• Kate Middleton was once chased by "several" male photographers in a car late at night while dating Prince William, a report says
  • The duchess was praised by a former royal aide for her "extraordinary strength of character and resilience"
  • Middleton reportedly will "never" do something just because she thinks the media will like it

Kate Middleton has managed to cope with the pressure of dating and later marrying a future king due to her "extraordinary strength of character and resilience," according to a report.

In a piece commemorating the Duchess of Cambridge's 40th birthday Sunday, Roya Nikkhah, royal editor of The Sunday Times, spoke to friends, aides and sources who gave some insight into how the future queen consort has been dealing with the relentless demands of royal life.

Middleton had to contend with paparazzi since she began dating Prince William, whom she met in 2001 while they were students at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Before they got married, Middleton was not entitled to any security detail, leaving her "on her own," Nikkhah wrote.

Paparazzi would camp out in front of the apartment she shared with sister Pippa Middleton for days and chase her down the street during the decade before her royal nuptials, the report said. The duchess also once encountered the "terrifying" experience of being chased by "several" male photographers in a car late at night, an unnamed friend told The Sunday Times.

"It was constant. She coped with it admirably, given how intrusive it was…It was never water off a duck’s back, but she has extraordinary strength of character and resilience. I’ve never once seen or heard of her losing her temper," an unnamed former royal aide told Nikkhah of how Middleton handled the pressure.

"She went into it with her eyes wide open and her brain engaged. She is a sound, grounded person who knows herself well," the source added.

In addition to being constantly followed, Middleton had to endure being called the nickname "Waity Katie" during her long courtship with Prince William. Some in the Duke of Cambridge's circle of friends also allegedly nicknamed her "Doors to Manual" in reference to her mom Carole Middleton's former career as a flight attendant, the report said.

Prince William proposed to Duchess Kate in late 2010, and the couple tied the knot during a fairytale ceremony at Westminster Abbey in 2011.

Middleton's ability to maintain her poise and deal with attention calmly was also evident during their lavish royal wedding, which was watched by billions of people around the world.

"She must have the ability to switch on a tap and ice runs through the veins, because she was so calm throughout," an unnamed friend of the duchess told Sunday Times.

Middleton's closest aides, who were not named, also told the outlet that the duchess is "allergic to advice on a PR basis" and will "never do something because she thinks the media will like it."

According to one unnamed aide, they are never allowed to formulate advice along the lines of "what's pleasing to the public," such as doing a photo-op with kids. The source told Sunday Times that pushing Middleton to do it is "the quickest way to lose her."

"It's not stubbornness, but unlike other public figures, she just won't do it if it's not done for the right reasons," the insider said.

A close advisor also described how Middleton approaches projects and situations. "How she operates is not reactive. She has stuck to the path that she knows is right for her and her family. It's not about the quick win," they told the outlet.

On Saturday, Kensington Palace released three special portraits to mark the Duchess of Cambridge's birthday on Sunday. Photographer Paolo Roversi captured the pictures in November 2021.

Middleton gave a vintage vibe in one black and white portrait in which she rocked an elegant chiffon gown that she matched with Princess Diana's diamond and pearl drop earrings. She also ditched her signature bouncy blowouts for more refined curls.

Throughout 2022, Middleton's photos will be displayed in three places close to her heart — Berkshire, St. Andrews and Anglesey.

The duchess grew up in Bucklebury, Berkshire. St. Andrews was where she studied and met her husband, while Anglesey was where Middleton and Prince William lived after tying the knot in 2011.

Since marrying into Britain's most famous family in 2011, the former Kate Middleton has emerged to become one of the most popular royals -- and a figure central to its future
Since marrying into Britain's most famous family in 2011, the former Kate Middleton has emerged to become one of the most popular royals -- and a figure central to its future POOL via AFP / CHRIS JACKSON