Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (Catherine Elizabeth “Kate”; née Middleton; born 9 January 1982), is the wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Following his father Charles, Prince of Wales, William is second in line to succeed his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, as monarch of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms.
Middleton grew up in Chapel Row, a village near Newbury, Berkshire, England. She studied art history in Scotland at the University of St Andrews, where she met William in 2001. Their engagement was announced on 16 November 2010, and she attended several royal events before they married on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. The Duke and Duchess have two children: Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, who are respectively third and fourth in line to the British throne.
She has had a major impact upon British and American fashion, which has been termed the “Kate Middleton effect”, and in 2012 and 2013, she was selected as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine.
Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on 9 January 1982, and christened at St Andrew’s Bradfield, Berkshire, on 20 June 1982. She is the eldest of three children born to Michael and Carole Middleton, a former flight dispatcher and flight attendant, respectively, who in 1987 founded Party Pieces, a mail order private company that sells party supplies and decorations with an estimated worth of £30 million.She has a younger sister, Philippa “Pippa”, and a younger brother, James.
Michael and Carole Middleton worked for British Airways, in Amman, Jordan, from May 1984 to September 1986. In Jordan, Catherine Middleton went to an English-language nursery school before returning to their home in Berkshire. Following her return from Amman, Middleton was enrolled at St Andrew’s School near the village of Pangbourne in Berkshire, then briefly at Downe House. She was a boarder at Marlborough College, a co-educational independent boarding school in Wiltshire, and graduated in 2005, from the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland, with an undergraduate MA (2:1 Hons) in the history of art. In November 2006, Middleton accepted a position as an accessory buyer with the clothing chain Jigsaw, where she worked part-time until November 2007. She also worked until January 2011 at Party Pieces; her role within the family business included catalogue design and production, marketing and photography.
In popular culture
Following international attention regarding the wedding, Lifetime aired a TV film entitled William & Kate on 18 April 2011, in the US. The film premiered in the UK on 24 April 2011. Middleton was played by Camilla Luddington and Prince William by Nico Evers-Swindell. TV programmes were also shown in the UK prior to the wedding which provided deeper insights into the couple’s relationship and backgrounds, including When Kate Met William and Channel 4’s Meet the Middletons.
Another TV film covering similar ground to William & Kate, titled William & Catherine: A Royal Romance and filmed in Bucharest, starred Alice St. Clair and Dan Amboyer as the title characters. Jane Alexander appeared as the Queen and Victor Garber as the Prince of Wales. The film aired on 27 August 2011, in the United States on the Hallmark Channel.
Middleton’s father, Michael, and her paternal ancestors were from Leeds, Yorkshire. Her paternal great-grandmother, Olive, was a member of the Lupton family, who are described in the City of Leeds Archives as “landed gentry, a political and business dynasty”; previously unpublished pictures revealed in March 2015 that Olive Middleton had grown up on her family’s Potternewton Hall Estate alongside her cousin, Baroness von Schunck, née Kate Lupton.
Middleton’s paternal ancestors also include her great-great-grandfather, politician Francis Martineau Lupton (1848–1921), whose first cousin, Sir Thomas Martineau, was reported in June 2014 as being the uncle of World War II Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.
Middleton’s maternal ancestors, the Harrisons, were working-class labourers and miners from Sunderland and County Durham. Ancestors through her maternal line include Sir Thomas Conyers, 9th Baronet (1731–1810), who was a descendant of King Edward IV through his illegitimate daughter Elizabeth Plantaganet. Other ancestors are Sir Thomas Fairfax (1475–1520), whose wife Anne Gascoigne was a descendant of King Edward III.