Kate Middleton and Prince William: A look at their 2020 highlights
The Duchess of Cambridge’s birthday is this week and she is celebrating her 39th. The mother of three will be spending the day in lockdown, after new England-wide restrictions came into force. Kate is one of the most popular members of the Royal Family and has been married to Prince William for nearly a decade.
She has worked hard in carving out a role for herself, but it was not always easy.
This once involved having to send a very awkward email to her friends asking them to call her ‘Catherine’ instead of Kate.
Columnist Adam Helliker reported exclusively for the Sunday Express at the time that Kate had made the request, as many expected Prince William was about to propose to his long-term girlfriend.
She appeared to be integrating with the Royal Family, after she attended his RAF graduation and went to a royal wedding in his place.
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Kate asked her friends to start calling her Catherine
Prince William with Kate at his RAF graduation in 2008
Amid all the speculation, Kate appeared to be preparing for her future role.
Mr Helliker wrote: “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.
“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’.”
Kate and Harry laugh together at Order of the Garter procession in 2008
The 2008 email request, according to royal expert Daniela Elser, was “gentle” and “very jokey”, despite its awkward nature.
However, her friends were reportedly a little taken aback.
One commented that Kate must have suddenly realised that, if things carried on as they were, she will be Queen one day.
They told Mr Helliker: “Everyone knows it’s about to happen with Kate and William, but we were a little surprised about the request to call her Catherine.
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Kate met William at St Andrews University
“There is a distinct feeling she has started to become very aware of her position.”
According to Mr Helliker, the now-Duchess of Cambridge went by Catherine at Marlborough College but it was shortened to Kate when she started at St Andrews.
Kate and William first met at university and started dating while they were there, so he likely called her Kate like everyone else.
However, it is often viewed as more “dignified” and therefore more “royal” to be known by your full name.
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This is likely why the Duchess tried to change her image.
Prince Charles’ press secretary Paddy Harverson denied the report, but royal biographer Robert Jobson claimed Mr Helliker stood by his story and his sources.
To this day, William always refers to his wife as Catherine in public, although most of the general public still refer to her as Kate.
However, William’s proposal did not come as quickly as everyone seemed to think and actually waited another two years before he popped the question.
Kate and William at Christmas 2020 with their three children
They announced their engagement in November 2010 and the future Duchess styled herself as Catherine throughout their wedding preparations and in the ceremony in 2011.
According to royal correspondent Rebecca English, journalists were encouraged by the Palace to call the bride Catherine.
However, the shortened name Kate appears to have stuck.
Ms English said: “I think they thought it was more formal, more dignified, more royal.
“And to be fair, it is the name her family refers to her. Needless to say, though, they were pretty much ignored.”