Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton (born 9 January 1982) is the fiance of Prince William of Wales. Their wedding will take place on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey, with the day declared a bank holiday in the UK.
Middleton grew up in Berkshire and, after attending Marlborough College, went to the University of St Andrews, where she met Prince William, also studying there, in 2001. They started a relationship, followed by media attention, triggering complaints by Middleton that the media were harassing her. In April 2007, the press reported that William and Middleton had split up. They continued to be friends, and later in 2007 they reunited. Since then, Middleton has attended many high-profile royal events. She has been admired for her fashion sense and has been placed on numerous “best dressed” lists.
Since her relationship with Prince William began, Middleton has received widespread media attention and there was much speculation that they would eventually marry. On 16 November 2010, the office of the Prince of Wales at Clarence House announced their engagement. The date and location of the wedding were announced one week later.
Born on January 9 1982, Catherine Elizabeth Middleton is the eldest child of businessman Michael and former air hostess Carole Middleton. The self-made millionaires live in a modern five-bedroom detached house in the hamlet of Chapel Row in Bucklebury parish near Newbury, Berkshire, and run a mail-order business called Party Pieces which sells toys and party paraphernalia.
Miss Middleton has two younger siblings, sister Pippa and brother James, and her family is very close-knit. She was christened at the parish church of St Andrew’s Bradfield in Berkshire, on June 20, 1982.
In May 1984, when Miss Middleton was two, the family moved to Amman in Jordan, where her father worked for two-and-a-half years. She attended a nursery school in Amman from the age of three. In September 1986 the Middletons returned to West Berkshire, and Miss Middleton started at St Andrew’s – a private school in Pangbourne.
St Andrew’s said she enjoyed “all aspects of school life”, including academic subjects, music, drama and sport.
At the age of 13, she went to the 15,000-a-year Marlborough College in Wiltshire where she was a keen netball and hockey player. Described by Marlborough master Nicholas Sampson as a “bright, popular and extremely capable pupil”, she studied chemistry, biology and art at A-level.
Miss Middleton left Marlborough College in July 2000 and went on a gap year, studying at the British Institute in Florence and also crewed on Round the World Challenge boats in the Solent.
Like Prince William, she went on a Raleigh International programme in Chile during her gap year. She began reading history of art at St Andrews in Fife in 2001, as did her future husband, although he later switched to geography. The pair became friends, then flatmates, and their relationship blossomed into a romance around Christmas 2003.
After leaving university, she was keen to forge ahead with her own career, and set up a children’s clothes firm. In November 2006, she joined fashion chain Jigsaw, owned by family friends Belle and John Robinson, as a part-time accessories buyer.
In April 2007, William and Miss Middleton briefly broke up, but reunited a few months later. And in November 2010, her long wait was over, when the prince popped the question during a holiday in Kenya, proposing with his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales’s sapphire engagement ring.
The bride-to-be is known for her classic, stylish and often reserved appearance, although she has received criticism as well as praise for her style. The blue dress she wore for the engagement announcement created a wave of excitement among fashion commentators. Created by Brazilian-born designer Daniella Issa Helayel, the dress sold out within days of Kate wearing it, and brought back images of the young Princess of Wales in her engagement photographs wearing a slightly more conservative suit of a similar shade.
In the past, Miss Middleton’s choice of attire has been criticised, with some describing her university wardrobe of cashmere sweaters and woollen skirts as “Thatcheresque”. Favouring high street brands such as Whistles, Reiss and Topshop, the bride’s fashion taste appears to be more off-the-peg than designer chic: while dining with the Duchess of Cornwall recently she wore a patterned Diane von Furstenberg dress matched with a jacket from Whistles and her signature knee-high black boots from LK Bennett, a brand also worn by her future mother-in-law.
How her wedding dress will look remains a mystery until the wedding day, but it is unlikely to be a Westwood. It has been reported that Dame Vivienne Westwood has said Miss Middleton is not stylish enough to wear one of her creations.
Born: Catherine Elizabeth Middleton
9 January 1982 (age 29)
Reading, Berkshire, England
Education Master of Arts
Alma mater: University of St Andrews
Parents Michael Francis Middleton
Carole Elizabeth (n?e Goldsmith)
Relatives Pippa Middleton (sister)
James Middleton (brother)