Blessed with classically beautiful features, a winning smile and those luscious brunette locks, Kate Middleton is certainly one of the most photogenic women in the world. But the Duchess of Cambridge doesn’t let her royal title or future as Queen Consort stop her from having fun in the here and now. Whether competing with William or tearing up the dance floor, Kate embraces her silly side, as these candid photos show. Here are all the times she’s let her hair down in the public eye…
A BEARY GOOD DANCE PARTNER: Paddington Bear gives Kate a twirl during a children’s charity event at Paddington Station in 2017.
WHAT’S THAT, WILLIAM? Kate looks intrigued as her husband whispers into her ear while the pair attend a boxing match in Glasgow, Scotland in 2014.
SHE SHOOTS, SHE SCORES! Ever the sportswoman, the Duchess of Cambridge prepares to dunk a basketball while playing a quick game at the Donald Dewer Leisure center in Scotland in 2013.
BENDING THE RULES: While posing for a photo with ‘King’ LeBron James in December 2014, Kate looked surprised when the basketball legend broke royal protocol and wrapped his arm around the Duchess for the shot. After this photo was taken, the group laughed it off and continued chatting.
SUN-KISSED CATHERINE: Kate and William wear traditional island clothing while visiting the home of Governor General Frank Kanui in Honiara, in the Solomon Islands, during a nine-day royal tour of the Far East and South Pacific. Over the years, fans have speculated if Kate uses fake tanner to achieve a sun-kissed glow, but she’s likely naturally bronzed in this shot.
ARM IN ARM: Prince William and Kate Middleton head to the bar for a drink together after a polo match in 2009. Their stroll came after William, at the time 26, had finished playing in the polo match, while cheered on from the sidelines by Kate and her sister Pippa. It’s been reported that both Kate and William enjoy a nice glass of wine.
WHOOPSIE DAISY: Always on duty, Kate keeps a hand on then 2-year-old Prince George’s bottom to make sure he doesn’t topple down the hill they’re sitting on at the Festival of Polo held at the Beaufort Polo Club in 2015.
FOUR EYES: The Duchess of Cambridge manages the rare feat of looking chic while wearing a pair of 3D glasses during a visit to the Anna Freud Centre in London in 2015.
ALL EYES ON HER: Kate chats away with her brother-in-law, Prince Harry, and husband Prince William while attending a Christmas party in 2016. Both Will and Harry have shared that they believes their late mother, Princess Diana, would have loved Kate.
BEAMER! The Duchess of Cambridge joins in on the fun and tries her hand at cricket during a visit to Mumbai, India. The crowd looked impressed after Kate takes a swing in heeled espadrilles, a dress and dangling jewelry.
RAINY DAYS: Caught unaware by the camera during a rain storm on her way to a reception while visiting Stockholm, Sweden, Kate still looked relatively unruffled, with her hair held back in an elegant updo to keep the humidity at bay.
LEARNING FROM THE QUEEN: In 2019, Kate made her first joint appearance with the Queen without her husband. Wearing a subdued gray dress (compared to the Queen’s pink ensemble), the Duchess of Cambridge and Her Majesty officially opened the Bush House inside King College which at the time hosted some of the latest education and learning facilities on the Strand Campus.
A MUTUAL ADMIRATION: The Queen is said to be a big fan of her granddaughter-in-law. Back in 2019, a source told royal expert Katie Nicholl that both women have similar values. ‘Kate is unflappable,’ the source said. ‘Her mantra is very like the Queen’s keep calm and carry on approach in life, and she has the added benefit of making the royal family seem almost normal and in touch’.
COMPETING CAMBRIDGES: Despite a decade of marriage, Prince William and Kate Middleton still enjoy a little competition – especially while on the world stage. Here, Kate and Wills share a joke as they run with participants during a visit to Team Heads Together London Marathon training day in 2017.
A HANDS-ON MOM: Kate holds on to a fussy Prince Louis while helping Princess Charlotte during Prince William’s King Power Royal Charity Polo Match in 2019.
PARTY GIRL PAST: Although Kate will one day be the Queen Consort of England, the Duchess knows a thing or two about having a good time. She was frequently photographed out on the town in her younger years. Here, Kate wears a neon outfit to the Day-Glo Midnight Roller Disco in 2008.
WHEN SHE’S SMILING: Even without her designer duds and royal jewels, Kate has the power to light up the room. She’s pictured here during a visit to Tata Steel during a trip to Australia.
MY GOODNESS MY GUINNESS: Speaking of Kate’s trip to Ireland, the Duchess also stopped off at the Guinness factory during her busy three day trip. Though she was wearing a glamorous green gown and gorgeous jewelry, that didn’t stop the down-to-earth Duchess from enjoying a pint as she toured.
A LAID BACK LADY: Royal experts have commended Kate Middleton for her ability to roll with the punches and not take life too seriously. Here, the Duchess of Cambridge applauds while playing cricket during a visit to Pakistan in 2019.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT? Kate and Wills met when they were both freshman at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland. And although they were both studying art history, the Prince took a particular interest in his beautiful classmate once he saw her on the catwalk at a student fashion show in 2002. The rest, as they say, is history.
