Catherine Elizabeth 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. There she met Prince William, also studying there, in 2001. They soon started a relationship, and media attention soon 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.
Michael and Carole Middleton had two further children, Philippa "Pippa" Charlotte (born 1983) and James William (born 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. Kate Middleton grew up in Bucklebury, Berkshire, and attended St. Andrew's School in Pangbourne, Berkshire followed by Marlborough College in Wiltshire.
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.
Despite no official engagement, retailers such as Woolworths have prepared commemorative merchandise to be ready should an engagement announcement occur.
On 14 April 2007 The Sun newspaper broke a 'world exclusive' suggesting that Prince William and Kate Middleton had split up. Other media outlets such as the BBC confirmed the story as the day progressed. The couple decided to break up during a holiday in the Swiss resort of Zermatt.
Clarence House made only one 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 of the split, although these reports relied on anonymous sources. The original report in The Sun quoted a "close friend of the couple" as saying that Middleton felt William had not been paying her enough attention. The paper highlighted reports that William had been spending time with other young women, and said the Prince, aged 24 at the time of the split, felt he was too young to marry.
A report in the Daily Mail blamed a desire by royal courtiers not to "hurry along" a marriage announcement, and William's desire to enjoy his bachelor status within his Army career. The Mail also suggested that William's friend Guy Pelly encouraged the Prince to take a "careless approach" to relationships. The same article suggested that Middleton had "expected too much" in wanting William to demonstrate his commitment to her.
In June 2007, Middleton and Prince William insisted they were "just good friends" following reports of a reconciliation. Middleton and her family attended the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium; however, she and William sat two rows apart. Since then, the couple has been seen together in public on a number of occasions, and according to several news sources including the BBC and the Daily Mail, have now "rekindled their relationship". Middleton also joined William and Charles on a deerstalking expedition at Balmoral and attended the wedding of William's cousin, Peter Phillips even though William, due to a prior commitment, did not. On 16 June 2008, Middleton attended the event of William's investment into the Order of the Garter along with the Royal Family.
Prince William himself has stated that he does not intend to marry until he is at least 28 or at 30.
In March 2007, the Daily Mail also, for the first time, painted Middleton in an unflattering light. The article claimed that Middleton had started to use her status as Prince William's girlfriend to her advantage, that she had accepted free gifts, such as a £1,000 Burberry Manor bag and a £300 handbag from Melissa del Bono. According to the Daily Mail, Audi gave Middleton a discount after she bargained with them for a new car. Another claim was that she had argued with a parking warden on receiving a ticket and used front doors (after fixing her hair and makeup) to leave night clubs instead of private exits, allowing the paparazzi to take photos, even though she had threatened legal action against photographers in the past. Finally, the article suggested that Middleton had had little contact with her university friends since becoming involved with Prince William.
In September 2007, it was reported that Middleton was planning to give up her job as an accessories buyer to become a professional photographer. Moreover, it was said that she wanted to take some time for herself. Some months later, it was announced that she intended to take private classes with internationally renowned photographer Mario Testino, who had taken several well-known photographs of the Diana, Princess of Wales and her sons. Middleton and Testino apparently were introduced by Prince William. Testino later denied that Middleton was going to be working for him or had ever worked for him. In December, 2007, it was also reported that Middleton had moved in with Prince William at Clarence House, the residence of the Prince of Wales in London. Clarence House later denied this.
In April 2008, Prince William landed his RAF Chinook helicopter in the back garden of Middleton's parents' home. This sparked controversy over the use of RAF equipment being at the prince's disposal.
On 17 May 2008, Middleton attended the wedding of Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly, which Prince William missed to attend the wedding of his ex-girlfriend's brother. On 19 July 2008, Middleton attended the wedding of Lady Rose Windsor and George Gilman. Prince William was away on military operations.
Middleton has also become known for her style and has been featured in numerous best dressed lists. Middleton was selected by The Telegraph as the "Most Promising Newcomer" in their 2006 list of style winners and losers. Tatler placed her at #8 on their yearly listing of the top ten style icons in 2007. She was also featured in People Magazine's 2007 best dressed list. 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 named on Vanity Fair's international best dressed list.