Royal Experts Say Kate Middleton “Significantly Changed Her Appearance to Become More Appropriate” Before Her Engagement

A new documentary chronicles Prince William and Kate's love story and the lead-up to their 2010 engagement.

These days, Kate Middleton is a real-life princess — and she's got the demure, elegant wardrobe to match her official royal title. But before she was Princess Catherine, she was Kate, and she had the early aughts style to match the fact that she grew up in the era of low-rise jeans and Ugg boots. In a new Channel 5 documentary, William & Kate: Too Good To Be True, royal experts point out that there was a noticeable shift in Kate's style before she and Prince Wiliam got engaged in 2010.

<p>Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images</p>

Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Mirror wrote that Kate “significantly changed her appearance to become more appropriate” in the years leading up to William popping the question, which meant that she swapped her go-to club outfits (think: printed dresses with deep V necklines and spaghetti straps) for tailored coats, long-sleeved tea-length dresses, and suiting. While a wardrobe shift may be part of simply growing up, experts say that it was clear she polished up her public persona as she and William's relationship developed.

"We hadn't expected Kate and her family to turn up, and myself and a number of photographers and journalists were all standing on a press stand together," royal expert Rebecca English said of Kate's wardrobe choices at William's passing out parade in 2006. "Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, we saw Kate and her mother and father being ushered down to the front of the seating. I remember turning to the person next to me and saying, 'That's it, it's a done deal. This woman is going to be our future queen.'"

<p>Indigo/Getty Images</p>

Indigo/Getty Images

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"Suddenly, the engagement whispers were starting," she continued. "There was intense pressure on William and Kate, and, short of printing the tea towels, everyone had these two walking down the aisle imminently."

The Mirror echoed English's observations, noting that “Kate’s fashion sense changed rapidly as she adjusted to life in the royal spotlight, going from girl next door to elegant future queen" and "the low-slung jeans, denim skirts, and spaghetti straps of her early 20s were swapped out for smart blazers, quality suits, and refined gowns, with a more polished, Palace-ready look emerging."

<p>Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images</p>

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Other royal experts agreed, saying that Kate was maturing and her style was, too, and that she realized that she would be the future queen of England and maybe needed to dress the part.

“Her clothing almost began to reflect what people saw in her character — a kind of restraint, kind of modesty almost,” royal author Tom Quinn added in the documentary. “I think that did come about because William and Kate were coming towards the point where they would announce their engagement. It was Kate starting to behave in ways which would be seen more appropriate for a future queen.”

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