Did Kate Middleton Make the 2013 TIME 100 List Because She’s Pregnant?

TIME Magazine released their TIME 100 list yesterday, honoring the artists, celebrities, and public figures who have influenced our thinking and behavior. Though newbies like Jennifer Lawrence are getting a lot of attention, I have to highlight Kate Middleton for making it onto the TIME 100 list for the third consecutive year.

It’s pretty surprising, actually, that Kate has been an honoree since 2011, since we were only just getting to know her back then. That TIME 100 list came out right around the Royal Wedding, and Kate’s profile reflected that. Novelist Jackie Collins praised Kate and Prince William for their impending nuptials, to which the whole world tuned in:

”During these days of politicians making promises they never keep, financial woes and doom and gloom, what better than a good old (albeit expensive) fairy-tale wedding for all to enjoy?”

In 2012, Kate and sister Pippa Middleton shared an entry and were lauded for their fashion-forward style and enviable bodies. (This time around it was TIME’s European editor who did the honors.)

“The Middletons have become avatars of aspiration. Other women aim to dress like them, to emulate their easy athleticism and their more problematic slenderness.”

Now, Kate is being called an influential icon. Sally Bedell Smith, who wrote the book Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, provided these glowing insights into Princess Catherine:

”Kate Middleton, whose ancestors toiled in the coal mines of Durham, was an ordinary college girl on a path to an unremarkable life. Then she met her Prince Charming, became the Duchess of Cambridge and in two years has emerged as a remarkable figure on the world stage. The future Queen is dignified, dutiful and unflappable, with a modest reluctance to steal the spotlight from her husband, Prince William.

“As patron of a growing number of charities, she has embraced the royal family’s tradition of public service, whether promoting scouting around a campfire or discussing sustainable fishing with trawler owners. Her elegant wardrobe has enormous popular appeal that has boosted the British fashion industry. In three months, she will take on the role of thoroughly modern mother. After changes to the law of male primogeniture, Kate’s baby, whether a boy or a girl, will be third in line to the throne, setting the seal on the British monarchy for decades to come.”

The fact that each year has had Kate honored for a different reason has me ready to agree that she’s quickly become an icon. But like some other outlets, I have to wonder about the label of “influential.” Although TIME isn’t as clear about this year’s criteria, I wonder if it has anything to do with Kate–finally, in many citizens’ and royals’ eyes–being pregnant. (Does anyone else notice that each year she’s technically shared an entry with someone else?) Bedell certainly mentions it in her write-up.

The Stir keenly differentiates between simply being idolized and making a noticeable impact. They write, At this point, she’s only an icon because of the position she’s in. Not necessarily because of who she is. This observation also sums up my personal fear that Kate is being honored this year primarily because she’s carrying the Royal Family’s heir.

However, it turns out I had no reason to worry. As we speak, Kate is currently displaying that regal demeanor that we’ve grown to respect, by spending her second wedding anniversary (on April 29th) visiting a children’s hospice. And rather than spend the last few months of her pregnancy confined to a bed, Kate has a million things on her plate: She’ll visit the Harry Potter exhibition and the set of the hit show Shameless, and she’ll christen a cruise liner (of which she’s the godmother, aww) in Southampton. What The Stir meant–and I completely agree–is that the sky’s the limit for Kate.