Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, ) is a member of the British royal family. Her husband, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is expected to become king of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms, making Catherine a likely future queen consort.(born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton; 9 January 1982
|Duchess of Cambridge (more)|
The Duchess of Cambridge in 2019
|Born||Catherine Elizabeth Middleton|
9 January 1982
Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, Berkshire, England
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (m. 2011)
|House||Windsor (by marriage)|
|Royal family of|
the United Kingdom and the
other Commonwealth realms
Catherine 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 in November 2010. They married on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. The couple's children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis of Cambridge, are third, fourth, and fifth in the line of succession to the British throne, respectively.
The Duchess of Cambridge's charity works focus mainly on issues surrounding young children, addiction, and art. To encourage people to open up about their mental health issues, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex initiated the mental health awareness campaign "Heads Together" in April 2016. The media have called Catherine's impact on British and American fashion the "Kate Middleton effect". In 2012 and 2013, Time magazine selected her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on 9 January 1982 into an upper-middle-class family. She was baptised at St Andrew's Bradfield, Berkshire, on 20 June 1982. She is the eldest of three children born to Michael Middleton (b. 1949), and his wife, Carole (née Goldsmith; b. 1955), a former flight dispatcher and flight attendant, respectively, who in 1987 founded Party Pieces, a privately held mail order company that sells party supplies and decorations with an estimated worth of £30 million. Her father's family has ties to British aristocracy and benefited financially from trust funds which they established over 100 years ago. Her Middleton relatives were reported as having played host to British royalty "as long ago as 1926". She has a younger sister, Pippa, and a younger brother, James.
The family lived in Amman, Jordan, from May 1984 to September 1986 where her father worked for British Airways (BA). Middleton attended an English-language nursery school. When her family returned to Berkshire in 1986, she was enrolled aged four at St Andrew's School, a private school near Pangbourne in Berkshire. She boarded part-weekly at St Andrew's in her later years. She studied at Downe House School. 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. Before university, during a gap year, she travelled to Chile to participate in a Raleigh International programme, and studied at the British Institute of Florence in Italy.
In November 2006, Middleton worked as an accessory buyer with the clothing chain Jigsaw, where she worked part-time until November 2007. She also worked until January 2011 at the family business in catalogue design and production, marketing, and photography. Prior to her marriage, Middleton lived in an apartment owned by her parents in Chelsea, London, which was estimated to be worth £1–1.4 million. In 2018, Catherine's total net worth was estimated at £5–7.3 million, most of which is from her parents' company.
Relationship with Prince William
In 2001, Middleton met Prince William while they were students in residence at St Salvator's Hall at the University of St Andrews. She reportedly caught William's eye at a charity fashion show at the university in 2002 when she appeared on the stage wearing a see-through lace dress. The couple began dating in 2003, although their relationship remained unconfirmed. During their second year, Middleton shared a flat with William and two other friends. On 17 October 2005, Middleton complained through her lawyer about harassment from the media, stating she had done nothing significant to warrant publicity.
Middleton attended Prince William's Passing Out Parade at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 15 December 2006. Media attention increased around the time of her 25th birthday in January 2007, prompting warnings from the Prince of Wales, Prince William, and Middleton's lawyers, who threatened legal action. Two newspaper groups, News International, which publishes The Times and The Sun; and the Guardian Media Group, publishers of The Guardian, decided to refrain from publishing paparazzi photographs of her.
In April 2007, Prince William and Middleton ended their relationship. The couple decided to break up during a holiday in the Swiss resort of Zermatt. Newspapers speculated about the reasons for the split, although these reports relied on anonymous sources. Middleton and her family attended the Concert for Diana in July 2007 at Wembley Stadium, where she and Prince William sat two rows apart. The couple were subsequently seen together in public on a number of occasions and news sources stated that they had "rekindled their relationship".
