Alexandra Whittaker
Feb 16, 2018 @ 10:45 am

Before Kate Middleton was Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, mother of Prince George and Prince Charlotte, and wife to Prince William, she was a college student at the University of St. Andrews.

It's the pre-spotlight part of her life that fans often forget about, but Middleton is here to remind everyone in a rare letter.

The royal wrote the foreword for an upcoming National Portrait Gallery exhibition of photography called Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography, and in it, she describes what she enjoyed as a young photography student, and what she thinks about childhood.

Getty Images

"This [Victorian] period in the history of photography has long interested me. As a student at the University of St. Andrews, I chose it as the subject of my undergraduate thesis and photographs of children in particular, which feature predominantly within the exhibition, are of real interest to me," she wrote.

"These photographs allow us to reflect on the importance of preserving and appreciating childhood while it lasts. Children held a special place in the Victorian imagination and were celebrated for their seemingly boundless potential. This notion still rings true for us today and it underpins much of my official work and the charities I have chosen to support, and, indeed, my role as a mother of a young family."

In addition to writing the exhibition foreword, she also wrote captions for some of the photos themselves, according to Kensington Palace. While this venture into the photography world might seem surprising to those who only know Middleton for her royal duties, she has long been a champion of the photography art form. She even took Prince George and Princess Charlotte's back-to-school photos herself, like many parents.

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Her skill has caused her to break royal tradition by being the one to take the first photos of George and Charlotte together, and Queen Elizabeth's official photographer Hugo Rittson Thomas has praised her skill in a 2016 interview.

"I thought they were wonderful pictures, beautifully shot," he said to People. "She captured the joy, happiness and youth of her children which is a wonderful thing and sometimes hard to do as a parent."

Middleton will be visiting the new exhibition in a couple weeks on Feb. 28.

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