Kate Middleton married Prince William at Westminster Abbey in 2011, she went
from commoner to the Duchess of Cambridge in mere moments. An
estimated two billion viewers around the globe were glued to their seats
and screens as the bride and groom recited their vows. Needless to say, it was
an exciting day for many.
the grand scheme of things, the duchess hasn’t been a part of the royal family
for very long — just seven years as of this writing. So, why does it feel like
much longer? A royal butler explained it to Express this way: “She was up
on that, dare I say it, royal way of life … She wasn’t a stranger to it, she
understood what she was expecting. It wasn’t second nature but it wasn’t
transforming into a member of the royal family isn’t for the faint of heart.
This is how Kate did it — and here’s why it wasn’t all that difficult for her.
A “chubby cheeked” baby with an
unconventional upbringing

a heavy snowfall on January 9, 1982, Michael and Carole Middleton welcomed
their first child, Catherine (later, “Kate”) Elizabeth Middleton at
the Royal Berkshire Hospital, according to the duchess’ biography, Kate: The
Future Queen, by royal expert Katie Nicholl. Carole’s friend and neighbor, a
woman known as George Brown, went to visit baby Kate a week after her birth.
She remarked, “Catherine was a lovely little baby, cherubic and chubby
cheeked and so good. I remember she didn’t cry much at all.” 
parents met when her mother was working as a British Airways flight attendant
and her father, who hailed from a wealthy British family, was a flight
dispatcher — “one of the best paid and most important management jobs at
the [Heathrow] airport,” according to Kate. 
months after Kate’s second birthday, and just eight months after Kate’s little
sister Pippa was born, Michael accepted a transfer to Amman, Jordan. And so,
the family of four made the trek from the U.K. to the Middle East.
An extraordinarily cultured preschooler

Middleton family would end up living in Amman for two and a half years. Since
Michael knew from the start that his transfer to the Middle East was temporary,
he and Carole arranged for Kate’s schooling well in advance. Robert Acheson,
headmaster of St. Andrew’s Pre-Preparatory School, explained in Kate: “I
first met them in 1983 before they went abroad. They had inquired about the
school and I sent a prospectus out.”  
education being of utmost importance to the Middletons, it’s unsurprising that
Kate’s parents enrolled her in the “most expensive nursery for 3- to
5-year-olds in the district” while living in Jordan. There she learned
through play, spoke Arabic, ate Jordanian foods, listened to passages from the
Koran, mastered table manners, and bonded with children of British, Japanese,
Jordanian, Indonesian, and American backgrounds. Great training for a future
world leader, wouldn’t you say?
A “one-hundred-m.p.h. girl”

the Middletons returned to the U.K., Kate was nearly five. “She was tall
for her age, with curly hair, bleached blonde from her years in the sun,”
expert Katie Nichol wrote in Kate. Our duchess, blonde?! It’s true. Back in
Britain, though, that color didn’t last long.
Michael and Carole had planned, they enrolled their oldest daughter at St.
Andrew’s, which was made possible, in large part, due to the Middleton trust
fund. According to the school’s headmaster, Kate dove right in to her studies.
The school focused on “pastoral care, playing, and making friends.”
They often went on field trips and learned how to care for living things — two
guinea pigs, to be exact. 
to St. Andrew’s sports instructor, Denise Allford, Kate loved “tearing
around the place” and “was a one-hundred-m.p.h. girl.”
Headmaster Robert Acheson also labeled Kate “a delight to teach right
from the start” and a student who “worked hard.” He attributed
much of her ethos to her parents, who he said worked “jolly hard” to
get Kate ready for school after returning from Jordan.
Did she skip right over her awkward tween

a video of 13-year-old Kate acting in the high school play The Murder in
the Red Barn proved, she must not have experienced those tween-to-teen
awkward years with which we’re all so familiar. With the exception of her dark
hair being fashioned into a bob, she looks remarkably similar to 2018 Kate.
And, even though she was dressed in character for the play, she still managed
to look fashionable in Victorian-style apparel.
even more interesting than the play itself was how similar it ended up being to
Kate’s real life. Well, you know, minus the murder… and the red barn. As
explained in the video description, Kate’s fellow classmate starred opposite
her as a fortune-teller. She can be heard telling Kate that her palm indicates
“love” and “riches.” The fortune-teller continued, saying,
“Soon you will meet a handsome man, a rich gentleman.” Not only that,
but he will fall in love with, marry, and “take [her] away” to
London. Oh, and his name? William. Spooky!
Passing through school mostly unnoticed

Bruce, daughter of the Earl of Cardigan, former classmate of Kate’s, and,
later, a star on The Voice, spoke with Hello! magazine about attending
school alongside the Middleton sisters. “They were such cool girls at
school and were both universally loved,” she dished, “Kate looks like
a glamorous film star these days, she was always incredibly beautiful — I’m a
big fan.” 
possessing various alluring traits, Kate wasn’t one to attract attention in
school. “She kept quite a low profile. She did nothing to draw attention
to herself. Very discreet,” Professor Peter Humfrey, who was head of the
art history department during Kate’s time at St. Andrew’s, told The Telegraph.
Although the professor admitted that such qualities don’t necessarily make for
“juicy anecdotes,” they would, instead, “stand her in good stead
in her future role.” In agreement with the professor’s opinion of Kate’s
unobtrusiveness, a classmate added: “You barely noticed her, she very
sweetly just slipped in and out of class.”
may have been unassuming back then, but oh how the tables have turned!
She still caught this prince’s eye

