23 Photos Showing Kate Middleton’s Stunning Transformation Since Becoming a Royal
The college girl we once knew as Kate Middleton has evolved considerably in the nearly two decades during which we’ve been following her. Watch as we trace that evolution, year by year.
The look that launched…everything
Malcolm Clarke/Daily Mail/Shutterstock
The Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate Middleton, was once a college student at the University of Saint Andrews. She and Prince William were still “just friends” when Kate strutted down the catwalk of a university fashion show in this Charlotte Todd see-through number. The year was 2002, and as the story goes, this was the moment young Wills realized he was attracted to Miss Middleton. The two didn’t become an “item” until late 2003. Find out the difference between “Princess” and “Duchess.”
William’s girlfriend, Kate Middleton
In March 2004, Prince William and Kate Middleton went public with their romantic relationship (while skiing in Switzerland). In the early months of the relationship, Kate’s style was still that of a “typical college girl.” Here, she’s wearing a white “Wild Thing” t-shirt with a tight, low-slung thigh-grazing skirt, wide belt, and knee-high boots by designer Penelope Chilvers. Learn about what Kate did for work before becoming a royal.
Portrait of the Duchess as a young rugby fan
Let’s face it, this is not Her Royal Highness’s best look. But to be fair, let’s keep in mind that on this day in April 2005, she’s still a 23-year-old university student, taking in a game at Saint Andrew’s and chowing down on burgers with her gal pals. Catherine is so stunningly unguarded in this photograph, it seems clear she’s new to the routine of being photographed anywhere, everywhere, and at any time whatsoever.
Here, Kate is seen attending the June 5, 2005 wedding of Hugh Van Cutsem and Rose Astor, at which her then-boyfriend, Prince William, is an usher in the wedding party. Kate had not been invited to attend the wedding of William’s father, Prince Charles, to Camilla Parker Bowles earlier that year, so this could be seen as progress, not just in terms of the budding romance between the future Cambridges but also in terms of Kate’s style evolution. She’s elegantly dressed, albeit not nearly as put-together as she appears today. Here’s the sweet promise William made to Kate before their wedding.
Oops, she did it again
Two weeks after photographers capture Catherine’s elegant composure at the Astor Wedding, a wiley member of the paparazzi managed to snap this image of Catherine, her cleavage on display, her posture slack, and, well, let’s just say she’s “adjusting her seat.” (Hey we all do this.) It’s just that young Catherine hasn’t yet gotten accustomed to being hounded by photographers. Besides, who even has perfect posture 100 percent of the time? Well, Catherine, circa now, as we shall see. See the 13 funniest royal family moments in pictures.
Kate steps out in Uggs
In April 2006, Kate does some last-minute shopping before she and William head to Mustique for a holiday. She’s wearing a pair of soft and cozy Ugg boots, with her jeans tucked in, as was the fashion back then. Thirteen years later, she’s rarely, if ever, seen in such a seemingly unintentionally casual look. Find out the myths about the royal family that aren’t true.
“We were on a break”
It wasn’t the first time they’d split up (there’d been rumors of a brief split in late 2004), but Kate and William’s 2007 split was probably their most significant. Here, Kate’s seen partying in London in April 2007, shortly after the breakup made the news. By summertime, the two lovebirds had rekindled their romance.
A Topshop halter dress cut to “here”
On June 14, 2007, Miss Middleton attends a private party in Chelsea in a Topshop halter dress that shows quite a bit of skin. Topshop is a fun and trendy and ready-to-wear (read: not fancy, not expensive) London-based clothing store and Catherine appears to be continuing to enjoy the single life…except word has it she ane Prince William secretly got back together less than a week earlier. It seems the future Duchess is having her last bit of reckless fashion fun before tucking into the official royal life.
They’re an “official” royal item
By 2008, the relationship between Prince William and Kate Middleton was stronger than ever, and on June 16, she attended the Order of the Garter service at Windsor Castle, which is her very first official appearance at a formal royal event. Find out 12 times the royal family broke their own protocol.
Prada plus platforms
At the Charity Polo Match at Cirencester, Britain on June 7, 2009, which Kate attended with Prince William, Kate wears a casual outfit accessorized with a Prada handbag and platform shoes, upping her casual fashion quotient significantly from previous years. Today, here’s a possible trick behind how Kate manages to wear heels all the time.