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InsightPrince & Princess of Wales

The Duchess of Cambridge: Before She Was Royal

The Duchess of Cambridge, formerly known as Kate Middleton, is easily one of the most recognisable people of our time. With her every step closely watched and reported on by millions, a subject that is always talked about but rarely reported on is her life before her marriage to Prince William.

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born on 9 January 1982 in Reading, Berkshire, as the eldest child of Michael and Carole Middleton. She is the older sister of Philippa “Pippa” Middleton and James Middleton.

The Duchess began school in 1984 in Amman, Jordan, where her father was working for British Airways. After they returned to the United Kingdom in 1986, she began attending St Andrews School when she was four-years-old. Starting in September 1995 at the age of 13, she briefly attended Downe House but left before the end of the year because she was bullied by her classmates. After leaving Downe House, she attended and graduated from Marlborough College.

After graduating from school, Catherine took a gap year in Chile and Italy at the age of 18. After her gap year, she enrolled at the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland, in 2001. She was the first in her family to attend university. It is often believed that it was at St Andrews that she met Prince William, but the couple had been introduced years before through mutual friends in the ‘Glosse Posse’. At university, she stayed in St Salvator’s Hall, the same hall as her future husband. She and Prince William quickly became friends as they had some of the same classes together and could be seen walking the halls and having lunch together. They began dating in 2003.

Kate graduated with honours from St Andrews in 2005 with an undergraduate MA (2:1 Hons) in history of art. When William ascends the throne, she will be the first queen of ever to hold a degree.

After university, Kate accepted a part-time job at clothing retailer Jigsaw as an accessories buyer until November 2007. After working at Jigsaw, she worked at the mail order party supplies company of her parent’s, Party Pieces, in marketing, catalogue design and production as well as a photographer. She worked at Party Pieces until she moved to Anglesey, Wales when William took a job with the RAF Search and Rescue.

Since becoming a royal, the Duchess of Cambridge has taken on many new roles. She now patronises many charities and organisations and has a focus on children with mental disabilities. She and the Duke of Cambridge often travel to other countries, most recently to India and Bhutan, and attend many charity functions to help support many different causes. Perhaps her favorite role since becoming a royal is motherhood. She maintains a close relationship with her two beloved children George and Charlotte and has always put her children above her royal duty.


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