Kate and William present new-born baby Prince George to the world in July
Kate and William present newborn baby Prince George to the world in JulyReuters

Kate Middleton has had a busy year, what with becoming a mother for the first time and to a baby who is destined to one day wear the crown as king of England

But being married to the second in line to the throne also imposes its own strictures, such as being a de-facto fashion icon whose every outfit is pored over by a hungry media and insatiable public. Witness Kate wearing no less than two outfits on Christmas Day.

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, attends the Tusk Conservation Awards at The Royal Society in London
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, attends the Tusk Conservation Awards at the Royal Society in LondonReuters

Still, the endless round of wardrobe changes occasioned by non-stop public appearances and baby vomit didn't cost Kate any style points – barring a short retreat from public life when little Prince George was making his way into the world. Indeed, Prince William's wife and royal baby-maker has just been crowned 2013's top beauty icon.

Heavily pregnant Kate in Southampton on one of her final public appearances before retreating to give birth to Prince George
Kate in Southampton on one of her final public appearances before retreating to give birth to Prince GeorgeReuters

Quite frankly, anyone who can wear whacky black and white spots on a dress and get away with it deserves some kind of award. But whether this pattern would be praised if it was on a pair of jogging bottoms worn by somebody with no royal lineage is perhaps a cause for reflection.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, plays volleyball as she attends a SportsAid athlete workshop at the Copper Box in the Olympic Park in London
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, plays volleyball at a SportsAid athlete workshop at the Copper Box in the Olympic ParkReuters

Kate also found time to pause from changing Prince George's nappies (or ordering servants to wipe the royal bottom, depending on her view of these things) to enjoy some fun activities such as volleyball.

Princess Catherine displays baby bump at Westminster Abbey during service to mark 60 years on the throne for Queen Elizabeth
Princess Catherine displays baby bump at Westminster Abbey during service to mark 60 years on the throne for Queen ElizabethReuters

2013 has been a stellar year for the monarchy, with Kate and Prince Harry at the forefront of a campaign to place the royals firmly in the nation's heart. Subjects, rejoice.