Ever since news of her relationship with Prince William broke in 2004, Kate Middleton has lived her life solidly in the public eye (via Glamour). We then watched as she and William went through a long courtship. Then, when William proposed in 2010, Kate gave her first interview to the BBC and we found out even more about the soon-to-be royal. And of course, the couple’s royal wedding was watched by 17.6 million fans around the world.
These days, the public knows an awful lot about the Duchess. From what she wears to how she chooses to raise her children, curious fans can find out just about anything about Kate with a quick Google search or a glance at the tabloid headlines.
But even though Kate’s entire life is highly publicized, there are still a few things about the Duchess that fans may be surprised to learn. Did you know Kate was once a child model? Or that the Duchess has a surprising famous American ancestor? We’ve uncovered a few of the strangest facts about Kate Middleton that might just take you by surprise.
Kate Middleton actually met Prince William in passing as a child
Most fans of Kate Middleton and Prince William probably know that the pair first met while studying at the University of St. Andrews. However, according to the biography Kate: The Future Queen, by Katie Nicholl, Kate actually came across William when she was still a schoolgirl when William was 9 years old. Apparently, her school welcomed William’s school for a hockey game. “Although [Kate] wasn’t especially interested in boys, the arrival of one particular young man had caught her attention,” Nicholl wrote.
When the prince arrived at Kate’s school, all of the students were eager to catch a glimpse, including Kate. Of course, she had no idea she was laying eyes on her future husband for the very first time! Additionally, it was apparent even then that Kate and William had things in common. “William, like Kate, loved sports and was one of the best hockey and rugby players in his year,” Nicholl continued.
Kate Middleton was a model for her parents' party company as a kid
You may know that Kate Middleton had several jobs before marrying into the royal family. For instance, she worked at the clothing brand Jigsaw in 2006 as an accessories buyer and even planned to open a baking business with her brother (via Biography).
However, one of Kate’s earliest jobs may come as a bit of a shock: it turns out the Duchess was once a child model! As Claudia Joseph, the author of Kate: The Making of a Princess explained to CNN, “Kate and Pippa used to model for Party Pieces’ catalogs,” and Party Pieces was Kate’s parents’ company. Apparently, they would often wear “t-shirts with their ages on them and [hold] cupcakes” (via Insider). How adorable!
Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, even wrote a blog post for the business’s 30th anniversary that mentioned her daughter’s modeling. “Over the years all my children have played a huge part in [it], from modeling for the catalogue to developing new categories for the brand,” she recalled. Apparently, when a few photos of Kate as a child model were released, they quickly went viral (via Marie Claire).
Kate Middleton is a huge fan of these TV shows
It’s pretty hard to imagine the Duchess of Cambridge sitting down in front of the TV to binge watch a show on Netflix. However, it turns out, Kate Middleton is a little more relatable than we thought. In an interview with the BBC, Kate and Prince William confessed to watching quite a lot of TV at Kensington Palace. As William explained, the daytime was usually taken up with children’s shows. However, after the kids are in bed, the couple frequently enjoys powering through a box set. “We’ve watched Homeland, we’re big fans,” William said. “We’ve watched Game of Thrones,” he added.
And that’s not all. In 2015, William presented the cast of Downton Abbey with an honorary BAFTA. He revealed that the show was “one of Catherine’s and my favorite programs” (via Hello!). In fact, Kate even got the chance to visit the set of Downton Abbey that same year. In a video of the visit posted on the Kensington Palace Instagram page, Kate can be seen revealing a plaque at the show’s studio.
Kate Middleton spent a day as the editor of a British publication
As you may know, the royals don’t take on paid jobs — their full-time work consists of royal duties, and Kate Middleton is no exception. However, in 2016, the Duchess did try her hand at an honest day’s work. As Vanity Fair reported, Kate spent a day at the Huffington Post UK offices, where she took over as editor for the day as part of the Young Minds Matter campaign.
Not only did Kate edit the Huffington Post UK website, she also published her own blog post entitled “Let’s Make a Real Difference for an Entire Generation of Young Children.” In her post, she wrote, “It is such a privilege to have this opportunity to be Guest Editor of the Huffington Post today, and to celebrate the amazing work being done to improve and understand the mental health of young children.” She went on to explain that she and the team had commissioned a series of articles in honor of the mental health campaign. It seems that Kate really does have a wide range of talents!
