28 Rare Images of Kate Middleton Before She Became a Princess

Martha Sorren | Mar 17, 2020 Celebrities
28 Rare Images of Kate Middleton Before She Became a Princess
Image: Splash News

kate middleton yellow shorts
Splash News

Once upon a time there was a girl named Kate Middleton who was not yet a princess. She was the oldest child of three siblings born to a couple over in Reading in Berkshire, UK. But now her name is known around the world. And because so much has happened since she married Prince William and became the Duchess of Cambridge (like three adorable babies!), pre-royal Kate seems so long ago. Let's take a walk down memory lane from before Kate was royalty...

This was before the tiara, before that blue sapphire ring, before she wore blue all the time, and started wearing killer millinery. This was back when she wore some revealing outfits, big, bold costume jewelry, and some more casual, low-key looks. We even have some snaps of Kate when she was just a kid (and had no idea she would end up as royalty). Still, Kate pre-royal status was still royally stylish ... and definitely a bit more daring. (In fact, who else thinks Kate should bring back some of those big earrings and wear more jeans?) 

One thing is for sure, and that's that Kate has always had pretty killer hair. Maybe she was always meant to be a duchess.

Read on to see some amazing images of Kate before she became the duchess we know her as today.

  • Kid Kate

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    Kate Middleton
    Splash News

    This is what we'd call a throwback photo! If anyone was ever wondering if Kate was adorable as a kid, here's our answer: She couldn't possibly be cuter with those cheeks. And as we can see here, Kate always had a winning smile, as evidenced in this photo from her days at St. Andrew's Prep School. We can easily see all three of her children's features in her face when she was younger.

  • Preteen Kate

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    Kate Middleton
    Splash News

    So now we know ... yes, Kate always had shiny and pretty hair. Although she certainly has the help of stylists, it's easy to see that her great hair definitely comes naturally! She's had the same face all these years (of course, she's gotten older and matured a bit in the meantime) though, so we could have easily picked her out of a lineup. 

    We'd recognize that pretty face anywhere! 

  • The Bad Hair School Photo

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    Splash News

    Everyone has to have at least one year where they have a bad hair day during school photos. Here's Kate's! Even at that, it's a relatively tame bad hair day, too! But it's pretty cool that she has all of these school photos to look back on, all while wearing the same uniform. It really shows the way that she's grown over the years. It has to be so much fun to compare them all.

  • Bolder Costume Jewelry

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    Kate Middleton
    Splash News

    Through the years, Kate's style has been ever evolving, but none of it compares to those wilder years from before she married William and became a member of the royal family. Even though her outfit itself is still pretty conservative, her whole look is a lot more laid-back than it is these days. Check out Kate in 2005. Her hair a little more wild, as are her earrings. 

    Now that's a bold costume jewelry look.


  • Running Errands

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    Kate Middleton
    Matt Keeble/Andy Robinson/Splash News

    Once upon a time, before Kate was a duchess, she had to pick up her dry cleaning just like the commoners. Again, check out those earrings! Of course, Kate still runs her own errands when she can -- especially when her kids are involved -- but it was probably a lot easier for her to do so in the old days ... even though, as this photo shows, there were still photographers documenting her every move.

  • She's a Jeans Kind of Lady

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    Kate Middleton
    Robinson/Keeble/Splash News

    Any time Kate wears skinny jeans, we always love the way she looks totally put together but super casual all at the same time. But seeing jeans on Kate isn't quite as common as it once was, and in her pre-royal life, she was wearing them a lot more often -- especially included in an outfit like this one. We can't think of the last time we saw this woman carrying her own luggage, let alone, do it wearing jeans on a rainy day.

  • Not Quite Perfect

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    Kate Middleton
    Andrew Robinson/Matt Keeble/Splash News

    There's usually no reason to pick on Kate's style (she is usually on point), but this pre-royalty look is a little questionable. Overall, it's cute -- and we know Kate loves houndstooth -- but the black with the brown and the black-and-white print ... not loving it. However, this was definitely more in fashion during the time when this photo was taken, so we'll have to give her that much.