On 17 May 2008, Middleton attended the wedding of Prince William's cousin Peter Phillips to Autumn Kelly, which the prince did not attend. On 19 July 2008, she was a guest at the wedding of Lady Rose Windsor and George Gilman. Prince William was away on military operations in the Caribbean, serving aboard HMS Iron Duke. In 2010, Middleton pursued an invasion of privacy claim against two agencies and photographer Niraj Tanna, who took photographs of her over Christmas 2009. She obtained a public apology, £5,000 in damages, and legal costs.
Marriage and children
Prince William and Catherine Middleton became engaged in October 2010, in Kenya, during a 10-day trip to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to celebrate his passing the RAF helicopter search and rescue course. Clarence House announced the engagement on 16 November 2010. Prince William gave Middleton the engagement ring that had belonged to his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. The couple married in Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011 (St. Catherine's Day), with the day declared a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Estimates of the global audience for the wedding ranged around 300 million or more, whilst 26 million watched the event live in Britain alone. On marriage, Catherine assumed the style "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge".
In October, several months after the wedding, Commonwealth leaders pledged that they would implement changes in British royal succession law to adopt absolute primogeniture, meaning the first child of the Duke and Duchess, whether male or female, would be next in line to the throne after their father.
On 3 December 2012, St James's Palace announced that the Duchess was pregnant with her first child. The announcement was made earlier in the pregnancy than is usual as she had been admitted to King Edward VII's Hospital suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness. She remained in the hospital for three days. Prince George was born at St Mary's Hospital in London on 22 July 2013. The severe morning sickness returned with the subsequent pregnancies, forcing Catherine to cancel her official engagements. She gave birth to Princess Charlotte on 2 May 2015 and to Prince Louis on 23 April 2018.
Middleton's first public appearance with Prince William following the announcement of their engagement was at a fundraising event organised by the Teenage Cancer Trust in December 2010. She was formally introduced to public life on 24 February 2011, two months before the wedding, when she and Prince William attended a lifeboat-naming ceremony in Trearddur, Anglesey, in North Wales. A day later they appeared in St Andrews to launch the university's 600th anniversary celebrations. In March 2011, the couple toured Belfast. Their last public engagement before the wedding was a visit to Darwen Aldridge Community Academy. On 16 February 2011, Clarence House announced the couple's first royal tour of Canada would take place in July 2011. In May 2011, shortly after the wedding, Clarence House announced the Duke and Duchess would extend their tour to visit California. This was to be the Duchess's first visit to the United States.
The Duchess's first official engagement after the wedding came in May, when she and her husband met Barack Obama, the President of the United States, and First Lady Michelle Obama. On 26 October 2011, she undertook her first solo event for In Kind Direct, stepping in for the Prince of Wales, who was in Saudi Arabia. On 2 November, the Duke and Duchess visited the UNICEF Supply Division Centre for supplying food to malnourished African children in Copenhagen, Denmark. On St. Patrick's Day, 17 March 2012, the Duchess carried out the traditional awarding of shamrocks to the Irish Guards at their base in Aldershot; this was her first solo military engagement. On 19 March, she gave her first speaking engagement for the opening of the Treehouse, a new children's hospice opened by East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), a charity of which she is a patron.
In June 2012, The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry was renamed The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, to reflect Catherine's contribution to the charity. The Duke and Duchess were announced as ambassadors for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, alongside Prince Harry. As part of her role, the Duchess attended numerous sporting events throughout the games. In September 2012, the Duke and Duchess embarked on a tour of Singapore, Malaysia, Tuvalu, and the Solomon Islands as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. During this overseas visit, she made her first official speech abroad, while visiting a hospice in Malaysia, drawing on her experience as patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices.
After the birth of Prince George, the Duchess carried out her first engagement in late August when she accompanied the Duke to meet runners preparing for an ultra-marathon on the isle of Anglesey, where they had a residence. At the beginning of March 2014, details were announced of the half-month-long tour to New Zealand and Australia that the couple and their son would be taking from 16 to 25 April. The tour was Catherine's first visit to the area and Prince George's first major public appearance since his christening in October 2013. The tour began in New Zealand where they visited Wellington, Blenheim, Auckland, Dunedin, Queenstown and Christchurch. It ended in Australia where they visited Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Brisbane, Uluru, Adelaide, and Canberra. In June 2014, the couple visited France to attend the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings at Gold Beach.
