The Princess of Wales has this week launched her new early childhood campaign which aims to ‘give generations of children the best start in life.’
And as Kate Middleton, 41, promotes her campaign Shaping Us about the significance of the first five years of a child’s life, FEMAIL has looked back at her own formative years.
Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born to Carole and Michael Middleton at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on 9 January 1982.
She has previously revealed she had a ‘very happy’ childhood, spending a number of years living in Jordan where she learnt Arabic, alongside her siblings Pippa and James.
The family moved back to Berkshire, where sporty Kate excelled at school – eventually turning 18 and attending St Andrew’s University, where her life changed forever when she met Prince William.
As the Princess of Wales launches her new early childhood campaign which aims to ‘give generations of children the best start in life’ FEMAIL looks back over her childhood. Kate is pictured here as a child
Kate is the eldest of three children; sister Pippa, 39, was born in September 1983, while her younger brother James, 35, arrived in April 1987.
The royal on Giovanna Fletcher’s Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast in 2020 said: ‘I had a very happy childhood.
‘It was great fun and I’m very lucky I come from a very strong family. My parents were hugely dedicated.’
Home for the Middletons was a small semi-detached house in the village of Bradfield Southend until the age of two when the family moved to Amman in Jordan, where Michael, 73, worked for two and a half years as a British Airways Manager.
From the age of three Kate attended Assahera nursery school in Amman. She told Giovanna: ‘I really appreciate now as a parent how much they sacrificed for us.
‘They came to every sports match, they’d be the ones on the sideline shouting, and we’d always have our family holidays together.’
The family lived in a two-storey rented villa, close to a park and the nursery where Kate went.
Kate attended nursery with around twelve other children aged between three and five, who all hailed from a variety of countries, including Britain, Jordan, Japan, and America.
The children learned both English and Arabic, and celebrated Christmas and Ramadan each year.
Kate pictured here as a young child at nursery in Jordan, with her sister Pippa. Her family relocated to Amman when she was two-years-old for her father’s job
A source close to the family told the Mail: ‘Jordan was a very happy time for them all.’
But Mr Middleton would often have to wave goodbye to his wife and little girls when they flew back to the UK, where they still owned a red-brick semi in Bradfield Southend, Berkshire.
In September 1986 the family returned to their home in West Berkshire, and the future royal started at St. Andrew’s School in Pangbourne, where she remained until July 1995.
Not only was the Princess dedicated to her lessons and sport, but she was also passionate about arts and crafts, cooking and gardening.
She told the 2020 podcast: ‘I remember that from childhood, my amazing granny devoted so much time to us.
Kate (front row, C) is pictured in a hockey team photo during her time as a pupil at St Andrew’s School in Pangbourne
Kate has often spoken about how much she loved her childhood and the love and joy her parents brought her and her siblings. She is pictured here as a baby with her mother Carole Middleton
‘Playing, doing arts and crafts, cooking, gardening. I try and incorporate that into experiences I give my children now.
‘Also environments they split their time in – having a happy home a safe environment.’
In 1990, Kate and Pippa both joined the local Brownies club where they went on field trips, played sports, did needlework and earned badges.
During her time at St Andrew’s Prep it Kate turned her hand to sports and showed an interest in theatre, taking on the role of Eliza Doolittle, aged 11, in the school’s production of My Fair Lady.
Kate has spoken of adoring her time at her £16,950-a-year school, and even made a visit to St. Andrew’s in November 2012.
Something of a star pupil the future royal thrived at St Andrew’s Prep, where she won awards for both sport and music.
Michael Middleton with his daughters Kate and Pippa in Jordan, where the family lived between 1984 and 1986
According to one fellow pupil, Kate thrived in the school’s close-knit, family atmosphere.
There was also the Under 12/13 rounders team for which Kate – listed under her full name Catherine Middleton – was named the highest scorer of the season.
She was also a keen swimmer and athlete. On sports day she won the Under 12/13 200m in 31.24 seconds and set records in both the long jump and high jump of 4.14metres and 1.39 metres respectively.
On prize giving day, her prowess was rewarded with the Calvert Cup for rounders and the Leslie Cup for outstanding overall sporting achievement for a girl.
Kate attended St Andrew’s Prep school in Berkshire from 1986, when her family returned to the UK, until 1995
Kate was also captain of the school’s hockey team and a keen tennis player.
In the past few years, the Princess of Wales has reunited with two of her teachers from St Andrew’s; Denise Evans-Allford was the Duchess’ PE teacher, while Kevin Allford taught her French and German.
Mr Allford told the Press Association that Kate was a ‘hard worker and very conscientious.’
He added: ‘Obviously she was the same in sport. She was a tremendous athlete and swimmer. I used to be in charge of swimming and she was very, very good, as her sister was.’
The future royal had a brief stint at Downe House, all-girls boarding school, in Berkshire.
Kate (left) with younger sister Pippa (left) as bridesmaids at their uncle Gary Goldsmith’s wedding in 1991
The Princess of Wales was at the school for only two terms after revealing that she was picked on by other girls.
As a day girl, not a boarder, she was in the minority in the cliquey environment of a girls’ school, it is understood.
And former pupils say her reticent manner and gangly appearance made her a sitting duck for more assertive classmates.
The revelations come ahead of a book which claims to lift the lid on why Miss Middleton’s parents withdrew her from Downe House, where fees are £10,000 a term.
Kate (front row, L) is pictured in a rounders team photo during her time as a pupil at St Andrew’s School in Pangbourne
Susan Cameron, who was in charge of Downe House for seven years, told The Mail On Sunday: ‘Yes, there would be teasing.
‘It’s all part of the normal competition of growing up, of establishing a pecking order.
‘Girls are cliquey by nature and they can be rather cruel…They can sense those who are slightly weaker, or who haven’t shown their strengths yet, and it’s those girls who are likely to end up being picked on or teased.
‘I think it’s fair to say she was unsettled and not particularly happy. Maybe in Kate’s case she just kind of went quiet and didn’t say anything.’
The Princess of Wales revisiting her old school St Andrew’s Prep in 2012. As the former hockey team captain she gave the sport a go
The Princess of Wales then enrolled at the co-ed boarding school Marlborough College in Wiltshire in 1996, where she studied Chemistry, Biology and Art A-level.
Kate thrived at Marlborough College between 1996 and 2000 making lots of friends and joining the hockey team, which her sister Pippa later joined.
The royal enjoyed her time at Marlborough College where she stayed until the age of 18, before attending St. Andrew’s University, where she met Prince William.
This week the Princess of Wales has been promoting her Shaping Us early years campaign, which aims to increase public understanding of the crucial importance the first five years of a child’s life.
Princess of Wales pictured here at Leeds Kirkgate Market, while on a visit to the city to raise awareness for the unique importance of early childhood
Run by The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, the campaign seeks to ‘transform the issue from one of scientific interest to one of the most strategically important topics of our time’.
Earlier this week, she kicked off her new ‘Shaping Us’ initiative, which she described as her ‘life’s work’ with a glitzy reception at BAFTA in London, before she met with locals in Leeds to discuss the scheme on Tuesday.
This is a long-term project for the princess, beginning with how a child develops and the importance of the formative years.
It will ‘explore in more depth the importance of a child’s social and emotional world’ and the significance of relationships, surroundings and experiences.
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