Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton (born 9 January 1982) is the fiancéeof Prince William of Wales. Their wedding is to take place on 29 April 2011. Middleton grew up in Chapel Row at Bucklebury, Berkshire, England, and studied in Scotland at the University of St Andrews, where she met Prince William in 2001. They started a romantic relationship which continued until a break-up lasting for several months in 2007. However they continued to be friends and they rekindled their relationship later that year.
Since then, Middleton has attended many high-profile royal events. She has been admired by some for her fashion sense and has been placed on numerous "best dressed" lists. Once their relationship became public, Middleton 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, with details announced one week later.
EARLY LIFE AND FAMILY
Middleton was born at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. She is the eldest of three children born to Carole Elizabeth (née Goldsmith), a flight attendant, and Michael Francis Middleton, who also worked as a flight attendant prior to becoming a flight dispatcher for British Airways. Her parents married on 21 June 1980 at the Parish Church of Dorney, Buckinghamshire, and in 1987 founded Party Pieces, a successful mail order company that sells party supplies and decorations. Middleton's two siblings are a sister, Philippa Charlotte, known as "Pippa" (born 1983), and a brother, James William (born 1987). The family have complained about press harassment of Pippa and their mother since Kate's engagement.
Middleton's paternal family came from Leeds, West Yorkshire, and her great-grandmother Olivia was a member of the Lupton family, who were active for generations in Leeds in commercial and municipal work. Her ancestors include The Rev. Thomas Davis, a Church of England hymn-writer. Carole Middleton's maternal family, the Harrisons, were working class labourers and miners from Sunderland and County Durham.
Middleton's parents were based in Amman, Jordan, working for British Airways from May 1984 to September 1986, where Middleton went to an English language nursery school, before returning to their home in Berkshire. After her return from Amman, Middleton was educated at St. Andrew's School in the village of Pangbourne in Berkshire, then briefly atDowne House. She continued her studies at Marlborough College, a co-educational independent boarding school inWiltshire, followed by the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland where she met William. She graduated with a 2:1 (Hons) in the History of Art.
In November 2006, Middleton accepted a position as an accessory buyer with the clothing chain Jigsaw. In September 2007, it was reported that Middleton was planning to give up her job as an accessory buyer to become a professional photographer. It was announced that she intended to take private classes with photographer Mario Testino, who had taken several well-known photographs of Diana, Princess of Wales and her sons. Middleton and Testino apparently were introduced by Prince William. Testino later denied that Middleton was going to be working for him.
ENGAGEMENT & WEDDING
Prince William and Kate Middleton became engaged in October 2010 in Kenya, East Africa, during a 10-day trip to theLewa Wildlife Conservancy to celebrate William's passing his RAF helicopter search and rescue course. Clarence House announced the engagement on 16 November 2010. The couple are to marry in Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011, with the day declared a bank holiday in the United Kingdom.
TITLE UPON MARRIAGE
Unlike the majority of royal brides, and in contrast to every previous queen-in-waiting for over 350 years, Middleton does not come from a royal or aristocratic background. While she may inherit or acquire various titles bestowed on William and his family, she has no titles of her own. Similarly, William currently holds no titles other than the style of "Royal Highness", as a British prince; the wife of a son or grandson of the Sovereign is entitled to the same style. Thus, upon marriage she will take the title of "Her Royal Highness Princess William of Wales", also taking her husband's name.
It is customary for royal men to receive a dukedom when they marry, whereupon Middleton would assume the title ofduchess. The British media have speculated extensively on possible dukedoms for the couple, including Clarence,Cambridge, Sussex, Kendal, Strathearn and Windsor; some of which have been vacant for centuries. In November 2010 The Daily Telegraph published a summary of the Royal Dukedoms – along with a reminder that the Queen is at liberty to create new titles anywhere in the UK or the Commonwealth Realms – and concluded that the dukedoms of Sussex or Cambridge were the most likely candidates for William to receive.
Other sources have suggested that William may prefer not to accept a dukedom at all, remaining simply Prince William. The BBC suggested that the Queen could simply grant Middleton the title of Princess of the United Kingdom, continuing a precedent first established in 1957, when she issued letters patent to accord her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh"the style and title of a Prince of the United Kingdom". In this case Middleton would be known as "Her Royal Highness Princess Catherine".