Why No One Calls Kate Middleton Catherine (and the Drama Behind Her Original Royal Name)

Why No One Calls Kate Middleton Catherine (and the Drama Behind Her Original Royal Name)

On top of being a future queen and a casual princess, Kate Middleton is a person with more names than she knows what to do with. Obviously, we in the States know her best as Kate—the nickname she used since...um, actually never. Turns out "Kate" was largely coined by the media back in the early aughts, and the flip-flopping between it and Catherine has been the source of some royal drama. So...*takes deep breath*...let's dive in!

*Note: for the purposes of this article we'll be referring to Catherine as "Kate," since it's her most widely used name in the United States.

Bet You’re Pretty Curious About Prince Harry’s Net Worth, Huh?

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Trust me, he’s doing well.

Kate Middleton’s Net Worth Was Enormous Before Joining the Royal Family—and Now It’s Even Bigger

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Wow, okay, so the Middletons are loaded.

Time to Go Inside King Charles III’s Massive Net Worth

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth left him truly 🤯 amounts of money.

Kate's Official Name

Kate was born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton and is now officially known as Catherine, Princess of Wales GCVO (that acronym references her "Royal Victorian Order"). She officially dropped her middle and last name upon marrying Prince William and also gained these fancy titles:

  • Duchess of Cambridge

  • Countess of Strathearn

  • Baroness Carrickfergus

royal wedding carriage procession to buckingham palace and departures
Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Upon King Charles' ascension to the throne, Kate added these titles to her roster:

  • Duchess of Cornwall

  • Duchess of Rothesay

And when Prince William was named Prince of Wales, she got two more:

  • Princess of Wales

  • Countess of Chester

So Why Do We Collectively Call Her Kate?

The use of "Kate Middleton" appears to have been adopted by the media when Kate first appeared in the spotlight as William's girlfriend. It's unclear why tabloids of the aughts went with "Kate" and not "Catherine," but Boston University professor Arianna Chernock told Vanity Fair in 2016 that the nickname allowed her to be more relatable to the general public. "It doesn't hurt her that the American press especially refers to her as Kate Middleton," Chernock said. "It's precisely her middle-class origins, and that name, which won her over to so many people in the first place. So that reminder can only help her."

Either way, the name stuck!

the world reacts to the birth of the duke and duchess of cambridge's new son
Kay-Paris Fernandes - Getty Images

Vanity Fair also spoke to The Daily Mail's royal reporter Rebecca English, who said, “Interestingly, in the run up to the 2011 royal wedding, senior members of the palace P.R. team encouraged us in the British media to refer to Kate as ‘Catherine.’ I think they thought it was more formal, more dignified, more royal. And to be fair, it is the name her family refers to her by. Needless to say, though, they were pretty much ignored!”

What Name Does Kate Use?

She calls herself Catherine—including in messages shared on social media, which she signs with a simple "C."

What Does William Call Kate?

According to the Daily Mail, he also exclusively uses "Catherine."

Example? This sweet tribute William wrote about his grandfather, Prince Philip, in which he noted "Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support The Queen in the years ahead."

Kate Tried to Get Everyone Use Catherine in 2008

And it clearly did not stick. The Daily Mail reported that Kate "asked everyone" to start calling her Catherine ahead of her engagement, with a friend saying, "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's a distinct feeling that she has started to become very aware of her position."

"No one ever referred to her as Kate, ever," a former classmate added. "It doesn't irritate her, even when the photographers shout her name out. She's not so precious as to correct them. But her family and close friends have always called her Catherine and that's the way she prefers it."

King Charles Tried to Get Kate to Spell Her Name "Katherine"

Prince Harry made this revelation in his memoir Spare! Per reporting from The Daily Mail, King Charles and Queen Camilla felt there were too many names starting with the letter "C" in the family, and that it “would cause confusion, especially when it came to their cyphers—the personal monogram of a member of the royal family.”

Truly imagine marrying into a family and finding out that your father in-law wants you to change the spelling of your name. Couldn't be me!

You Might Also Like