Kate Middleton’s relationship with Prince William is definitely a remarkable spectacle that many watched develop. The royal couple met as fellow students at the University of St Andrews in Scotland more than 10 years ago and sired three beautiful children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge faced many trials and challenges in their decade-long relationship, even briefly splitting in 2007 due to some commitment issues. In their eight years of marriage, rumors of feuds, issues and an even particularly lengthy controversy about William having an affair with their friend Rose Hanbury dogged the couple.

However, even before marrying Prince William, Kate already knew about all the challenges and demands of royalty. As a matter of fact, she even welcomed them.

Entering into the royal family is definitely something difficult for a “regular” person to take in. Princess Diana spoke lengthily of her perils and anguish with what she faced, and Meghan Markle is said to have experienced a bit of a culture shock upon getting married to Prince Harry. Kate, however, proved herself to be different.

The Duchess of Cambridge’s decade-long role as William’s girlfriend prepared her for the pressures of royalty. “She knew enough, she’d seen enough and she’d experienced enough, so she was very well aware of what the responsibilities and demands were going to be,” said the Queen’s biographer Sally Bedell Smith. “She has the knowledge and the poise.”

Her husband, Prince William, may be second in the line of succession, but Kate’s wide appeal and increasing confidence have cemented her position as future queen. “She is finding her voice,” says a source from the Palace. “She is now more open with what she wants to say, and funnily enough, she is more relaxed as well,” shared one of their family friends.

Queen Elizabeth’s “regal” granddaughter-in-law has been generating positive feedback for both her confidence and her brilliant philanthropic works. Her dedication to learning and working for the promotion of the early developmental needs of children and families earned her the respect of many.

“The duchess wouldn’t just join us, she would stay for the whole meeting,” said director of strategy at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Kate Stanley. “She has a deep curiosity to really understand the issues.”

Kate Middleton Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, patron of 100 Women in Finance's Philanthropic Initiatives, delivers a speech at a Gala Dinner in aid of ‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum on February 13, 2019, in London, England. PhoChris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images