Kate Middleton’s friends were reportedly taken aback by her email announcing her name change

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kate, Princess of Wales is one of the most talked about women in the world, from her relationship with Prince William to their family life with three royal children - Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis - entertaining the world on the regular. 

But it wasn’t Princess Charlotte’s signature sass or Prince Louis’ facial expressions that got the world talking this week. Instead, it was Kate Middleton herself, and more specifically her name.

Kate has many names - Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, the Countess of Strathearn in Scotland, and Baroness Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland. But it's the name "Catherine" that has confused people the most over the years, with William and other royal family members often referring to her by the moniker.

So, is she Kate or Catherine, and why?

This question resurfaced recently, with a source explaining that the Princess of Wales actually made the conscious decision to change her name from one to the other.

Yes, according to royal expert Adam Helliker, Kate reportedly asked her friends to start calling her "Catherine" while she was in a relationship with Prince William, just in case they got married and a royal life awaited her.

"I hear that in the past few weeks, the former accessories buyer has quietly informed friends that she would like to drop the informal 'Kate' and in future wishes to be known by her full name: 'Catherine'", Helliker explained in a 2008 Sunday Express column that has recently resurfaced.

Going on to explain, he reportedly claimed that she was "preparing for her future role."

This is something that is said to have taken the recipients aback, with friends of the now Princess reportedly telling Helliker at the time: "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."

Some royal sources have reportedly disputed the claims.

Either way, both Kate and Catherine sound pretty regal to us.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.