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Queen Elizabeth Just Gave Kate Middleton a New Honorary Title

The Duchess is now a Dame!

What do you get the woman who has everything? A fancy new title, of course! In honor of Kate Middleton and Prince William's eighth wedding anniversary, Queen Elizabeth bestowed her granddaughter-in-law with a new title: Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)—Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.

On Monday, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen appointed Kate to the Royal Victorian Order, a dynastic order of knighthood established in 1896 by Queen Victoria, which comes with the impressive new title.

The Queen awards the honor personally for services to the sovereign. There are five different ranks, Knight or Dame Grand Cross (GCVO), Knight or Dame Commander (KCVO or DCVO), Commander (CVO), Lieutenant (LVO), and Member (MVO).

Getting this special honor means Kate could be sporting some serious royal bling the next time she attends a formal state dinner. All Royal Victorian Order members are given a badge, which is a Maltese cross surrounded by a blue ring with a Tudor crown. The badges are different sizes, depending on the level of the holder, the GCVO being the biggest of them all.

Knights and Dames Grand Cross wear the badge on a sash that crosses from the right shoulder to the left hip, and their badge is also fashioned in white enamel with gold edging, setting it apart from the other ranks.

"Her Majesty has great respect and affection for the Duchess of Cambridge and wanted to recognize her on this special day," said one palace insider. "Catherine has embraced her role within the family and done so brilliantly. Her charitable work with children and families and her support of the Duke of Cambridge as the second line to the throne has been invaluable."

When Kate married William in 2011, she was often criticized in the British press for her nervousness while giving speeches at public events. Now, eight years after her wedding, the Duchess is a patron of many charities in service to the crown. During her frequent visits on official engagements in support of these organizations, Kate exudes a warmth and confidence that echo the style of her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana.

"Catherine has really come into her own in recent years," said the insider. "She is a great asset to the crown."

While Kate has made hundreds of appearances with William and other members of the royal family over the years, it wasn't until March of 2019 that she made her first solo engagement with the Queen. The pair arrived at King's College in London in the Queen's car. They were spotted sitting together in the back seat sharing a blue cashmere blanket, which Her Majesty travels with during chilly English weather.

Interestingly, the Queen did not appoint her husband, Prince Philip, to the Royal Victorian Order until 2017 when it was announced the Duke of Edinburgh was to be a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO). Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was appointed to the Royal Victorian Order on her wedding anniversary in 2012 and Prince Harry was appointed in 2015. And for more on the new dame's contributions, check out 15 Ways Kate Middleton Has Modernized Parenting at Kensington Palace.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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