Happy Birthday Catherine!
Today is officially the Duchess of Cambridge's thirty eighth birthday. Since meeting her now husband almost twenty years ago, Catherine has made history time and time again and has proven herself a valuable asset to the British Royal Family. To celebrate, here are thirty eight of my favorite moments from the Duchess of Cambridge through the years.
38. The Duchess of Cambridge Patronages
The Duchess of Cambridge has championed numerous causes since joining the Royal Family in 2011. Her work in Mental Health and early years have prompted discussions both in the U.K. and globally that is starting to change the conversation around these topics. Her patronages reflect and connect to these two main areas of work and she has been very careful about which patronages she takes on to ensure she is able to help them to the best of her abilities. The younger generation of royal are trending towards having fewer patronages which allows them to dedicate more time to the causes they lend their support to.
37. Catherine Middleton as a St. Andrew's student
The Duchess of Cambridge met her now husband during her time at University but Prince William was far from her only priority. Catherine passed 11 GCSE's and 3 A-Levels before receiving her Bachelor of Arts from St. Andrews. Her studious nature can come out in her work through her attention to detail and her interest in understanding the whole picture in various areas she has worked in such as addiction or early years.
Catherine's Bachelor of Arts degree also makes her the most well educated future Queen consort. Queen Elizabeth was educated privately and neither the Princess of Wales or Duchess of Cornwall attended college, opting instead for finishing schools. William and Catherine's graduation ceremony was attended by the press where fans were able to see both the future Duke and Duchess of Cambridge receive their degrees.
36. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Northern Ireland
During their 2019 visit to Northern Ireland, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge played football with children, poured a pint at Empire Bar and visited a youth village. The visit was very much focused on young people and kids and the impact that they can make. Catherine always does so well with children and two days of engagements with young people brought about some of the best photos of the Duchess of Cambridge.
35. Catherine and Tiaras
While it is a slightly more superficial favorite moment of Catherine's, she always looks immaculate in a tiara. Her favorite seems to be the Queen Mary's lover knots tiara (sometimes called the Cambridge Lovers knot) and the Lotus flower tiara. She tends to keep her hair pulled back during events with Tiara's that just adds to her regal looks. She has yet to rewear her wedding tiara, The Cartier Halo tiara but she will hopefully pull it out sometime in the future for a special event, perhaps around her 10 year anniversary or to mark a white tie event for one of her children down the road.
34. St. Patrick's Day
One of my favorite annual events on the Cambridge Calendar every year is St. Patrick's day. Catherine is able to pull out one of her many stunning emerald green coats and enjoy a day mixed with military ceremony and some laid back drinking (Guinness, of course). Prince William is Colonel of the Irish Guards so the day is a very special celebration for him. The Irish Guards are very special to the Duke and he even wore his Irish Guards uniform on his wedding day.
33. Royal Visit Poland & Germany
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge brought their children with them on a five day tour of Poland and Germany. It was Prince George's third official tour and Princess Charlotte's second. Catherine not only looked immaculate on this tour but she showed off her incredible skills as a mother. Not only were Prince George and Princess Charlotte incredibly well behaved between their greetings for important dignitaries and giving some adorable waves to the public but during a small tantrum after Princess Charlotte fell on her way towards the plane, Catherine showed the world her superior mothering instincts, calming her daughter in a matter of seconds.
32. Catherine visits Downton Abbey
There are few things I love more than television shows about real life or fictionalized royalty so having Catherine visit the set of Downton Abbey was a definite favorite. Whilst there she met Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Anna Bates (Joanne Froggart) during her visit and posed for pictures with the rest of the cast and crew. Michelle Dockery described the visit a few years later on an interview saying that she "was so charming and gracious and beautiful."
31. Catherine at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding
Barely a month after having her third child, The Duchess of Cambridge joined the rest of the Royal Family at St. George's chapel in Windsor for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Her two older children served as a pageboy and bridesmaid in the wedding before standing on the steps outside of the Chapel with their parents during the bride and grooms first kiss. The Duchess of Cambridge re-wore a coat by Alexander McQueen and a light yellow fascinator for the family wedding.
