Prince William is the world’s most eligible bachelor no more: Yesterday the world was formally introduced to the next princess: Kate Middleton, 28. After nine years of dating, it was about time, girl! Model-gorgeous Kate has long been photographed at William’s side and attended formal palace events — which was all the more intriguing as the couple seemed to be taking it slowly before settling down. So who is this girl?
- This soon-to-be princess grew up in a suburb called Buckleberry in Berkshire and attended a private grammar school. Kate later attended a Catholic all-girls boarding school, Downe House, for two terms and graduated from another boarding school, Marlborough College. While there, she allegedly once mooned a group of boys out the window! The Middleton family owns an apartment in the posh Chelsea neighborhood of London.
- Like many British teens, Kate took a “gap year” before college and visited Italy and Chile. In a bizarre coincidence, both William and Kate underwent the same adventure program in Chile, just not at the same time.
- The couple met in college at St. Andrews University in Scotland — allegedly after William saw Kate walk in a fashion show, during which camera flashes accidentally revealed her dress to be see-through. She had on a black bra and panties underneath. The couple lived in an apartment with a group of friends at school and were both dating other people before they got with each other.
- In 2007, the couple split for three months. Some say it was because William was having doubts, others say it was because he was photographed at a nightclub with his arm around another woman. There were also rumors that the Queen thought Kate was enjoying being photographed on the London nightlife scene too much. In any case, after a few months, William invited Kate to be his date at a military dance and the couple was back on.
- Kate’s a regular “Sporty Spice”: She’s played basketball, tennis, hockey, netball, badminton, swimming and run the high jump while at school. As a teen, Kate also starred as Eliza Doolittle in her school’s performance of “My Fair Lady.” These days, the royal couple loves to go out clubbing at London nightclubs like Boujis. They also ski, suntan in swanky locals like Ibiza, and shoot pheasant.
- Friends claim Kate has had a crush on Prince William since she was a little girl and hung a poster of him on her bedroom wall. “No, I had the Levi’s guy on my wall, not a picture of William — sorry,” she told reporters at the couple’s press conference yesterday. “It was me in Levi’s, honestly,” William joked.
- Unlike Princess Diana, who was related to nobility, Kate is a “commoner” with no direct royal lineage in her family — recent ancestors include a grocer and a road sweeper. But she is related to 1500′s King Edward III, through his second son, Edmund, and that makes her and William 15th cousins.
- Her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, met when Micheal was an airline pilot for British Airways and Carole was a stewardess. They’ve gone on to become self-made millionaires running a mail order party supply company called Party Pieces, which sells items like goody bags and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. Kate has a younger sister Pippa, 27, and a younger brother, James, 23. After college, Kate briefly worked as a buyer for the clothing line Jigsaw. These days, all five members of the Middleton family work for Party Pieces — Kate, most recently, as a photographer.
- Kate’s new engagement ring is an oval blue Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds, set in white gold. It was chosen by Princess Diana from the then-crown jewelers upon her engagement to Prince Charles in 1981. According to the Daily Mail, however, the ring is not an exclusive piece of jewelry and anyone else could have purchased such a ring from Mayfair. Princes Harry and William inherited the rock from the late Princess Di’s estate; although Harry originally took it — and William took her yellow gold Cartier watch — William somehow ended up with the memento. The handsome prince proposed in Kenya in October, although the couple is staying mum on those deets!
- No word yet on what Kate’s wedding gown will be, but she’s said to be partial to the Brazilian designer Daniella Issa Helayel and her brand, Issa. At the couple’s press conference yesterday, Kate was a knockout in a sapphire blue Issa dress.
What do you think of Kate Middleton?