Duchess of Cambridge

Full name
Catherine Elizabeth
Born 9 January 1982 (age 38)
Reading, Berkshire, England
Spouse Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (m. 2011)
Prince George of Cambridge
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
Prince Louis of Cambridge
House Windsor (by marriage)
Father Michael Middleton
Mother Carole Goldsmith
Religion Church of England
The Royal Family of the
United Kingdom
and the
other Commonwealth realms
Badge of the House of Windsor.svg

HM The Queen
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

v · d · e

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (Catherine Elizabeth; née Middleton; born 9 January 1982), 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.[1]

Catherine grew up in Chapel Row, a village near Newbury, Berkshire, England.[2] 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.[3][4][5]

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 Prince Harry initiated the mental health awareness campaign "Heads Together" in April 2016.[6] The media have called Catherine's impact on British and American fashion the "Kate Middleton effect",[7] and in 2012 and 2013, she was selected as of The Most Influential People in the World by Time magazine.[8][9]

Early life Edit

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on 9 January 1982 into an upper-middle-class family.[10][11] She was baptised at St Andrew's Bradfield, Berkshire, on 20 June 1982.[12][13] She is the eldest of three children born to Michael Middleton (b. 1949), and his wife, Carole (née Goldsmith; b. 1955),[14] 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.[15][16][17] Her father's family has ties to British aristocracy and benefited financially from trust funds which they established over 100 years ago.[18][19][20] Her Middleton relatives were reported as having played host to British royalty "as long ago as 1926".[21][22] She has one younger sister, Pippa (b. 1983), and one younger brother, James (b. 1987).

Catherine's parents were based in Amman, Jordan, working for British Airways from May 1984, to September 1986, where Catherine went to an English language nursery school.[23] 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.[24] She studied at Downe House School.[25] She was a boarder at Marlborough College, a co-educational independent boarding school in Wiltshire,[26] 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.[27] 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.[28]

In November 2006, Middleton worked as an accessory buyer with the clothing chain Jigsaw,[29] 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.[12][30] 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.[31] In 2018, Catherine's total net worth was estimated at £5–7.3 million, most of which is from her parents' company.[31]

Relationship with Prince William Edit

Early relationship Edit

In 2001, Middleton met Prince William while they were students in residence at St Salvator's Hall at the University of St Andrews.[32] 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.[33] The couple began dating in 2003, although their relationship remained unconfirmed.[34] During their second year, Middleton shared a flat with William and two other friends.[35] On 17 October 2005, Middleton complained through her lawyer about harassment from the media, stating she had done nothing significant to warrant publicity.[36]

Middleton attended Prince William's Passing Out Parade at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 15 December 2006.[37][38] 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.[39]

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.[40] 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,[35] 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".[41]

On 17 May 2008, Middleton attended the wedding of Prince William's cousin Peter Phillips to Autumn Kelly, which the prince did not attend.[42] 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.[43] In 2010, Middleton pursued an invasion of privacy claim against two agencies and photographer Niraj Tanna, who took photographs of her over Christmas 2009.[44] She obtained a public apology, £5,000 in damages, and legal costs.[45]

Engagement Edit

Main article: Engagement of Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton

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.[46][47] Clarence House announced the engagement on 16 November 2010.[46][48] Prince William gave Middleton the engagement ring that had belonged to his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Wedding Edit

Main article: Wedding of Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton

The couple married in Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011[49] (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.[50][51][52] On marriage, Catherine assumed the style "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge".[53]

Motherhood Edit

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.[54]

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.[55][56] George Alexander Louis was born at St Mary's Hospital in London on 22 July 2013.[3][4]

The severe morning sickness returned with the subsequent pregnancies, forcing Catherine to cancel her official engagements.[57] On 8 September 2014, Kensington Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess were expecting their second child in April 2015. She gave birth to their second child, a daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, on 2 May 2015.[58]

On 4 September 2017, Kensington Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess were expecting their third child in April 2018. On 23 April 2018, The Duchess gave birth to their second son, Louis Arthur Charles.[59]

Public life Edit

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.[60] 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.[61] A day later they appeared in St Andrews to launch the university's 600th anniversary celebrations.[62] In March 2011, the couple toured Belfast.[63] Their last public engagement before the wedding was a visit to Darwen Aldridge Community Academy.[64][65] 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.[66] This was to be the Duchess's first visit to the United States.[67]

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.[68] 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.[69] On 2 November, the Duke and Duchess visited the UNICEF Supply Division Centre for supplying food to malnourished African children in Copenhagen, Denmark.[70][71] 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.[72] 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.[73]

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.[74] The Duke and Duchess were announced as ambassadors for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, alongside Prince Harry.[75] As part of her role, the Duchess attended numerous sporting events throughout the games.[76] 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.[77] 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.[78][79]

