Prince William of Wales’s fiancée Catherine “Kate” Middleton has been receiving enormous press attention since she and Prince William announced their engagement on November 16, 2010. With all the talk, you might be wondering exactly who she is. Safety Girl is here to provide you with some straightforward facts.
Catherine Middleton was born in Berkshire, England, on January 9, 1982. Her father, Michael, was an airline officer for British Airways, and her mother, Carole, was a flight attendant. After leaving British Airways to start a mail order party supply company called Party Pieces, Michael and Carole became self-made millionaires.
Kate grew up in Bucklebury, Berkshire, and attended a prestigious boarding school called Marlborough College where she excelled at field hockey and cross-country running. In 2001, she began studying art history at the University of St. Andrews, where she became friends with Prince William of Wales, who was also studying art history. The following year, Middleton, Prince William, and two other students moved into an apartment together, but Middleton and Prince William both claimed their relationship to be platonic.
In April 2004, after the press photographed Prince William and Middleton on a ski trip in the Swiss Alps, the two announced their relationship to the world. Although the media was quick to speculate on marriage possibilities, Prince William told The Sun, “I’m only 22…I don’t want to get married until I’m at least 28 or 29.”
Middleton became the first princess-in-waiting to attend a royal event in the presence of the Queen, attending Prince William’s graduation from the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, England. Middleton was working at the time as an accessories buyer for Jigsaw, a British clothing company.
On April 14, 2007, Prince William and Middleton declared that they were breaking up, claiming that they simply grew apart since their college days. Middleton also stated that the media had been a negative aspect of their relationship: she often complained of media harassment and for a short time received security coverage from the Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department. Later that year, however, Prince William and Middleton reunited and continued dating for the next three years.
The soon-to-be royal couple will be married on April 29, 2011, at Westminster Abbey, a famous abbey that has been used for royal weddings since 1100. Middleton wears the late Princess Diana’s Engagement Ring, which contains an oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds.