Kate Middleton asked her friends to start calling her Catherine two years BEFORE Prince William proposed 'as she prepared for her future role', royal expert claims

KATE Middleton asked her friends to start calling her Catherine two years BEFORE Prince William proposed in anticipation that she would marry into the Royal Family one day, a royal expert has revealed.

In a 2008 column for the Sunday Express, royal expert Adam Helliker revealed that this was just one of the "intriguing signs" that the Duchess of Cambridge was "preparing for her future role".

Although Prince William didn't pop the question until November 2010, rumours of a Royal Wedding reached fever-pitch in 2008 when Ladbrokes suspended bets on the engagement announcement.

Insisting that Kate was taking her future role "very seriously", the expert wrote: "I hear that in the past few weeks the former accessories buyer has quietly informed friends that she would like to drop the informal 'Kate' and in future wishes to be known by her full name: Catherine."

Royal expert Daniela Elsner claims Kate informed her friends of her wishes in a "gentle" and "very jokey" way over email.

However, Kate's playful manner didn't stop her friends from being a little surprised by the somewhat premature request.

"Everyone knows it's about to happen with Kate and William, but we were a little surprised about the request to call her Catherine," one friend told the expert. "There is a distinct feeling she has started to become very aware of her position."

However, the expert also claims the Duchess was always known as "Catherine" in school and only adopted the nickname "Kate" when she was at university.

Although Prince Charles' press secretary denied the reports, the royal expert claims the name Catherine was more "dignified" and "royal".

In more Kate Middleton news, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are "delaying their Balmoral trip" to avoid seeing Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, an expert has claimed.

And Kate Middleton has been praised by parents for her "fantastic" response to Princess Charlotte cheekily sticking her tongue out to crowds.

Plus Kate Middleton's new "pick-me-up" blonder hair has been achieved using a "free-hand painting" technique, a hairdresser has revealed.

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