  • Beret Fabulous

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    Kate Middleton
    Splash News

    Oh Kate, how adorable is she in this sweet beret, cozy scarf, and pale blue jacket. Destined for style icon status ... even if she flubbed a few times. Still, this is a woman we know loves using a good accessory to complete her look -- including hats, scarves, and coats -- all things that she's wearing in this photo. She's just doing her best to pull off an early 2000s look, y'all. 

    ... and she's not half bad at it! 

  • After a Night of Clubbing

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    Splash News

    This is an image we wouldn't expect to see in 2020 (not by a long shot), but just like everyone else, Kate was young once. And unfortunately, that meant that her wilder years were caught on camera and will be around forever. Here, a very tan Kate Middleton goes clubbing -- sounds scandalous, but it's just another day in the life of Kate circa 2007. Let her have fun before she commits to a life of royal obligation.

  • Those Legs!

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    Roger Bentley/Splash News

    Here's another look that we wouldn't see Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing these days! More clubbing, more tan, and more legs! (Wow, Kate.) That's quite an outfit she wore to Mahiki nightclub in London, but by nightclub standards, we're willing to guess she was one of the most conservatively dressed ladies there. And still, she didn't look half bad. 

    Loving the sparkles! 

  • With a Monster-Sized Bag

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    Kate Middleton
    Paul Hadfield/Splash News

    One of the biggest things that separates the duchess today from pre-royal Kate is the size of her bags. There is no way a duchess would need a monster-sized purse like this, because she has people to hold her stuff. But there also aren't many people walking around today carrying a purse quite this large, because this was more of an early 2000s trend than anything else. 

    Kate, always keeping up with the times! 

  • Dressing as a Witch

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    Kate Middleton
    Splash News

    There's a good chance that Queen Elizabeth would not approve if Kate wore this today, but this was before the royal influence. But take a look at her hair length -- close to how she's worn it many times in recent years. When Kate finds a style that works for her, she sticks with it, even though we're pretty bummed that she doesn't get to wear outfits like this now that she's a duchess.

  • A Wilder Look

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    Gotcha Images/Splash News

    Kate loves prints, but this one is certainly a bit wild for her -- and her hair is a little different as well. If we didn't know any better, we might not believe that this is a photo of the Kate Middleton we know and love at all, but there's no mistaking that face. Sometimes, Kate will pull out a colorful pattern or two, but not one quite like this ... and certainly not with a messy hairdo, either. 

  • '80s Style Kate

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    Tony Clark/Splash News

    While this is for an '80s retro party, it's hard to react with anything but amazement over those tiny yellow hot pants! Actually, the whole outfit is a lot to take in. The boots, the hot pink socks, the shorts, the sparkly top -- even the hot pink purse. It all comes together to be something totally over the top, and we can't imagine Kate going to any kind of theme party like this now, let alone wearing this outfit.

  • Baby Face

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    Kate Middleton
    Splash News

    Kate looks like a fresh-faced young lady here, doesn't she? Just by looking at the woman in this picture, it would have been hard to tell that she would grow up to be one of the most high profile royals ever, married to the future king of England ... and we're willing to bet that Kate might not have predicted where her life would take her back when this photo was first taken, either. 

  • Nervous Nelly

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    Splash News

    It took Kate a long time before she was used to cameras following her every move, as we can see by the look on her face in this picture. Not that we blame her, of course; the crowds and the paparazzi had to be overwhelming for her -- and we wouldn't blame her if they still are at times, years later. But Kate has adapted well, and now, she looks super comfortable in front of the camera.

  • Working Girl

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    Matt Keeble/Andy Robinson/Splash News

    Dressed smart for the work day, Kate looks ready to conquer the world. We've seen her wearing plenty of dress casual outfits these days, but none quite like this. Even so, she still looks good -- she's working that fitted blazer and dress pants. But her style has become a lot more sophisticated since this photo was taken, but even better than that, she still flashes that smile on a regular basis.

  • Party Girl

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    Kate Middleton
    Splash News

    Something tells us the queen wouldn't be too pleased with whatever Kate was up to that night, because, once again, it looks like she was out on the town and having way too much fun! We're glad to see her like this, though -- young, enjoying herself, and having an exceptionally good hair day. We think this fun-loving girl is still in there somewhere, though, and we mostly see it when Kate is with her kids. 

