How Kate Middleton's Life Will Change Now That She's Princess Of Wales

The Princess of Wales, or Catherine "Kate" Middleton as she is known, was born on January 9, 1982, in Reading, Berkshire, England. Her parents, Michael and Carole, who met while working at British Airways, have two children in addition to Catherine — Philippa (Pippa) and James. In 1987, the couple created a mail-order party supplies company, which made them millionaires (per Biography).

Catherine attended Marlborough College, an exclusive boarding school located in Wiltshire, before enrolling at the University of St. Andrews, where she studied art history and met Prince William, according to Hello! magazine. Initially, the two were just friends, only embarking on a romance when Catherine's boyfriend, Rupert Finch, graduated and they broke up. 

Over the next decade, the two would become an item, experiencing one major breakup in 2007. "At the time I wasn't very happy about it, but it actually made me a stronger person," she said in the couple's engagement interview (via Yahoo). "You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn't realized. I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you are younger, and I really valued that time for me as well although I didn't think it at the time." Of course, Catherine and William eventually married in a hugely anticipated wedding in April 2011. Upon her marriage to the prince, Catherine became the Duchess of Cambridge.

She holds lots of new titles

When William, Prince of Wales, proposed to Princess Catherine in 2010, he presented her with the very same ring that Prince Charles had given to Lady Diana during his proposal decades earlier. This couple, however, was closer in age and in their late 20s, which may have left them better prepared for the titles they would take on initially. Also, having been married for a decade at the time of the queen's death has undoubtedly helped them mature into the larger titles they would receive upon Prince Charles' ascension to the crown.

Typically, the title of Prince of Wales is given to the heir apparent, and, as was widely predicted, King Charles III did indeed level up his son and daughter-in-law shortly after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died. In his first speech as king, he made William the Prince of Wales, thereby making Catherine the Princess of Wales. He said in part, "With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the center ground where vital help can be given" (via The New York Times).

Once Charles became king, Catherine also became the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Rothesay, as Marie Claire explained. Interesting to note here is that Camilla, Queen Consort, never used the title of Princess of Wales out of respect for Diana, who was the last to hold it.

She will deepen her relationship with the people of Wales

"She's always carried out her role with the family actually very well," royal expert Jonathan Sacerdoti told E! News regarding Catherine, Princess of Wales. "She's somebody that is immensely popular with the public. They absolutely love her."

Following Queen Elizabeth's death in September 2022, the prince and princess visited the country of Wales for the first time since receiving their new titles. According to People, the point of their trip was to honor important causes, which included visiting a distinguished lifeboat station. William and Catherine lived on the north Wales island of Anglesey before their engagement and during the first years of their marriage, back when William worked there as a Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter pilot (per BBC News). "People were happy to let them get on with their own lives. They used to be pretty much left alone," one resident said of the couple.

Reportedly, a royal source told The Sun, "The new Princess of Wales appreciates the history associated with this role but will understandably want to look to the future as she creates her own path." Sacerdoti expects her to continue in her supportive role as William's wife as she focuses on matters that are important to her. According to her royal family's official website, the Princess of Wales is deeply devoted to causes concerning children, such as early support in childhood, children's mental health issues, and the importance of sports in children's lives. 

She will take on more patronages and engagements

It seems that at least one member of the royal family was not very impressed with Princess Catherine's activity level after she began her romance with William, Prince of Wales. Phil Dampier, who has been reporting on the monarchy for 20 years, told Express, "The Queen once remarked Kate doesn't do very much so I think she had a fairly long entrance to the royal family." Dampier also said that William had been very protective of her because of what had happened to his mom. "She only does what she wants to do and is comfortable with and isn't put under too much pressure and scrutiny," Dampier explained. "His family's been his number one priority."

