Kate Middleton's 60 Best Hairstyles Over the Years

Kate Middleton is more than just a duchess. To beauty enthusiasts, she's a legit hair icon. Trust us, since marrying Prince William and officially joining the royal family in 2010, we've followed her hair evolution closer than we care to admit — every bouncy blowout, every minor highlight and lowlight shift, every (rare) casual ponytail, and every single iteration of the side bun she's ever worn (and it's been many).

Unlike sister-in-law Meghan Markle, the duchess has kept to the strict royal beauty "rules" and chosen to wear quite polished hairstyles for her many official engagements and duties. But this doesn't mean she can't have a little fun.

Accessories and updos are both key to Middleton's look. For official engagements, she prefers a classic chignon sometimes with the addition of subtle braids and twists to complement — not compete — with her various hats and fascinators. Her trick to keeping these styles perfectly in place? A good old hairnet. And if she's on slightly less formal outings, she sometimes goes for small accessories like pearl bobby pins or small velvet bows to jazz up her look a little.

When she's not on formal royal duties, she will let her hair down (literally) and often chooses big bouncy blowouts. Nothing seems to phase her beautiful blowouts, whether it's taking part in various sporting events or even giving birth; her voluminous waves always seem to stay perfectly voluminous and wavy, thanks to a team of expert hairstylists (and most likely a ton of flexible-hold hairspray).

Middleton is truly the queen duchess of updos, blowouts, and tiaras. And in case you needed any more convincing, keep reading for a closer look at Middleton's best hairstyles throughout the years.

Kate Middleton's Bouncy Blow Out

For the announcement of a special collaboration in October, the duchess wowed the world with her stunning hair and makeup. To refresh her look for fall, Kate got a small trim and added threads of caramel color to her natural brunette hue. She styled it in her signature bouncy blow out curls for the occasion.

Kate Middleton's Strawberry Blond Highlights, 2020

It seems that as soon as hair salons began to open at the beginning of July following almost months in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kate jumped straight in the salon chair to get a fresh summery cut and color. For the announcement of her involvement in the BBC's Tiny Happy People, she showed off her new auburn color with strawberry blond highlights. As for the cut, she opted for sweeping, face-framing layers with a long curtain fringe that hit right at her cheekbones.

Kate Middleton's Curly, Side-Swept Updo, 2020
Getty | Samir Hussein

Kate Middleton's Curly, Side-Swept Updo, 2020

For the annual Commonwealth Day service, the duchess completed her tonal crimson ensemble with a felt saucer hat designed by Scottish milliner Sally-Ann Provan that was decorated with English roses. To balance out the head-topper, she wore her hair swept (and woven, and twisted) to one side with the ends curled and pinned over her left ear — almost mimicking the shape of the rose petals above it.

Kate Middleton's Velvet Headband, 2020
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Kate Middleton's Velvet Headband, 2020

For a royal trip to Ireland in March 2020, Kate wore her freshly trimmed hair in very loose waves, accessorised with a padded velvet black headband by designer Jane Taylor. The hairstyle not only completes her all green ensemble, but also keeps her hair from blowing in the wind. We love a practical and stylish duchess.

Kate Middleton's Sleek Half-Up Hairstyle, 2020
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Kate Middleton's Sleek Half-Up Hairstyle, 2020

At an appearance in Leicestershire, the duchess changed things up with an elegant half-up style that we haven't seen from her in a while. Volume at the crown of her head kept the style from looking too severe, while the slight bend through the mid-lengths broke up the strict, linear lines of her coat.

Kate Middleton's Curly Half-Up Hairstyle, 2020
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Kate Middleton's Curly Half-Up Hairstyle, 2020

Just days before in South Wales was when Kate first experimented with a half-up look, this time around adding more curl through the ends.

Kate Middleton's Rope-y Christmas Waves, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Rope-y Christmas Waves, 2019

The duchess celebrated Christmas Day mass wearing a gorgeous velvet green fascinator, which she paired with low-key rope-like waves.

