Kate Middleton was given access to an exclusive royal tradition long before she married Prince William

Kate Middleton was able to enjoy Royal life, and this particularly exclusive treat, before she was even engaged!

Kate Middleton, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to the University of St Andrews on May 26, 2021 in St Andrews, Scotland.
Kate Middleton had access to an exclusive Royal privilege before she even married Prince William
(Image credit: Andy Buchanan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Kate Middleton has spent over a decade as an official member of the Royal Family but as history shows, she enjoyed the perks of the job long before she walked down the aisle.

As is well documented, the Queen and the rest of the royals love nothing better than decamping to their Highlands haven, Balmoral Castle. Save for her majesty, members of the firm, very close family, friends, and of course staff—the castle door remains closed to guests. 

Although it totally breaks with tradition, even before Prince William put a ring on it, the Duchess of Cambridge was able to enjoy the rugged landscapes and rolling countryside of the stunning Balmoral Estate. A privilege as it's recently been reported that the Queen's summer holiday tradition at Balmoral may permanently be in danger.

Balmoral Castle

(Image credit: Photo by: Robert Plattner/Oneworld Picture/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Hello! reports that pictures of Kate up in the Highlands with her future father-in-law Prince Charles emerged in August 2007. This was merely months after the couple, who met at St Andrews University in Scotland, reunited after a brief break. 

It's understandable that the Prince made use of the royal residence as it's only approximately two hours drive from his alma mater to his grandma's beloved retreat. That considered, it's no surprise that the young couple and their pals were seen on a jaunt around the Highlands again back in 2009.

Dating in the public eye is a difficult thing but being romantically linked to the third in line to the British throne came with even more challenges, as the future Duchess discovered.

As early as 2005, per the Mirror, Kate's solicitors Harbottle & Lewis were compelled to contact newspaper editors to ask the press to leave her and her family alone.

Speculation regarding the pair potentially getting married was already in full swing but when Kate's parents Carole and Michael Middleton were spotted at Balmoral, the rumor mill went into overdrive—as did the press attention.

Prince William and Kate

(Image credit: AFP / Stringer / Getty Images)

The couple announced their engagement in 2010, after Prince William popped the question while they were on holiday in Kenya. Clearly Kate passed the Balmoral test after all. 

The Balmoral test most recently gained attention as it was featured on The Crown. In a nutshell, the test allegedly proves whether one will or won't be accepted into the Royal Family or the 'firm'. Is the Balmoral test real though? Or just a little flourish for dramatic effect on the Netflix show?

According to Royal expert and author Omid Scobie it's 100% true. He even filled Harper's Bazaar in on how to ensure you pass the test. “If you’ve scored an invite, prepare to brush up on your royal protocol, have a wealth of talking points at the ready, an outfit for EVERY occasion (from hunting to black tie)," he said. "And, most importantly, be on your best behavior at all times."

Omid continued, "Social etiquette is a must! If you don’t like the food, eat it anyway. If you don’t like trampling through the Highlands in the wind and rain, tough! Unlike a visit to Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle, this is the queen’s private residence and a front-row seat within her inner sanctum." 

He added, "You are entering her space and whatever she does goes."

Kate Middleton

(Image credit: WPA Pool / Pool / Getty Images)

She must have seriously nailed all of the above because the Queen gave Kate Middleton this special privilege at Balmoral, that's as rare as hens' teeth.

So, after three kids together and Prince William and Kate Middleton's anniversary photograph which shows the pair clearly still madly in love after a decade of marriage—it looks like there might be something to be said about passing this test!

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly woman&home's junior news editor and a contributing writer at Bustle, her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica and EVOKE.

Her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.