Why Does Kate Middleton Still Use Her Maiden Name?

Names are a complicated topic in the royal family. That’s especially true for the women who married into the royal family. Although she has a ring on their finger and an official royal title, many still refer to Kate Middleton by her maiden name.  

After nearly eight years of marriage, Prince William’s better half can’t seem to shake her commoner name. Find out why we still call the Duchess of Cambridge “Kate Middleton,” ahead.

Why does Kate Middleton still use her last name?

Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton | Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Although media, paparazzi, and the public might still refer to the Duchess of Cambridge as Kate Middleton, she doesn’t actually use her maiden name anymore. In fact, she doesn’t use any last name.

Thanks to her duchess status — which is one of the highest ranking titles in the royal family — Kate Middleton no longer requires a last name and goes by “Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge” instead. However, in situations where she might need one, she can use the royal family’s surname, “Mountbatten-Windsor” (or just “Windsor”) or “Cambridge” as her last name.

If Kate Middleton doesn’t go by her maiden name (or her nickname, for that matter) anymore, why do the press, paparazzi, and public still refer to the Duchess of Cambridge as “Kate Middleton?” According to Vanity Fair, it comes down to habit (and comfort).

Kate Middleton is the name we were first introduced to when the now duchess came onto the scene as Prince William’s long-time girlfriend. Unlike Princess Diana (who was “Lady Diana” before marrying Prince Charles and becoming the Princess of Wales), Kate Middleton did not come from a family of aristocrats or royals. She was a normal person with a normal person name like Middleton — and we (the people) loved that about her.

Continuing to call Kate Middleton by her nickname and her maiden name makes the Duchess of Cambridge feel more relatable. “That ‘Middleton’ surname always acted — and still does act, in a way — like a reminder of the ‘fairy-tale’ element of their romance: Kate dating, and then marrying, an actual prince could happen to you,Vanity Fair notes.

Why does Prince William call Kate ‘Catherine?’

If the public is so comfortable calling Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge by her nickname, Kate, why isn’t her husband? As it turns out, Prince William does call Kate Middleton nicknames — but he does it behind closed doors.

Pet names and nicknames are a big no-no in the royal family, which is why you never (with the exception of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who don’t go by their real first names and have used terms of endearment while in public) hear Prince William call his wife anything other than “Catherine.”

Behind closed doors, Prince William has a few nicknames for his duchess. Both allegedly call each other “baby” and “darling.” In addition, Prince William used to refer to his wife as “babykins” when they were dating. Kate Middleton allegedly refers to her prince as “Wills,” as do man other members of the royal family.

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