  • Early Days of Dating

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    Kate Middleton and Prince William in 2005
    Handout/Getty Images

    This photo was taken in 2005, six whole years before Kate and Will walked down the aisle in 2011. They both look so young and in love here! And William has hair! What a total throwback. Thank goodness the Middleton family released this photo to the public. It's adorable. They've already changed so much, and we know that Charlotte, George, and Louis are going to love looking back at this someday.

  • College Graduation Day

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    Kate Middleton on her college graduation day
    Handout/Getty Images

    Will and Kate met in college, and here's Kate on her graduation day. At the time, she was in her early 20s without any idea of where her life would lead her, and it's taken her to some pretty amazing places. OK, maybe she had some idea since she was already dating Prince William. But had she completely comprehended what being a royal would mean? 

    Probably not yet.

  • Showing PDA

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    Kate Middleton kisses Prince William in 2006
    Max Mumby/Indigo/Contributor/Getty Images

    Kate and William rarely show PDA, and they almost never kiss in public these days. But this photo is from 2006 when the couple was younger and a little more free about showing affection for one another. After all, royal etiquette dictates that couples not show much PDA beyond holding hands in public, but when these two were younger, even a smooch here and there wasn't off limits for them.

  • Partying With Pippa

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    Pippa Middleton and Kate Middleton in a car
    Niki Nikolova/Contributor/Getty Images

    This outfit! Their trouble-making smiles! We forgot how much fun these sisters used to have together when they were younger. This must be a throwback photo of Kate and her sister Pippa heading out for a fun night. The pair used to hit the town a lot more frequently when they were younger. Now they're both married with kids and so prim and proper, but happy all the same.

  • Food Delivery

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    Kate Middleton carrying a casserole
    Splash News

    Does Kate even eat casserole anymore, let alone carry it? She looks like she's headed to a potluck or something with this big dish of food. Kate doesn't have to do that anymore. She has people to carry her food (and fancier food at that). We have a feeling that if she's invited to a potluck and actually goes, royal chefs might prepare something for her to bring. 

    She's one lucky lady! 

  • Row, Row, Row

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    Kate Middleton rowing
    Max Mumby/Indigo/Contributor/Getty Images

    First of all, look at those arms! Kate wears more modest clothes now that she's a duchess. But back when this was taken, she didn't mind showing off her muscles. Look at her rocking this rowing stance as well. Her skill is seriously impressive. Not that we're surprised, of course; we've always known that Kate was particularly talented when it comes to boats, especially when she gets to show off those skills at a regatta.

  • Opening Her Own Car Door

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    Kate Middleton getting out of a car
    Splash News

    Here's another sight we don't get to see too often these days! The Duchess of Cambridge has a whole entourage now, and someone is definitely in charge of opening her door just about anytime she rolls up to an appearance. Not back when she was a commoner! She had to open her own doors like the rest of us. She still looks totally glam doing it, though, because this is Kate we're talking about.

  • Sunbathing

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    Kate Middleton sitting in the grass
    Max Mumby/Indigo/Contributor/Getty Images

    Kate looks so relaxed here. She's just chilling, sitting cross-legged in the grass and enjoying the sunshine. Here's hoping she still gets moments like these every once in a while, like she has when she takes her kids to watch their dad in a polo match every year. Being a royal can be exhausting, and everyone deserves some relaxing sunbathing now and then -- and some time to kick back.

  • Summer Dress

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    Kate Middleton in a summer dress
    Max Mumby/Indigo/Contributor/Getty Images

    This tank dress is shorter than Kate usually goes for these days. This photo was taken back before she'd married William and before she had to adhere to any kind of royal protocol or dress codes. Hope she enjoyed it while she could, because things have certainly changed for her these days -- not that her style wouldn't have changed over time as she got older anyway, so there's that. 

  • Couples Skiing

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    Kate Middleton and Prince William skiing
    Max Mumby/Indigo/Contributor/Getty Images

    This photo was taken early on in Kate and Will's relationship. The two vacationed together and went skiing. If they thought they could avoid the paparazzi, though, they were mistaken. Now we all get to enjoy this throwback pic of the lovebirds years later, especially since they've taken their children on family ski trips, too. We love that their bond is still going strong, just like it was then.

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