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Kate Middleton at 38: From 'Waity Katie' to the most beloved royal in the family

As Kate Middleton celebrates her 38th birthday today, Caitlin McBride charts her public perception from a desperate social-climber to the most effective weapon in the royal family's arsenal

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Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gestures as she delivers a speech, officially opening the Nook Children's Hospice, south of Norwich, Eastern England on November 15, 2019. (Photo by TOBY MELVILLE / POOL / AFP)

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gestures as she delivers a speech, officially opening the Nook Children's Hospice, south of Norwich, Eastern England on November 15, 2019. (Photo by TOBY MELVILLE / POOL / AFP)

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the launch of the National Emergencies Trust at St Martin-in-the-Fields on November 07, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the launch of the National Emergencies Trust at St Martin-in-the-Fields on November 07, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at an evening reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace on December 11, 2019 in London, England.(Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at an evening reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace on December 11, 2019 in London, England.(Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Prince William, Duke Of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a dinner hosted by Her Majesty's Ambassador to France, Edward Llewellyn, at the British Embassy in Paris, as part of their official visit to the French capital on March 17, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski -  Pool/Getty Images)

Prince William, Duke Of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a dinner hosted by Her Majesty's Ambassador to France, Edward Llewellyn, at the British Embassy in Paris, as part of their official visit to the French capital on March 17, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images)

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leaves after announcing the Victoria and Albert Museum as the winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 prize at a dinner hosted at the Natural History Museum

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leaves after announcing the Victoria and Albert Museum as the winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 prize at a dinner hosted at the Natural History Museum

William and Kate

William and Kate

April 2016: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge speaks with First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama in the Drawing Room of Apartment 1A Kensington Palace as they attend a dinner.

April 2016: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge speaks with First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama in the Drawing Room of Apartment 1A Kensington Palace as they attend a dinner.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke Of Cambridge attend a dinner hosted by Her Majesty's Ambassador to France, Edward Llewellyn, at the British Embassy in Paris, as part of their official visit to the French capital on March 17, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Fanny Trang / British Embassy Paris -  Pool / Getty Images)

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke Of Cambridge attend a dinner hosted by Her Majesty's Ambassador to France, Edward Llewellyn, at the British Embassy in Paris, as part of their official visit to the French capital on March 17, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Fanny Trang / British Embassy Paris - Pool / Getty Images)

Kate Middleton waves as she arrives at the West Door of Westminster Abbey in London for her wedding to Britain's Prince William, on April 29, 2011.  AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN

Kate Middleton waves as she arrives at the West Door of Westminster Abbey in London for her wedding to Britain's Prince William, on April 29, 2011. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN

Kate Middleton With Sister Pippa At Windsor After Watching Prince William Play Rugby.. (Photo by Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images)

Kate Middleton With Sister Pippa At Windsor After Watching Prince William Play Rugby.. (Photo by Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images)

Kate Middleton leaves her Chelsea flat on her 25th birthday on January 9, 2007 in London, England.  (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Kate Middleton leaves her Chelsea flat on her 25th birthday on January 9, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

We'd never see Kate Middleton wearing a halter dress with plunging neckline like she did in 2006 at a Ham Polo Club on June 17, 2006 in Richmond, England.  (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)

We'd never see Kate Middleton wearing a halter dress with plunging neckline like she did in 2006 at a Ham Polo Club on June 17, 2006 in Richmond, England. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)

Prince Harry (L) and Prince William (C) and Kate Middleton (R)cheer on the English team during the RBS Six Nations Championship match between England and Italy at Twickenham on February 10, 2007 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Prince Harry (L) and Prince William (C) and Kate Middleton (R)cheer on the English team during the RBS Six Nations Championship match between England and Italy at Twickenham on February 10, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Carole Middleton with eldest daughter Kate Middleton in 2006

Carole Middleton with eldest daughter Kate Middleton in 2006

Kate Middleton, pictured with Prince William in the sapphire blue, 'Phyllis' wrap around dress.

Kate Middleton, pictured with Prince William in the sapphire blue, 'Phyllis' wrap around dress.

Kate and other senior members of the Royal Family are paying tribute to the Queen for an ITV programme

Kate and other senior members of the Royal Family are paying tribute to the Queen for an ITV programme

The Duchess of Cambridge attends an evening reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace in London

The Duchess of Cambridge attends an evening reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace in London

Kate Middleton and her daughter Charlotte in the official christening portrait

Kate Middleton and her daughter Charlotte in the official christening portrait

The Queen with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Geoff Pugh/PA)

The Queen with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Geoff Pugh/PA)

Kate Middleton at the opening of Gemma Billington's exhibition at the Urban Retreat Gallery  with Niall Quinn. Picture: Liam Mulcahy

Kate Middleton at the opening of Gemma Billington's exhibition at the Urban Retreat Gallery with Niall Quinn. Picture: Liam Mulcahy

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Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gestures as she delivers a speech, officially opening the Nook Children's Hospice, south of Norwich, Eastern England on November 15, 2019. (Photo by TOBY MELVILLE / POOL / AFP)

Once upon a time, back in the early noughties Kate Middleton was taunted relentlessly by tabloids as being deemed an unsuitable fit for the future heir to the British throne.

At the time, they were both studying at St Andrew’s University and Prince William was impossibly hunky and a literal poster boy for fans around the world.


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