One minute you’re just a girl, standing in front of Prince William, asking him to love you. The next, you’re legit engaged to the future king of England, which means—gulp—there’s a high probability you’ll also be named queen.
No pressure, Kate—we mean, Catherine.
But that’s just it. According to British tabloid The Sun, as early as 2008—two years before Middleton got engaged to Prince William in 2010—she began telling the people in her inner orbit that she’d prefer to go by Catherine, not Kate.
Why the change? Royals expert Andrew Helliker, who spoke to The Daily Express at the time in an interview that was recently resurfaced by The Sun, said that Middleton was taking her role as a royal family member in waiting very seriously. “I hear that in the past few weeks, the former accessories buyer [aka Kate] has quietly informed friends that she would like to drop the informal ‘Kate’ and in the future wishes to be known by her full name: Catherine,” he reportedly said.
Another royals expert, Daniela Eisner, told Elite Daily that Kate went so far as to email her friends about the change in what was described as a gentle and humorous note. A friend in the duchess’s inner circle reportedly told Eisner: “Everyone knows it’s about to happen with Kate and William, but we were a little surprised about the request to call her ‘Catherine.’ There is a distinct feeling she has started to become very aware of her position.”
As she should, in our humble (and non-royal) opinion. Catherine is Kate’s legal name, after all. If she decides to switch it up, it’s her call. It doesn't matter that she went by Kate all the way from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Besides, it’s kind of sweet that she made that much effort to fit in with the royal clan—and, at the time, her soon-to-be fam. Well-played, Kate Catherine, well-played.