Much has been made of the similarities between Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, and Diana, Princess of Wales. Both were rich but fundamentally normal women who fell in love with princes and were whisked off to a life of unimaginable power and privilege. One never got her happy ending, as we all know, and the other one did. But a curious question has been asked over the years: why was Diana referred to as a “Princess,” and Kate as a “Duchess?”
In fact, Diana had actually spent most of her life with a title, albeit a fairly minor one. She became “Lady Diana” in 1975 after her father became an Earl. Kate, on the other hand, had no title whatsoever before marrying Prince William. And although her family were millionaires thanks to their party decorations business, they weren’t actually members of the British aristocracy.
That being said, the Middletons were linked to the aristocracy through the family of Kate’s father, Michael. In fact, two of Kate’s ancestors were baronesses. But Kate herself could never have expected to become such a high-ranking member of royalty. Of course, all that changed when she went to study at St. Andrews University alongside Prince William. In 2003, as privately as they could manage, the couple began dating.