Kate Middleton once had a poster of a Levi's model on her wall as a teen
It’s pretty hard to imagine Kate Middleton as a boy-crazed teenager; however, back in the day, the Duchess wasn’t much unlike the rest of us. As Kate revealed in her engagement interview in 2010, she once decorated her bedroom wall with a poster of a Levi’s model. When asked by the interviewer if she’d ever had a picture of Prince William on her wall, she quipped, “He wishes, no, no I had the Levi’s guy on my wall, not a picture of William.”
Apparently, rumors that Kate had once decked her walls with pictures of the Prince spread when Jessica Hay, who once shared a dorm with Kate at boarding school, told the Mail on Sunday that Kate had a huge crush on William. “She would joke, ‘There’s no one quite like William.’ She had a picture of him on her wall,” Katie Nicholl reported in her book Kate: The Future Queen (via Marie Claire).
We may never know whether Kate did have pictures of William up on her wall, but one thing’s clear: she certainly had a few teenage crushes in her time.
Kate Middleton wasn't officially introduced to the Queen for five years
Can you imagine dating someone for five years and never meeting their family members? Well, for Kate Middleton this is exactly what happened. In 2017, PopSugar reported that while Kate was sometimes in the presence of Queen Elizabeth, Prince William’s grandmother, she didn’t get to actually speak to her for five whole years.
So how exactly did things go down? One reporter said, “While William and Kate were working out the first five years of their on-off relationship, the Queen steered clear of meeting her grandson’s girlfriend.” Apparently, on the three occasions that Kate and the Queen attended the same events, there was apparently “zero interaction” between the pair. The report went on to explain that in 2003, Kate was finally officially introduced to the Queen at William’s 21st birthday (via Express). Sounds like the Queen wanted to be absolutely sure that Kate was “the one” for her grandson before agreeing to meet her.
Kate Middleton asked her friends to call her Catherine in an email
Have you ever wondered why the press always seems to call Kate Middleton “Kate,” while the royal family always refer to her as “Catherine?” Well, it turns out, the Duchess isn’t too keen on her informal nickname. In fact, as Express reported, she once sent a slightly awkward email to her friends asking them to stop calling her “Kate.” The email in question was apparently sent in 2008, a few years before she got engaged to Prince William. It sounds like Kate was gearing up to join the royal family — and wanted to make sure she had a name that suited her new position.
Columnist Adam Helliker broke the story, writing, “With Prince William’s engagement now a surefire certainty (even Ladvrokes has stopped taking bets on whether it will happen after a flurry of well-placed wagers), there are intriguing signs that Kate Middleton is preparing for her future role.” He went on to report that royal expert Daniela Elser had described her strange email as “gentle” and “very jokey.” Nevertheless, apparently, some of her friends were pretty shocked by the request at the time.
Kate Middleton lived in Jordan for a few years as a child
Most people would probably expect a member of the royal family to be born and raised in the United Kingdom. Of course, Meghan Markle proved to be an exception to that rule. However, it turns out, part of Kate Middleton’s upbringing also occurred overseas.
As PopSugar reported, Kate spent three years as a child in Amman, Jordan, as her father was working as a flight dispatcher for British Airways at the time. Years later, Prince William visited Jordan and even saw some of Kate’s old haunts. And according to Hello!, William met with Rania Malik, the chief executive officer of the Save The Children charity in Jordan, who told him that he knew where Kate had lived in Jordan. Apparently, William replied, “No way, she will be thrilled. She loved it here, she really did. She is very upset that I am coming here without her.” Sounds like Kate has a very special connection with Jordan, even after all these years.
Kate Middleton has had some interesting nicknames
These days, Kate Middleton is either known fondly as “Kate” or officially as “Catherine.” However, back in her pre-royal days, the Duchess of Cambridge had some eyebrow-raising nicknames that certainly wouldn’t be appropriate for a future queen.
According to Mirror, Kate once confessed to a group of students that her old school nickname was “Squeak,” as inspired by the school guinea pig. “There was one called Pip and one called Squeak, so my sister was called Pip and I was Squeak,” she said (via Elle). How adorable!
A less adorable nickname came a few years later when Kate was 16 at boarding school. According to the royal author Claudia Joseph, who spoke in the documentary Kate Middleton: Biography (via The Sun), Kate once “flashed her bottom at the boys out of the window.” Apparently, the Duchess developed quite the reputation at school, and was even dubbed “Kate Middlebum.” It’s probably safe to say that that particular nickname is no longer used at the palace!