HE LIKES TO MOVE IT: A very enthused Kate Middleton looks on as Prince William dances with Vanessa Boateng during a visit to the homeless charity ‘centrepoint’ in 2011.
FROM KENSINGTON PALACE TO DOWNTON ABBEY: Kate looks delighted while chatting with Downton Abbey actresses Sophie McShera and Lesley Nicol during an official visit to the set of the television series. The Queen, Prince William and Kate Middleton are all reportedly fans of the show.
TRIPLE THREAT: Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry wore their best black-tie duds while attending The Sun Military Awards at the Imperial War Museum in 2011. According to Kate’s uncle Gary Goldsmith, Prince Harry and his sister-in-law had a close relationship. ‘Harry and Kate were great friends, they were a trio with William and a strong unit,’ Goldsmith said earlier this year. Referencing Harry’s alleged rift with Prince William, he noted: ‘Family and relationships are everything to Kate – she’s very nurturing, she wouldn’t like that [rift] happening and she is trying to look after her husband and do what she can to make things right’.
DO THE WAVE: An avid tennis fan, Kate attended Wimbledon this year with her father Michael Middleton and the CEO of the Lawn Tennis Association Scott Lloyd (right). Getting in on the action, the group took part in a ‘Mexican wave’ while watching Britain’s Gordon Reid play Joachim Gerard.
A PRECOCIOUS PRINCESS: Princess Charlotte seems to have inherited Kate’s fun-loving spirit. The young royal shocked her mother back in 2019 when she stuck her tongue out at photographers while attending the King’s Cup Sailing Regatta – and the Duchess of Cambridge couldn’t help but laugh.
PRINCESS OF PHOTOGRAPHY: One of Kate’s favorite hobbies is taking photographs – especially of her children. She releases a new picture of the young royals on each of their birthdays every year. She’s seen here looking into her Cannon camera during a photography workshop run by the Royal Photographic Society in 2019.
A LEGEND IN THE MAKING: The Duchess of Cambridge is seen here in a stunning traditional Pakistani outfit while arriving for an interfaith meeting at Badshahi Mosque in 2019. During her tour of the country, international press including the New York Times lauded the Duchesses’ incredible fashion diplomacy. Kate’s ‘clothes made silent statements of cross-border respect, cultural awareness and outreach. No detail, or earring, was overlooked,’ the Times reported at the time.
THE CURRENT AND FUTURE QUEEN: Kate laughs alongside Queen Elizabeth during their Diamond Jubilee visit to Vernon Park in Nottingham.
ACE! Kate may have missed her shot, but the Duchess of Cambridge still looked the part while playing tennis after a visit to the Lawn Tennis Association at the National Tennis Centre in 2017.
LOOK OF LOVE: Kate beams alongside a laughing Prince William at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards in 2020.
CONCERT ATTIRE: Kate glows in a black and white ensemble during a night out at the Prince’s Trust concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011.
LETTING HER GUARD DOWN: The Duchess of Cambridge appeared in an episode of Giovanna Fletcher’s Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast back in 2020 and offered a rare look into her personal life. In the extraordinary interview, the 38-year-old described herself as a ‘hands-on-mum’, but said that she believed that any mother who does not admit to feeling like a failure from time to time is ‘lying’.
BENDING IT LIKE BECKHAM? Prince William smiles as his wife kicks a soccer ball while visiting Mumbai in 2016. Later on in their visit to India, the couple followed in Princess Diana’s footsteps and posed for photographs in front of the Taj Mahal.
DRESSED DOWN DUCHESS: Always flawless, a casual looking Kate was snapped wearing jeans and a light blue jacket while shopping for books in London in 2020. The Duchess reportedly asked a Waterstones bookstore employee for children’s books about history and the military during her shopping trip.
PRETTY IN PINK: The Duchess beams while holding on to a smiling Princess Charlotte at the 2016 Trooping the Colour.
ANOTHER PEOPLE’S PRINCESS: Kate is pictured while surrounded by crowds during a visit to Galway, Ireland in 2020.
HER FUNNY HUBBY: Kate Middleton appears to crack up as Prince William samples Indian food during a visit to Canada in 2016.
THE EARLY YEARS: Despite being a prince, William has admitted that he pulled out all the stops to impress Kate when they started dating in college. ‘When I was trying to impress Kate I was trying to cook these amazing fancy dinners,’ Wills once said. ‘And what would happen was I would burn something, something would overspill, something would catch on fire and she would be sitting in the background just trying to help… I was quite glad she was there at the time’.
THE ROYAL JUGGLERS: Kate and Wills enthusiastically attempt to juggle during a special event in Ireland during their 2020 trip.
ON YOUR MARK: Perhaps the most competitive Cambridge, athletic Kate prepares to jet off during a SportsAid race event at the London Stadium in 2020.
A HAIRY NEW FRIEND: Kate can’t help but laugh while petting an alpaca during a visit to The Ark Open Farm in Belfast in 2020.
