First, she worked for her family's business, Party Pieces, which sells party supplies. Having a family business to work for is a certain kind of privilege in and of itself, but the work was still no doubt more normal than literally being royalty (not that that's a high bar to clear).
Next, Kate took a part-time job as an accessories buyer with British retailer Jigsaw, according to the Daily Mail. "Accessories Buyer" might sound like an impressive title, but in reality, Kate, like so many young, entry level workers, functioned more or less as a personal assistant. Her job tasks included such menial, non-duchessy duties as running errands and bringing tea and snacks to the talent on the set of photo shoots.
Belle Robinson, who cofounded the brand with John Robinson, dished about Kate's work ethic and already-royal composure during a 2008 interview with the Evening Standard. Kate, who was already dating Prince William at the time, had to balance normal person work with some of the less-awesome aspects of fame—like paparazzi.
"I have to say I was so impressed by her," she said. "There were days when there were TV crews at the end of the drive. We'd say: 'Listen, do you want to go out the back way?' And she'd say: 'To be honest, they're going to hound us until they've got the picture. So why don't I just go, get the picture done, and then they'll leave us alone.'"
If you're thinking, "Damn, that's a very mature attitude," you're not alone. Belle thought the same thing.
"I thought she was very mature for a 26-year-old, and I think she's been quite good at neither courting the press nor sticking two fingers in the air at them," she said. "I don't think I would have been so polite."
Kate, who stayed at Jigsaw until November 2007, didn't let her royalish-by-association status change her attitude. She was friendly with all the other not-dating-royalty commoners.
"She sat in the kitchen at lunchtime and chatted with everyone from the van drivers to the accounts girls," said Belle. "She wasn't precious."