Middleton's paternal ancestors were from Leeds, West Yorkshire. Her paternal great-grandmother, Olive, was a member of the Lupton family, who, for a number of generations, were woollen cloth merchants and manufacturers, active in civic affairs. Her maternal ancestors, the Harrisons, were working-class labourers and miners from Sunderland and County Durham.
In 2001, Middleton met Prince William while they were students at the University of St. Andrews. The couple began dating in 2003, although their relationship remained unconfirmed. On 17 October 2005, Middleton complained through her lawyer about harassment from the media, stating that she had done nothing significant to warrant publicity.
In February 2006, it was announced that Middleton would receive her own 24-hour security detail supplied by the Royalty Protection branch (SO14). Many speculated that she and Prince William would soon be engaged, since she would not otherwise be entitled to this service.
No engagement was forthcoming and Middleton was not granted an allowance to fund this security. Media attention increased around the time of her 25th birthday in January 2007, prompting warnings from both the Prince of Wales and Prince William and from 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. Middleton attended at least one event as an official royal guest: Prince William's Passing Out Parade at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 15 December 2006.
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 pictures of her over Christmas 2009. She obtained a public apology, £5,000 in damages, and legal costs.
Breakup and reconciliation
In April 2007 Prince William and Middleton split up. The couple decided to break up during a holiday in the Swiss resort of Zermatt.Clarence House declined to comment about the relationship's end, according to The Times, stating, "We don't comment on Prince William's private life". Newspapers speculated about the reasons for the split, although these reports relied on anonymous sources. Middleton and her family attended the Concert for Diana 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".
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 that the first child of the Duke and Duchess would be eligible to take the throne regardless of whether it is male or female.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their son the day after his birth
In January 2013, the Queen issued new letters patent enabling all children of the eldest son, as opposed to only the eldest son, of the Prince of Wales to enjoy the princely title and style of Royal Highness.
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 traditional as she had been admitted to King Edward VII's Hospital Sister Agnes suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum and stayed there for three days. On 14 January 2013, St James's Palace announced that the child was due to be born in July 2013, and that the condition of the Duchess was improving.
The Duchess was admitted to St Mary's Hospital in London in the early stages of labour on the morning of 22 July 2013, and gave birth to a boy, weighing 8 pounds 6 ounces (3.80 kg), at 16:24 BST that day. On 24 July 2013, Kensington Palace announced that the baby would be named George Alexander Louis.
The Duchess's second pregnancy was announced on 8 September 2014. The child will be fourth in line to the throne. As with her first pregnancy, the Duchess suffers from hyperemesis gravidarum and was required to cancel official engagements.
Middleton became prominent for her fashion style and has been placed on numerous "best dressed" lists. She was selected by The Daily Telegraph as the "Most Promising Newcomer" in its 2006 list of style winners and losers.Tatler placed her at number 8 on its yearly listing of the top ten style icons in 2007. She was featured in People magazine's 2007 and 2010 best-dressed lists. Middleton was named as one of Richard Blackwell's ten "Fabulous Fashion Independents" of 2007. In June 2008, Style.com selected Middleton as their monthly beauty icon. In July 2008, Middleton was included in Vanity Fair's international best-dressed list. In February 2011, she was named the Top Fashion Buzzword of the 2011 season by the Global Language Monitor. In January 2012, she was voted '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 Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa, 1 July 2011
Middleton 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. On 16 February 2011, Clarence House announced that the Duke and Duchess's first royal tour of Canada would take place in July 2011. In May 2011, shortly after the wedding, Clarence House announced that the Duke and Duchess would extend their tour to visit California. This was to be the Duchess of Cambridge's first visit to the United States.
The Duke and Duchess meet U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at Buckingham Palace a few weeks after the wedding.
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. In June 2011, the Duke and Duchess presented medals to members of the Irish Guards.
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 of Cambridge 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.
The Duchess has involved herself with the charities supported by her husband and his brother, Prince Harry. On 29 September 2011, the Duchess officially became a patron of The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry. In November 2011, April 2012, and November 2012, she and the Duke attended the biannual Princes' Charities Forum, which unites the various charitable interests of the two princes. 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. The Duchess attended both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics. On 29 August 2012, the Duchess attended the Paralympic Opening Ceremony accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Cambridge. 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 Royal Jubilee celebrations. During this overseas visit, the Duchess 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.
Due to her pregnancy, the Duchess carried out fewer engagements in 2013 than in previous years. After the birth of Prince George, she 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 have a residence.
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 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 want 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 are close to their hearts and reflect the experiences, passions and values of their lives so far.
She is also a local volunteer leader with the Scout Association in north Wales. In October 2012, the Duchess gave her royal backing 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 as a whole.
Her first official portrait was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in January 2013, meeting mixed reviews from both critics and audiences.
In 2009, before her engagement to William, Middleton was awarded £10,000 damages and an apology from the photographic press agencyRex Features Ltd after she was photographed playing tennis on Christmas Eve when on holiday in Cornwall.
