Factbox: Who is Kate, Britain’s Princess of Wales?

March 23, 2024 - 9:49 AM
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Horse Racing - Royal Ascot - Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Britain - June 23, 2023 Catherine, Princess of Wales is pictured at the racecourse (Reuters/Toby Melville/File Photo)

Following are some facts about Kate, the Princess of Wales and wife of Britain’s heir to the throne Prince William. She announced in a video message on Friday that she is undergoing preventative chemotherapy after cancer was found following an operation earlier this year.

Early life:

* The eldest of three children, Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, 42, was born on Jan. 9, 1982, into a middle-class, rather than aristocratic, family from Berkshire, west of London.

* Her father Michael worked as a pilot and her mother Carole as an airline stewardess before setting up a mail order business selling party supplies.

* As a young child, she lived with her family in Amman in Jordan for more than two years before they returned to Britain.

A royal romance:

* Kate attended Marlborough College, a private school in southwest England, and met her future husband at St Andrews University in Scotland in 2001, where she read History of Art. The pair lived together in a house shared with friends.

* By April 2004, their relationship became public, as she went skiing with William, his younger brother Harry and his father – now King Charles – on their annual trip to Switzerland.

* They briefly split up in 2007 after William was posted around the country as part of his military training, before rekindling their relationship.

* Their engagement was announced in November 2010, with William giving Kate his mother’s ring featuring a blue sapphire, surrounded with diamonds. They married on April 29, 2011, in Westminster Abbey in a ceremony watched by a global audience.

Royal life

* On her wedding day, Kate was made the Duchess of Cambridge after her husband was given a dukedom. On the death of Queen Elizabeth in September 2022, William was named Prince of Wales and she was given the title Princess of Wales.

* She spent four days in hospital with severe morning sickness in December 2012. The couple’s first child, Prince George, was born on July 22, 2013, in a blaze of global publicity. Daughter Charlotte was born on May 2, 2015, and second son Louis arrived on April 23, 2018.

* Kate and William began their married life living in a cottage in a remote part of north Wales and later moved to Anmer Hall, their country mansion on the monarch’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England, to fit in with William’s job as a helicopter ambulance pilot.

* They moved to live at Kensington Palace in central London when William took on royal duties full time in July 2017. The couple now mainly reside at a cottage on the Windsor estate to the west of London, close to where their children attend school.

* Kate had successful planned abdominal surgery in January and spent two weeks in hospital. No details were given but Kensington Palace had said the condition was non-cancerous.

Campaigns and activities

* As a royal, her main campaigning focus has been around the experiences of early childhood, as well mental health issues.

* She is a keen amateur photographer, and pictures she has taken of her family have regularly been released to media to celebrate her children’s’ birthdays and other notable events.

* However, in March she had to apologise for “any confusion” caused by an edited photograph which had been issued by her office Kensington Palace, at a point when she hadn’t been seen for weeks after her initial surgery.

* Kate is patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) Wimbledon and the Lawn Tennis Association, and is patron of the England Rugby Football Union.

— Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Frances Kerry