10 years ago today Miss Catherine Middleton took part in her first engagement as a royal fiancee. It must have been a nerve-wracking affair, having to stand up in front of a 2,000+ crowd and recite the Welsh national anthem (which she did), greet people and face the first of a lifetime of judgment on what she wore, said, did and didn't do.
The location, Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station at Anglesey, Wales, was chosen because the couple was living nearby while Prince William was working as a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue pilot. In fact, a palace spokesperson at the time said that the couple specifically asked that their first engagement together be in the area.
Below: Kate in Feb. 2011 and Kate in Jan. 2020
"Miss Middleton" (but not for long).
In a nod to her host country, the future Duchess of Cambridge wore a Vivien Sheriff fascinator that featured pheasant feathers, the insignia of the Royal Welch Fusiliers and two military tunic buttons, according to a Daily Mail write-up from 2011. This sartorial nod is something Kate continues to do to this day whenever the opportunity arises, be it a visit to a city in the U.K. or a foreign tour.
As she always does, Kate charmed the pants off everyone in the crowd. People brought everything from flowers to photos, like Colin Edwards, who had a framed one of her husband and Prince Harry as children. Kate got a kick out of it.
"Oh my goodness. Look at his knees. Fantastic," she laughed before Edwards kissed her hand, according to the Guardian.
Emily Andrews, Royal Editor of the Mail on Sunday, was there that day covering the future Queen Consort's first engagement. "It was Kate's first public appearance as a future royal and she was understandably nervous," Andrews told me via Direct Message. "But she didn't show it and carried out her duties with aplomb. She was great with the crowds. [She] spent lots of time with as many as people as possible and looked gorgeous. It was the first of many to come."
The couple spent as much time as they could in their rented Anglesey farmhouse while William worked for the RAF from 2010 to 2013. They frequented local pubs and Kate shopped at the supermarket and local butcher shops for meals she'd make for her and William. They also brought Prince George there as often as they could following his birth.
Even the hard-to-please locals liked them!
"The people here are not terribly royalist-minded and were ambivalent, at best, about their arrival, but she [Kate] and William won Anglesey over with their warmth and low-key lifestyle — and trust me, the people of Anglesey are not easily swayed," one resident told the Daily Mail in 2013 after the couple permanently relocated to London.