Never-before-seen picture of Kate Middleton as a student by Sun Royal snapper Arthur Edwards as she turns 40

ON Sunday Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will turn 40 – a milestone in any woman’s life.

The Sun’s Royal Photographer tells the remarkable inside story of how he watched through his lens as shy art student Kate Middleton transformed into our future Queen.

THE first time I took a photograph of Kate Middleton, I didn’t know who on Earth she was.

Prince William had invited a group of his friends from university to Sandringham for the weekend.

It was only when I was looking through some old photographs recently that I spotted Kate among William’s pals.

And you would not recognise her.

Back then you would never have credited that the young woman who walked through those gates would turn out to be our future queen.

Kate is now the ultimate media star.

Most read in Fabulous


I'm 50 and have no wrinkles or Botox – I have a £1 beauty secret I swear by


I’m a breakup coach – the 6 red flags that mean you need to call it quits


I'm a Slimming World leader – these are our diet secrets and the truth about pasta


I saved £25k in one year, here’s how you can save £30,000 in 2022

Whenever she is out and about it goes in the paper, just like Diana.

Diana was once described as a cross between Cindy Crawford and Mother Teresa, and I am beginning to think the Duchess of Cambridge is in that same mould.

🔵 Read our Royal Family live blog for the latest updates

As the years go by she is changing, overcoming her natural shyness and becoming more confident.

She is intelligent, pays great attention to detail and never gets it wrong.

On jobs, I look at her and think: “You look just great.”

Every picture editor in London wants a full-length photograph of her because she looks so elegant and stylish.

As well as seeing her grow into a graceful beauty, I watched her romance with William slowly develop until she became his girlfriend.

William had told me he was going to get married at 30.

I didn’t know of anybody else in his life, so I assumed it would be Kate.

But then suddenly, in 2007, they broke up and I thought I must have made a terrible mistake in thinking this was the girl for him.

Almost immediately after the news was revealed I got a call from a contact in Prince Charles’s office to say the split was very amicable.

I saw Kate’s strong character and stiff upper lip show itself after that because the next day she went to play a game of tennis — and you would never know she was heartbroken.

On the tenth anniversary of Diana’s death, William and Harry arranged a concert at Wembley Stadium in honour of their mother.

The organisers asked me to supply a couple of pictures and write a tribute to Diana in the concert programme.

As a thank-you, they invited my wife Ann and me to the royal box for lunch and to watch the concert.

Suddenly, Ann said: “Look, there’s Kate”, who was with some friends.

It was only when I was looking through some old photos recently that I spotted Kate among William’s pals… and you would not recognise her.

As we were leaving, we spotted William and Kate in deep conversation on their own in a corner. I remember Ann saying to me: “Looks like it’s on again.”

Just before their engagement, William invited a few people to have tea, where he introduced Catherine to me. It was here I asked the Prince: “Why did you split up?”

I imagine it was because he came from a broken home that he replied: “Well, Arthur, I had to be sure this was the right woman for me because I want this marriage to last for ever.”

I thought: “My god, he risked all that just to make sure he really loved this woman!”

Of course, I have seen in the years since that he was right.

Both Kate and William turn 40 this year. They are still so loved-up and make such a great couple, with impeccable style.

Catherine looks magnificent in whatever she wears, from casual to formal. But that stunning hair is what stands out.

She must spend a fortune on hairdressing.

It is always right for the occasion, whether she wears it up, in braids or full length.

Occasionally she has been criticised for repurposing her clothes — shortening a coat or changing a dress she has worn before.

But why not?

As Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, said to me: “I don’t care if I wore a coat three times a week. It doesn’t bother me.”

On a visit to Kensington Palace I was waiting in an anteroom, sitting among stacks of hat boxes and racks of clothes all meant for Kate.

Clothes manufacturers send their stuff to her — because even William, I think, could not afford to pay for all those outfits every day for his wife to look stunning.

I look at her and I think, 'you look just great'. Every picture editor in London wants a full-length photograph of her because she looks so elegant.

Working with Kate, I find her absolutely charming, she does her best all the time.

She does her homework, is very well briefed and is very much a stateswoman now.

She handles herself brilliantly in the company of presidents, kings and queens, as well as ordinary people who she can identify with, especially mothers.

When I see her at an engagement, I imagine her at breakfast getting the kids off to school like every other mum in the country.

In the Solomon Islands in 2012 I had a little SureShot camera in my pocket, which I gave to the Cambridges’ press secretary to take a picture of Kate meeting a CNN news crew.

Shortly after, her aide asked if I could talk to Kate, who was very keen on the camera.

She liked it so much I got the manufacturer to send her one.

Her passion for photography began that day in a South Sea paradise and her skill with a camera has come on leaps and bounds.

Her 2020 photo of William and their three children on a swing is one I would have been so proud to take myself.

It is a stunning picture. I often show photographs of Kate to my wife and her face always breaks into a big smile.

That is the test of a good picture — when someone looks at it and immediately smiles.

As far as I am concerned, as William and Catherine celebrate their landmark 40th birthdays, the Royal Family is in such good hands.

The deal the media have with Kate — whereby she supplies pictures of George, Charlotte and Louis on their special days and, in return, we all leave them alone — works wonderfully well.

I heard how Kate took the children to a playgroup near their Norfolk home and, at first, the other mothers started taking pictures of the kids.

She politely asked them not to.

And when another mother came along who had never seen Kate before and started getting her camera out, they said: “No, you can’t take pictures of her.”

One day Catherine will take Diana’s former title and become Princess of Wales.

She certainly deserves it, because in nearly 20 years she has never put a foot wrong.

As far as I am concerned, as William and Catherine celebrate their landmark 40th birthdays, the Royal Family is in such good hands.

William was right to change his mind and realise Kate was the woman for him.

I hope that moment I witnessed them deep in conversation after the concert, when they clearly only had time for each other, was when they knew they were destined to be together.

William wanted this marriage to last for ever — and I feel confident they will be together to the end.

    Source: Read Full Article