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Princess Kate's Hairdresser Tells PEOPLE Why the Royal Mom Chopped Her Long Locks

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In the same week that Princess Kate debuted a sentimental, sparkly tiara, she also showed off one of her shortest hairstyles to date: the royal lob.

“It’s a practical style and a great option for a mom who has had long hair, who has a busy life and is short on time,” the royal mom’s longtime hair dresser Richard Ward, who is responsible for Kate’s chic new cut, tells PEOPLE. “It’s slightly more sophisticated but with all the benefits of long hair.”

After a busy few months with a packed agenda of royal engagements, Princess Charlotte‘s six-month birthday (for which Kate herself snapped the adorable photos) and keeping up with “noisy” 2-year-old Prince George, it’s no surprise that Kate, 33, would opt for a chop.

Richard Ward

“It’s much easier to look after and takes half the time to blow dry,” says Ward, whose eponymous salon off King’s Road in London has been a go-to beauty destination for the Middleton family for more than 12 years. Kate has been a client since her university days, and her mom Carole often sees Richard too.

Ward describes the style as “sophisticated, versatile” and full of “bouncy glamour”. Debuted at a Christmas charity event in London’s financial district on Wednesday, “It still has the feeling of long hair,” says Ward, adding that Kate’s signature blowout has lost none of its allure. “It has more bouncy movement because of the long layers and shorter length.”

Kate Middleton’s Changing Looks

The hairdresser, who was also jointly responsible (alongside his former employee James Pryce) for Kate’s famous wedding day demi-chignon, says the mid-length style is easy to maintain.

“It will need cutting every 6-8 weeks and be kept in good condition with good quality shampoos and masques,” advises Ward, who is currently in Australia promoting his Tangle Angel brushes.

With Kate’s long, side-swept fringe already a popular request in Ward’s recently refurbished salon (yes, Richard was responsible for that too!), will the “royal lob” be in similar demand?

“I’m sure the new style will be equally as popular, as her look will always be hugely followed and copied,” he says. Of course, “If you look like she does, pretty much anything will suit you!”