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Kate Middleton's style evolution

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From St Andrews art history student to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton has come a long way in 12 years and so has her style.

Where Jenny Packham was once her go-to designer, in recent years, Middleton has experimented with looks by fashion's chicest names, from Roksanda Ilincic to Roland Mouret. But what has remained unchanged is her love of L.K. Bennett pumps and a Breton top when off-duty. See for yourself in our round-up of the royal icon's style evolution.

Pictures: Rex Features

  • Childhood holiday, 1985

    Even though she was only three and a half, Kate showed her style 'stripes' while on a family holiday in the Lake District as this photo - part of a set of private pictures released by the Middleton family after the announcement of the royal engagement - shows.

  • Charity fashion show, 2002

    Kate first hit the headlines in 2002 after taking to the catwalk for a charity fashion show at St Andrews University. Prince William was rumoured to have payed top dollar for a seat in the audience, and Kate's infamous sheer dress - designed by fellow student Charlotte Todd - is now said to be worth £100k.

  • Blenheim Palace, 2004

    Donning a tweed ensemble for a photo shoot at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire in 2004, Kate looked every inch the lady of the manor.

  • Kate’s hats, 2005

    Kate is known as much for her love of hats as for her knee high boots and Issa dresses. Here she’s wearing a cowboy hat at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire. Was the heart shaped pendant a present from beau William?

  • Causing a stir in fur, 2006

    Sporting a large fur hat twinned with a tweed coat, Kate turned heads at the Cheltenham races - unfortunately the headwear turned out to be made of real mink.

    Who will design Kate Middleton's wedding dress? We cast our bets here.

  • William’s graduation, 2006

    Kate wears a bright red coat with black hat for her boyfriend’s graduation from Sandhurst. The vibrant red has become a signature look for Kate, although in later years she usually opts to enhance her silhouette with a black belt.

    Who will design Kate Middleton's wedding dress? We cast our bets here.

  • Cheltenham Festival, March 2007

    For the Cheltenham Festival horse racing meeting back in 2007 (shortly after ranking at number eight in '''Tatler's annual Best Dressed list), Kate returned again to trusty tweed, teaming a green jacket with a co-ordinating flared skirt and her favourite knee-high boots.

    Who will design Kate Middleton's wedding dress? We cast our bets here.

  • Future princess, April 2011

    The future princess picks a classic fitted navy pencil suit and heels at one of her final public appearances at Whitton Park, Darwen with Prince William before their wedding.

    Who will design Kate Middleton's wedding dress? We cast our bets here

  • Royal Wedding, April 2011

    And here she is at long last in the dress we waited months to see. Kate Middleton's exquisite wedding dress was designed by Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton, who managed to keep her very special commission top secret until the moment Kate - now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, emerged from her hotel on her father's arm.

  • ARK Gala, June 2011

    Kate made one of her first public appearances after the Royal wedding at the ARK charity gala in London in June 2011. The new Duchess of Cambridge wore a pale rose Jenny Packham gown that was covered in Swarovski crystals and sequins.

  • Official function, June 2011

    For a formal engagement alongside her husband in June 2011, the Duchess of Cambridge opted for a neat tailored coat and skirt with a military flavour courtesy of its shiny gold buttons and shoulder epaulettes.

  • Royal tour of Canada, July 2011

    On their first overseas tour as a married couple, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Canada where they received a warm welcome. Kate stuck to one of her favourite designers, Alexander McQueen, choosing this knitted sailor dress for a tour of Prince Edward Island.

  • Royal tour of Canada, July 2011

    The Duchess of Cambridge has the envious knack of looking good in all colours, including jewel shades like the rich purple of the Issa dress she wore to a concert in Ottawa on the Royal couple's Canadian tour. And if you got to borrow jewels like this glittering diamond maple leaf brooch from your grandmother-in-law, the Queen, wouldn't y0u look like the Kate that got the cream?

  • Royal tour of Canada, July 2011

    Since her marriage, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge has already started to prove that she understands the importance of her wardrobe in making a positive impression. On the Royal couple's Canadian tour in July, she opted for a Catherine Walker coat dress in a shade of red that exactly matched the host country's flag and accessorised it with the Queen's diamond maple leaf brooch. Now that's power dressing.

  • Cowgirl Kate, July 2011

    Proving she does casual, preppy style as effortlessly as formal dressing, Kate kept her cool at the Calgary Stampede in July in Temperley London's 'Rodeo' shirt which she wore with classic blue jeans and topped off with a pure white cowboy hat.

