Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge full name Catherine Elizabeth Kate Middleton was born on 9 January 1982 and is the wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Following his father Charles, Prince of Wales, William is second in line to succeed his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, as monarch of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms, making Catherine a likely future queen consort.
Catherine grew up in Chapel Row, a village near Newbury, Berkshire, England. 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 before they married on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. The Duke and Duchess’s children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, are third and fourth in the line of succession respectively, and the couple are expecting their third child.
Catherine’s impact on British and American fashion has been called the “Kate Middleton effect” in the media, and in 2012 and 2013, she was selected as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine.
In 2001, Middleton met Prince William while they were both students in residence at St Salvator’s Hall 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.
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 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 photographs of her over Christmas 2009. She obtained a public apology, £5,000 in damages, and legal costs.
In April 2007, Prince William and Middleton split up. The couple decided to break up during a holiday in the Swiss resort of Zermatt. 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”.
The newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Prince William and Catherine Middleton became engaged in October 2010, in Kenya, during a 10-day trip to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to celebrate Prince William’s passing his RAF helicopter search and rescue course. Clarence House announced the engagement on 16 November 2010. Prince William gave Middleton the engagement ring that had belonged to his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. The couple married in Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011 (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. On the morning of the wedding day, Prince William was created Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus, with Catherine assuming the feminine forms of the titles.
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, whether boy or girl, would be next in line to the throne after their father.