According to The Guardian, Catherine is expected to take on more royal patronages and engagements in her new role as the Princess of Wales. Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams offered his appraisal as to how things had been going and how they would progress as Prince William is one step closer to the crown. He said, "William and Kate have concentrated on fewer charities than Charles, but done more for those they have chosen. Kate has been increasingly hands-on and has shown a particular interest in early-years development, so I imagine she would like her legacy to show that she made a difference in that area." According to the royal family's official website, Catherine is currently involved with more than 20 charities and patronages. 

She will forge her own role as the Princess of Wales

During Prince William and Princess Catherine's engagement interview, the prince set the stage for how Catherine would step into her royal role. When asked about the inevitable comparisons to the previous Princess of Wales (his mother, Princess Diana), he told the interviewer, "It's about carving your own future. No one's trying to fill my mother's shoes and what she did is fantastic. It's about making your own future and your own destiny and Kate will do a very good job at that." And that's just what seems to be happening.

A royal source reportedly told The U.S. Sun, "The couple are focused on deepening the trust and respect of the people of Wales over time." The source continued, saying, "The new Princess of Wales appreciates the history associated with this role but will understandably want to look to the future as she creates her own path."

BBC Wales correspondent Huw Thomas characterized Catherine's new role as both a blessing and a curse but felt that the princess might be able to assume the role more easily than her predecessor. Additionally, Brigitte Gater, who heads a charity called Action for Children in Wales, met with Catherine prior to her upgraded status and is excited about the prospect of the princess' increased involvement there. "Now that she's Princess of Wales, it's sort of in the title isn't it?" she explained to the BBC. "You think that maybe Wales might be pretty central to some of the activities and the interests that she's got, which would be fantastic."

Her wardrobe will become more sophisticated

The royal family's fashion choices have long been the subject of public fascination. Now that Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales, have moved up in the ranks, so to speak, experts believe that Catherine's wardrobe will be transformed in several ways.

Miranda Holder, a royal and fashion expert, told Express, "It is likely that we will see her wardrobe become more formal and appropriate for her position." Holder noted that the princess' style has already evolved during her tenure as a royal and will continue to do so as Prince William gets closer to the crown. She predicts that hatbands will be put aside in favor of more formal-looking hats and that certain fabrics and prints will be phased out for more sophisticated options.

Catherine has been known to wear "High Street" labels (affordable and accessible brands) and will likely continue to do so. She is eco-conscious, concerned with sustainably sourced fabrics, and repeats outfits (via Newsweek). When she wears a widely available garment, it routinely sells out in what is known as the "Kate effect." As Holder told Newsweek, "The High Street element of her wardrobe, like every other, will have been planned and premeditated as the impact of every tiny style statement is understood by the palace to communicate to the world an important message."

She will be much wealthier now

Prior to meeting Prince William, Catherine, Princess of Wales, had lived a very privileged life as her parents were extremely wealthy. By marrying William, however, she became a member (and de facto employee) of the Crown Estate, which is the corporation that controls all of the lands and holdings of the British monarch, as CBS reported.

The estate is estimated to be worth approximately $28 billion (per Forbes). That said, the members of the royal family do not personally profit from the business itself. Before ascending the throne, King Charles III was the Duke of Cornwall and received an income from the Duchy of Cornwall — part of which he used to pay his sons, Princes William and Harry. In 2020, before Harry and Megan left The Firm, that amounted to $7.8 million being shared by his sons. 

Upon Queen Elizabeth's death, William inherited the Duchy of Cornwall from King Charles, which is valued at $1.2 billion, per Fortune. Charles made over $27 million from the duchy in 2021, according to The Washington Post. During his time as the Duke of Cornwall, Charles took an active role in the management of the estate and made several improvements over the course of his decades in charge. Royal watchers suspect that William will likely follow in his father's footsteps and he and his family will continue to reap the financial benefits that result from the duchy's successful operation (via People).

She and Prince William may move to Windsor Castle

Although Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales, moved from Kensington Palace to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor just before the queen's death, they may move again. In 2020, Queen Elizabeth permanently relocated to Windsor Castle due to a lengthy renovation scheduled for Buckingham Palace (via New York Post). Upon William and Catherine's move to the cottage, their three children began attending Lambrook School.