Kate Middleton's Luscious Spirals, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Luscious Spirals, 2019

For a charity outing during the festive season, the duchess stepped out with an enviable blowout that featured both bouncy volume and shiny, perfectly-shaped waves

Kate Middleton's Ultra-Glossy Ringlets, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Ultra-Glossy Ringlets, 2019

For a concert at the Palladium Theatre in London, Kate went for an unexpected middle parting and tight, shiny c urls that started from the mid-lengths of her hair and went all the way to the very ends.

Kate Middleton's Extra-Bouncy Blowout, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Extra-Bouncy Blowout, 2019

The fact the duchess has enviably thick, bouncy hair is no secret, but she really took it up a notch with this side-parted blowout for a royal appearance in November.

Kate Middleton’s Twisted, Half-Updo, 2019
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Kate Middleton’s Twisted, Half-Updo, 2019

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stepped out for an evening event during the royal tour of Pakistan, and for the occasion, Middleton wore an equally elegant hairstyle to match her emerald gown. She wore a half-updo with two pieces of hair on either side twisted together and held in place with some bobby pins at the center of her hair. It's a special hairstyle with the added detail, but without being too polished.

Kate Middleton's Long Curtain Bangs, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Long Curtain Bangs, 2019

The duchess stepped out for an engagement during the first week of October, with a new subtle hair change. She added long, layered curtain bangs to her golden highlights, creating a face-framing definition for a pretty autumnal switch-up. Similar to Princess Diana, Middleton prefers subtle changes to her hair, so she doesn't take the attention away from the work she is doing — and possibly also because she doesn't want to commit to such a dramatic hairstyle change.

Kate Middleton's Golden Hair Color, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Golden Hair Color, 2019

For Princess Charlotte's first day of school, aside from excitedly watching the family enter the school gates, we couldn't help but notice Middleton's lighter hair. Again, much like Princess Diana, the duchess slowly lightened her hair over the Summer, resulting in very subtle golden highlights.

Kate Middleton's Wavy Ends, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Wavy Ends, 2019

A trip to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival called for wavy ends and straight hair vs Middleton's usual bouncy blowout. It was a perfect style for a day spent with children outside playing in the gardens.

Kate Middleton's Loose Waves and Sunglasses, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Loose Waves and Sunglasses, 2019

Kate Middleton proved that sunglasses can sometimes be the best beauty accessory, particularly for a trip to Wimbledon.

Kate Middleton's Folded Side-Do, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Folded Side-Do, 2019

For Royal Ascot, Kate Middleton wore her hair low and off to side, folding and pinning it into an intricate updo that sat tidily underneath her sky-blue Philip Treacy hat.

Kate Middleton's Intricate Updo, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Intricate Updo, 2019

Middleton's intricate updo from the BAFTAs is so complicated that we don't know where to look first. The style is unique for the Duchess as all of her hair is brushed back, away from her face — all the better for showing off her pearl-drop earrings.

Kate Middleton's Braided Half-Up Hairstyle, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Braided Half-Up Hairstyle, 2019

A day out with the Queen called for a half-up look with added braid and twist details to make it extraspecial.

Kate Middleton's Rounded Waves, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Rounded Waves, 2019

For a day out on royal duties, Middleton decided to wear her hair in very loose curls, which can be achieved by wrapping medium sections of hair around a large curling iron, making sure the ends are touching the barrel as well.

Kate Middleton's Dropped Curls, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Dropped Curls, 2019

For Easter Service this year, Middleton let her hair down and wore it brushed away from her face with dropped curls.

Kate Middleton's Braided Chignon, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Braided Chignon, 2019

For St. Patrick's Day, Middleton wore the ends of her hair tucked up into a voluminous loop with the face-framing pieces of hair braided and criss-crossed at the back of her head. We don't know 100-percent what to call it except that it's basically a work of hair art.

