Kate Middleton's inner circle was left quite surprised when she sent out an email requesting they address her by a different name.

After graduating from university with Prince William, the couple were affectionately dubbed 'Kate and Wills' by the public and media alike. Despite being universally known as Kate, it turns out that the Duchess of Cambridge prefers her full name, Catherine.

Reports from 2008 reveal that she emailed friends asking them to refer to her as Catherine, hinting at her preparation for her future role in the Royal Family. Two years before the world saw her iconic sapphire engagement ring, Kate was already considering the responsibilities she would take on as a member of the Royal Family.

Columnist Adam Helliker wrote in the Sunday Express at the time: "With Prince William's engagement now a surefire certainty (even Ladbrokes has stopped taking bets on whether it will happen after a flurry of well-placed wagers) there are intriguing signs that Kate Middleton is preparing for her future role."

Prince William and Kate middleton announcing engagement
Kate requested friends call her 'Catherine' before her engagement to Prince William

He added: "It looks like she's taking it very seriously indeed too," reports the Mirror. "I hear that in the past few weeks the former accessories buyer has quietly informed friends that she would like to drop the informal 'Kate' and in future wishes to be known by her full name: 'Catherine'."

Royal commentator Daniela Elser revealed that Kate's pals were somewhat "a little taken aback" by her request. Despite the initial surprise, Elser noted that the Duchess was "gentle" and maintained a light-hearted approach about her request.

One of her friends reportedly told Mr Helliker: "Everyone knows it's about to happen with Kate and William, but we were a little surprised about the request to call her Catherine." They added: "There is a distinct feeling she has started to become very aware of her position."

Kate Middleton on wedding day
Kate's pals were somewhat "a little taken aback" by her request

However, Prince Charles's press secretary Paddy Harverson dismissed these reports at the time. While it's likely that William would have affectionately called her 'Kate' during their university days, her full name is deemed more 'royal'.

The Duchess uses her full name in all official Royal correspondence and signs off her emails with 'C'. Interestingly, she's not the only Royal who goes by a different name.

We know the Duchess of Sussex as Meghan Markle, but her birth certificate tells a different story. Her full name is actually Rachel Meghan Markle, and if you paid close attention, you'd have heard her full name announced during her wedding ceremony to Prince Harry.

In a chat with Esquire magazine, she didn't explicitly reveal why she goes by Meghan, but hinted that her parents had always referred to her as 'Meg' or 'Meghan'.