Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton was born January 9, 1982 in Reading, England. On April 29, 2011, she married Prince William at Westminster Abbey in London. Shortly before the wedding, Queen Elizabeth conferred Kate with the title of Catherine, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge.

Early Life
Born January 9, 1982, in Reading, Berkshire, England, to pilot Michael and flight attendant Carole Middleton. She has a younger sister, Philippa ("Pippa") and a younger brother, James.

Kate came from a decidedly working-class stock of coal miners and builders. Her maternal grandmother, Dorothy Goldsmith, became the first member of the family to attempt to improve the family's social and economic status. Dorothy pushed her children to aim high and, as a result, Kate's mother became an airline hostess—at the time, a considerably glamorous job. It was on this job that Carole met dispatcher Michael Middleton. The couple married soon after.

By the time Kate was born, her mother was already looking for new ways to climb the social ladder. In 1987, Kate's mother founded her own mail-order party goods company, with ambitions of sending her children to private schools. The business was a surprise success, eventually making the Middleton family multi-millionaires.

As a result of this new-found income, Kate and her siblings didn't want for much. Kate attended exclusive boarding schools, including St. Andrew's Prep School, Down House, and Marlborough College. But her time in boarding school did not come without its conflicts. Kate left the exclusive Down House all-girls boarding school at the age of 13, due to bullying and taunts from other students there. And on her first day at co-ed Marlborough, some particularly mean-spirited boys began rating incoming students based on attractiveness and personality. They gave Kate a two out of 10. Despite the initial setbacks, however, Kate did well in her studies, passing 11 GCSEs and three A-level exams.

In 2001, Middleton became a student at the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland—the first in her family to attend college. While in her first year at the university, Middleton was placed in the dormitory St. Salvators Hall—the same building as Prince William of Wales. Middleton and Prince William shared several classes in their course schedule as well, and soon became friends. But while they often shared breakfast and walked to classes together, the two were not interested in each other romantically at first. Middleton was dating senior Rupert Finch, and William was busy dealing with the press and struggling with his feelings about his new school.

But in 2002, Middleton appeared in an exclusive fashion-show fundraiser wearing a revealing dress. William was also present at the charity event, and became intrigued and interested in Kate in a new way. He attempted to engage her romantically that evening but, still in a relationship with Finch, Middleton spurned the future king's advances.

Royal Romance
By the end of 2002, Middleton's boyfriend had graduated. The couple soon parted ways over issues of distance. Newly single and entering her junior year, Middleton and several friends were invited to share a flat with Prince William. In 2003, Middleton and the prince fell into a natural romance, and began dating.

At first, Middleton's life didn't change much. The couple kept their relationship a secret for several years, mostly due to the prince's extreme distrust of the press. The couple agreed not to hold hands in public, or be seen sitting together at dinner parties. This seemed to throw off the press for the most part, and by June 2003 Kate had graduated with an honors bachelor's degree in art history, without any real disruptions from the press.

But in 2004, Kate was caught by paparazzi while on a royal family ski trip. Her relationship with William became the subject of intense scrutiny and, by 2005, she was a tabloid favorite. In February 2006, it was announced that Middleton would receive her own 24-hour security detail from the Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department. This led to rumors that Middleton was being groomed for a position of royalty.

In 2006, Prince William headed off to a military academy. Middleton lost her security detail, and was faced with tending the paparazzi frenzy, alone. As the girlfriend of the prince, finding a job was also difficult; the position had to be considered respectable by the royal family, while also allowing Middleton the flexibility to take off at a moments' notice to be with the prince. In November 2006, Middleton finally found an acceptable position as an assistant accessories buyer with the British clothing chain Jigsaw in London. It was later reported that she left the company in order to study portrait photography.

In April 2007, Middleton and Prince William publicly split. Allegedly pressured by the royal family to either propose or let Middleton move on with her life, William apparently broke off the couple's five-year relationship over the phone. Media reports said otherwise, however, as Middleton was spotted at several royal events accompanied by the prince only a few months later. Other rumors indicated that the couple were living together. Both parties denied the rumors.

In 2010, it was revealed that Kate Middleton had been working on plans to start a new bakery business with her brother, James, who ran The Cake Kit Company. The business had the goal of encouraging kids to cook and making the baking of party cakes easier.

Marriage to Prince William
On November 16, 2010, Kate and Prince William announced their engagement. The prince proposed during a vacation to Kenya, and he presented Kate with his mother's engagement ring. The couple then announced plans to live in North Wales, where Prince William is stationed with the Royal Air Force, after their marriage.

On April 29, 2011, the couple married at Westminster Abbey in London. Kate wore a dress designed by Sarah Burton—a fact that remained a closely guarded secret until the big day. Shortly before the wedding, Queen Elizabeth conferred Kate with the title of Catherine, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge. She will not officially be declared a princess until the current Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, inherits the throne.

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