London, June 21 : Prince William and Kate Middleton might have seen many ups and downs in their relationship, but insiders say that the latter has been given official status within the Royal Family - that of Girlfriend, with a capital G.
In fact, Kate's attendance at an official royal event has royal watchers drawing conclusions with rumours of the couple's possible engagement reaching "feverish" heights.
"In the olden days, someone went from being nothing to being a fiancee. But things are different now and, contrary to what one might expect, the Royals are very good at moving with the times," The Telegraph quoted Lady Celestria Noel, as saying.
She added: "They know that their contemporaries invite girlfriends and boyfriends to family events, and so they are doing it too. After all, Prince William did live with Kate for two years, so they have to do it differently. The fact that she went to the Garter is an acknowledgement - it doesn't mean that marriage is around the corner, but it does mean that Girlfriend is now an official status."
During the ceremony, Kate was seen standing beside Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cornwall indicating that the British Royal Family is being quite generous to Kate and welcoming her into the family.
In fact, she was also present at William's passing out parade from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in December 2006.
Kate is the daughter of a firmly middle-class couple, who made their fortune with a mail-order company.