kept her head down in school, but that didn’t prevent Prince William from
noticing her. In an interview with the U.K. Press Association in 2010, William
and Kate divulged some of the details about meeting each other and their
eventual relationship “Well I actually think I went bright red when I met
you and sort of scuttled off, feeling very shy about meeting you,” she
said (via ABC News) in reference to her beau. Over time, the two became close
friends and even shared an apartment in college as flatmates before making the
decision to date.
what was it about Kate that initially caught Will’s eye? Was it the sheer
— super sheer — black dress Kate wore to the St. Andrews University fashion
show in 2002? According to Kate’s biography, yes. The prince “became
intrigued and interested in Kate in a new way.” As someone who really
never called attention to herself, the see-through ensemble was quite an
unexpected departure — and one that may have altered the course of history.
A varied career path and a secret love

it was the brief catwalk experience in college that sparked her interest in
fashion or not, Kate accepted a job in 2006 as an assistant accessories buyer
at Jigsaw, a British clothing company in London. At this point in time, she and
William were secretly dating, according to Kate’s biography. Though, it was a
pretty poorly kept secret thanks to the tabloids. 
Kate graduated in 2005 with a degree in art history, her biography states that
finding a job was difficult, in large part because it needed “to be
considered respectable by the royal family” while also enabling time off
without much notice. Before long, Kate decided to leave Jigsaw and study
portrait photography instead.
the college graduate’s path would lead to being a member of the royal family.
While you could argue that her educational background and work history are not
all that vital to her current position, she excels at incorporating art
history, photography, and, yes, even fashion into her work.
An eventual engagement

years of dating and one breakup, William and Kate finally got engaged in
November 2010. With their engagement also came the release of the couple’s
official portraits. It’s no surprise that Kate’s outfit of choice was stunning,
given her background in fashion and the help of creative director of the
clothing brand Issa, Daniella Helayel.
royal blue (we see what you did there, Kate) Issa wrap dress sold like hotcakes
after the pictures were revealed. However, it ended up being too much of a good
thing. According to NBC Today, Helayel decided to leave the label
after “experiencing an overwhelming demand for orders.” In March
2018, the designer once again chose to launch the iconic dress at House of
Fraser. While you can’t get it in Kate’s color, you can snag a version of the
dress in “melon” red for £29 (about $38) as of this writing.
did we know at the time of Kate’s engagement debut that her dramatic dress
would just be the beginning of her epic royal wardrobe.
The wedding dress we’re still not over

changes quickly, and yet, Kate’s wedding dress still looks as stunning as it
did in 2011. On her wedding day, the wedding dress designer was revealed to be
Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen — and dressing a duchess doesn’t come
cheap. CBS News estimated that it cost $434,000.
addition to looking every bit royal by wearing the Queen Mother’s tiara, a
bespoke French Chantilly lace gown, and two-foot veil, Kate herself sparkled.
After reportedly taking private lessons with London makeup artist Arabella
Preston, Mark Niemierko told People that Kate felt “comfortable and
confident in doing [her makeup] herself” — even on her big day. 
continued, saying, “The royals obviously do their own makeup for royal
engagements. Part of the whole protocol of learning to be royal is learning how
to do your own makeup!” Well, color us impressed. Who knew that was part of
the royal transformation?
A wardrobe fit for a duchess

the year 2017 alone, Kate completed over a hundred royal engagements — 63 at
home in the U.K. and 42 abroad. While she fulfilled the fewest engagements
compared to other members of the royal family, you can’t forget that, for part
of the year, she was a mother of two little ones, pregnant, and suffering
from hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness that put
her in the hospital during her first pregnancy.
2018, while still pregnant, she doubled the number of royal engagements she
took on in her first and second pregnancies, according to Town & Country.
This duchess can werk. Of course, attending public engagements also means,
well, being seen in public. With that comes the need for an extensive,
inoffensive — yet stylish — wardrobe. From her early duchess days to current
day, Kate manages to follow a strict royal dress code while still looking
effortless chic.
She’s not afraid to show her post-baby bump

may have seamlessly evolved into a modern goddess duchess, but that
doesn’t mean she hasn’t taken fashion risks. While some have criticized Kate
for playing it too safe with her royal wardrobe, she took a big leap for
fashion — and women — in summer 2013. 
long after delivering her first child, she stepped outside of the hospital
beside Prince William to show off the newest royal. Plainly visible was Kate’s
postpartum belly. Unlike what Hollywood would like us to believe, post-baby
bumps can take weeks or even months to shrink, Leslie Goldman, body image
expert, told Shape. Kate showed the world that it is totally normal — and
worthy of embracing — your post-pregnancy bod. “This is the first
celebrity-type new mom I can remember seeing with her post-baby bump so evident
and just out there for the whole world to see,” Goldman explained. Now
how’s that for taking risks?
Yes, she rewears outfits

Hollywood convinces us that wearing the same outfit more than once is somehow a
faux pas, Kate clearly couldn’t care less. At the end of 2017,
Insider compiled 34 ensembles Kate has recycled over the years and — from
outerwear to dresses to suits. The duchess has proved she’s 100 percent
comfortable donning the same fashion twice, thrice, or more. Kate may just like
to wear some frocks over and over again because she enjoys them, but she also
has a budget to keep in mind — albeit a larger one that most.
Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall income of $28 million, William, Harry,
Kate, and Meghan are allotted money to buy clothing for royal engagements. In
2017, $5 million of that paid for the expenses, including wardrobe costs,
incurred by the Queen’s grandchildren and grandchildren-in-law (sans Meghan).
Split three, and now four, ways, it’s not really as much money as it sounds to
attain such royal standards. Recycling clothes may just be necessary.
Regardless, the Duchess of Cambridge is the Queen of practical royal fashion.
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.