BABY KATE: In 2011, Kate’s mom and dad released this photo of the future Duchess of Cambridge from a family vacation when she was three years old. Kate grew up in a loving, middle-class family – a fact the press has noted means one day, Kate will become the first commoner Queen since Anne Boleyn.
GIRLS DAY: Kate, her sister-in-law Meghan Markle and her sister Pippa Middleton smile from the Royal Box on Centre Court at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in 2019.
ROYALS ABROAD: Kate brightens up a hazy day in Australia in a beautiful yellow dress while chatting to Prince William in front of the Sydney Harbor Bridge during a 2014 trip down under.
GEORGE MEETS GEORGE: On the same trip, Kate introduced a cherubic Prince George to a Bilby also named George at the Taronga Zoo in 2014.
FUNNY FACE: Kate crinkles her nose during a visit to the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative in 2018. The Duchess of Cambridge herself has reportedly taken tennis lessons during time spent at her country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk. The estate has its own tennis courts.
TEA PLEASE: A demure looking Duchess of Cambridge takes a sip of tea during a visit to the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation during her visit to India in 2016. Kate takes her tea the traditional English way: with just a splash of milk.
THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING: Kate Middleton laughs while posing for a picture back in 2014. Notably, the Duchess still wears the trusty knee-high Penelope Chilvers boots 17 years later.
WHEN IN FRANCE: Kate and William are seen here taking a private break during their 2016 ski trip to the French Alps. Luckily, the sweet moment was captured by nearby photographers. Kate has previously noted that her husband ‘looks after’ her ‘as much as possible’. ‘I’m very, very lucky’.
THE ROYAL WAVE: Kate smiles and waves during a visit to Barry Island in South Wales. It’s been previously reported that the British royal family use a special motion while greeting fans to avoid wrist injuries and any frantic jazz-hand heralds.
BABY LOVE: Kate holds Princess Charlotte’s hand during the last day of their official visit to Poland and Germany in 2017. Prince William has expressed how much he loves his family and Kate’s role as a mother to the BBC: ‘It’s fantastic having a lovely little family and I am so thrilled,’ he said. ‘Catherine has been doing an amazing job as a mother and I’m very proud of her.’
AHOY! Kate races with team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker against her husband Prince William during a royal tour of the country in 2014.
FOR ME? On the same trip, Kate appeared touched after receiving gifts from members of the public. Following the visit, Buckingham Palace released a list of all of the gifts the Cambridge family received during their Australian and New Zealand tour – with Prince George collecting a total of 603 presents ranging from items of clothing to DVDs.
SWEET TOOTH: Kate smiles as her husband prepares to take a bite out of a delicious looking ice cream cone during a visit to Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor in Wales in 2020.
ZOOMING: Kate looks ecstatic while speaking with Andy Murray and young tennis fans during a video call in 2020.
LADIES’ DAY: Kate Middleton looks enthralled in conversation with former First Lady Michelle Obama in the drawing room of her Kensington Palace apartment. After the visit, Michelle’s makeup artist Carl Ray revealed that the first lady had purchased a new face cream – the Biotulin Supreme Skin Gel – on Kate’s recommendation. ‘The effect is unbelievable,’ he said.
HIP HIP HORRAY! Kate adorably jumps into Prince William’s arm during day six of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
VOLUNTEERING HER TIME: Kate laughs while helping unload a pallet of supplies during a visit to Baby Basic UK – a project supporting families with newborns – in August 2020.
A SWING AND A MISS: Kate can’t help but throw her head back in laughter while attempting to swing a golf club during a visit to the Cheesy Waffles Project charity in 2021.
NOBLE FRIENDS: Prince George makes some new friends while attending a parent group in New Zealand in 2014. Proud dad Wills has previously quipped that his son has ‘got [Kate’s] looks, thankfully’.
A BERRY ROYAL CHRISTMAS: Kate, who creates her children’s birthday cakes every year, looks proudly at the desert she made while appearing on a holiday baking program with Great British Bake Off stars Mary Berry and Nadiya Hussain.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT, WILLIAM: Kate rocks a preppy ensemble and tall boots while attending the Badminton Horse Trials in May 2007 when she and her then-boyfriend Prince William were ‘on a break’. The couple would publicly reunite later that summer at the Concert For Diana.
A STRAY SHOT: Kate reacts after attempting to hit a sliotar (hurling ball) with a hurley (stick) during an engagement at Salthill Knocknacarra GAA Club in Galway in 2020.
WHAT A CUTE COUPLE: Kate and William show a rare public display of affection after taking part in a dragon boat race in Canada in 2011.
NOT QUITE KATE’S SPORT: Kate and William share a laugh after the Duchess tries her hand at archery – Bhutan’s national sport – during a visit to the country in 2016.
HATS OFF TO YOU! Kate and William take a good look at each other’s head gear during a visit to a settlement of the Kalash people in Chitral, Pakistan in 2019.
THE GANG IS ALL HERE: Prince William and Kate Middleton proudly step out with all their children – Prince Louis (left), Princess Charlotte (center) and Prince George (right) – for a special pantomime performance hosted by The National Lottery in honor of Covid-19 workers and their families in December 2020.