All Kate Middleton’s royal ‘firsts’ in photos


She joined the royal family in 2011

From royal tours to state banquets to the birth of her three children, the Duchess of Cambridge has had a very eventful royal career so far. She officially joined the Firm in April 2011 after marrying Prince William at Westminster Abbey, and since then, Kate has become one of the most popular royals. Let’s take a look at her most memorable royal ‘firsts,’ from her first joint engagement with the Queen to her debut at Trooping the Colour… Beating Retreat, 2019 In June 2019, Kate ticked off a royal first as she attended Beating Retreat on Horse Guards Parade in London. The Duchess took the salute while also viewing the fantastic display of military music, horsemanship, precision drill, pageantry and fireworks. Beating Retreat is usually held over two evenings in the lead up to the Queen’s official birthday celebration, Trooping the Colour. The troops tell the story of how the regiments of the Household Division, The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and The London Regiment have a long and distinguished history of serving the monarchy and the UK.

Photo: © Getty Images

Insignia of a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, June 2019

On her eighth wedding anniversary, Kate was given a very special gift from the Queen. The monarch invested Kate with the Insignia of a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, presenting her with the regalia in person at a private ceremony. Kate showed off her new sash, badge and star at the state banquet in June 2019, held in honour of visiting US President Trump. The dark blue sash edged in pink stood out against Kate’s white Alexander McQueen ruffled gown.

Photo: © Getty Images
First Royal Ascot, June 2016

It wasn’t until 2016 that Kate attended Royal Ascot. The mum-of-three looked gorgeous in a white lace dress by Dolce & Gabbana, which cost £2,415. The following year, Kate stepped out in a strikingly similar white frock, this time designed by Alexander McQueen.

Photo: © Getty Images

First royal attendance at Wimbledon, June 2011

Kate is now patron of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, a patronage that the Queen passed on to her in 2016. But back in 2011, the then-newlywed attended the tennis tournament as a non-patron. Kate has always been a big tennis fan and used to go with her family as a child. She’s a regular in the Royal Box, usually attending the men’s singles final with Prince William.

Photo: © Getty Images

First Trooping the Colour, June 2011

Newlywed Kate attended her first Trooping the Colour in 2011, just two months after her royal wedding. She shared a carriage with Prince Andrew and the Duchess of Cornwall, coordinating with Camilla in white, while her new husband William rode in the procession on horseback. Photo: © Getty Images

First official duty as a married woman, May 2011

Just one month after their wedding and returning from their honeymoon in the Seychelles, Prince William and Kate carried out their first joint engagement as a married couple.

The Duke and Duchess gave Barack and Michelle Obama a warm welcome at Buckingham Palace and spent 20 minutes – twice as long as scheduled – speaking to their guests.

Although the 44th President of the United States and the First Lady weren’t present at the royal wedding, they chatted about how much the people of the US loved watching William and Kate tie the knot at Westminster Abbey.

Photo: © Getty Images

First overseas tour, July 2011

Kate and William clearly had their time of their lives during their first ever overseas tour in July 2011, just three months after their wedding. The pair spent 12 days in the US and Canada, and couldn’t help but giggle in their matching cowboy hats as they watched a rodeo demonstration billed “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth” on the last day of their tour in Calgary, Canada.

The couple watched as a succession of cowboys rode bucking bulls in front of them. “Oh my God! Oh my!” said Kate, biting her lip, as Scott Schniffer, 31, a former Canadian champion, stayed on for eight seconds before being thrown. Watching a five-year-old boy take part in the children’s version, by riding on a mutton, Kate exclaimed: “He’s so cute! So young, so brave!”

Photo: © Getty Images

First solo engagement, October 2011

The Duchess made her first ever solo engagement when Prince Charles had to pull out of a charity dinner for In Kind Direct in October 2011. Kate looked calm and collected as she greeted visitors at the Clarence House reception in a beautiful pale green gown. A palace aide said at the time: ”The Duchess had a little bit of time beforehand to prepare for the engagement it all went very well. She was so pleased that her first solo engagement was for the Prince of Wales, who has shown her so much support over the years.”

The chief executive of In Kind Direct Robin Boles spoke about the new royal’s presence at the event, saying: “We were delighted that the Duchess was able to step in at such short notice after our founder was unexpectedly called away. The Duchess hosted a very special evening with absolute professionalism and charm.” Photo: © Getty Images

First overseas engagement, November 2011

Kate joined Prince William on her first joint humanitarian mission to Denmark in late 2011. Wearing an L.K. Bennett coat, knee high black boots while sporting her signature bouncy waves, the Duchess looked relaxed and content as she greeted Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and his wife, Crown Princess Mary.

During their time there, the couple visited a Unicef famine relief depot and toured a British Airways Boeing 747 carrying emergency medical supplies.

Photo: © Getty Images

First Christmas as a royal, December 2011

For her first Christmas as a royal, Kate joined Prince William, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Zara Tindall and Princess Margaret’s son, Viscount Linley at Sandringham.

The group attended a Christmas service at St Mary Magdalene Church and several hundred well-wishers came out on the morning of the 25th to catch a glimpse of the Duchess, who smiled as she entered the church with her husband and Prince Harry.

Photo: © Getty Images

First public speech, March 2012

In March 2012, Kate carried out an engagement at The Treehouse Children’s Hospice in Ipswich, England, for which she is patron. The expectant hush that descended over the children’s hospice preceded a monumental royal moment – the Duchess of Cambridge’s first public address. Slightly nervous but intently focused, Kate began a new chapter of her career with words several weeks in the writing, which she penned herself.

