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Kate Middleton, the cat who got the creme, the envy of every girl who has ever watched a disney movie and living proof that dreams do come true, but what do we know about the girl who stole Prince Williams heart?

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, born January 9th 1982 today saw her wed Prince William of Wales.  Yet we forget to mention her background and earlier achievements, as it is clouded in the excitement of another royal wedding.  Where did Middleton grow up? How normal was her upbringing?  What else does she do apart from being the wife of the future King?  These are the questions that are put in the shadows, sidelined against the wedding dress, the venue and celebrity guests. These are the questions I want answering.

Middleton was born in Reading, Berkshire, the eldest of three siblings to Carole Elizabeth (Goldsmith) a flight attendant and Michael Francis Middleton who also worked as a flight attendant at British Airways before becoming a flight dispatcher.  Her parents met as flight attendants, marrying on June 21st 1980 and in 1987 formed the company Party Pieces, a successful mail order service that provides party decorations and supplies, which made them into self-made millionaires. Middleton’s two siblings are Philippa Charlotte, born 1983 and James William, born 1987.

From her paternal side, her family derive from Leeds, West Yorkshire, and on this side her great-grandmother belonged to the Lupton family, who were famed for their commercial and municipal work.  Along her ancestry there includes The Rev, Thomas Davis and a Church of England hymn-writer. Most notably, there is a convicted criminal among the Middleton ancestors. On Kate’s paternal side her great-great-great grandfather, Edward Thomas Glassborow, was an inmate at Holloway Prison in London in 1881. Her mother’s maternal family, who were the Harrisons, were mainly working class labourers and miners from the towns of Sunderland and County Durham. Her family is a mixture of middle and working class, where a variety of roles are visible from solicitors, landed gentry, butchers, plasterers, road sweepers to domestic servants.

Middleton also shares some of the same ancestors as her future husband, William. Among them are Sir Thomas Fairfax and his wife Agnes Gascoine through William’s mother and through William’s father it is a common ancestor William Gascoine and his wife Lady Margaret Percy. The Daily Mail has claimed that both Kate and William are descended from Sir Thomas Leighton, who was Governor of Guernsey from the dates 1570 to 1609, as well as his wife Elizabeth Knollys, who was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth I. Through the Martineau family Kate is connected to Harriet Martineau, a writer and journalist born in 1802. Martineau campaigned for women’s rights and argued for an improvement in the education of women so ‘Marriage need not be their only object in life’.  Miss Middleton will be the first commoner to marry a prince close to the British throne in 350 years, since Anne Hyde wed the Duke of York, later known as James II in 1660.

In May 1984 through to September 1986 her parents were living in Amman, Jordan while working for British Airways. Middleton attended an English language nursery school, before eventually returning to Reading.  Kate then attended St. Andrew’s School in Pangbourne and had a brief attendance at Downe House.  Middleton followed her studies through to Marlborough College, which was a co-educational independent boarding school found in Wiltshire. Finally her education was concluded at the University of St. Andrews, in Fife, Scotland where she would meet her future husband. Middleton successfully achieved 2.1 Honours in the History of Art.  Upon this, Kate accepted the position of a part-time accessories buyer with the clothing company Jigsaw, which was owned by family friends John and Belle Robinson.  However, it was reported in September 2007 that Kate would give up her position with Jigsaw as she wanted to become a professional photographer. It was alleged that Mario Testino, who was good friend with Diana, William’s mother, was going to teach her. This was later denied by Testino himself.

Middleton has achieved recognition for not only striving for achievement in her studies but as a powerful figure that contends with the many fashion icons of the twenty-first century. Already included on several best-dressed lists, The Daily Telegraph named her the ‘Most Promising Newcomer’ in 2006, this was followed by Tatler placing Middleton in the position of number 8 on its yearly top ten style icons of 2007. People Magazine’s 2007 and 2010 best-dressed list featured her on their listings, and she was named as one of Richard Blackwell’s ten ‘Fabulous Fashion Independents’ of 2007.

In 2008, both and Vanity Fair recognised her as an international best-dressed beauty icon. Her acknowledgements grew this year when in February, Middleton was named the Top Fashion Buzzword of the 2011 season by the Global Language Monitor. Middleton has grown from a humble village girl to a woman recognised for her dominance in fashion and as a public figure that can be admired. Like Diana before her, she is not promising to obey her Prince, but instead will pledge to ‘Love, comfort, honour and keep him’.  Kate is proving she is doing a lot more than cake-tasting and dress fittings. Whilst Prince William was away working in New Zealand, Kate planned for future charitable events and met up with leading children’s charities to discuss future patronage.  Kate and William are believed to have asked for charitable donations from their wedding guests over the traditional wedding presents. Among the main ones that lie close to the couple are the Army Widow’s Association, London Zoo Project and Beatbullying. The latter is believed to be Kate’s choice as while she attended Downe House for just only two terms, she was subjected to bullying from the other girls. Among the alleged tactics included faeces being smeared onto her bed. The Headmistress has down played these antics, stating, ‘girls will be girls’. After Friday, Kate will no longer be seen as Catherine Elizabeth Middleton but the Prince’s wife, the Duchess of Cambridge. With all eyes firmly fixed on her, time will only tell what else Kate will be able to achieve.

Imgaes from CNN news and Google Images

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