It seems like she has always been with us, her smiling face adorning every supermarket magazine. Just 50 days have passed since her wedding to Prince William April 29 but Catherine Middleton has taken to her new calling as if to the manor born.
'Surreal' she has described the experience, one day meeting with Michelle Obama at Buckingham Palace, the next watching a fly past for the Queen's birthday parade. Her every fashion move has been scrutinized, her every public outing has been accompanied by a phalanx of eager paparazzi. The attention is such that Scotland Yard chiefs, presumably at the urging of Prince William who is overly protective of his new bride, have assigned her three male bodyguards rather than the one female bullet catcher who originally accompanied her.
In these straitened times - bodyguards have been withdrawn from Prince Edward and his wife Sophie the Countess of Wessex unless they are on official duties - Scotland Yard does not normally beef up security unless there is a specific threat. So there may be concern about possible stalkers or other obsessives who have appeared on Catherine's horizon since she became the most talked about royal since Diana. It is worth noting that she now has more bodyguards than the Queen. This is the unwanted price of becoming a princess.
Certainly the Diana effect, where the young princess felt utterly overwhelmed by royal life, has not come to pass with the latest queen in waiting. An abiding concern of courtiers was that Kate should be introduced gradually into royal life, testing the temperature of the royal water before diving in. Yet Kate, a keen swimmer, has plunged right in at the deep end, splashing around in the palace pool as if she has always been a member of this exclusive club. This has come as a relief to everyone, not least Prince William who can now concentrate on his military career as a search and rescue helicopter pilot without fretting about the newly minted Duchess of Cambridge.
While she may have an unwanted following which has sparked added security concerns, she has attracted a huge fashion fan club. Since becoming a princess she has though stuck to the High Street styles that served her well during her courtship. With her mane of glossy brown hair, shapely legs and great figure, she has been the perfect mannequin for accessible styles. So the £159 Reiss nude Shola dress she wore when she met Barack and MichelleObama caused the company web site to crash as so many of her fans tried to buy the same figure-hugging bandage style dress. As fashion writer Shane Watson observes: 'She has given nice girls permission to be girly, put together and sexy but not in a rude or edgy way, and apparently a lot of girls have been waiting for this moment.'
It will be interesting to see how Kate copes not just with her first tour of Canada but also a packed three day visit to California where the couple will attend a business innovation seminar, fund raising dinners and William will play charity polo at Santa Barbara. It will be her first prolonged test in the public eye. So far the omens are looking good.
At 29, the new royal entrant has showed poise and dignity and more than a touch of flair. She - and it must be said her younger sister Pippa - have given the royal family the biggest popularity boost since Diana arrived on the scene. And with rumours of Harry taking Pippa on a secret date who knows, we might see another Middleton enter the House of Windsor some time in the future. That is fanciful - at least for the moment.
More seriously though the Queen will be hoping that the next announcement the young couple make is that Kate is expecting their first child. Statistically every heir to the throne has fathered a child within 18 months of marriage. Queen Victoria married in February 1840 and gave birth nine months late in November 1840. Both Diana and the present queen were pregnant within three months of marriage.
So once their first tour is over, the pressure , albeit discreet, will be on for the couple to start a family. This should be no problem for the royal lovebirds who, as a friend noted with some amusement, can barely keep their hands off one another. With a new apartment at Kensington Palace they have enough space to have a nursery.
Kate at 50 days has made a starring start. This is just the beginning. The real test is over the next 50 years.
*The word is spreading about the Morton Report. Simon Shaps, the former head of ITV and now a freelance producer, has taken our story about Kate being the New Housewife of Anglesey and is turning it into a TV show, due to be broadcast in Britain and American