The trajectory of Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales

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The Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, has gone from a relatively ordinary existence to playing a prominent role in the British royal family.

She became Prince William’s girlfriend in 2001. The couple met while studying at St. Andrews University in Fife, where they lived in the same student housing.

Their wedding at Westminster Abbey some ten years later in April 2011 was seen on television by millions of people around the world.

The announcement in December 2012 that the couple were expecting their first child – and the subsequent arrival of Prince George, and then his sister Princess Charlotte – thrust the then-Duchess of Cambridge into the media spotlight like never before.

‘Sensible and popular’

She grew up in Bucklebury in Berkshire, where her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, ran a mail order business selling children’s party toys and games in a converted barn near their home.

The eldest of three children, she was educated at the exclusive Marlborough College in Wiltshire, where she was described as sensible, popular and talented, and was captain of the school’s hockey team.

Her younger sister Pippa has risen to prominence since being a bridesmaid at the royal wedding. She wrote a book about party planning and also writes for magazines.

His brother James founded several companies, including a custom marshmallow factory.

Catherine met William at the University of St. Andrews, and the couple graduated in the same ceremony

After they met at St. Andrews, where Catherine studied art history, the young couple’s relationship apparently blossomed during weekends together at the Queen’s Balmoral estate.

For a while, at least, they were guaranteed some privacy, following an agreement reached between the palace and the press while Prince William was a student.

But the media silence didn’t last, and Catherine first came to public attention after several tabloids portrayed her alongside Prince William and then-Prince Charles at the Swiss ski resort of Klosters in 2005.

The photographs were published despite aides’ efforts to keep the holiday private.

Her interest in newspapers grew when Catherine graduated, moved to London and began working as an accessories buyer for the Jigsaw clothing store.

In October 2005, following the publication of a photograph showing her looking out of a London car window, her lawyers wrote to newspaper and magazine editors asking them to respect her privacy.

The Princess of Wales and Prince of Wales (R)

The couple announced their engagement in 2010

They claimed that photographers followed Catherine almost every day and night since she left university.

Speculation about an engagement arose in February 2006, when it was suggested that she would be given her own royal security team.

In December 2006, Catherine was back in the headlines after she and her mother attended a ceremony at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to watch Prince William become an Army officer.

The occasion was notable because it was the first time she had been seen at a high-profile public event attended by the Queen and other royals.

Media pressure

Rumors of an engagement reached a fever pitch around Catherine’s 25th birthday in January 2007, when the media were constantly outside her Chelsea home.

There were inevitable comparisons with the prince’s late mother, Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris while being chased by photographers.

Prince William and Prince Charles appealed for her to be left alone, and some newspapers agreed to stop using photographs of her taken by paparazzi.

Pressure from the media apparently took its toll and was blamed when the couple split in April 2007, although no official statement was issued by either of them.

William and Kate at their wedding at Westminster Abbey in April 2011

They married at Westminster Abbey in April 2011

Reports of a reconciliation were denied in June 2007, with the couple insisting they were “just good friends” after being seen together at Diana’s Wembley tribute concert.

They have been seen in public on several occasions.

Catherine was present when the prince attended an Air Force ceremony in April 2008 and at Windsor when he was knighted in June of the same year.

The couple announced their engagement in November 2010, and at the time, Catherine said joining the royal family was a “scary possibility.”

“I hope I take this in stride,” she added.

Charity work

The Princess supports a number of charitable organizations through her own charity, The Prince and Princess of Wales’ Royal Foundation.

In June 2021, she launched the Real Centro para a Primeira Infância Foundation, a charitable organization focused on raising awareness of the importance of early childhood experiences.

The princess is also keen to raise awareness of children’s mental health and wellbeing.

She is also a patron of Action on Addiction, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, Art Room, National Portrait Gallery, Place2Be, SportsAid, The 1851 Trust, 100 Women in Hedge Funds and the Natural History Museum.

In December 2012, it was announced that the then Duchess of Cambridge was expecting a baby, and that Catherine had been admitted to hospital with acute morning sickness.

She spent several days in hospital before being discharged, but her stay was marred by the suicide of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, after two Australian DJs made a fake call to the hospital.

Prince George and the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

The couple celebrated their son’s first birthday in July

Prince George was born on July 22, 2013, weighing 3.8kg, in a private ward at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London – where Princess Diana gave birth to her children.

The couple spent the first few years of their married life in Anglesey, north Wales, where the then Duke of Cambridge worked as a search and rescue pilot.

But following the announcement that the prince was leaving the Army, the couple left the island to settle at Kensington Palace in London.

They also have a house on Queen’s Sandringham Estate – Anmer Hall.

Prince William then worked as an air ambulance pilot, flying for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, a job he began in July 2015.

The couple William and Kate with Charlotte and George

The family was photographed in the garden of Kensington Palace

The princess’s second pregnancy was announced in September 2014, with the princess again suffering from intense nausea.

Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born on May 2, 2015, weighing 3.7kg.

She is rarely seen in public, although photographs have been released sporadically, including one of her sitting on her great-grandmother’s lap to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.

A third son, Prince Louis Arthur Charles, was born at St Mary’s Hospital on 23 April 2018.

In April 2016, the prince and princess went on an official trip abroad – a seven-day trip to India and Bhutan.

As part of the visit, they were photographed on the bench at the Taj Mahal, where Diana had been photographed 24 years earlier.

The then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in India

The royal couple posed outside the Taj Mahal as part of their tour of India

The couple also made official visits to the United States and Canada in 2011, to Southeast Asia in 2012 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and to the east coast of the United States in December 2014.

In October 2015, the pair attended their first official banquet since their wedding. The event at Buckingham Palace was held during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The prince and princess then jointly organized – together with Prince Harry – a dinner for the then president of the United States, Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle, when they visited the United Kingdom in April 2016.

The then Duchess of Cambridge with Chinese President Xi Jinping

The Princess of Wales with Chinese President Xi Jinping

The princess’ interests include diving – she became an advanced level diver in August 2015 – and photography.

The princess was chosen as the cover star for the June 2016 issue of British Vogue, in her first photo shoot for a magazine.

Kate was a source of great support for Prince William following the death of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September 2022.

In his first statement after the Queen’s death, the Prince of Wales spoke similarly about the “guidance and support” the Queen had previously offered to Princess Catherine.

The Prince and Princess of Wales marked the first anniversary of the Queen’s death with a small, private religious ceremony in Pembrokeshire in September 2023.

The Princess of Wales spent 13 days hospitalized in January 2024 after undergoing abdominal surgery.

Kensington Palace said the procedure was planned and successful, but the princess did not resume her royal duties.

On March 22, Princess Kate made a public announcement that tests carried out after the operation revealed the presence of cancer.

Since then, the princess has been undergoing preventative chemotherapy treatment.

Source: Folha

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