“First of all, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for not only accepting me as your patron, but for inviting me here today,” she said. “You’ve all made me feel so welcome and I feel hugely honoured to be here to see this wonderful centre. I’m only sorry William can’t be here today, he would love it here… through teamwork so much can be achieved. What you have achieved here is extraordinary.”

Stepping down from the podium after her address, Kate admitted: “I find doing speeches nerve-wracking”. But the poised delivery earned her thundering applause and was an indication of how much she had evolved in her role.

Her speech no doubt sent ripples of pride through the ranks of senior members of the royal family, who are accomplished public speakers and are said to have counselled the new Duchess ahead of her visit.

Photo: © Getty Images

First engagement with the Queen, July 2012

Kate carried out her first engagement with Her Majesty in 2012, alongside Prince Philip. The trio visited Leicester as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK. She looked typically elegant in a dark green suit, cinched at the waist with a black belt.

Photo: © Getty Images

Announcing her first pregnancy, December 2012

Kate spent three nights at King Edward VII hospital following her struggles with acute morning sickness in December 2012.

The Duchess’s hospitalisation meant that news of Kate’s pregnancy was released earlier than planned, but she looked in good spirits as she smiled at the crowds gathered to wish her a get well soon outside the hospital.

Photo: © Getty Images

Presenting their first royal baby to the world, July 2013

Prince William and Kate introduced their newborn son to the world outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital on 23 July 2013.

The Duchess wore a light blue Jenny Packham dress with white polka dots, and looked overjoyed as she cradled Prince George, who weighed eight pounds six ounces.

The pair still hadn’t decided on a name for their new bundle of joy at that point, with William telling well-wishers: “He’s got a good pair of lungs on him that’s for sure. We’re still working on a name for him.”

The new dad also quipped that luckily George had inherited his “mum’s looks”. Photo: © Getty Images

Prince George’s first official photo, August 2013

In a break from royal tradition, William and Kate’s first official portrait of baby George was not taken by an official photographer but instead Kate’s father, Michael Middleton.

The Duchess looked to have settled into her new role as she cradled her baby close and glowed in a pink Seraphine dress. Her husband William and their pet dog, Lupo, completed the sweet photo.

The picture also set a trend for William and Kate not to use official photographers for all of their children’s photoshoots. Princess Charlotte’s first snaps were taken by her doting mum Kate.

Photo: © Getty Images

First night out after giving birth to Prince George, September 2013

In her first official appearance after giving birth to Prince George, Kate looked radiant in a sparkling Jenny Packham evening gown and Jimmy Choo heels. The new mum was attending the Tusk Conservation Awards at The Royal Society by Prince William’s side.

William joked: “This is our first evening out without [Prince George]. Please excuse us if you see us nervously casting surreptitious glances at mobiles.”

“Catherine and I very much hope to introduce George to east Africa – a place we know and love – in the fullness of time,” added the Prince.

The continent holds a special place in the royal couple’s heart, after William proposed to Kate at a remote safari lodge in Kenya in 2010.

Photo: © Getty Images

First royal baby’s christening, October 2013

At the christening of her first child in October 2013, Kate was a vision in a white dress and fascinator. The new mum was the picture of happiness as she carried baby George, who was three months old, to the church.

The baby boy was dressed in a traditional cream gown, and was as good as gold during the ceremony.

Photo: © Getty Images

First royal tour with Prince George, April 2014

Eight months into motherhood, Kate was clearly thriving in her new role. She and William decided to take their son Prince George on his first official long-haul tour to Australia and New Zealand in April 2014 – the same trip William made as a baby.

As Kate carried George off the plane in Canderra, Australia, the new mum smiled to well-wishers, while her son looked slightly more sleepy having woken from his nap.

Photo: © Getty Images

First state banquet, October 2015

Kate looked resplendent in a red Jenny Packham gown and the spectacular Papyrus/Lotus Flower tiara as she sat pride of place next to the Chinese President, Xi Jinping.

The pair were attending a lavish state banquet – Kate’s first – that was held at Buckingham Palace in honour of the royal family’s Chinese guests. The Duchess shared a toast with the politician following the Queen’s speech.

Making her glittering banquet debut, the sumptuous affair also marked Kate’s first big glamorous night out following the end of her maternity leave.

Photo: © PA

First time at Chelsea Flower Show, May 2016

Despite joining the Firm in 2011, Kate didn’t attend Chelsea Flower Show in a royal capacity until 2016. Since then, she has attended every year apart from 2018 when she was on maternity leave with baby Prince Louis. Her most memorable appearance at the annual London event was in 2019 when she brought her whole family with her. Kate had co-designed the RHS Back to Nature garden, and her children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis paid a visit to explore and play in the green space.

Photo: © Getty Images

Prince George’s first day of school, September 2017

Ahead of the school year, Kate and her family made the move from their country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk to Apartment 1A in Kensington Palace. The Cambridges had decided to move back to the capital so that George could attend Thomas’s Battersea junior school, while his sister Charlotte enrolled at Willcocks nursery.

Kate, who was pregnant with Prince Louis, was suffering from severe morning sickness and sadly had to skip George’s first day of school, leaving Prince William to do the school run himself.

Photo: © Getty Images

Royal Family Order, December 2017

In October 2018, Kate attended a state banquet held in honour of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. Royal fans were given a clear look of the Royal Family Order – a brooch pinned to her dress which was a gift from the Queen. The brooch is painted with an image of Her Majesty, and made from glass, rather than the traditional ivory.

This was the second time Kate was seen wearing the special gift, the first being in December 2017 when she attended the Diplomatic Corps reception.

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