History has proved that marrying into the monarchy—and subsequently staying in it—is no easy feat. Princess Diana and the Duchess of York saw their unions crumble. Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose to leave, citing the Duchess’s treatment by the British media. Yet somehow, Kate Middleton has not only survived but thrived. According to YouGov, she’s maintained a consistent positive approval rating from 2012 to 2021. In 2019, Queen Elizabeth awarded her the prestigious Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order—a show of support and respect from the monarch to her granddaughter-in-law. And, as the queen ages and other working royals fall from grace, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are, by the looks of it, the future of the entire family. The last month alone showed their immense positive prowess: A glamorous photo of the two attending the No Time to Die premiere in London, where the duchess wore a sparkling sequined gold dress by Jenny Packham, received more than one million likes on Instagram. On Christmas Eve, the duchess accompanied singer Tom Walker via piano for a rendition of his song “For Those Who Can’t Be Here.” That video received more than 11 million views on their Instagram, more than 2 million on their YouTube page, and an avalanche of press coverage.
That’s not to say it has always been smooth sailing. Unflattering reports alleging that Middleton was feuding with her sister-in-law Meghan Markle besieged both women throughout 2019. Cyberbullying followed, and Kensington Palace needed to release a new social media policy to combat all the cruel comments. (The vitriol was significantly worse for Markle, who was subject to an avalanche of racist remarks. The whole ordeal took such an emotional toll that Markle later admitted she developed suicidal thoughts.) Middleton has also had to contend with years of classist remarks about her nonaristocratic upbringing: People called her family the middle-class Middletons. She and her sister, Pippa, were also called the wisteria sisters, a reference to how fast they could apparently social climb.
Yet, at age 40, the Duchess of Cambridge stands strong, poised to one day inherit the title of queen consort. Below, a timeline of her milestone moments on her royal journey thus far.
April 2004: “Wills Gets a Girl”