Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born on January 7th, 1982 in Reading in the Royal County of Berkshire. More commonly known as Kate, she is the daughter of Carole, a former British Airways flight attendant and Michael Middleton, formerly a flight dispatcher with the same airline, who also produced Kate’s younger siblings, Philippa (‘Pippa’) and James.
Kate was born into a family whose working-class roots can be traced back to hard times in the coalfields of the county of Durham, northeast England and the suburbs of Southall, west London. Kate comes from a long line of strong women, with her maternal grandmother, Dorothy Goldsmith, passing on her driving ambition for an improved social status to daughter Carole, who also made sure her children had the best start in life. In fact, so driven was Dorothy, that she became affectionately known to those close to her as ‘Lady Dorothy’. She too, had inherited her own mother Edith’s sense of resourcefulness and strong drive for self-improvement.
By the time that Kate’s younger siblings were born, her parents had successfully launched a mail-order party goods company and it was now going from strength to strength, eventually making the Middleton family into multi-millionaires. Kate and her siblings were all placed in private schools, with Kate attending St. Andrew’s Preparatory School, Down House and the co-educational Marlborough College. Sadly, as has been the case for many a young teenager who finds oneself tucked away in a country boarding school, there is no place to escape, particularly when one is at the mercy of vicious school bullies. By the age of 13, Kate was so bullied and taunted by other students at Down House, that she eventually left as a result.
Kate managed to pass all her school exams successfully and set about getting herself enrolled at the University of St. Andrew’s in Fife, Scotland for a fall of 2001 start. She was placed in St. Salvators Hall, the very same halls of residence that Prince William resided in during the earlier part of his time at the same University. Kate and William shared several classes together and soon became friends.
It wasn’t until 2002, when Kate appeared in a local charity fashion show, walking down the runway in black underwear visible under a see-through dress, that William’s interest became piqued, in a completely different way. William decided to make his move at the after-show party. But Kate played it cool, as was already dating senior, Rupert Finch, but that did not faze William; he was already smitten. That was the evening that changed everything.
Inevitably, Kate and William fell in love and their years at St. Andrew’s were spent privately in each other’s company, avoiding the press as much as possible. By the end of their studies though, the couple was experiencing an off-again, on-again phase in their courtship, whilst their relationship was receiving even more attention and speculation from the press. To make matters worse, following their respective graduations from St. Andrew’s, and subsequent romantic post-study breaks, William was now set to undergo his military training at Sandhurst. Upon his graduation or ‘passing out’ , Kate and her parents could be seen in front row VIP seats at the ceremony, prompting further speculation and even a barrage of bets being placed at the bookies, on whether the nation should be getting ready for another Royal Wedding.
Kate was taken into the Royal fold and also advised, at William’s request, on how to cope with the intense media attention she now found herself on the receiving end of. It was highly unusual for a commoner to receive such attention from the Royal Household, but William already knew of old about the difficulties faced by his mother when she had been launched into the media spotlight with scarcely any preparation at all. Kate was immediately given her own security, ensured she always turned out impeccably and maintained silence with the press. She could not take up a job that did not meet with approval by the House of Windsor, although she did manage to find one that did – she became an accessories buyer with the fashion chain, Jigsaw.
After an eight-year long courtship, not without its fair share of tears, speculation, repeated break-ups and reunions, William, having carried around with him a well-known sapphire and diamond engagement ring in his back-pack for weeks, proposed to Kate in October 2010, during a holiday in Kenya, finally putting to rest her adopted nickname of ‘Waity Katy’, by critics. The news was publicly announced on 16th November 2010, with plans set for a Royal Wedding in 2011.
Following the death of the Princes William and Harry’s mother, Diana Princess of Wales, the boys were able to go through her personal effects and keep an item that was close to her. Whilst William took her Cartier watch, Harry had taken her much-publicized engagement ring. William and Harry had made a pact: that whomever was the first to be married, should have the ring to give to their fiancée. William was reported to have gone to Harry to ask for the ring back from his brother, who happily obliged.
The wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Middleton took place on 29th April 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London. Prince William is second in line to the throne, after his father, Prince Charles, the Duke of Cornwall.
On 22nd July 2013, HRH Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge at 16:24 BST. The newborn prince weighed in at 8lbs and 6oz. He takes the position of third in line to the throne, knocking Prince Harry into fourth place.
As and when HRH Queen Elizabeth II should make the decision to step down from her royal duties, it is still unclear as to whether her son, Prince Charles or her grandson, Prince William would succeed her to the throne. Should it be the latter, currently a popular choice with the public, this would certainly make Catherine’s grandmother and great grandmothers proud, for her bloodline has come a long way from the coalfields to become that of the woman who would be Queen.
By Brucella Newman