This Is What Kate Middleton’s Friends Say She’s Really Like

Kate Middleton has always been a bit of an enigma. A commoner-turned-royal (in both action and, of course, fashion) and worldwide treasure, the public will jump to reveal any glance into Middleton’s life.

So what is the Duchess of Cambridge really like? Only her close friends and family can relay that, and we have some of their accounts. This is what Middleton’s friends say she was really like growing up. One tidbit in particular about Prince William shocked us (page 5).

She’s collected

Kate Middleton at marathon

Kate knows how to keep her cool. | Paul Lewis/AFP/Getty Images

Multiple friends of Middleton have all come to the same conclusion: In a high-pressure situation, the duchess keeps her cool. “She’s very measured, very controlled,” Richard Dennen, a magazine editor and friend of Middleton’s, told CNN. He recalled a nightclub that the duchess used to go to, Boujis, where she would frequently check her hair and makeup in the bathroom before facing the photographers outside.

School friend Jules Knight had a similar anecdote about her long-time friend. “I haven’t seen her lose her temper with a photographer or lash out. In a way she’s the perfect consort for Prince William because she’s not a risky choice: she’s smart and she’s level-headed and she’s well behaved.”

Next: Does the duchess take risks?

She plays it safe

Kate Middleton black peacoat

Being a fashion icon is not on Kate’s list. | Jack Tallis/iStock/Getty Images

Large hats aside, Middleton’s friends find that the duchess plays it safe in fashion and friendship alike. “She specifically doesn’t want to be a fashion icon,” Dennen told CNN. “I think she’s probably concerned with looking absurd.”

The royal family wants to be known for its hard work rather than an eccentric style. Royals also pick and choose their confidants with a careful hand, according to Dennen. “I think they’re extremely careful about the people they hang out with. They really trust their friends. I would say they don’t actually have that many friends … understandably.”

Next: Just how relatable is she?

She’s down to earth

Kate Middleton Wedding

Who knew a duchess could be normal? | Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

The royal couple’s normalcy has made them a lovable, inspirational team. Multiple friends of Middleton’s call her, among other compliments, simply “normal.”

John Haley, the owner of a pub near Bucklebury, where Middleton grew up, has known Kate and her family for years. “To the people in this village they’re just a normal couple who come in here and are liked and loved by loads of people,” he told CNN.

Next: Her sister had this to say.

She’s very close with her sister

Pippa Middleton attends the British Heart Foundation: Roll Out The Red Ball at The Savoy Hotel on February 11, 2016 in London, England.

The Middleton sisters have a great relationship. | Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Kate’s rise to royalty put a spotlight on her sister, Pippa Middleton, as well. On The Today Show, Pippa told host Matt Lauer, “We’re very close. … We spend a lot of time together. We still do a lot together as a family. And I think that’s really the heart for all of us is having a really close family that we can sort of be normal with each other, treat each other normally. And that’s sort of kept us all, you know, affixed to the ground.”

Kate and Pippa lived in Chelsea during Kate and William’s short-lived 2007 split. According to a biography about Kate, the sisters were very close. “The two girls would have spray tans and blow-dries together, and decide which social events to attend,” read an excerpt of the biography in Parade.

Next: She had this surprising connection to Prince William.

As a kid, she hung a picture of Prince William on her wall

Kate Middleton and Prince William

This love was a long time coming. | Toby Melville/Getty Images

According to Middleton’s childhood friend Jessica Hay, her marriage to Prince William was a long time coming. Vogue reports in the book William & Catherine: Their Story, Hay described Middleton’s crush on the prince. “We would sit around talking about all the boys at school we fancied, but Catherine would always say: ‘I don’t like any of them,’ and then joke, ‘There’s no one quite like Prince William.'”

According to Vogue, Kate hung a picture of William on her bedroom wall growing up. But unlike the other plethora of girls to do so, Middleton won the heart of the prince in the end.

Next: Was she a straight-A student?

She was a dedicated student

Kate Middleton looks serious as she is looking at another woman.

