Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton (born 9 January 1982) is the girlfriend of Prince William of Wales. Since their relationship first began, Middleton has received widespread media attention and there has been constant speculation that they will eventually marry.
Born in 1982, Middleton grew up in Berkshire, and after attending Marlborough College went to the University of St Andrews. She met Prince William, also studying there, in 2001. They soon started a relationship, media attention quickly followed, and in 2005 her lawyer complained of harassment. In April 2007, it emerged in the press that William and Middleton had split up. They continued to be friends, and later in 2007 the pair reunited. Since then, Middleton has attended many high-profile royal events. She has been admired for her fashion sense, and has been placed on numerous 'best dressed' lists.
Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born on 9 January 1982 at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, the daughter of Michael Francis Middleton (born 23 June 1949) and Carole Elizabeth (née Goldsmith; born 31 January 1955). Middleton, an airline pilot, and Goldsmith, an air stewardess, had married on 21 June 1980 at the Parish Church in Dorney, Buckinghamshire. Kate Middleton's paternal family came from Leeds in West Yorkshire, and her great-grandmother Olivia was a member of the Lupton family, who were active for generations in Leeds in commercial and municipal work. Carole Middleton's maternal family, the Harrisons, were working class labourers and miners from County Durham. In 1987, the Middletons founded their own company, Party Pieces, a mail order firm that sells party supplies and decorations. They have since become millionaires.
Kate Middleton grew up in Bucklebury, Berkshire, and attended St. Andrew's School in Pangbourne, Berkshire followed by Marlborough College in Wiltshire.
Michael and Carole Middleton have two other children, Philippa "Pippa" Charlotte (born 6 September 1983) and James William (born 15 April 1987). Pippa Middleton, a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, has received press coverage since her sister became famous, with focus on her relationships and lifestyle.
Relationship with Prince William
Middleton's status as the girlfriend of Prince William brought her widespread media coverage in the UK and abroad, and she was often photographed on her daily outings. On 17 October 2005, she complained through her lawyer about harassment from the media, stating that she had done nothing significant to warrant such publicity.
In February 2006, it was announced that Middleton would receive her own 24-hour security detail supplied by the Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department. This fueled further speculation that she and Prince William would soon be engaged, since she would not, otherwise, be entitled to this service. No engagement occurred, and Middleton was not granted an allowance to fund this security. However, media attention greatly increased around the time of Middleton's 25th birthday in January 2007, prompting warnings from both Prince Charles and Prince William and from Middleton's lawyers, who threatened legal action. As a result, two newspaper groups, News International, which publishes The Times, and the Guardian Media Group, publishers of The Guardian and The Observer, 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.
Despite no official engagement, Woolworths prepared commemorative merchandise to be ready should an engagement announcement occur.
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