30. William and Catherine's dating years
William and Catherine met at St. Andrews University in 2001 but it wasn't until three years later that there was confirmation of their relationship. While they both dealt with media attention during these years, they navigated it together quite well. They weren't often seen together, apart from the occasional night out or at polo matches. Catherine attended Prince Williams passing out ceremony in 2006 which was one of the first events she attended officially as Prince Williams then girlfriend. Despite media attention and pressure to marry, the couple made sure their relationship was on their terms and nobody else's, which is one of many reasons they continue to have a great marriage.
29. Catherine's maternity style
The Duchess of Cambridge always looks impeccable, a delicate balance of polished modern styles with classic and timeless elements and her maternity style showed off the very best elements of this. She chose silhouettes that were modest with some more modern accents and showed her growing baby bump off by her signature move of gripping her clutch just below her bump.
28. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in New York
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has a whirlwind tour of New York over three days in 2014. At the time, Catherine was expecting the couples second child, Princess Charlotte and the expectant parents seemed relaxed and happy despite the crazy schedule. Visits on the trip included a gala for St. Andrews 600th anniversary dinner, a visit to the 9/11 memorial, a court side N.B.A game, meetings with U.S. political figures and a charity visit to North side Centre for Childhood Development.
It was one of the couples most relaxed tours despite the high profile political leaders and entertainment stars they met. Despite Basketball not being the biggest sport in the U.K. Catherine seemed engaged throughout the game and really showed off her diplomacy skills during meetings with Bill DeBlasio and Hilary Clinton.
27. Catherine at Trooping the Colour
Another annual event on the Royal calendar is the Queen's annual Birthday Parade, Trooping the Colour. Catherine has attended each year since her wedding to Prince William in 2011 and each year gives fans something new. While she is known for her thriftiness she debuts a new outfit almost every year and this is where most of her children made their first public appearance. It is one of only a handful of times we see the entire Royal Family together during the appearance on the balcony.
26. Catherine and sports
Catherine has always been athletic, having played sports throughout primary and secondary schools as well as taking part in charity rowing and sailing competitions through the years. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge haven't hidden their competitive natures and some of the friendly competitions they have had through the years made some of the best royal moments of the decade. Catherine doesn't shy away from sports no matter the occasions (including in high heels and dresses). She has spoken about the benefits of physical exercise for mental health and leads by example with her own love of exercise and athletics.
25. The Duchess of Cambridge and the Queen
The Queen and Duchess of Cambridge have done a handful of public engagements together through the years and fans have been given small glimpses into their relationship during family events as well. It is clear that the Queen does her best to guide both Catherine and Camilla (as they will be the next two Queen consorts) and her majesty certainly has a lot of wisdom to impart.
24. Catherine practices Wizardry
When my two favorite British Institutions - The Royal Family and Harry Potter - came together the result was genuinely magical. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry visited Leavesden Studios in 2013 when William and Catherine were expecting their first child. They toured the studio and partook in some wand dueling exercises in the fun and laid back engagement, it was clear they all had a wonderful time and are also fans of the books and movies.
23. Prince George and Princess Charlotte's first day of School
There are few things I love more than seeing the royal family together for events. A particularly big event in 2019 was Princess Charlotte's first day of school at Thomas Battersea. Both the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge accompanied Prince George and Princess Charlotte for their first days. The family had just enjoyed a summer holiday where they were believed to be in Mustique and at their home in Norfolk so they all looked refreshed and ready for the new school year.
22. Back to Nature Gardens
2019 was a big year for the Duchess of Cambridge as she took on more responsibility within the Royal Family. One of her biggest projects to date was the RHS Back to Nature garden that she codesigned. The Garden was such a success that it was shown at RHS Hampton Court before finding a permanent home in the form of a play area at Wisley. The gardens aimed to reconnect kids with nature with features like a rope swing, tree fort and a tent made of branches.