Adelaide Cottage, which is a 10-minute walk from Windsor Castle, has been described as a step down for the family. And, because it has been designated as a building of historical interest by the National Heritage List of England, no major renovations can be made (per Architectural Digest).

In light of the queen's death, the family is expected to move into Windsor Castle, but they want to get their children settled into their new school first. "They are very happy right now at Windsor and for the next decade or so everything will be pretty much dictated by what is right for the children," a source alleged to the Daily Mail.

She will likely endure even more scrutiny

As if her every moment in public isn't already widely documented, Princess Catherine will undoubtedly face even more scrutiny as she steps into the role of Princess of Wales. The comparisons to Princess Diana will likely be inevitable as time places her husband Prince William closer to the throne. During her courtship with William, Catherine endured the relentless pursuit of paparazzi, who often yelled vulgarities at her in order to get her attention, according to author Tina Brown (via Yahoo). In her book, "The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor – The Truth and the Turmoil," she wrote, "Kate was relentlessly pursued in London. She was hounded when she left her Chelsea apartment in ways reminiscent of the harassment of the young Lady Di. ... Kate received no official Palace help to fend off the photographers and TV crews who waited for her to emerge from work."

Nowadays, of course, Catherine has much more protection, but that doesn't mean that her every move won't be dissected as she makes her way to the title of Queen Consort. With William as the heir apparent, they will likely receive more criticism. "Certainly William and Catherine, as the new Prince and Princess of Wales, will be even more in the media spotlight if that's possible," Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, explained (via U.S. News & World Report). "Until [the queen's death], there was a buffer between him and the throne. That buffer has now been removed."

William will rely on her even more

When King Charles III gave his first speech upon ascending the crown, he mentioned just how important Princess Catherine's role would be as she and her husband took on their new titles. Royal expert Jonathan Sacerdoti weighed in on Catherine's support of her husband, telling E! News, "I think that's something that's very, very important to their relationship and to his role as Prince of Wales. I think we'll see her carrying on like that, really shouldering a lot of the burden herself, supporting her husband but also doing excellent work herself on issues that are particularly important to her."

Photographer Arthur Edwards, who has interacted with William, concurs. As he told Vanity Fair, "[William] made a brilliant choice in Catherine. She is completely her own person and she supports William tremendously. I never thought we'd have anyone like Diana ever again, but now we do. I think most people in this country think one day she'll make a great queen."

According to a second-quarter 2022 YouGov poll, Catherine's popularity among Britons is even higher than her husband's; she has a 68% approval rating whereas William's is 66%. Royal historian Sarah Gristwood summed it up well, telling Vanity Fair, "There is a repositioning going on within the monarchy, and I think this is one of the most important stages in Kate's life as a royal. She is doing things independently and voicing new ideas. This is Kate's moment."

Will she reconcile with Meghan?

"People are desperate for steps to be made but behind the scenes there hasn't been movement," a family friend alleged of the Waleses and Sussexes (via Yahoo). Once touted as the "Fab Four," the two couples seemed poised to breathe some fresh air into the British monarchy. Unfortunately, things didn't continue that way for very long. Amid allegations of racism, lying, and deep grievances between the two princes and their families, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down from their royal duties and relocated to the United States in a move that was famously dubbed Megxit. 

That said, the foursome did share a walkabout after the queen's funeral, which offered some hope to royal watchers. As one palace source put it to Page Six, "There's a lot to overcome. I think Meghan and Kate could be pals, one day, if both were willing. When one feels good and on the other side of things, it's easier to do." Alhough inviting his brother and sister-in-law to join them on the walkabout was reportedly difficult for William, one source reportedly told Us Weekly, "For all of their differences in the past, many of which still linger, this was what the queen would have wanted and William knew very well that it was no time to be holding onto grudges or distancing himself from his brother."