Kate Middleton's Polished Ponytail, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Polished Ponytail, 2019

The polished ponytail strikes again, this time for a trip to windy and rainy Blackpool.

Kate Middleton's Shapely Side Bun, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Shapely Side Bun, 2019

Here's another example — at this year's Trooping the Colour — of a seemingly simple updo that upon closer inspection is actually incredibly intricate. We love how not only does the shape of her hair mimics the shape of the flowers of her Philip Treacy hat, but it also balances out the fact that the head-topper sits on such a sharp angle.

Kate Middleton's Complicated Side Chignon, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Complicated Side Chignon, 2019

The low side bun Middleton wore for an Anzac day serviceincluded a little bit of everything. Look closely and you'll see simple plaits, the starting of a loose French braid, and an intricate combinations of loops, twists, and folds that kept her hair off her neck to make room for the structured collar of her coat.

Kate Middleton's Curly Ponytail, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Curly Ponytail, 2019

Now this is how a duchess does a ponytail: Volume to the crown, a piece of hair wrapped around the band, the ends nicely curled, and there you have it.

Kate Middleton's Signature Bouncy Blowout, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Signature Bouncy Blowout, 2019

For a visit to the National Portrait Gallery in London, Middleton wore her classic bouncy blowout, proving that not only does it never go out of style, but that it never gets less, well, bouncy.

Kate Middleton's Curly Half-Up Ponytail, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Curly Half-Up Ponytail, 2019

For a night out at the 100 Women In Finance Gala Dinner at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Middleton wore a half-up ponytail featuring tighter curls than we're used to seeing from her.

Kate Middleton's Tucked-and-Folded Updo, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Tucked-and-Folded Updo, 2019

We don't really know what to call this hairstyle (a chignon? an updo? a hair sculpture?), but what we do know is that the low, tucked-up style is a go-to for the Duchess of Cambridge's many royal engagements.

Kate Middleton's Perfectly Pristine Updo, 2019
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Kate Middleton's Perfectly Pristine Updo, 2019

Look closely: the duchess utilized her sneaky hairnet trick to hold her simple updo in place for the Order of the Garter service.

Kate Middleton's Messy Side Bun, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Messy Side Bun, 2018

When you've got a hat as beautiful as the one Middleton wore to Princess Eugenie's wedding in October 2018 (designed by the royal's favorite milliner Philip Treacy), a simple low side bun is the ideal choice.

Kate Middleton's Basket-Weave Chignon, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Basket-Weave Chignon, 2018

Another day, another loop-up hairstyle with intricate twist detail that looks almost like her hair was woven in place. A key difference with this one specific style, however, is the volume at the back of the head, which balances out her moss-green hait, which perches very far forward on her head and slopes down onto her forehead.

Kate Middleton's Oversized Velvet Alice Band, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Oversized Velvet Alice Band, 2018

At a celebration marking the centenary of Amristice at Westminster Abbey in 2018, Middleton switched out a jewel-encrusted tiara for a chunky velvet Alice band — marking her as one of the key initiators of the headband trend that would hit the fashion industry in 2019. How she styled it — with one of her low, looped-up chignons with the face-framing pieces crisscrossed across the back of her head, something she does quite often — isn't just an aesthetic choice. The hairstyle actually helps keep the accessory in place, holding the ends of the band close to her head without the need of pins.

Kate Middleton's Waves and a Pillbox Hat, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Waves and a Pillbox Hat, 2018

Middleton wore casual waves and a pillbox hat to Easter Sunday Service in Windsor.