21. Catherine and Photography
The Duchess of Cambridge has been an avid photographer for a long time and has taken portraits of her children for several of their major milestones. She also is patron of the National Portrait Gallery and has proven her skills with photography, most recently during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's trip to Pakistan. Catherine has worked on encouraging the younger generation to pick up the camera during workshops with the Royal Photographic Society, another one of the Duchess's patronages.
20. Catherine at St. Andrews
Catherine attended school at St. Andrews Pangbourne for nine years until the age of thirteen. She was invited back to the school on St. Andrews day to open a new Hockey pitch and celebrate at the place where she had what she described as the best years of her life.
Seeing Catherine pay tribute to and visit the place that she spent many of her formative years was a real treat and her love for her alma mater came across in what was one of her first public speeches.
19. Catherine at Royal Ascot
The Duchess of Cambridge has attended Royal Ascot on three occasions, and each of them could be called out as a favorite moment from Catherine. Royal Ascot is one of the more formal daytime events that the royals attend each summer. Wardrobe dictates more modern dress and headwear for all the royals. It is one of the few annual occasions to see both senior and minor royals together and fans are given more of an opportunity to witness more of their familial relationships in real time.
18. Royal Visit India and Bhutan
During their 2016 tour of India and Bhutan, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge showed that they were great at both work and play. The tour was an important opportunity to enrich the relationship between India and the U.K. and William and Catherine did a phenomenal job of representing the U.K. They were able to seamlessly switch between serious and impactful engagements like their visit to the Taj Mahal while also having tons of fun in other moments such as when they played cricket.
17. William and Catherine with the Obama's
The role of the Royal Family must always remain politically impartial in order for the monarchy to continue in a democratic society. However, the visit with the Obamas was seen by all parties as a smashing success. During the U.S. presidents second term, the visited the Duke and Duchess (as well as Prince Harry) at Kensington Palace. Before enjoying a night with the adults, Prince George met the former president and was able to thank him in person for a rocking chair that the Obama's had sent when he was born.
16. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Cambridge
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toured the city of Cambridge in November 2012, only a month before they announced to the world that they were expecting their first child. During the visit the Duke spoke about the pride they both felt for being associated with Cambridge. The pair opened a new hospital during their visit and met with crowds that had gathered for a chance to meet them.
15. The Fab 4
William, Catherine, Harry and Meghan became known as the Fab 4 after their first appearance together in February 2018. Ever since, every time time the two couple get together, the media praises the Fab 4. As mentioned previously, I absolutely love seeing members of the Royal Family out at engagements together and interacting in more relaxed environments. Therefore, the Fab 4 is one of my favorite groups to see all together. Despite media stories and rumors, they have shown a united front time after time and I sincerely hope we can see more of them together in the coming years.
14. Royal Visit Pakistan
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visit to Pakistan was one of the most complex tours they undertook from both a logistical and security standpoint but it would have been impossible to tell. Catherine looked incredible in more traditional pakistani dress (as did Prince William) and they balanced all of their biggest charitable interests beautifully while also fulfilling their Royal duties during meetings with the Prime Minister and President of Pakistan.
13. A Berry Royal Christmas
The Berry Royal Christmas special was an hour of perfect royal television. Another great British institution, Mary Berry, joined the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to host an early holiday party for people who would be working or volunteering to help others during the holiday season. Before the party, Mary Berry accompanied the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to some of their respective charities to learn more about the work that they did and the people they would be throwing a holiday party for. The special included visits to private engagements, holiday themed recipes and more details about charities that the Cambridge's support.
12. Royal Tour Canada 2016
During their first tour as a family of four, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge brought their two young children to Canada. In another feat of parenting, Prince George and Princess Charlotte were remarkably well behaved and it was the first chance fans got to see the family's dynamic in public. It was Prince George's second tour (he had previously visited Australia in 2014) and it marked Princess Charlotte's first international tour. The visit included meetings with the Prime Minister, charitable visits as well as highlighting the important relationship between Canada and the United Kingdom.
