Although Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, is one of the most famous royals in the world, there are several facts about Kate Middleton — as the future Queen is also addressed in the media — that you might not know.
She is renowned for her classy fashion statements, dressing up in some of the finest by the world’s most famous fashion designers. At the same time, she has won millions over with her simplicity by recycling dresses and her delightful persona that matches perfectly with her status as a royal.
Like the other members of the royal family, the Duchess is involved with several charities and regularly attends major events as part of her royal duties on her own and alongside husband Prince William.
Who is the Duchess of Cambridge?
Born as Catherine Elizabeth Middleton in Reading, a county of Berkshire, on 9 January 1982, the Duchess grew up in the village of Chapel Row in the same county. Although it is unclear when Prince William and Kate began dating, it was in 2010 when the Prince proposed to Kate whilst on holiday in Kenya.
They were engaged the same year, which was followed by a grand wedding at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011 — the event was watched by millions of people worldwide. At the time of her marriage, Kate was the oldest royal bride at age 29, which was surpassed by Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, when she married Prince Harry at 36 in 2018.
The couple has three children — Prince George of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge and Prince Louis of Cambridge.
Kate Middleton has more than one royal title but is not a ‘Princess’
When Prince William got married to Kate in 2011, he was given the title of Duke of Cambridge by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. This made Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.
However, this title is used only in England. Like other members of the royal family, the Duchess has different titles for Scotland and Northern Ireland where she is known as the Countess of Strathearn and Lady Carrickfergus, respectively.
Officially, Catherine’s full title in the UK is Her Royal Highness, Princess William, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Lady Carrickfergus. The reason her official title has “Princess William” and not her own name is because of royal protocol, which stipulates that only those born as princesses can be styled by their own name.
Then why was Diana referred to as “Princess Diana” even though she was not born into the royal family? According to Express, the late Princess Diana got the title from the people and the press because they admired her immensely. Her official title was Diana, Princess of Wales, which she received upon marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales.
All three children of Kate and William carry the title of prince or princess because they are born into the royal family.
She once modelled for her parent’s company
Kate Middleton never had a royal life before marriage. She comes from an upper-middle-class family. Her father, Michael Middleton, was a flight dispatcher and her mother, Carole Goldsmith, was a flight attendant. Both worked for British Airways.
Her parents also own a company — Party Pieces. When she was a child, Kate, her sister Pippa, and brother James, modelled for the company. According to Marie Claire, Carole wrote in a 30th-anniversary blog post in 2018 that “over the years all my children have played a huge part in it from modelling for the catalogue to developing new categories for the brand.”
Seven years before Carole’s blog, Claudia Joseph, author of Kate: The Making of a Princess, had revealed the same to CNN in an e-mail days before Kate married Prince William.
“Both Pippa and Kate used to model for the catalogues, wearing t-shirts with their ages on them and holding cupcakes,” Joseph said.
CNN also revealed that Kate launched a new division in the company in 2008 with a focus on babies’ parties. It also supported a charity, Starlight Children’s Foundation.
The Duchess had met the Duke before 2001
It is well known that Kate met Prince William in 2001 when they were studying at the University of St. Andrews, where Kate received her Master’s degree in Art. While it may have been their first proper meeting, Kate and William had seen each other before 2001.
This was revealed by Katie Nicholl, who authored the unofficial biography on the Duchess, Kate: The Future Queen, and told Katie Couric on the latter’s show, Katie, in 2013: “I was speaking to some of her friends at Marlborough [College], which is where she went before St. Andrews. And they said, ‘Uh-uh, she didn’t meet him at St. Andrews. She met him before she got there, while she was at school during her sixth form, through some of her friends. They knew Prince William and Prince Harry, so there wasn’t any meeting [at school].’ And that, for me, changed everything.”
According to Nicholl, Kate’s “first love” was Harry Blakelock, the “hottest boy at Marlborough school.”
“He was in the year above Kate, a great cricketer, a very talented sportsman, and when Kate came back for her first year of the sixth form, she’d emerged into this beauty. She caught the eye of the best-looking boy at school and they actually had a romance for nearly a year and he was her first love, and he broke her heart,” Nicholl told Couric.