On 21 July 2014, it was announced that the Duchess would be making her first solo trip, visiting the island of Malta on 20–21 September 2014, when the island was celebrating its 50th independence anniversary. Her trip was cancelled, with the Duke taking her place, after the announcement of her second pregnancy in early September. In December 2014, the couple visited the United States and attended a charity dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In April 2016, the Duchess and her husband undertook a tour to India and Bhutan. The Duke and Duchess toured Canada again in September 2016. On 11 October 2016, the Duchess made her first solo foreign trip to The Netherlands. Countries visited by the couple in 2017 include France, Poland, Germany, and Belgium. The Duchess takes official portraits of her children and joined the Royal Photographic Society in 2017. She visited Luxembourg City in May 2017 for the Treaty of London commemorations. In January 2018, the couple visited Sweden and Norway. The Duchess accompanied her husband on a tour of Pakistan in October 2019, which was the royal family's first visit to the country in 13 years.
In March 2011, the Duke and Duchess set up a gift fund held by The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry to allow well-wishers who wanted to give them a wedding gift to donate money to charities they care about instead. The gift fund supported 26 charities of the couple's choice, incorporating the armed forces, children, the elderly, art, sport and conservation. These causes were close to their hearts and reflected the experiences, passions and values of their lives.
The Duchess of Cambridge's charity works focus mainly on issues surrounding young children, addiction, and art. She has a number of patronages: The Art Room, National Portrait Gallery, East Anglia's Children's Hospice, Action on Addiction, Place2Be, Natural History Museum, Anna Freud Centre, Sportsaid, and The 1851 Trust. The Duchess, who was an art student, takes an interest in art and handpicked the Art Room, which "helps disadvantaged children express themselves" through art therapy, and the National Portrait Gallery. In her capacity as patron of Action on Addiction, the Duchess has occasionally made visits to its centres, spending time with recovering addicts. The Duchess is joint Patron of 100 Women in Hedge Fund's Philanthropic Initiatives, along with Prince William and Prince Harry. She is also a local volunteer leader with the Scout Association in north Wales, of which the Queen is patron, and the Duke of Kent is president. It aims to provide activities to over 400,000 young people in the UK.
In October 2012, the Duchess gave her royal patronage to the M-PACT programme (Moving Parents and Children Together), one of the only UK programmes to focus specifically on the impact of drug addiction on families. In December 2015, she assumed the patronage of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets for youths 12–19 years of age. The Duke of Edinburgh, who had been patron of the RAF Cadets for 63 years, formally handed over during an audience at Buckingham Palace. In 2017, she replaced the Queen as patron of The Lawn Tennis Association, All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, and Action for Children.
In January 2018, locks of her hair were reportedly donated to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which makes wigs for children diagnosed with cancer. In February 2018, the Duchess became the patron of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. She also launched Nursing Now, a three-year worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the profile of nurses. She said the campaign was personal to her as both her grandmother and great-grandmother were volunteer nurses. In March 2018, Kensington Palace announced the Duchess of Cambridge would become the first royal patron of the Victoria and Albert Museum. In June 2019, she succeeded the Queen as patron of the Royal Photographic Society. In July 2019, she lent her support to Backyard Nature, a campaign created to inspire "children, families and communities to get outside and engage with nature". In August 2019, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge competed in the King's Cup yachting regatta to raise money for eight different charities. In December 2019, she succeeded the Queen as Royal Patron of Family Action.
Advocating for mental health
Catherine, who has tackled issues surrounding mental health and disabilities, has made visits to charities and hospitals such as St Thomas' Hospital and Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute to spend time with mothers and children who deal with these issues. To encourage people to open up about their mental health issues, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry initiated the mental health awareness campaign "Heads Together" in April 2016. The Duchess later voluntarily talked about her problems as a mother, and admitted that she suffered a "lack of confidence" and "feelings of ignorance" during certain periods of time.
