Kate Middleton: her life in pictures
To mark the Duchess of Cambridge’s landmark birthday today, we’ve gathered a history of her life in photographs. From her baby Polaroids to snaps of family and friends, they give an intimate portrait of our future Queen
1982 Special delivery Fifteen days after giving birth at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, Carole Middleton cradles her firstborn in the bedroom of the family home in Bradfield Southend on 24 January
1985 In the ascendant wrapped in a stripy jumper, her hair in bunches, Kate, aged three and a half, tries a spot of fell climbing during a family holiday in the Lake District
1986 Ancient history when flight dispatcher Michael Middleton was posted to Jordan, he took his family with him. Kate (aged, four, left, with younger sister Pippa) spent two years at the Assahera nursery school in Amman
1987 Model behaviour After returning to Britain and giving birth to son James, Carole Middleton set up Party Pieces, which made goody bags for children’s parties. Both Kate, aged five, and Pippa modelled for the catalogue
1988 Good sport Kate’s first school photo, aged six, at St Andrew’s prep school in Pangbourne, Berkshire, where she excelled at sport, breaking the school record in her age group for high jump
1990 Badge of honour At the age of eight, Kate enrols in the 1st St Andrew’s Brownies pack, which held its meetings in the local church hall. She and Pippa went on a pack holiday to Macaroni Wood, in the Cotswolds, where she got her toymaker and house orderly badges
1991 Team player The Duchess of Cambridge returned to St Andrew’s in 2012 to open a new hockey pitch. Kate had captained the school’s under-12/13 hockey team (centre), played for the under-13 netball team and was the highest scorer of the season in the under-12/13 rounders team
2004 Suited and booted A laughing Kate, now 22, poses for photographers at Blenheim Palace during the summer holidays before her final year at St Andrews. Wearing a tweed miniskirt, matching coat and leather boots, she presented a modern twist on the Royals’ favourite country casuals
2005 Love match When William and Kate graduated, the university’s vice-chancellor said: ‘I say this every year to all new graduates: “You may have met your husband or wife.” Our title as the top matchmaking university in Britain signifies so much that is good about St Andrews.’
2005 The graduate At her graduation ceremony on 23 June, Kate looks happy to have gained an upper second in history of art. It was the institution’s most high-profile ceremony – not only were William and Kate’s parents present but it was witnessed by the Queen and Prince Philip.
2007 Uncharted waters After her shock split from William, Kate, 25, joined The Sisterhood, a female rowing crew led by her friend Emma Sayle. The group planned to cross the English Channel in a dragon boat to raise money for charity. Kate and William reconciled after a couple of months.
2010 The engagement Standing arm-in-arm with William in a state room at St James’s Palace, Kate, 28, shows off her engagement ring, which once belonged to Princess Diana. William had proposed to Kate three weeks earlier on a safari holiday in Kenya.
2011 The balcony scene It’s the moment the world has been waiting for: after getting married at Westminster Abbey on 29 April, William and Kate, 29 – wearing a Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen wedding gown, inspired by Grace Kelly – kiss for the crowds.
2012 The chosen one With William posted to the Falklands with the RAF, the Queen invites the Duchess to join the launch of her Diamond Jubilee Tour. On 8 March, they travel by train from London St Pancras to Leicester, where they watch a fashion show at De Montfort University.
2012 Olympic joy William and Kate watch champion cyclist Sir Chris Hoy win gold (his fifth) in the men’s team sprint at the London Olympics. This equals the number of golds won by Sir Steve Redgrave – at this point the most won by any Briton at the Olympics.
2013 A new arrival After the birth of Prince George, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pose on the steps of the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington on 23 July. The announcement is pinned to a golden easel outside the gates of Buckingham Palace.
2014 Grand tour Arriving at Wellington Airport’s military terminal in April, for the start of a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand. Following in the footsteps of the late Princess of Wales, William and Kate take seven-month-old George on his first royal trip.
2015 A historic baby Wearing a Jenny Packham dress, the 33-year-old Duchess leaves the Lindo Wing with William after the birth of Princess Charlotte on 2 May. Following recent changes to royal succession, Charlotte makes history by becoming fourth in line to the throne.
2016 Snowflakes Wrapped up warmly, in March the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pose with Prince George and Princess Charlotte on their first skiing holiday in the French Alps.
2017 Flying visit Dressed in complementary shades, the Cambridges depart from Hamburg Airport on the last day of their official visit to Poland and Germany on 21 July. William and Kate, 35, take George and Charlotte to view helicopter models before catching the flight home.
2017 The fab four The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stand alongside Prince Harry and his fiancée Meghan Markle during their first Christmas at Sandringham, Norfolk, at the traditional service at St Mary Magdalene church.
2018 Heavyweight record Dressed in a red Jenny Packham dress with a white lace collar, Kate, 36, celebrates the arrival of her third child, Prince Louis, on St George’s Day – 23 April. Weighing 8lb 7oz, he makes history as the heaviest royal baby for more than 100 years.
2018 Christening day In the garden of Clarence House on 9 July, newly christened Louis beams for the camera. Louis wears a replica of the christening gown created for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter Victoria in 1841, and Kate looks stunning in a white Alexander McQueen dress.
2019 The diplomatic duchess Kate wears a traditional shalwar kameez and matching dupatta, hand-embroidered in gold silk thread, by Pakistani designer Maheen Khan. The Duke and Duchess are following in the footsteps of both his parents as they visit the Badshahi Mosque in the heart of Lahore’s Walled City, during their royal tour of Pakistan in October.
2019 Chelsea girl Showing the Queen around the Back to Nature garden she helped to design for the Chelsea Flower Show, Kate, 37, highlights the importance of the great outdoors. The garden was inspired by the Duchess’s own childhood as well as her three children.
2019 Wimbledon doubles The Duchess of Cambridge, who is patron of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, takes the Duchess of Sussex to watch the women’s singles final at Wimbledon on 13 July. Romania’s Simona Halep beats Meghan’s friend Serena Williams to lift the trophy.
2020 Clapping for carers In a surprise appearance for the BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief’s Big Night In on 23 April, the Cambridges are snapped clapping for NHS heroes and those on the Covid front line. Earlier in the show, William joins Stephen Fry in a Zoom call spoof of the sitcom Blackadder.
2021 Climate concerns William and Kate chat to the winners and finalists of his Earthshot Prize awards at Glasgow’s Clydeside Distillery on 1 November, during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference. William was inspired by US President John F Kennedy’s Moonshot – which aimed to put a man on the moon – to create a prize centred on five Earthshot goals for the planet to prompt people and businesses to drive change.
2021 Gold standard Wearing a bespoke Jenny Packham evening dress, Kate outshines the celebrities at the world premiere of the latest James Bond film No Time To Die at the Royal Albert Hall in September. Bond star Daniel Craig tells her: ‘You look jolly lovely.’ In a rare public appearance, she and William are joined by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.