Kate. Instead, she wanted to be called by her formal name, Catherine.
“With Prince William’s engagement now a surefire certainty (even Ladbrokes has stopped taking bets on whether it will happen after a flurry of well-placed wagers) there are intriguing signs that Kate Middleton is preparing for her future role,” Helliker explained. “It looks like she’s taking it very seriously indeed too. I hear that in the past few weeks the former accessories buyer has quietly informed friends that she would like to drop the informal ‘Kate’ and in future wishes to be known by her full name: ‘Catherine.’”
Though her she was kind and joking in her request, her shorten moniker “Kate” is what’s stuck. However, Prince William does refer to his wife as Catherine when they’re in public.