Kate Middleton's Lover's Knot Tiara and Chignon, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Lover's Knot Tiara and Chignon, 2018

There's nothing quite like a simple chignon on the Duchess of Cambridge, particularly if it's paired with a huge pearl-and-diamond-studded tiara. This tiara, in particular, is special as it not only was a piece that Princess Diana frequently wore, but it also has been in the royal family for over a century. According to Town & Country, the tiara seen here was made in
was made in 1913 or 1914 for Queen Mary using pearls and diamonds already owned by the monarch's family, and is inspired by a tiara owned by Queen Augusta of Hesse-Cassel (another Duchess of Cambridge and one of Queen Victoria's aunts) called the Cambridge Lover's Knot.

Kate Middleton's Pearl-Covered Headband 2018
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Kate Middleton's Pearl-Covered Headband 2018

Prince Louis's christening was the perfect occasion for the duchess to breakout a bespoke headband designed from Jane Taylor London. And as usual, the duchess styled her hair in a low chignon/loop, which acts as both an anchor for the large accessory and a way to expose her beautiful earrings.

Kate Middleton's Elegant Chignon, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Elegant Chignon, 2018

Sometimes a hairstyle doesn't need any accessories and detail. Middleton proved this with her chignon with short side-part for a dinner at the Royal Palace.

Kate Middleton's Long, Choppy Layers, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Long, Choppy Layers, 2018

At the end of 2018, Middleton's cut featured lots of long layers that started at her collarbone. The choppy cut added even more volume to the duchess's already thick hair, and made it easier for the ends to bend in nicely inwards — framing her heart-shaped face beautifully.

Kate Middleton's Windblown Waves, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Windblown Waves, 2018

It's her bouncy blowout but rumpled and tousled for a much more casual vibe than we're used to seeing from the duchess. With a clean side part, it makes for the perfect day-time look for royal outings.

The duchess's shoulder-length layers styled in a side parting were the perfect day-time look for royal outings.

Kate Middleton's French-Braided Bun, 2018
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Kate Middleton's French-Braided Bun, 2018

The duchess took her go-to hair silhouette and spiced things up, adding thick French braids that started right above her ears and reached across the back of her head, holding the ends of her hair — which seem to be looped under towards her neck — neatly in place.

Kate Middleton's Casual Blowout, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Casual Blowout, 2018

Middleton tends to go for two types of blowouts: big and glamorous or this more casual, less bouncy version (that she wore for a visit to the BBC) with lots of curl at the ends. In this case, slightly off-center part and loose waves nicely show off the warm, caramel highlights at the front of her hair.

Kate Middleton's Silky Strands, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Silky Strands, 2018

The Duchess of Cambridge decided not to wear her hair in classic blowout for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, but rather to wear her hair down and straight as a way to not detract from her floral Philip Treacy head-topper.

Kate Middleton's Bouncy Curls, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Bouncy Curls, 2018

Here's another example of Middleton's casual blowout: The breezy, bouncy curls were the perfect choice for a day at Wimbledon in 2018.

Kate Middleton's Casual Half-Up Ponytail, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Casual Half-Up Ponytail, 2018

For a royal visit in Cyprus, Middleton wore her hair in a half-up ponytail. And while the style is less pristine and polished than we're use to seeing from the Duchess, it's still clear she's had a smooth blowout beforehand.

Kate Middleton's Tight Christmas Curls, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Tight Christmas Curls, 2018

Middleton was seen walking through the (fake) snow for a very Christmas-themed visit wearing her hair in tight spirals that went from mid-lengths to ends.

Kate Middleton's Velvet Bow, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Velvet Bow, 2018

The twisted ponytail was enough to wow us, but its' really the dainty black velvet bow that makes this one of our favorite hairstyles Middleton has ever worn. And while you can easily raid your holiday decoration box to create this style, we have a sneaking suspicion that this velvet bow barrette is from accessories designer Jennifer Behr.

Kate Middleton's Velvet Bow Take Two, 2018
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Kate Middleton's Velvet Bow Take Two, 2018

Middleton loved that velvet hair bow so much that she did it twice in one month and we're definitely not complaining. This time she switched it from a low ponytail to a mid-level one and took out the twist detail at the back, instead choosing to curl the tail.

