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Nine-year-old Kate Middleton shows her true colors – and a toothy grin – in a photo taken at prep school around 1991. Described by former classmates as shy, she came out of her shell as she blossomed into a young teen.
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Did she sell cookies, too? In an undated photo, a demure Middleton suits up in her Brownies uniform. Joining the local club with sister Pippa in 1990, the young Middletons went on field trips, played sports and did housework and needlework to earn badges. "She was quite easygoing," Brownie pack leader June Scutter told PEOPLE of the princess-to-be. "They were just ordinary children, nothing different from any others."
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Victory! Middleton – who excelled at field hockey, tennis and track, and more recently, crew – used sports as a way to make new friends. "She got on really well with everybody," a pal told PEOPLE.
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"She is a very honest and lovely person," a friend says of Middleton. "She draws attention to herself in a very unobtrusive way." School chum Gemma Williamson (pictured here in 2000) agrees. "William has picked an absolute diamond," she shares.
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Is this a glimpse into Middleton's future? Proud grandmother Dorothy Goldsmith presents her pretty princess to the cameras in 1982. "[Family] is very important to me," Middleton told the U.K.'s Independent Television News. "We see a lot of each other. They're very, very dear to me."