The world is more straightforward than you think. (Unless you're one of THOSE people, of course, in which case it is more complicated.)
Catherines seem to have been Kates historically.
This has been a massive issue for me historically. I am very possessive about the K. Even though there are obviously bloody loads of us.
No, Kate is short for Catherine. Cate is a made-up name. You might as well ask where Bill gets the B, or Jack the Ack. However, I'm sure I heard somewhere no-one ever called Catherine Middleton 'Kate' until her name had to fit into tabloid headlines. Her family call her Catherine.
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