She is one of the most popular members of the British royal family. But that was not always so. The British people first had to warm up to the middle-class Kate Middleton. Slowly but steadily she drew the public to her side. The Princess of Wales still has some critics.
She is discreet, her appearances are always flawless and, if desired, also glamorous: Although of middle-class origin, Kate Middleton has developed over the years alongside Prince William into a fixture of the British monarchy. The new heir to the throne and his wife, now also Prince and Princess of Wales, are extremely popular with their compatriots - according to a spring survey, the 40-year-old is even more popular than her husband.
The daughter of a stewardess who made a fortune in party supplies and an air traffic controller, adjusting to the life of a royal hasn't been easy. She met William while she was studying art history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and apart from a brief separation in 2007 they have been a couple ever since.
After the news of her engagement to William, photographers followed Kate's every step. Many already saw parallels to William's mother Diana, who had a fatal accident in Paris while fleeing paparazzi in 1997 - and whose title Princess of Wales she has now inherited. According to media reports, Williams' friends are said to have made fun of Kate's mother Carole's former job.
William always emphasized the cordial relationship with his parents-in-law. Kate hasn't commented on this, nor has she commented on her experience as a newcomer to the royal family - unlike her sister-in-law Meghan, wife of William's younger brother Harry.
In recent years, William and Kate have increasingly established themselves as the most popular royals - right behind the late Queen. And as a representative of a more modern monarchy. So Kate made no secret of the less than pleasant circumstances of her pregnancies. She opened up about morning sickness, admitting on a podcast that she's "not the happiest of pregnant women."
She later appeared as her children's court photographer, and during the corona pandemic, she and her husband publicly supported the introduction of the vaccine, spoke to medical staff and vaccine skeptics.
When Kate talks about topics that are close to her heart, she gets passionate - for example when it comes to the early development of children: "Our early childhood shapes our adult life," she says - and launched a program in 2021 that Royal Foundation Center for Early Childhood.
However, the 40-year-old is less popular with feminists. British actress Keira Knightley, for example, accused Kate of putting pressure on women to always "look beautiful" with her well-groomed appearance. Writer Hilary Mantel likened her to a "mannequin with no personality of her own".
However, royal expert Penny Junor protects the 40-year-old: "I think she understands her role, which is mainly to support William," says Junor. "They say she's boring and a little conventional. You know, the Queen's great achievement over the years has been being just that."