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Four Decades Around The Sun: Kate Middleton’s Royal Journey and milestones as she Clocks 40

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Kate Middleton’s journey as a royal bride has not been without stitches, but the Duchess manages to waltz through it seamlessly, one milestone at a time.

The Duchess of Cambridge and future Queen Consort has taken center stage in the royal family in the last decade as one of the most talked-about British royals in the media.

Yet, marrying into the most powerful institution in the world has in no way dampened the royal mom’s spirit. Like Princess Diana before her, and earlier generations of royal brides, adapting to life as a royal has been no easy task. 

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Neither is becoming wholesomely accepted as part of the fold. But the Duchess seems to be making headway in both aspects, scaling impressive royal milestones while at it.

The latest in her list of big moments since becoming a royal was her fortieth birthday, which saw three of Middleton’s portraits approved for addition to the National Portrait Gallery beside other iconic figures.

In honor of this latest milestone, let’s take a look at Kate Middleton’s royal journey since crossing paths with the Duke of Cambridge and England’s future king.

William’s Girlfriend Makes Headlines

Kate Middleton met her future prince years back, while the two were studying together at St. Andrews College in Scotland. The duo began dating secretly in 2003 and managed to keep things under wraps for months while carefully avoiding the paparazzi.

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But one can only be so careful. Once, the young lovers decided to take a skiing trip to the Swiss Alps and have a romantic day canoodling on the slopes. Days later, the media was flooded with news of William finally getting a girlfriend.

It turned out their private trip couldn’t elude the watchful lens of the paparazzi. And just like that, the young St. Andrews female student shot into the spotlights overnight.

The Engagement

Prince William and Kate Middleton | Image: Pinterest
Image: Pinterest

After almost ten years together, Prince William made Middleton his wife-to-be. The Duke of Cambridge popped the big question in Kenya in October 2010. A month later, they announced their engagement to the world in a public statement.

After news of their engagement went public, Tom Bradby had an interview with the couple, drilling them about their impending marriage. 

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Middleton admitted that she didn’t know the ropes, but was willing to learn quickly and work hard, under the tutelage of William. The future princess has certainly stayed true to those words which marked one of her first public speeches.

A Taste Of Royalty

Middleton landed her first royal engagement months before her royal wedding to William. The future princess accompanied William to Trearddur Bay RNLI Lifeboat Station for a naming ceremony and service of dedication for the Atlantic 85 Lifeboat Hereford Endeavor.

Joining The Institution And Becoming Duchess

Kate Middleton's royal wedding | Image : Pinterest
Image : Pinterest

Five months after announcing their engagement, Kate Middleton became Prince William’s wife, following their royal wedding on April 29, 2011.

The grand nuptials took place at Westminster Abbey and was witnessed by millions of people across the globe, either physically or through live broadcast.

For the occasion, the new bride donned a flowing Alexander McQueen wedding gown with mesh-net long sleeves and a long bridal train. What Kate Middleton wore at her wedding would go on to birth a new trend in the world of fashion.

Their marriage earned the pair the title of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which represented the first title conferred on the newly-inducted senior royal.

Middleton’s First Royal Tour

Following a brief honeymoon phase, Kate Middleton was ready to take on the mantle and embrace her role as the future queen. Ultimately, she resumed her duties in earnest, kicking off her first royal tour on June 30, 2011.

The official engagement saw the duchess storm North America on a ten-day tour. Her presence attracted about half a million people to Parliament Hill in Ottawa in celebration of Canada Day.

Middleton, accompanied by her prince charming, proved herself a people’s princess, participating in all activities at the event. The couple also visited Los Angeles to attend a star-studded BAFTA event.

Becoming A Royal Mom

Motherhood has been a major highlight of Kate Middleton’s life. The icon first embraced the journey in 2013, when she and her husband welcomed their first son and someday-King, Prince George.

The royal went on to have two more kids, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, with the Duke of Cambridge.

Heading Events Together

Partnering up with her husband, William, and his brother, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton geared off a campaign to create mental health awareness.

Through the initiative, dubbed Heads Together, the trio made great strides in that area of focus, calling the world’s attention to the stigmatized condition.

William credits his wife with coming up with the idea, which has since proven effective, reducing the suicide rate across England.

Putting Her Arts Degree To Use

Kate Middleton visited National Portrait Gallery to see ‘Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography | Image: Pinterest

While her first solo engagement was the opening of the Lucian Freud Portraits exhibition, the Duchess soon landed the chance to put her own works on display.

Middleton curated her first exhibition, “Victorian Giants: The Birth Of Art Photography,” at the National Portrait Gallery in 2018.

Six years earlier, the royal mother of three was named Patron of the National Portrait Gallery along with four other charities announced by St. James’ Palace in January 2012. Today, she serves as a patron to seven patronages.

Christened A Dame

Kate Middleton | image: Pinterest
Image: Pinterest

In recognition of the Duchess’ work and resilience within the royal family, the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed her a coveted title on her eighth wedding anniversary to William.

The duchess earned the distinction of Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, a renowned symbol of internal support and respect.

Hold Still Project

At the Height of the Pandemic, Middleton proved herself a Queen in the making when she gave millions of UK citizens and the world a reason to hope.

The 40-year-old launched a project, “Hold Still” in 2020 which saw thousands of people submitting symbolic photos that best describe their lives during the pandemic.

She selected 100 iconic ones and made it into a coffee table book, “Hold Still: A Portrait Of Our Nation,” leaving copies at strategic points across the nation.

The Royal Foundation Center

Kate Middleton reached another tipping point in her royal journey in June 2021, when she created the Royal Foundation Center For Early Childhood.

The initiative focuses on children’s mental health and was inspired by the duchess’s experiences and encounters during her early years.

Steps Towards A Royal Future

Kate Middleton’s royal journey, while filled with positive occurrences, also came with its downsides. But the royal’s ability to surmount those undesirable situations and embrace the noble ones is what makes her stand out among her counterparts.

Notably, the icon has two more milestones to scale, which the world still anticipates. The first would be her assumption of the title of Princess of Wales, a title that has remained dormant since Princess Diana’s death.

Kate Middleton playing the piano during the "Royal Carols - Together At Christmas" | Image: Pinterest
Image: Pinterest

She is set to inherit the title once her father-in-law, Prince Charles becomes the King of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

Luckily, Kate Middleton has gained a wealth of experiences in her royal journey to prepare her for the upcoming milestone, ultimately easing her into the future role of Queen consort.

Having glided through life, from a shy family girl to a Queen in the making, nothing in her royal course could prove too difficult for Middleton to handle.

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