HER elegance and natural warmth on the recent royal tour of Pakistan has wowed the crowds and drawn comparisons with Princess Diana.
And this is just the latest occasion that the Duchess of Cambridge has stepped out to universal acclaim.
From her style overhaul to her new bronde highlights and easy confidence, Kate has completely transformed since bursting back on to the scene last October, following a six-month maternity leave (her longest yet) after the birth of Prince Louis in April. She even made her foray into social media by posting on Instagram from Pakistan.
The beautiful, confident woman whose empathy charms everyone she meets is a world away from the gaucheness of yesteryears Waity Katie.
And if onlookers struggle to put their finger on what has changed for Kate, thats because the real change is on the inside.
Like the finest of wines, she has taken years to mature to perfection, but the woman you see today has no peers on the global stage, a well-placed royal source tells Fabulous.
What people are seeing now is a confident, driven woman with a purpose. For the first time in her life Kate knows where she is going and has the self-belief to get there under her own steam.
Of course, she has plenty of support not least from William, who is as bowled over by Kate today as he was when he first saw her striding down the catwalk in that see-through dress at the University of St Andrews. Nearly 20 years on, at 37 she still has an incredible figure, but now has the confidence to go with it.
Back then she was full of self-doubt, despite all her assets, adds the source. These days shes a force to be reckoned with.
The fact that even royal insiders are making complimentary comparisons to Diana speaks volumes about how far Kate has come.
Kate has drawn comparisons to Diana, especially while wearing this Chitrali hat in Pakistan
At a time when the royals have their share of troubles with Harry and Meghan at war with the media and beleaguered Prince Andrew fighting for his reputation over his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein Kate is a breath of fresh air.
It is hard to imagine this is the same woman who was once lambasted as a work-shy social climber, the lucky girl whose sole job in life was to sit around looking pretty until William proposed.
But after eight years of marriage, three children, multiple royal tours and countless walkabouts, the Duchess is now a fully-fledged senior royal within The Firm. She is no longer the commoner who married into the family, but the future queen consort and mother of the future king.
Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham and political author, has praised the monarch-to-be for her magical talent.
Kate has that rare ability, possessed by very few people, of being able to talk and relate to those of different ages, backgrounds and ethnicities, he says.
Its a magical talent that is infinitely precious and you either have it in life or you dont. Most people dont, but Kate does.
Her current exalted status makes for an interesting comparison with her sister-in-law the Duchess of Sussex. Meghan Markle became one of the most popular royals from the moment her engagement interview was broadcast.
But since then, a series of high-profile PR disasters including rumours of diva-esque behaviour towards staff and preaching on the environment while travelling by private jet has seen her become a divisive figure. Kate, meanwhile, remains a constant.
The secret of her success, palace insiders say, is that she goes about her work quietly and without fuss.
It helps that her public face that of a smiling, hard-working and thoughtful mum is precisely the same as the private Kate.
While Meghan has seen a near-constant turnover of staff, with a series of resignations amid tales of curt 5am emails fired off to minions, Kate has always been an image of consistency.
The word among courtiers is that Kate is well- liked by staff and fellow royals. The Queen has become especially fond of her after witnessing how adept she has proved to be at juggling motherhood with a growing list of engagements.
In March 2002 20-year-old Kate famously caught Prince William’s eye after donning this see-through number for a charity fashion show at St Andrews University, Scotland
The Queen is not one for platitudes, so when she gives a compliment you know she means it, adds the insider.
She has been extremely impressed by the Duchess of Cambridges ability to keep several balls in the air at once.
Never before has a royal of the Duchess standing taken such a hands-on role in raising a future king and dont forget that is Georges destiny. It has traditionally been left to nannies and governesses.
Catherine seems to thrive on the workload.
‘THRIVES ON THE WORKLOAD’
The more they give her to do the better she performs, and its as clear as day that she loves her work. She really has become the most tremendous asset to The Firm.
This growing confidence has been matched by an explosion in popularity. As well as the 10 million followers of Kate and Williams official Instagram page, there are countless fan sites dedicated to documenting every public move she makes.
It has done no harm that William, who in the past has struggled somewhat with his role as future king, cuts such a contented figure when they appear together, especially with their children.
The couples smiles when taking George to watch Aston Villa V Norwich spoke volumes of their happiness. Better still was the moment at the Kings Cup Regatta in August, when young Princess Charlotte stuck her tongue out at the cameras and Kate roared with laughter before ushering the cheeky girl away.
These are occasions that in the past would have made Kate feel rather uncomfortable and self-conscious, was the assessment of one long-standing acquaintance.
She used to second-guess everything she did, but eventually she realised that the problem wasnt hers it was everyone else. After all, if she doesnt take herself seriously why should anyone else?
Kate learned from talking to William about Diana that if you are at ease, then that rubs off on the people you meet. And the best way to be at ease is to just be yourself.
Fortunately for Kate, her natural instinct is to be cautious and courteous. She has barely made a single misstep since first catching Williams eye at university. Which made it all the more surprising when stories leaked to the press of a rumoured rift with her friend and neighbour Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley.
Kate has done tremendous work all across the world supporting the needs of children
For a few weeks earlier this year, the aristocratic rumour mill went into overdrive. Yet rather than publicly complaining about being the subject of gossip and speculation, Kate did and said precisely nothing. And it worked.
To this day little is known about what really happened between Kate, William and the Cholmondeleys, but the world has long since moved on.
One key reason for this is that these days Kate has plenty of other reasons to command public attention, such as the highly sensitive trip to Pakistan last month with William, described by Kensington Palace as the most complex tour undertaken by The Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations.
The fact that the Cambridges were chosen for the job speaks volumes of their status as the royal familys safest pair of hands.
Meghan Markle has become a divisive figure while Kate has remained loved by the world
Kates status is only going to grow as her charity work continues to evolve. Putting mental health on the map with Heads Together was her idea.
However, last month the Duke and Duchess of Cambridges Royal Foundation formally separated from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, removing all mentions of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from its website.
While Harry and Williams relationship has faltered of late, Kate is understood to have been instrumental in building bridges. When she took Meghan to watch the tennis at Wimbledon this summer, it was a very public olive branch and one that William appreciated greatly.
Nevertheless, by separating the Cambridge and Sussex royal households, Kate and William have cleared the decks for new ventures, which were hinted at by an intriguing recent meeting with the multibillionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.
Kate proudly accompanies Will as he receives RAF wings, marking him as a qualified pilot, at a ceremony in Cranwell, Linconshire in April 208
One of Kates key areas of interest has been supporting children, and last year it was announced that she had convened a steering group of experts for a lifelong project.
Kate has enlisted the help of practitioners, academics and charities to highlight the importance of early intervention, and according to the Royal Foundations website: To develop a significant new body of work that will ultimately support all efforts to provide children with the best possible start in life.
It is a laudable project, strengthened by the fact that Kate puts her money where her mouth is.
When she talks about giving children the best possible start in life, she does so as a dedicated mother who takes her own kids to school, cooks their tea and tucks them into bed at night.
In July 2013 Kate and Will welcomed Prince George into the world – Kate looked smiley as she refused to hide her post-natal bump
When she was invited to create a garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, she created a wildlife wonderland dedicated to bringing children Back to Nature.
Then she brought along her own three kids, who played happily while the cameras snapped away at the grand opening. This, more than anything, demonstrated why after a tricky start, the public have taken Kate to their hearts.
Three years shy of her 40th birthday, it seems Kate has finally grown into her skin and is happy being herself. Honesty, it turns out, really is the best policy.