Kate Middleton's Curly Bun, 2017
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Kate Middleton's Curly Bun, 2017

Is it just us or does Middleton's low bun look curled like a little rose? The duchess wore a bun neatly wrapped into a hairnet to ensure no flyaway hairs during a day outside.

Kate Middleton's Faux Bob, 2017
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Kate Middleton's Faux Bob, 2017

The duchess fooled us all for a hot minute when she turned up to a royal engagement wearing a faux bob. Turns out it was just a lot of bobby pins (and we wouldn't be surprised if there was a hairnet covering it all).

Kate Middleton's Loopy Half-Up Style, 2017
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Kate Middleton's Loopy Half-Up Style, 2017

Middleton switched up a normal half-up ponytail for one with small looped details and loose waves, the latter of which highlighted her caramel ombré highlights.

Kate Middleton's Neat Chignon. 2017
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Kate Middleton's Neat Chignon. 2017

Thanks to her handy hairnet, not a single hair was out of place in this looped-up chignon (with cross-cross details at the back, of course). It was the perfect style for a warm day at the Royal Ascot races in 2017.

Kate Middleton's Voluminous Blowout, 2017
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Kate Middleton's Voluminous Blowout, 2017

This is Middleton's glamorous blowout taken up a notch. It's got all the volume, all the shine, and all the gorgeous curls.

Kate Middleton's Mid-Length Cut, 2017
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Kate Middleton's Mid-Length Cut, 2017

A trip to Wimbledon in 2017 was a great excuse for the duchess to debut a new shorter hair. The shoulder-length style featured less layers than we're used to seeing from Middleton and straighter ends, creating the illusion of even thicker hair (which on Kate, we didn't think was possible).

Kate Middleton's Curtain Bangs, 2015
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Kate Middleton's Curtain Bangs, 2015

In case of "the royals are just like us," Kate went and tried out bangs for a bit. Unlike the rest of us, she's got a professional hairstylist on call who can style them for her and iron out all the cowlicks. Regardless, her mid-length fringe really suits her, worn here for an event at Royal Albert `hall with a middle part and a low, curly updo.

Kate Middleton's Superlong Shag, 2015
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Kate Middleton's Superlong Shag, 2015

The combination of long curtain bangs and long, straight layers gives us a '70s vibe that we're totally feeling for the duchess.

Kate Middleton's Très Chic Ponytail, 2014
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Kate Middleton's Très Chic Ponytail, 2014

With a deep side part, swooping front layers, and lots of height at the crown, this ponytail brings to mind Brigitte Bardot's famous voluminous hairstyles.

Kate Middleton's New Mom Waves, 2013
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Kate Middleton's New Mom Waves, 2013

The Duchess of Cambridge no doubt had a hairstylist helping her get this low-key blowout before presenting Prince George to the world in 2013.

Kate Middleton's Pearl-Topped Bun , 2012
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Kate Middleton's Pearl-Topped Bun , 2012

Middleton was way ahead of the trend with these pearl accents, adding a few of the accessories into her twisted bun during a trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Kate Middleton's Natural Waves, 2012
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Kate Middleton's Natural Waves, 2012

Humidity doesn't stop the duchess's hair from looking great. She showed off her natural hair texture during a visit to Tuvanipupu Island, allowing us to see her fluffy waves and curls in all their glory.

Kate Middleton's Wedding Hair, 2010
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Kate Middleton's Wedding Hair, 2010

For her and Prince William's wedding day in 2010, the duchess chose to wear her hair half-up with loose flowing curls behind her shoulders. The hairstyle perfectly complemented the 1936 Cartier tiara she wore, which was originally a gift from George VI to his wife.

Kate Middleton's Glossy Layers, 2010
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Kate Middleton's Glossy Layers, 2010

For Kate Middleton and Prince William's official engagement announcement photos, she kept her hair sleek and simple with the ends curled away from her face.