Royal Birthday! Kate Middleton's Transformation from College Commoner to Future Queen

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Kate Middleton, seen here in 2004, grew up in a village near Berkshire, England, as a normal girl from a middle-class family.

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The future royal studied art history in Scotland at the University of St. Andrews, where she met Prince William in 2001.

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The couple were college sweethearts and even posed for a sweet photo in 2005 ahead of their graduation.

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Kate and Prince William announced their engagement in Nov. 2010, a month after the Queen’s grandson popped the question during a trip to Kenya — with the sapphire and diamond ring that once belonged to his late mother, Princess Diana.

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Their royal wedding took place at London’s Westminster Abbey in April 2011. Kate looked like a complete princess bride in a gown designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen featuring lace sleeves. She topped off the look with a Cartier tiara.

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An heir is born! Kate and William became parents to Prince George, who instantly became third in line to the throne behind his father, in July 2013.

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Princess Charlotte joined the family in May 2015, followed by Prince Louis in April 2018. Kate has taken her role as a mother a step further by focusing much of her royal work on children’s development in the early years.

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Kate is learning for her future role directly from Queen Elizabeth, including a rare solo outing with the monarch in March 2019.

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Kate is an important member of the royal family, making her mark at events such as palace receptions, international tours and charitable endeavors — and she is comfortable in her role.

As a family friend previously told PEOPLE, “She is now more open with what she wants to say, and funnily enough, she is more relaxed as well.”

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