Kate Middleton turns 40 on Sunday, and the Duchess of Cambridge has always remained proper and immaculately dressed in the public eye as she travels the world with Prince William, who is second in line to the throne of the United Kingdom. There is no hint of scandal hovering around Kate as she dotes on her three children and does charitable work.
“This is the woman who was the commoner who married into the royal family and who has not tripped up, not caused any embarrassment,” Katie Nicholl, author of “Kate: The Future Queen,” told The Associated Press. “It’s not been an easy year, and yet somehow Kate seems to be a bit of a beacon in all of this.’’
She and William were married on April 29, 2011, at Westminster Abbey in London. The couple’s first son, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, was born July 22, 2013. Their daughter, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge, was born on May 2, 2015. Their youngest child, Prince Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge, was born April 23, 2018.
Here are five things to know about Kate Middleton.
Who is she?
Kate Middleton was born on Jan. 9, 1982, in Reading, a county of Berkshire. Her given name is Catherine Elizabeth Middleton. Catherine is the eldest of three children of Michael and Carole Middleton; her siblings are Philippa (Pippa) and James.
Her parents, Carole and Michael, met at British Airways, The New York Times reported. Carole Middleton was a flight attendant, while Michael Middleton was a flight dispatcher, respectively. According to a chart printed in The Times of London, Carole Middleton’s father was a builder and her mother was a store clerk.
The Middletons moved to Jordan when Kate was 2 years old because of her father’s work, according to the AP. They returned to England in 1986.
Carole Middleton’s great-grandfather worked in the village of Hetton-le-Hole in a coal mine. It belonged to the Bowes-Lyon family -- one of whose descendants would go on to become William’s great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
What is her title?
When Prince William married Kate in 2011, he was given the title of Duke of Cambridge by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. This made Kate Middleton the Duchess of Cambridge.
Kate’s full title in the United Kingdom is Her Royal Highness, Princess William, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Lady Carrickfergus, according to Prestige. The reason her official title has “Princess William” and not her own name is because of royal protocol, which stipulates that only those born as princesses can be styled by their own name.
Then, why was William’s mother, Diana Spencer, referred to as “Princess Diana” even though she was not born into the royal family? According to several British publications, the late Princess Diana got the title from the people and the media because they admired her immensely. Her official title was Diana, Princess of Wales, which she received upon marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales.
Kate graduated from the University of St. Andrews in 2005 with a degree in History of Art, according to the BBC.
Before that, she enrolled at St. Andrew’s School in Pangbourne in September 1986, according to her official biography. She remained there until July 1995. After that, she attended the Marlborough College in Wiltshire and studied chemistry, biology and art. She was an athlete, competing in tennis, hockey and netball, and the high jump in track.
After leaving the college in July 2000, the duchess studied at the British Institute in Florence, Italy, then studied in a Raleigh International program in Chile. She also crewed on Round the World Challenge boats.
Kate met Prince William in 2001 when they were both studying at the University of St. Andrews.
First friends and then housemates with two other students, William and Kate became romantically linked around 2004. The British tabloids dubbed her “Waity Katie” for her patience during their courtship, according to the AP.
The official site of The Royal Family describes the duchess as a “keen photographer, and an honorary member of the Royal Photographic Society”.
Kate became the first Royal Patron of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2018. She has also been a patron of the National Portrait Gallery since 2012.
Kate took a photograph of her youngest child, Prince Louis, sitting on the lap of Princess Charlotte, which was taken at the family’s Kensington Palace residence. It was shared on the official social media handles of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The first official photo of Princess Charlotte on the lap of her brother Prince George was also taken by Kate.
She has also taken photographs of Princess Charlotte’s first day at school and Prince Louis taking his first baby steps.
Allergic to horses
The duchess is a royal family member who has never been seen on horseback. Marcia Moody, the author of “Kate: A Biography,” told Town & Country that the duchess never learned how to ride when she was young.
“Kate doesn’t ride, purely because didn’t do it growing up. William and Harry were taught from an early age, but the only time they ride now is for polo -- they don’t go off on hacks like the queen always has,” Moody told the publication.
According to a Reader’s Digest story in 2009, Kate told Australian author Kathy Lette that she is allergic to horses. People reported in 2011 that the Duchess was working to overcome that allergy.
Clarisa Ru, wife of Santa Barbara Polo Club president Wesley Ru, told the publication that the duchess was working to overcome the allergy.
“I asked if she was into polo before she met William. She said no,” Ru told the magazine. “But she’s been riding horses for a while and she hopes to play polo one day. She said ‘I’m actually allergic to them, but the more time one spends with them the less allergic you become.’”
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