Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton has become a fashion icon for admirers across the globe. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge is, arguably, the most looked-to and admired fashion icon of the new decade.

Even before the royal wedding, Kate Middleton had been known for her natural stylistic skill and her impeccable ability to maintain elegance and class. She has been placed on numerous 'Best Dressed' lists in publications such as Vanity Fair and People, among others.

But it was her famous wedding dress, a creation by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, that catapulted the newest royal into the uppermost echelons of the fashion world. And it is there that she has remained, maintaining a firm grip on the headlines with every outfit she dons.

Recently, a new gold charm bracelet has been the object of admiration and speculation. The Duchess has twice been spotted with it clasped around her wrist, leading many to wonder its origin.

Closer observation reveals a dangling disc that bears the initial 'C' on each side, one with a slight curl and topped by a coronet, and the other encircled with a ring and topped with a crown. The first, of course, is the royal cypher of the Duchess of Cambridge, and the other is that of Camilla Parker Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall - Kate Middleton's stepmother-in-law.

Camilla is reported to have a similar bracelet, and with recent confirmation that the bracelet was 'a personal wedding gift,' it is more than likely that the Duchess of Cornwall is the source of Kate's latest adornment.

But it is not only this accessory that's pushing Kate to the spotlight this week. Her North American tour began today as she boarded a private plane with her husband, Prince William, for Canada.

The Duchess was clad in a sharp navy shift topped by a fitted blazer of the same color with two gold buttons. She toted a Mullbery shoulder bag and simple navy pumps.

It is flawless outfit choices like these, coupled with her refusal to employ a stylist, which keeps Kate in the fashion spotlight. While the couple plans to spend a great deal of their time in North America paying homage to those serving in the military and visiting and aiding various charities, it is not the controversial trip to California's skid row that has everyone talking - it's the royal wardrobe.

Though the details have yet to be revealed, she is expected to have over 40 outfits on hand for the tour. News that she will not have a stylist, preferring instead to utilize the services of a personal shopper, further impressed admirers already awed by her effortless ability to self style.

Hints at Kate's independent fashion tendencies had been confirmed when she made the unexpected and gutsy decision to do her own makeup over hiring a professional for the royal wedding. She does, however, have a hairdresser, James Pryce, to keep those thick brown tresses waved just right. And he too will be joing the Duchess, maintaining her well-groomed locks, on her trip across the pond.

The grace and charm that the Duchess has displayed since marrying Prince William has certainly served to even further raise the expectations upon her fashion choices. Though the details are vague and the help she will receive minimal, Kate Middleton's consistently stunning choices inspire confidence that she will not disappoint on her North American voyage.

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