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.[80][81] 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.[82] The tour was Catherine's first visit to the area and Prince George's first major public appearance since his christening in October 2013.[83] 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.[84] In June 2014, the couple visited France to attend the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings at Gold Beach.[85]

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.[86] Her trip was cancelled, with the Duke taking her place, after the announcement of her second pregnancy in early September.[87] In December 2014, the couple visited the United States and attended a charity dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[88] In April 2016, the Duchess and her husband undertook a tour to India and Bhutan.[89] The Duke and Duchess toured Canada again in September 2016.[90] On 11 October 2016, the Duchess made her first solo foreign trip to The Netherlands.[91] Countries visited by the couple in 2017 include France, Poland, Germany, and Belgium.[92][93][94][95] 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.[96] In January 2018, the couple visited Sweden and Norway.[97] 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.[98]

Charity work Edit

Patronages Edit

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.[99][100] 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.[101]

The Duchess of Cambridge's charity works focus mainly on issues surrounding young children, addiction, and art.[102] 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.[103][104][105] 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.[106] In her capacity as patron of Action on Addiction, the Duchess has occasionally made visits to its centres, spending time with recovering addicts.[107] The Duchess is joint Patron of 100 Women in Hedge Fund's Philanthropic Initiatives, along with Prince William and Prince Harry.[108] She is also a local volunteer leader with the Scout Association in north Wales,[109] of which the Queen is patron, and the Duke of Kent is president.[102] It aims to provide activities to over 400,000 young people in the UK.[102]

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.[110] In December 2015, she assumed the patronage of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets[111] 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.[112] In 2017, she replaced the Queen as patron of The Lawn Tennis Association,[113] All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club,[114] and Action for Children.[115]

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.[116] In February 2018, the Duchess became the patron of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.[117][118] 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.[119][117][118][120] In March 2018, Kensington Palace announced the Duchess of Cambridge would become the first royal patron of the Victoria and Albert Museum.[121] In June 2019, she succeeded the Queen as patron of the Royal Photographic Society.[122] 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".[123] In August 2019, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge competed in the King's Cup yachting regatta to raise money for eight different charities.[124]

Advocating for mental health Edit

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.[125][126][127] 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.[128][125][129]

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."[130] 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."[131] 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."[132][133] The Duke and Duchess later met with members and representatives of Young Minds and Youthscape to promote their mental health campaign.[134] 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.[135] 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."[136]

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.[137] Catherine designed the "Back to Nature Garden" together with Andree Davies and Adam White.[138] 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".[139] The garden was later expanded and moved to Hampton Court Palace as a part of the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.[140] 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.[141] 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".[142]

Titles, styles and honorsEdit

  • 9 January 1982 - 29 April 2011: Miss Catherine Elizabeth Middleton
  • 29 April 2011 - present: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge

Catherine's full title and style is Her Royal Highness Princess William Arthur Philip Louis, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Lady Carrickfergus.


  • 5 December 2017: Royal Family Order Of Queen Elizabeth II
  • 29 April 2019: Dame Grand Cross Of The Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)

Honorary military appointmentsEdit

  • 5 July 2011 - present: Canadian Ranger

Honorific eponymsEdit

  • Ontario: Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Award, University of Waterloo, Waterloo

Popular cultureEdit

Following international attention regarding the wedding, Lifetime aired a TV movie entitled William & Kate on 18 April 2011, in the US. Catherine was played by Camilla Luddington and 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.

A second TV Movie is also being produced that covers much the same ground as "William & Kate". That movie titled William & Catherine: A Royal Romance stars Alice St. Clair as Kate Middleton and Dan Amboyer as Prince William. Of note in this second television movie is the appearance of Jane Alexander as Queen Elizabeth and Victor Garber as Prince Charles.

References Edit

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  128. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Together-2016
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  130. The Duchess Launches Heads Together's new mental health project for young children. Heads Together
  131. Our Royal Patron. Place2Be
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  136. Meghan Markle speaks out about #MeToo movement, calls for women to be 'empowered' to use their voices. ABC News
  137. Duchess of Cambridge's Chelsea Flower Show garden plans unveiled. CNN
  138. George gives Duchess of Cambridge '20 out of 10' for her Chelsea garden. The Daily Telegraph
  139. Chelsea Flower Show: Duchess visits garden with schoolchildren. BBC
  140. Kate Middleton Hosts Picnic for Children in Her Specially Designed Garden — at a Palace!. People
  141. The Cambridges & Sussexes Launch Mental Health Texting Service Shout. Harper's Bazaar
  142. Prince Harry, Meghan Markle reunite with Prince William, Kate Middleton for mental health PSA. Fox News

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