Kate the great! Relive Duchess Catherine’s best moments as she turns 36

As the Duchess of Cambridge celebrates her 36th birthday, we look back at her remarkable life.
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Kate Middleton was your everyday little girl, who grew up in the British country side of Bucklebury with loving parents and two siblings.

But her life would change forever when her paths crossed with Prince William at the University of St Andrews in Scotland back in 2001.

Urban legend says the Duchess of Cambridge had a poster of Wills on her wall as a teenager but she has since spoken out on the tale and shut down the claims.

“I had the Levis guy on my wall, not a picture of William, sorry,” she laughed during her engagement interview.

The rest reads like a real-life fairy-tale – from their incredible 2011 wedding, to their long-lasting love and two (soon to be three!) gorgeous children, Prince George, four, and Princess Charlotte, two.

Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge are the real deal.

As she turns another year older, she only becomes more graceful.

The mother-of-two has used her global influence to help create a better world, working alongside an array of charities including her very own The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and Heads Together.

She is also a patron for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, SportsAid, Place2Be and Action on Addiction.

In 2013, her life entered another big chapter when she welcomed her first son Prince George.

“It’s very emotional. It’s such a special time. I think any parent will know what this feeling feels like,” she said at the time.

And who could forget the arrival of Princess Charlotte back in 2015.

2018 is set to be their most exciting year yet as Prince William and Duchess Catherine prepare to welcome their third child in April before celebrating the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Click through the gallery to check out Catherine’s best moments from over the years!

Feeling the love: The Duchess of Cambridge seems to just blossom with age. Getting more comfortable in her skin, the now 36-year-old has breathed new life into the royal family.

The fab four: Kate balances her role as a full-time royal and mother-of-two brilliantly.

Mental health crusader: Along with William and Harry, Kate’s work with the Heads Together charity has paved the way for future generations to come. Her wish is that her children and millions of kids around the world feel comfortable enough to talk about their mental health.

Finding her inner strength: While it’s clear that Kate has been a pillar for her Prince, William clearly plays the same role for his wife. Since their wedding, their love has only continued to soar.

Work and Play: The couple embarked on two huge royal tours of India and Canada, and during their time the pair showed how much fun they can have while on the job.

Prince William and Duchess Catherine

A prince and his girl: This iconic photo of William and Catherine was taken on their graduation day at St Andrews University in 2005. “I actually think I went bright red when I met you and sort of scuttled off, feeling very shy about meeting you,” Kate has reflected on their first encounter.

Here comes the bride: The beautiful moment Kate Middleton became Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge after she married Prince William on the 29th, April 2011.

A new sister-in-law: This year Kate will get a brand-new family member in Meghan Markle and the two are already incredibly close.

Prince William and Duchess Catherine

Bumping along beautifully: The Cambridge clan is also expanding as they count down to welcome baby number three in April.

The magic continues…: It may have been nearly six years since they said “I do!” but Wills and Kate seem to be a smitten as ever… All that’s missing is a royal balcony and kiss to boot!

Engagement glow: The gorgeous couple beamed with excitement when they announced their engagement in 2010.

Their spark is electrifying: You know how people get a glow when they return from holidays? The Duke and Duchess seem to have held on to their slice of heaven for an entire marriage!

Royally adorable! It doesn’t get much sweeter than this! We can see where George and Charlotte get their gorgeous features from, a young Kate Middleton had cuteness in spades.

Vintage Middy: The year was 2006 and the eventual Mrs Cambridge was just a London socialite working her way around the scene. We quite like the fact that even the future Queen of England wasn’t above going to the opening of a chain store.

Duchess of disco: Or a roller disco for that matter! In 2008, Kate rocked short-shorts and roller skates like no other.

Beauty and brains: Catherine graduated the prestigious university with a degree in Art History.

Flyin’ Solo: Kate got to tap into her love of art as she embarked on her very first solo international royal tour of The Netherlands. Here the mother-of-two is observing one of the gems of the art world, The Girl With The Pearl Earring.

Conquering her fears: She rarely gives public speeches but in 2015 Catherine took to the podium to deliver a powerful address at the the Place2Be Headteacher Conference in London.

Soaring to new heights: One to take on life with both hands, the beloved royal wowed as she embarked on her own passionate quest in raising awareness for children’s mental health. Kate not only put her best foot forward, showing off her sporting skills, she also dipped her toes into the world of journalism, stepping in as The Huffington Post’s guest editor.

Single and loving it! In April 2007, William and Catherine called time on their relationship but instead of wallowing, the brunette beauty totally owned it, went out on the town and had fun. “At the time wasn’t very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person, you find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn’t realised,” she later confessed.

Better together: Lo and behold, she and William eventually reconciled and their love continues to grow.