The Duchess of Cambridge also launched the Mentally Healthy Schools, a project which helps the students and staff with access "to reliable and practical resources to improve awareness, knowledge and confidence in supporting pupils' mental health." Benita Refson, president of Place2Be, one of Catherine's patronages, has praised the Duchess's work saying she would help "shine the spotlight on child mental health." In February 2016, she travelled to Edinburgh to promote the work of Place2Be, launched Children's Mental Health Week, and contributed to the HuffPost UK as a part of the Young Minds Matter movement, an effort "to raise awareness for children's mental health issues." The Duke and Duchess later met with members and representatives of Young Minds and Youthscape to promote their mental health campaign. In recognition of their work with charities concerned with children's mental health, the Duchess and her husband were awarded the Gold Blue Peter badge, an award previously granted to the Queen. During a speech at the Royal Foundation forum in 2018, the Duchess said she would continue her work to raise awareness for mental health and said that "The mental health of children and adults is one area where a long-term view will make all the difference to future generations."
In January 2019, it was confirmed that the Duchess would work together with the Royal Horticultural Society as one of the co-designers for a garden display at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show. Catherine designed the "Back to Nature Garden" together with Andree Davies and Adam White. The garden, which featured "a tree house, waterfall, rustic den and a campfire" among other parts, was unveiled at the Chelsea Flower Show in May 2019 to emphasize "the benefits the natural world brings to mental and physical well-being". The garden was later expanded and moved to Hampton Court Palace as a part of the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. In May 2019, as a part of their "Heads Together" initiative, the Duchess of Cambridge together with her husband and in-laws, launched Shout, a text messaging service for those who suffer from mental issues. In October 2019, the Duchess of Cambridge, together with the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, voiced a PSA video for Public Health England "as part of its Every Mind Matters program".
Public image and style
Middleton, prominent for her fashion style, has been placed on numerous "best dressed" lists. The Daily Telegraph selected her as the Most Promising Newcomer on its 2006 list of style winners and losers. Tatler placed her at number eight on its yearly list of the top ten style icons in 2007. People featured her on its 2007 and 2010 best-dressed lists. Middleton was named one of Richard Blackwell's ten Fabulous Fashion Independents of 2007. In June 2008, Style.com selected her as its monthly beauty icon. In July 2008, Vanity Fair included her on its international best-dressed list. In February 2011 the Global Language Monitor named her the Top Fashion buzzword of the 2011 season. In January 2012, the Headwear Association voted her Headwear Person of the Year. Middleton was number one on Vanity Fair's annual best dressed lists in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; she also appeared as the cover star in 2012. The Duchess was named to the International Best Dressed Hall of Fame List in 2014. In 2014, she was already being regarded as a British cultural icon, with young adults from abroad naming her among a group of people who they most associated with UK culture. These included: William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth II, David Beckham, J. K. Rowling, The Beatles, Charlie Chaplin, Elton John and Adele. In June 2016, she took part in her first magazine shoot for Vogue's centenary issue appearing on the cover. In 2018, Tatler named her on its list of Britain's best dressed people, praising her for "recycling her looks, rather than wearing them as one-offs", as well as her use of "both high street and high-end brands".
The "Kate Middleton effect" is the trend that the Duchess is reported to have had on others in sales of particular products. While Catherine wears items from many new designers, she has also worn dresses by Catherine Walker, who designed many of Diana's favourite evening gowns and day suits. She has worn outfits, hats and ensembles by many other fashion designers. The brands she favours are noted in the media.
The Duchess, who attended the 71st British Academy Film Awards, did not participate in Time's Up movement calling for women to wear black on the red carpet. Royal protocol forbids members of the royal family from taking part in political movements but she wore a black sash and carried a black handbag as a variation to the informal black dress code. In March 2018, together with the Countess of Wessex, the Duchess hosted the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange reception at Buckingham Palace during 2018 London Fashion Week.