11. Catherine at Wimbledon
Even before her marriage to Prince William, Catherine enjoyed going to Wimbledon to watch matches during one of the biggest tennis tournaments of the year. She has been a longtime fan of the sport and has been seen playing with friends and family. Since joining the Royal Family, the Duchess of Cambridge has attended Wimbledon almost every year and has become patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Her appearances at the match each summer are another exciting annual event fans can typically look forward to.
10. The Birth of Prince Louis
Catherine has become known for her impeccable post labor looks, greeting the public with her second son only seven hours after giving birth. Catherine embodies the fantasy of royalty in every sense. She was likely the most laid back during Prince Louis first appearance since she has had so much experience at the traditional photocall on the steps of the Lindo Wing. She presented all three of her children outside of the Lindo Wing following their birth before being able to go home and enjoy a few months of maternity leave.
9. The Children's Princess
Catherine has made her interest in helping during the early years a priority in her work. As such she is often seen with and around children earning her the title of the Children's Princess. Whether it is a child she has just met or if it is one of her own children, she always lights up around kids and kids always seem equally happy to be near her. The Early Years work will continue to develop and change throughout her lifetime in the Royal Family but it will always mean she gets to be near and around young kids.
8. Royal Tour Australia 2014
During the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's 2014 tour of Australia, the family of three visited several parts of the commonwealth nation bringing an adorable eight month old Prince George along for engagements at Australia Zoo, play groups and received a very large stuffed wombat.
Motherhood looked amazing on the Duchess and she has proven time and time again what a natural she it at it.
7. Christmas Walk 2019
The first official walk to Christmas Day Church service with her children, The Duchess shined once again. While George and Charlotte both seemed slightly wary of the situation (lots of cameras and meeting strangers) William and Catherine were right there to support their children. It is clear that Catherine is at her happiest when she is with her kids so getting to see the entire family together as well as seeing the Duke and Duchess so happy was a great way to end the year.
6. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at BAFTA
Catherine has attended the annual BAFTA awards several times over the years. It is one of the few events where the Duke and Duchess are interacting with entertainment stars and therefore, it is one of the more glamorous nights on the couples calendar. A beautiful dress and an extravagant night out only happens a few times each year and therefore, it has become a favorite to anticipate.
5. The Birth of Prince George
The birth of a future King doesn't happen too often and a new mother pulling together a full blowout and beautiful dress less than 24 hours after giving birth is even more rare. Catherine was glowing while holding her new baby boy and it was clear how proud she was of her new baby boy. It was fans first glimpse as a family of three and the moment could not be understated for its significance.
4. Royal Tour Canada 2011
The couples first big overseas tour came only a few months after their wedding but they already appeared to be professionals at royal life. Catherine carved out a new modern but modest fashion for the royal family and I can recall googling "Navy and White three quarter length sleeve knee length lace dress" to try and replicate one of the outfits she wore. This tour was easily where I fell in love with the Duchess's sophisticated style and it set the newly minted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's royal life to a great start.
3. The Wedding of Catherine Middleton and Prince William
There is really only one word that could accurately sum up the wedding of Catherine Middleton and Prince William: Perfection.
2. The Birth of Princess Charlotte
While the birth of Prince George and Prince Louis were equally exciting, having a little Princess in the family was a definite highlight. While Catherine clearly adores all of her children, a relationship between a mother and daughter is incredibly special and seeing that relationship unfold over the last four years has been incredible to watch.
1. The Queens Diamond Jubilee Year
While I was stunned by the Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day and I fell in love with her style during the Cambridge's first tour, I really fell in love with Catherine during the Queens diamond jubilee year. 2012 was a big year for the royal family between the 2012 Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, The Diamond Jubilee, a tour of Singapore, Malaysia, Solomon Island and Tuvalu as well as a baby announcement before the year ended. Despite all of the pressure placed on her in a still fairly new role, Catherine navigated it with ease. She proved herself a valuable asset to the Royal Family through her care and dedication to her work as well as remaining graceful and poised under such pressure.
Happy birthday HRH Duchess of Cambridge. Hope this next year is as incredible as you. xx