The way they look at each other! “When I first met Kate I knew there was something very special about her. I knew there was possibly something that I wanted to explore there.”

Lady in red: The Duchess was a vision in this Jenny Packham gown and the Royal’s Lotus Flower tiara when she attended her first state banquet to honour the Chinese President Mr Xi Jinping in October, 2015.

It’s always an honour: From dignitaries… to cats! Catherine is always delighted to meet everyone including street cat and now film star, Bob.

The Queen of good hair: The mum-of-two’s shiny, flawless locks are royalty in their own right.

Bold and beautiful: The iconic brunette has found with age, she can be more confident and bolder with her looks. From the addition of a cute hat, to showing off her decolletage – Kate is truly the queen of style.

Always radiant: No matter what the occasion, Kate makes sure all her looks are an event! From channelling the cultural delights of India, embodying the fresh fun nature of Canada or going for ever-classic princess perfection.

Duchess Catherine and Prince William

Fierce fashionista: When Catherine attends an important event, you can trust she’ll bring her fashion A game. She stunned in this glittering ensemble for the ARK 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner in London in 2011.

Blooming beautiful: No one does maternity style quite like Kate, pictured on the left in 2013 and on the right in 2015, and she’s truly shone during all of her pregnancies.

**A spectacular mother:* While royal well-wishers love watching Prince George and Princess Charlotte grow up, many parents know it’s also huge to watch mum and dad grow into their roles. And the Duchess wowed the world with her kind and humble nature, despite royal pressures – she always makes her kids her priority.

Gorgeous George: How could we ever forget that she’s the mother to one of the most adorable human beings on the face of the earth.

Family comes first: Watching Kate interact with George makes it easy to see she’s a natural with kids.

A very Cambridge Christmas: 2016 saw the Cambridges opt to spend the silly season with the Middleton family… and the family-of-four warmed our hearts when they stepped out for church in their winter ensembles.

Keeping up with the Cambridges: “It’s very emotional. It’s such a special time. I think any parent will know what this feeling feels like,” Catherine said after welcoming George in 2013 (L) and she was just as elated when she gave birth to Charlotte (R).

When the Cambridges took on Canada: Undoubtedly one of the biggest moments in the 2016 royal calendar. The Duke and Duchess were delighted that their two little ones got to explore one of their favourite places.

Cool and casual: Her off-duty style is just as chic.

Catherine and Charlotte slay twinning: There’s nothing we love more than mother-daughter duos who know the secret to matching and Kate knows exactly how to compliment with her little princess.

Mummy’s darling daughter: Princess Charlotte is the apple of her mother’s eye. “Charlotte is getting bigger and getting on well with her noisy big brother.”

Family first: Catherine’s bond with her younger sister Pippa is truly inspiring.

Getting to know grandpa: Catherine has ensured Prince Charles is very much a part of her kids’ lives, and the 69-year-old couldn’t be happier. “Charlotte and George will look after me when I’m tottering about,” Charles joked.

Showing off her softer side: But it’s not all pomp and ceremony for this beloved royal. Who could forget this hilarious moment in December when William and Kate teased one another at a charity bash while a banker helped the Duchess in nothing more than his underwear, a blazer and a pair of heels.

Passionate spectator: As an avid sports fan, when Kate watches a match she gets very into it and we love it!

Giving it her all: The mother-of-two’s ping pong concentration face was on point during a visit to London’s Bacon’s College in 2012.

Running in heels: She loves hockey and isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and have a hit, not even a pair a sky-high boots will stop her!

Beach babe: Kate had the nation transfixed when she managed to run across Sydney’s Manly beach in a pair of wedges during the Cambridges’ official tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2014.

Honouring Diana: Although she never met her late mother-in-law, she’s never far away thanks to Catherine’s engagement ring made up of a striking blue sapphire and diamonds, which previously belonged to Diana. “I just hope I look after it. It’s very, very special,” Kate has said.

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Princess Diana and Duchess Catherine’s precious parenting moments

Regal BFFs: Catherine’s close bond with her brother-in-law Harry is truly heart-warming. “To have a big sister is very, very nice… She’s a fantastic girl, she really is, my brother is very lucky,” Harry mused.

Part of the fam: And it’s clear she fits in so well with the rest of the family.

DJ K-Middy in the house: When an Alexander McQueen-clad Catherine took to the decks during a visit to a hip hop school in Adelaide back in 2014 the world fell a little bit more in love with her.

People are drawn to her: Kate’s charisma is undeniable and yet another reason she’s so popular.

Working her magic: In 2013 William and Catherine joked about with their wands as they visited the set of Harry Potter.

Here’s to 36 and plenty more! Happy birthday Catherine.

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