Kate and William were roommates
No matter how or where they may have first met, Kate and William were destined to be together. They were, in fact, roommates before they started dating.
Prince William revealed this in the official engagement interview of the couple in 2010, which was broadcast on ITV.
When Tom Bradby asked whether they “ended up sort of in the same flat,” the Duke said, “No we moved in together as friends because we were living together, we lived with a couple of others as well, and it just sort of blossomed from there really. We just saw more of each other, and you know hung out a bit more and did stuff. So um yeah.”
Commenting on the reaction of the flatmates, the Duke said, “I think at first they were a bit surprised that it had happened, then they realised it was really nice and it was good fun and we got on really well, they were good friends of ours as well so we had a good giggle with them as well.”
Kate didn’t have pictures of William on the wall
For a long time, people believed in the rumour that Kate Middleton had pictures of Prince William on the walls of her room. However, this was quashed in the 2010 engagement interview by the Duchess.
“There’s a story that goes around that you had a picture of him on your wall,” Bradby said, referring to the gossip.
Prince William jokingly said, “There wasn’t just one, there were about 20.”
The Duchess countered, saying that the only poster she had was that of the Levis guy.
“He wishes. No, I had the Levis guy on my wall, not a picture of William, sorry,” said Kate.
And the Duke added in jest, “It was me in Levis honestly.”
The Duchess held a job as a buyer
Following this, she briefly worked for British clothing retailer Jigsaw as an accessories buyer.
“We can confirm that Kate joined our staff two or three weeks ago as an accessory buyer for Jigsaw and Jigsaw Junior. We can’t comment any further,” Daily Mail quoted a spokeswoman for Jigsaw as saying in 2006.
Interestingly, Jigsaw is a company owned by John and Belle Robinson, who, according to Daily Mail, are family friends of the Middletons.
Kate Middleton once trained to cross the English Channel
For a brief period in 2007, Kate trained with the all-female dragon-boat crew called The Sisterhood. They were preparing to race against an all-male crew across the English Channel for charity.
Kate joined the training after an invitation from her friend from St. Andrew’s, Alicia Fox-Pitt. She was seen rowing along the River Thames with the team and even standing at the rear end of the boat as a helmsman.
However, she had to remove herself from the event because of intense media attention and security concerns.
“She’s upset she can’t do it, but she’s made a call and taken the whole team into consideration. By pulling out, she’s doing it for everyone else,” Sayle said.
The skipper also pointed out that photographers had made it immensely difficult for the group. The concern was so high that Kate’s lawyers had to issue a warning to the paparazzi to respect her privacy.
“It’s dangerous enough as it is, without having to take into consideration the world’s [paparazzi] causing us to capsize the whole time,” Sayle said, adding, “They’ve been a nightmare.”
The Duchess is described by the official The Royal Family site as a “keen sportswoman.” She is mentioned as the Royal Patron of sport-related institutions such as SportsAid, The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, The Lawn Tennis Association and The 1851 Trust.
The blue ribbon in her wedding dress was in the memory of Princess Diana
As per a timeless British tradition, the bride’s dress should have “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” — the words come from a Victorian-era English rhyme, according to Reader’s Digest.
Kate honoured this tradition, like others before her, when she got married to Prince William.
For “something old,” Kate had her Alexander McQueen bridal gown designed by Sarah Burton in the traditional Irish Carrickmacross lace-making technique. This featured hand-cut lace flowers added to the ivory silk tulle.
She wore diamond earrings gifted by her parents, which were “something new.” The Cartier Scroll tiara, given to her by Queen Elizabeth II, was the “something borrowed.”
However, “something blue” had the most emotional connection. Kate decided to honour the late Princess Diana; so Burton’s team had a blue ribbon sewed on the interior of the dress.
According to Express, the blue ribbon, which symbolises good luck, was also sewn to the gown of Princess Diana when she married Prince Charles in 1981.
Homeland and Downton Abbey among Kate Middleton’s favourite TV shows
One might wonder whether the Duchess gets time from her immensely busy schedule, which includes several royal family engagements, and what she does to unwind. But it appears she does and, like all others, she has favourites when it comes to TV shows.