Kate Middleton is reportedly allergic to horses
The royals have a long history with horses; from polo to hunting to the equestrian Olympics, riding seems to be a prerequisite for joining the royal family. However, it turns out, Kate Middleton may have an allergy to her family’s favorite animal. According to Town & Country, Kate has literally never been seen on horseback. Rumor has it, the royal is allergic to horses!
However, as Marcia Moody, the author of Kate: A Biography, said, “Kate doesn’t ride, purely because didn’t do it growing up.” Sounds like Kate may just be a little uncomfortable in the saddle rather than having a horrible allergy.
In fact, in 2012, The Telegraph reported that she was trying to set her allergy (and inexperience) aside by taking riding lessons. It’s hard to say whether the Duchess really does have an allergy or not — either way, we’re hoping one day we’ll get to see Kate take to the saddle after all!
Kate Middleton followed this old wedding tradition
Kate Middleton is often described as being one of the most modern members of the royal family, thanks to her forward-thinking approach to childcare to feminism. However, it turns out the Duchess has a few traditional bones in her body after all.
As Mirror reported, Kate decided to follow the age-old tradition of wearing “something old, new, borrowed and blue” to her wedding ceremony. Her “something old” was her gown, which was apparently made using an old 1800s lace technique called Carrickmacross craftsmanship. For her “something new,” Kate wore a brand new pair of earrings given to her by her parents. “Something borrowed” was represented by her diamond tiara, which was gifted by the Queen. Apparently, the Queen often lends royal brides royal tiaras for their weddings. Finally, “something blue” was the blue sash on her gown, as noted by People. It’s clear that Kate does occasionally like a little bit of tradition!
Kate Middleton is related to George Washington
Kate Middleton initially seems like the quintessential English rose; however, it seems that she actually has some roots in America. And not just any roots — apparently, she’s actually distantly related to the first president of the United States, George Washington. As CBS News reported, the New England Historical Genealogical Social initially found the ancestral link. As they claim, Kate is Washington’s eighth cousin, eight times removed.
And Washington isn’t Kate’s only American ancestor. She also has links to Meriwether Lewis, famous for a 19th-century expedition. She also appears to be related to World War II General George S. Patton, and the coincidences don’t stop there. It turns out, Kate’s ancestry can actually be traced back to the ancestors of her own husband, Prince William. The pair are reportedly 15th cousins! Sounds like Kate is less of a commoner than some people initially thought!
Kate Middleton was once in a school play that predicted her future
Whether you believe in fate or not, this story is definitely a little strange. According to Hello!, Kate Middleton once starred in a school play that predicted a scary number of details about her future life.
For starters, Kate was just 13 when she played a young woman who visited a fortune teller. Apparently, the fortune teller told Kate’s character, “Soon you will meet a handsome man, a rich gentleman,” to which Kate replied, “It is all I ever hoped for.” The fortune teller went on to tell Kate’s character that this gentleman would fall in love with her and marry her and whisk her off to London. Sound familiar?
It gets even weirder — the gentlemen turns out to be called William. It’s a little creepy that this fortune teller character literally spelled out Kate’s future life with Prince William in this play! Sounds like the casting department at Kate’s old school saw that she was the absolute perfect person to take on the role of a young girl whose life changes forever when she meets her Prince William, even when she was just 13.
Kate Middleton never says no to a glass of red wine
When it comes to alcohol and the royal family, we all probably know that various tipples are usually allowed. However, for Kate Middleton, red wine seems to be the beverage of choice. In 2016 on her tour of Canada, the Duchess reportedly admitted that the drink was her all-time favorite. According to Express, she and Prince William visited the Mission Hill Winery during their tour. As the director of wine experience later recalled, the couple had confessed to being avid Merlot drinkers, especially when traveling. As a source explained to the publication, “Neither Kate nor William is a big beer drinker,” even though they’ve both tried beer on a few suitable public occasions.
According to another article in Express, Kate’s love of red wine doesn’t get in the way of her overall healthy life. Apparently, she likes to start her day with a smoothie; she’s also said to enjoy cooking up healthy meals for her family. Judging by these reports, we can hardly blame Kate for indulging in the occasional glass of red!
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