School was at the top of her mind. | Richard Pohle/AFP/Getty Images

School friend Jules Knight remembers Middleton as an extremely dedicated student, according to CNN. She met her early on at St. Andrews University. “She studied Art History and she was a clever girl. … She was a hard worker and committed and she obviously really applied herself to the academic side of university.”

Malcolm Sotherland, an expedition leader on Middleton’s 10-week trip to Chile during her gap year, had similar praise. “She wasn’t lazy, she was a hard worker and got on well with everyone no matter where they were from,” he told CNN. Sotherland also said Middleton was a very mature girl for her age. “She knew what she was about, she knew how to look after herself.”

Next: She was brains and brawn.

She was an athlete

Pippa Middleton holds her sister Kate Middleton train at her 2011 wedding to Prince William.

Kate and Pippa Middleton can give you a run for your money with field hockey. | Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Both Kate and Pippa played on the field hockey team at their boarding school. Kate also ran cross country, swam, and played tennis while in school.

Kate is still athletic, reportedly swimming, running, and doing yoga in her free time. Middleton has been photographed training with the Sisterhood Cross Channel rowing team and rowed until it became a concern due to paparazzi. She and Prince William frequent the ski slopes, as well.

Next: How does Kate Middleton get along with other royal family members?

Prince Harry

Prince William, Duchess Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry are clapping at a stadium full of people.

She and Prince Harry are close. | Alastair Grant/AFP/Getty Images

  • Royal relation to Kate: Brother-in-law

Kate can count on her brother-in-law to always be in her corner. The two are chummy, whether they’re spending time together at a shared charity event or a social gathering. A 2017 piece by Harper’s Bazaar revealed that Prince Harry views Kate as “the big sister he never had.”

Next: What about Prince Harry’s bride-to-be?

Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce their engagement.

Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton still are getting to know each other. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

  • Royal relation to Kate: Sister-in-law

Kate and Meghan Markle have met many times, and Prince Harry’s wife has also spent time with Kate and William’s children. Considering Kate’s affinity for her brother-in-law it’s no surprise sources say she defended her sister-in-law as the media reported about Markle’s previous divorce and sometimes-racy career.

Next: The important relationship Kate maintains — outside her marriage

Queen Elizabeth II

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Elizabeth II watch part of a children's sports event.

She has a special place in Queen Elizabeth’s heart. | Phil Noble/WPA Pool/Getty Images

  • Royal relation to Kate: Grandmother-in-law

Kate maintains one of the best relationships with Queen Elizabeth. Kate reportedly dated Prince William for a while before meeting the queen for the first time at Peter and Autumn Phillips’ wedding. She and her royal grandmother have only grown closer since then.

Next: Kate’s relationship with her father-in-law seems a bit strained.

Prince Charles

Prince Charles and Kate Middleton pose together.

She’s had tension with Charles. | Justin Tallis/Getty Images

  • Royal relation to Kate: Father-in-law

We don’t hear much about Kate Middleton’s relationship with her father-in-law, Prince Charles. But there were rumors of tension shortly after Kate married Prince William. Charles was reportedly “irked” by his son and daughter-in-law on their first royal trip overseas as a married couple, stating he felt the trip featured too many photo ops and was treated too much like a “personal holiday” instead of a diplomatic trip.

Next: What does Prince Charles’ hat-loving wife think?

Camilla Parker-Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall

Camilla and Kate stand in front of a car.

She seems to get along with Camilla. | Jack Taylor/Getty Images

  • Royal relation to Kate: Stepmother-in-law

Things seem cordial between the two duchesses nowadays. But in the beginning, Camilla and Kate were reportedly at odds. One biographer revealed in a book that Camilla thought Kate was “too common” to marry Prince William and may have tried to manipulate the relationship, so they wouldn’t get married.

Other reports said Camilla’s close confidantes fed the press unflattering information about Kate and her family. This is the same Camilla who Princess Diana was at odds with for years, so perhaps this isn’t surprising.

Additional reporting by Chelena Goldman.

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