“It is our duty, as parents and as teachers, to give all children the space to build their emotional strength and provide a strong foundation for their future.”
The Princess of Wales
The Princess of Wales has been a terrifically successful ambassador for the royal family for over 11 years now whilst also raising three young children in the media spotlight.
Kate Middleton or HRH Catherine, Princess of Wales married Prince William in 2011 at Westminster Abbey after a long courtship, catapulting her and her family into the limelight.
As we know this does not always end well, but Kate has taken to royal family life with remarkable ease, particularly supporting a range of mental and children’s charities to great effect. Not to mention bringing up their three lovely children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis (of Cambridge).
Kate was born at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on 9 January 1982. Her parents moved to Jordan in 1984 before settling in Berkshire two years later. Her father Michael was originally a flight dispatcher for British Airways and her mother Carole a flight attendant before they started a very successful company, Party Pieces, selling party supplies online.
She attended Downe House School, then Marlborough where she was captain of the hockey team. She took a gap year, spending time in Italy and Chile before enrolling at the University of St Andrews to study History of Art, gaining a 2:1 Hons.
Prince William apparently first noticed her at a university charity fashion show where she appeared on the catwalk wearing a see-through lace dress.
She is a keen sailor and tennis player and once trained for two months to race across the English Channel with an all-female dragon-boat crew.
Before she met Prince William in college, the duchess worked as an accessories buyer for a British clothing retailer, Jigsaw.
She has a dapper younger brother named James who runs Ella & Co, a happiness and well-being company for dogs, launched in 2020. His first company Boomf, printed customer graphics and photos on marshmallows.
Of course, her younger sister Pippa is well known to all royal followers and married James Matthews, former racing driver and hedge fund manager, whose father owns the elite hotel Eden Rock in St Barths and whose brother Spencer Matthews is the famous reality TV star.
When Kate first met Prince William at the University of St Andrews, she said she went bright red from shyness. They were initially flatmates, just friends sharing a house with others before they started dating a year later.
“Kate's got a really naughty sense of humour, which kind of helps me because I've got a really dry sense of humour," Prince William once said in an interview.
They broke up for three months in 2007 before getting back together and both felt it solidified their feelings for each other more than ever.
Kate is also a keen photographer and became the first royal patron of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2018. She often shares pictures of their children online.
Another thing we like about the Duchess is that she is a certified advanced Scuba diver, as well as a keen hockey player, having first encountered Prince William when his school visited hers when they were young children for a hockey match.
Her nickname at primary school was “Squeak” where she set the high jump record of 1.5 metres, still unbeaten. Her famous sister Pippa was accordingly nicknamed “Pip”.
According to friends, Kate likes to start the day with a smoothie and end it with the occasional glass of red wine and her favourite tipple is Merlot.
Interestingly enough Kate did not officially meet the Queen for five years until Prince William’s 21st Birthday. Possibly her majesty was waiting to see if this relationship was going to go the distance.
Kate and William share a passion for mental health and young children’s well-being and with Prince Harry, they have set up numerous initiatives to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health bringing support to all that need it. This deserves particular praise as these are not causes that normally attract a lot of media attention and they have battled hard to bring them the attention they deserve.
They launched Heads Together in 2016 which has grown to support other mental health charities such as the Anna Freud Centre, Best Beginnings, CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably, Contact (a military mental health coalition), Mind, Place2Be, The Mix and YoungMinds. The Princess of Wales’s positive impact on visibility and donation to charities has been dubbed the “Kate effect”.
Sadly as went to print Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral. Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1953 and presided over a unique period of prosperity and peace in Britain for over 70 years. Her legacy of unfailing duty and care for the country and her family will last forever. A fond farewell to a remarkable woman and the personification of an era, that now continues with her son, King Charles III.
William and Kate will henceforth be known as the Prince and Princess of Wales in honour of Prince William’s mother.
Kate's extensive experience, poise and passion for the arts and humanities, her work for numerous children’s, sports and art charities leaves the royal family in a strong position to continue the great work of service to which Queen Elizabeth II dedicated her life.