Middleton Family/Clarence House via GettyImages
Stacey Leasca
November 19, 2017

It’s kind of hard to imagine Kate Middleton as anything other than the Duchess of Cambridge, wife to Prince William and mother to Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and her third heir to the throne to come. But lest we forget, Middleton is her own woman, with her own thoughts, ideas, and an entire life that happened before she became a royal.

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And apparently Middleton has quite the exciting pre-William life to boot. As Marie Claire pointed out, the Duchess' official website reveals that she actually spent 10 weeks during her gap year between high school and college on an expedition with Raleigh International, a sustainable development charity, through Chile. Though, ironically enough, Prince William actually took the exact same journey just months prior to Middleton.

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"She was by herself, like most people. She was definitely one of the fitter and stronger members of her group, which assisted her for sure. At times it was physically demanding. She was pretty easy going,” Expedition leader Malcolm Sutherland told the Evening Standard. "There are no hair dryers, and there are very few showers to be seen. Even if you are a princess, it's very hard to operate as a princess."

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As for Prince William’s excursion, Sutherland revealed, "With the expedition that William was on, there was a clear understanding of who he was, while Kate was like you and I. She was like everyone else; she didn't have a profile.”

Following her trip to Chile, Middleton finished out her gap year studying at the British Institute in Florence and rowed crew on a Round The World Challenge boat in the Solent. 

After that, the rest is royal history as Middleton then enrolled at the University of St. Andrews where she quickly met her future husband and real-life prince charming.

Middleton graduated from the university in 2005 with a degree in History of Art and even spent time working a day job just like the rest of us at Party Pieces, a company owned and run by her parents. She then had to give it all up to become a princess. Sad, we know, but hey, at least she now gets to travel the globe with her loving husband.

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