Who Is Kate Middleton?
Kate Middleton was born in 1982 in Reading, England. On April 29, 2011, she married Prince William at Westminster Abbey in London.
Shortly before their wedding, Queen Elizabeth II conferred Kate with the title of Catherine, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge. After the palace officially announced her pregnancy in December 2012, Middleton gave birth to Prince George, the third in line to the throne, on July 22, 2013, amid an international media frenzy.
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Young Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton was born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton on January 9, 1982, in Reading, Berkshire, England, to airline employees Michael and 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 on her mother's side. Her maternal grandmother, Dorothy Goldsmith, 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 at British Airways that Carole met Michael Middleton, a dispatcher, whose wealthy family hails from Leeds and which has ties to British aristocracy. The couple married soon after.
In 1987, Carole and Michael founded a mail-order party goods company. The business was a surprise success, eventually making the Middleton family multi-millionaires.
But her time in boarding school did not come without its conflicts. Kate left the exclusive Downe House all-girls boarding school at the age of 14, due to bullying and taunts from other students. 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.
Prince William and Kate Middleton
In 2001, Middleton became a student at the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland. She moved into St. Salvator's Hall — the same dormitory 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.
Middleton's boyfriend graduated at the end of the 2002 school term, and the couple soon parted ways over issues of distance. Newly single and entering her sophomore year, Middleton and several friends were invited to share a flat with Prince William, a setting that allowed their budding romance to blossom.
At first, Middleton's life didn't change much. The couple kept their relationship a secret, 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.
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. The two graduated together that summer, with Middleton earning an honors degree in art history.
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. However, with Prince William headed off to a military academy, Middleton 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 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 it easier to bake party cakes.
Marriage to Prince William
On November 16, 2010, Middleton and Prince William announced their engagement. The prince proposed during a vacation to Kenya, and he presented Kate with the engagement ring worn by his mother, Princess Diana. The couple then announced plans to live in North Wales, where Prince William was 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.
Topless Tabloid Controversy
Middleton made headlines in September 2012, when photos of her sunbathing topless in southern France were published by a French magazine, Closer. Soon after, the photos were reproduced in publications in Ireland and Italy.
As soon as news broke about the photos in Closer, the British royal family became involved in a legal battle to attain the rights to the photos, in hopes of preventing other publications from printing them. According to the Los Angeles Times, the photos weren't picked up by any news organizations in Britain.
Shortly after Closer published the photos, on September 18, 2012, the royal family won their copyrights in court: A judge ordered the French magazine to hand over the photos within 24 hours of the court's decision, according to the L.A. Times. Closer faced daily fines of $13,000, as well as fines for any reprints of the photos, if it failed to meet the 24-hour timeline, the Times continued.
On December 3, 2012, after almost a year of baby rumors and much speculation, St. James Palace officially announced that Kate Middleton was pregnant. On the same day of the announcement, Middleton, with Prince William by her side, was hospitalized at King Edward VII hospital in London with acute morning sickness.
"Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby," the official statement confirmed the pregnancy. "The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and members of both families are delighted with the news."
Anticipating the arrival of Middleton and Prince William's first born, international media outlets began establishing a regular presence in front of St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, by July 2013. St. Mary's was the same hospital where Princess Diana gave birth to Prince William and later Prince Harry.
On July 22, 2013, the palace announced Middleton had given birth to a baby boy, weighing in at 8 pounds and 6 ounces, at 4:24 p.m. local time. Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge is third in line to British throne, following Prince Charles and Prince William.
In September 2014, it was announced that Kate Middleton was pregnant with the couple's second child.
On May 2, 2015, Middleton gave birth to a daughter, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces, at 8:34 a.m. local time at St. Mary's Hospital. The baby was the Queen's fifth great-grandchild and the fourth in line to the throne after her brother, Prince George.
In September 2017, Kensington Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were expecting again: “Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their third child. The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news.”
On April 23, 2018, Prince Louis Arthur Charles was born, weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces, at 11:01 a.m. local time at St. Mary's Hospital. Prince Louis will be fifth in line to the throne after Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and before Prince Harry.
The statement also revealed that the Duchess of Cambridge was suffering from severe morning sickness, as she had during her pregnancies with Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
“As with her previous two pregnancies, The Duchess is suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum,” continued the statement, “Her Royal Highness will no longer carry out her planned engagement at the Hornsey Road Children’s Centre in London today. The Duchess is being cared for at Kensington Palace.”
On October 31, in her first solo appearance since the announcement, Middleton demonstrated that she was feeling much better by partaking in a Tennis for Kids session at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.
Days after Queen Elizabeth's 92nd birthday, Middleton was admitted to the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London on April 23, 2018. At 11:01 p.m., she gave birth to 8-pound, 7-ounce Louis Arthur Charles.
The new prince became fifth in line to the throne, with big sister Charlotte remaining a spot ahead thanks to a recent change in succession rules that gives preference to birth order over gender.
Mental Health Advocate
Having teamed with her husband and Prince Harry to form the Heads Together initiative to raise awareness of mental health issues, Middleton in January 2018 announced the launch of a website designed to provide resources for teachers and schools seeking help in that area.
The duchess subsequently visited a London school to meet with students and speak about the endeavor. "We know that mental health is an issue for us all – children and parents, young and old, men and women – of all backgrounds and of all circumstances," she said.
"I see time and time again that there is so much to be gained from talking of mental health and taking the mental health of our children as seriously as we do their physical health. When we intervene early in life, we help avoid problems that are much more challenging to address in adulthood."
Along the lines, Middleton visited the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute at King's College London shortly afterward to explore the links between pregnancy and mental health issues. During her tour of the institute, she learned about some of the biological factors that can influence a mother's mental health and the resources available to support new mothers.
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