Privacy and the media
The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in Paris while being chased by paparazzi in 1997, influenced the Duke's attitude towards the media. The Duchess and her husband have asked that, when off-duty, their privacy should be respected.
In 2009, before her engagement to William, Middleton was awarded £10,000 damages and an apology from the photographic press agency Rex Features Ltd. after she was photographed playing tennis on Christmas Eve while on holiday in Cornwall.
In September 2012, the French edition of Closer and the Italian gossip magazine Chi, published photographs of the Duchess sun-bathing topless while on holiday at the Château d'Autet (a private château on a 260-ha estate 71 km north of Aix-en-Provence). Analysts from The Times believed the photographs were taken from the D22 (Vaucluse) road half a kilometre from the pool—a distance that would require an 800-mm or a 1000-mm lens. On 17 September 2012, the Duke and Duchess filed a criminal complaint with the French prosecution department and launched a claim for civil damages at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre. The following day the courts granted an injunction against Closer, prohibiting further publication of the photographs and announced a criminal investigation would be initiated. Under French law, punitive damages cannot be awarded but intrusions of privacy are a criminal offence carrying a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to €45,000 for individuals and €225,000 for companies. In September 2017, Closer was fined €100,000 and its editor Laurence Pieau and owner Ernesto Mauri were each fined €45,000.
In December 2012, two Australian radio hosts, Michael Christian and Mel Greig, called King Edward VII's Hospital where the Duchess was an in-patient for hyperemesis gravidarum. Pretending to be the Queen and the Prince of Wales, Greig and Christian spoke to a nurse on the Duchess's ward, enquiring about her condition. Following a hospital inquiry and a public backlash against the hoax, Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who put the call through to the ward, committed suicide. The radio hosts subsequently apologised for their actions.
In February 2013, Chi published the first photos of Catherine's exposed baby bump, taken during her vacation on the private island of Mustique. The British press refused to publish the paparazzi shots. While the Duchess was visiting the Blue Mountains in Sydney, a picture was taken of her bare bottom as her dress blew up. Many newspapers outside the UK published the picture.
On 14 August 2015, Kensington Palace published a letter detailing what it stated were the "dangerous" and invasive efforts of the media to get paparazzi pictures of Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Jason Knauf, communications secretary to the Cambridges, wrote the letter to media standards organisations in various countries.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
Catherine is, by marriage, a princess of the United Kingdom and entitled to the style of Royal Highness. She is usually styled as "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge". When in Scotland, she is referred to as the Countess of Strathearn. Northern Ireland is represented by a third title, Lady Carrickfergus.
6 February 2012: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 5 December 2017: Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II 29 April 2019: Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)
- Commonwealth honours
1 October 2016: Tuvalu Order of Merit
Honorary military appointments
5 July 2011 – present: Canadian Ranger
In September 2013, the Queen granted a conjugal coat of arms to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, consisting of their individual arms displayed side by side, beneath a helm and coronet denoting the duke's status as grandson of the sovereign. Below is shown the earlier grant of the duchess's personal arms, impaled with those of her husband.
The Duchess of Cambridge'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 at the family's ancestral seat of Potternewton Hall Estate alongside her cousin, Baroness von Schunck (née Kate Lupton). Catherine's paternal ancestors also include her great-great-grandfather politician Francis Martineau Lupton (1848–1921), whose first cousin Sir Thomas Martineau was the uncle of World War II Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.
The Duchess'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 Plantagenet. Other ancestors are Sir Thomas Fairfax (1475–1520) and his wife Anne Gascoigne, who was a descendant of King Edward III.
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This campaign means a lot to me personally. My great-grandmother and grandmother were both volunteer nurses...
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|Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom|
The Princess Royal
HRH The Duchess of Cambridge
The Duchess of Sussex
The Duke of Edinburgh
As Air Commodore-in-Chief
| Air Commandant of the Air Training Corps