Her Royal Highness Princess William, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn and Baroness Carrickfergus makes front page news wherever she goes and has long grown used to smiling as the cameras flash all around her, a celebrity of international status and a fashion icon who appears to take the glamour of life as a member of the Royal Family completely in her stride. Yet, only a few short years ago, as Catherine Middleton, she enjoyed a life of complete anonymity. That, of course, was before she fell in love with Prince William, future King of the United Kingdom and then widely regarded to be one of the world's most eligible bachelors. For some time, while they were at St Andrew's University together, William and Catherine were able to keep their romance private, the press having agreed not to harass the young prince or his friends while they were studying. When William emerged into the world after graduating, however, things were different. Catherine had to learn to cope with the pressure of being in the public eye, even when her prince was not around.
William's absence during his military training put a strain on their relationship, multiplied many times over by constant speculation in the media about their plans for the future. They parted for a while but, happily, the separation was not to last. Here, in a unique collection of photographs, is Catherine's story, from her beginnings growing up as a middle-class child far from the pressures and responsibilities shouldered by Britain's Royal Family, to her new life as the darling of a nation.