  • Bafta gala, Hollywood, July 2011

    It takes a serious amount of star power to outshine Hollywood's A-listers, but that's exactly what Kate (with a dapper Prince William on her arm) managed when she stepped onto the red carpet for a BAFTA gala in Los Angeles in July. An Alexander McQueen gown, Jimmy Choo heels and some diamond earrings on loan from the Queen made the Duchess a fine ambassador for British fashion.

  • A very Royal boat party, July 2011

    For a party aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia before the wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall in Edinburgh, Scotland in August, Kate rocked a simple apple green silk Diane von Furstenberg dress, chandelier earrings and a huge smile.

  • Zara Phillip's wedding, July 2011

    The Duchess of Cambridge has proved herself to be a bit of a pro at wearing challenging hats and fascinators this year and the satellite-dish-style number she picked for Zara Phillips' wedding to Mike Tindall in July was a spectacular example. The wardrobe-savvy Kate also picked an embroidered coat she'd previously worn to a wedding in 2006.

  • Birmingham visit, Aug 2011

    On a visit to Birmingham to meet with local residents affected by the riots August, Kate wore another Alexander McQueen ensemble, this time a military-style top and pencil skirt with brass buttons and epaulettes.

  • Sandringham, Dec 2011

    Christmas with the in-laws at Sandringham and Kate showed she understands the dress code perfectly in her jeans, wellies and country-casual hat.

  • Sun Military Awards, Dec 2011

    It was only fitting that Kate should choose to end her amazing year in another showstopping Alexander McQueen gown. At the Sun Military Awards she wore a strapless black velvet dress with a fishtail skirt and looked, quite simply, gorgeous.

  • Christmas Day, Sandringham, Dec 2011

    What on earth would you wear if you were spending Christmas Day with your in-laws and they just happened to be the Royal family? Clever Kate went for an aubergine coat and a stunning plum-coloured trilby with ruffles made by Jane Corbett.

  • Autumn International rugby match, November 2012

    The Duchess of Cambridge wore an LK Bennett coat to the Autumn International rugby match between Wales and New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

  • National Portrait Gallery reception, April 2013

    In a 50s style, baby blue Emilia Wickstead cocktail dress.

  • 60th Anniversary of the Coronation of Queen, June 2013

    In a Jenny Packham dress with L.K.Bennett shoes.

  • Royal Princess cruise ship naming ceremony, June 2013

    In a £169 Dalmatian-print Hobbs dress.

  • Trooping the Colour, June 2013

    In a light pink coat from Alexander McQueen and matching hat.

  • Christening of Prince George, October 2013

    In a chic cream suit by Alexander McQueen and a Jane Taylor hat. Her outfit matched the traditional Christening robe worn by baby George, a 2008 replica of the lace gown worn by every Royal baby since 1841.

  • At a premiere, December 2013

    In a long sleeved Roland Mouret gown at the premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom in London. The Duchess accessorised with a black clutch, black heels and a sparkling statement necklace from Zara.

  • Arriving for royal tour of New Zealand, April 2014

    In a Catherine Walker Russian Greatcoat and a Gina Foster Seaford Hat with Prince George at the Military Terminal at Wellington Airport.

  • On the royal tour of New Zealand, April 2014

    In a Tory Burch Paulina Lacey Dotted Dress, playing with Prince George at an event for Plunket nurses and parents in Wellington.

  • On the royal tour of Australia, April 2014

    In a Roksanda Ilincic Ryedale Dress in Sunshine Yellow and L.K. Bennett heels arriving at the Sydney Opera House with Prince William.

  • On the royal tour of Australia, April 2014

    In an L.K. Bennett blue poppy-print dress while visiting RAAF Amberley in Brisbane.

  • On the royal tour of Australia, April 2014

    In a pale pink Alexander McQueen suit while visiting Adelaide.

  • On the royal tour of Australia, April 2014

    In a Lela Rose dress at a reception hosted by the Govenor-General in Canberra.

  • On the royal tour of Australia, April 2014

    In a Michael Kors coat at the Australian War Memorial on Anzac Day.

  • Jerudong Trophy polo match, June 2014

    In a classic Breton top, jeans and loafers with Prince George at Cirencester Polo Club in Gloucestershire.

  • First World War centenary, August 2014

    In an L.K. Bennett dress while visiting the 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' by Paul Cummins at the Tower of London.

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