There are at least three shows that Kate loves — Downton Abbey (2010-15), Game of Thrones (2011-19) and Homeland (2011-20).
This was revealed by Prince William (yes, once again) in 2015. When he addressed a special BAFTA tribute to Downton Abbey, the Duke said that the show was one of the favourite programmes of Kate and himself.
The same year, Kate paid a visit to the London’s Ealing Studios set of the show (pictured).
Moreover, during a BBC Radio 1 interview in 2017 alongside Kate, he revealed the couple like box sets and love watching GoT and Homeland.
“Homeland, we’re big fans of that, and Game Of Thrones,” he said.
Kate Middleton loves photography
Kate Middleton is known for her love of photography. The official site of The Royal Family describes the Duchess as a “keen photographer, and an Honorary Member of the Royal Photographic Society”.
Sparked by her interest in visual arts, photography, design and textiles, she became the first Royal Patron of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2018. She has also been a patron of the National Portrait Gallery since 2012.
Kate took a photograph of her youngest child, Prince Louis, sitting on the lap of her daughter Princess Charlotte (pictured), which was taken at Kensington Palace. It was shared on the official social media handles of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The first official photo of Princess Charlotte on the lap of her brother Prince George was also taken by Kate.
In fact, several candid photos of the children, especially on occasions such as their birthdays, are taken by Kate. From Princess Charlotte’s first day at school and Prince Louis taking his first baby steps to Prince George playing with colours or simply beaming with joy, every photo taken by the Duchess draws royal family admirers closer to them.
She made chutney for the Queen
In a 2016 ITV documentary titled Our Queen at 90, the Duchess revealed she gifted the Queen homemade chutney for her first Christmas at Sandringham.
“I can remember being at Sandringham, for the first time, at Christmas. And I was worried (about) what to give the Queen as her Christmas present. I was thinking, ‘Gosh, what should I give her?’” the Duchess said.
“I thought back to what I would give my own grandparents,” said Kate, adding, “And I thought, ‘I’ll make her something,’ which could have gone horribly wrong. But I decided to make my granny’s recipe of chutney.”
“I was slightly worried about it, but I noticed the next day that it was on the table,” she said.
Kate Middleton wasn’t officially introduced to the Queen for five years
In a post-engagement video with William in 2010, Kate revealed that she first met the Queen at the wedding of Peter Phillips, son of Anne, Princess Royal, to Autumn.
“I first met her at Peter and Autumn’s wedding…it was amongst a lot of other guests and she was very friendly,” she said.
Since the wedding was in 2008, many were surprised to know that Kate and the Queen never met before despite five years of the former’s relationship with William.
This was also a surprise since Kate attended events in between where the monarch was present.
According to PopSugar, the Queen and Kate were in the same room at least on three occasions before the wedding and yet there was “zero interaction.”
“While William and Kate were working out the first five years of their on-off relationship, the queen steered clear of meeting [his] girlfriend. Although they were in the same room on at least three occasions, there was zero interaction between the two women,” reported PopSugar.
The report clarified why the Queen must not have felt it necessary to meet Kate at that point.
“By the time they graduated from St. Andrews two years later, they had been through their first breakup and the relationship was on firmer ground, but the queen believed that the day should be about William celebrating with his friends, and she felt the same when it came to his passing out parade from Sandhurst Military Academy in 2006,” the report says.
The Duchess is allergic to horses
Kate Middleton has the distinction of being a royal family member who has never been seen on a horseback. This is because of two reasons. The first was revealed by Marcia Moody, the author of Kate: A Biography. According to Town & Country, Moody told the publication that it was because Kate never learned horse riding growing up.
“Kate doesn’t ride, purely because didn’t do it growing up. William and Harry were taught from an early age, but the only time they ride now is for polo — they don’t go off on hacks like the queen always has,” Moody said.
However, the other reason is more serious.
Daily Mail, citing a Reader’s Digest edition, reported in 2009 that Kate had told Australian author Kathy Lette that she is allergic to horses during a society polo match.
It was reported in 2011 that the Duchess was working to overcome her allergy by spending more time with horses.
Kate has since been photographed observing horses from up close and even patting them on occasions.
(Main and Featured images: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge/@KensingtonRoyal/Twitter)