On 13 September 2012, it was reported that the French edition of "la presse people" magazine Closer and the Italian gossip magazineChi, had both published photographs of the Duchess sun-bathing topless while on holiday at the Château d'Autet (a private château on a 260-ha estate some 71 km north of Aix-en-Provence). Analysts from The Times believed that the photograph was 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 laid a criminal complaint to 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 pictures and also announced that a criminal investigation would be initiated. Under French law, punitive damages cannot be awarded but such 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 December 2012, two Australian radio hosts, Michael Christian and Mel Greig, called King Edward VII's Hospital Sister Agnes where the Duchess was an in-patient for hyperemesis gravidarum. Pretending to be the Queen and the Prince of Wales, Greig and Christian telephoned the hospital and spoke to a nurse on the Duchess's ward, enquiring about her condition. Following a hospital inquiry and a public backlash against the hoax, the nurse who put the call through to the ward, Jacintha Saldanha, committed suicide. The radio hosts subsequently apologised for their actions.
In its second breach of privacy, 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 have refused to publish the paparazzi shots out of respect for the couple. Whilst the Duchess was visiting the Blue Mountains in Sydney a picture was taken of her bare bottom as her dress blew up. Many newspapers refused to follow the ban imposed by British media and published the picture.
Upon marriage, Catherine became known as "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge". In Scotland, she is also styled as "Her Royal Highness The Countess of Strathearn". Her full title and style is "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn and Lady Carrickfergus".
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.
Quarterly 1st and 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langed Azure (England), 2nd Or a lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure within a double tressure flory counterflory of the second (Scotland), 3rd Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (Ireland), the whole differenced with a label of three points Argent with the central point charged with an escallop Gules (Prince William); Impaled with a shield per pale Azure and Gules, a chevron Or, cotised Argent, between three acorns slipped and leaved Or (Middleton).
To the dexter the Lion as borne and used as a Supporter by "Our Dearly Beloved Grandson His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales Duke of Cambridge" and to the sinister a Hind Argent unguled and gorged with "a Coronet of Our Dearly Beloved Grandson's degree Or". The hind is white (argent) and is hooved, unguled and has about its neck (is gorged with) the Duke of Cambridge's coronet. Both the hooves and coronet are gold (Or).
The dividing line (between two colours) down the centre is a canting of the name 'Middle-ton'. The acorns (from the oak tree) are a traditional symbol of England and a feature of west Berkshire, where the family have lived for 30 years. The three acorns also denote the family's three children. The gold chevron in the centre of the arms is an allusion to Carole Middleton's maiden name of Goldsmith. The two white chevronels (narrow chevrons above and below the gold chevron) symbolise peaks and mountains, and the family's love of the Lake District and skiing.
Her previous coat of arms depicted the shield from her father Michael Middleton's coat of arms shaped into a lozenge hanging from a blue ribbon symbolising her unmarried state. Her sister Pippa also uses the same lozenge-shaped coat of arms. Her brother, James, bears his father's arms, with a gold label for difference. In due course James will inherit his father's full coat of arms.
^As a titled royal, Catherine holds no surname, but when one is used, it is Mountbatten-Windsor. Many media outlets, however, refer to her by her maiden name, Catherine (or Kate) Middleton.
^The official announcement, signed by medical practitioners in attendance, as reproduced in the Court Circular section of The Times 24 July 2013, no 70945, was: "Kensington Palace, 22nd July 2013. The Duchess was safely delivered of a son at 4.24 p.m. today. Her Royal Highness and her child are both well. Signed: Marcus Setchell, Guy Thorpe-Beeston, Sunnit Godambe, John Cunningham."
^Kensington Palace (the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) said: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to announce that they have named their son George Alexander Louis. The baby will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge."
^ ab"Media pack for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge". Kensington Palace. July 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013. "On the occasion of his marriage, The Queen conferred a Dukedom on Prince William of Wales. The Duke received the titles of Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus. As a result Miss Catherine Middleton became Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn and Lady Carrickfergus."
^ abBeckford, Martin (29 April 2011). "Royal wedding: Prince William and Kate Middleton become Duke and Duchess of Cambridge". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 August 2013. "Buckingham Palace said in a statement published at 8am on Friday: 'The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince William of Wales. 'His titles will be Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus. 'Prince William thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge and Miss Catherine Middleton on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.'"
^ abRayner, Gordon (2 August 2013). "Royal baby: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge register birth of Prince George". The Telegraph. "The Duchess is entitled to use the title Princess William of Wales, but has never described herself as such because the couple decided to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after the titles were conferred on them by the Queen on their wedding day."
^Prince of Wales – Dumfries House (Section: 5 April Official Opening of the Tamar Manoukian Outdoor Centre) "...Their Royal Highnesses The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay and the Earl and Countess of Strathearn..." (Accessed 24 July 2013)
^"Letter of thanks from royal couple". Carrick Times. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013. "The letter from the Duchess' private secretary continued: 'Thank you also so very much for inviting Lord and Lady Carrickfergus to visit your beautiful borough.'"