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The Duchess of Cambridge's charity works focus mainly on issues surrounding young children, addiction, and art. To encourage people to open up about their mental health issues, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry (now the Duke of Sussex) initiated the mental health awareness campaign "Heads Together" in April 2016. The media have called Catherine's impact on British and American fashion the "Kate Middleton effect". In 2012 and 2013, Time magazine selected her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
In November 2006, Middleton worked as an accessory buyer with the clothing chain Jigsaw, where she worked part-time until November 2007. She also worked until January 2011 at the family business in catalogue design and production, marketing, and photography. Prior to her marriage, Middleton lived in an apartment owned by her parents in Chelsea, London, which was estimated to be worth £1-1.4 million. In 2018, Catherine's total net worth was estimated at £5-7.3 million, most of which is from her parents' company.
In 2001, Middleton met Prince William while they were students in residence at St Salvator's Hall at the University of St Andrews. She reportedly caught William's eye at a charity fashion show at the university in 2002 when she appeared on the stage wearing a see-through lace dress. The couple began dating in 2003, although their relationship remained unconfirmed. During their second year, Middleton shared a flat with William and two other friends. On 17 October 2005, Middleton complained through her lawyer about harassment from the media, stating she had done nothing significant to warrant publicity.
In April 2007, Prince William and Middleton ended their relationship. The couple decided to break up during a holiday in the Swiss resort of Zermatt. Newspapers speculated about the reasons for the split, although these reports relied on anonymous sources. Middleton and her family attended the Concert for Diana in July 2007 at Wembley Stadium, where she and Prince William sat two rows apart. The couple were subsequently seen together in public on a number of occasions and news sources stated that they had "rekindled their relationship".
On 17 May 2008, Middleton attended the wedding of Prince William's cousin Peter Phillips to Autumn Kelly, which the prince did not attend. On 19 July 2008, she was a guest at the wedding of Lady Rose Windsor and George Gilman. Prince William was away on military operations in the Caribbean, serving aboard HMS Iron Duke. In 2010, Middleton pursued an invasion of privacy claim against two agencies and photographer Niraj Tanna, who took photographs of her over Christmas 2009. She obtained a public apology, £5,000 in damages, and legal costs.
Marriage and children
The newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the balcony of Buckingham Palace (2011)
William and Catherine with their first son the day after his birth (2013)
Prince William and Catherine Middleton became engaged in October 2010, in Kenya, during a 10-day trip to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to celebrate his passing the RAF helicopter search and rescue course. Clarence House announced the engagement on 16 November 2010. Prince William gave Middleton the engagement ring that had belonged to his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. The couple married in Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011 (St. Catherine's Day), with the day declared a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Estimates of the global audience for the wedding ranged around 300 million or more, whilst 26 million watched the event live in Britain alone. On marriage, Catherine assumed the style "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge".
In October, several months after the wedding, Commonwealth leaders pledged that they would implement changes in British royal succession law to adopt absolute primogeniture, meaning the first child of the Duke and Duchess, whether male or female, would be next in line to the throne after their father.
Middleton's first public appearance with Prince William following the announcement of their engagement was at a fundraising event organised by the Teenage Cancer Trust in December 2010. She was formally introduced to public life on 24 February 2011, two months before the wedding, when she and Prince William attended a lifeboat-naming ceremony in Trearddur, Anglesey, in North Wales. A day later they appeared in St Andrews to launch the university's 600th anniversary celebrations. In March 2011, the couple toured Belfast. Their last public engagement before the wedding was a visit to Darwen Aldridge Community Academy. On 16 February 2011, Clarence House announced the couple's first royal tour of Canada would take place in July 2011. In May 2011, shortly after the wedding, Clarence House announced the Duke and Duchess would extend their tour to visit California. This was to be the Duchess's first visit to the United States.
Catherine and William meet the Obamas at Buckingham Palace two weeks after their wedding (2011)
The Duchess's first official engagement after the wedding came in May, when she and her husband met Barack Obama, the President of the United States, and First Lady Michelle Obama. On 26 October 2011, she undertook her first solo event for In Kind Direct, stepping in for the Prince of Wales, who was in Saudi Arabia. On 2 November, the Duke and Duchess visited the UNICEF Supply Division Centre for supplying food to malnourished African children in Copenhagen, Denmark. On St. Patrick's Day, 17 March 2012, the Duchess carried out the traditional awarding of shamrocks to the Irish Guards at their base in Aldershot; this was her first solo military engagement. On 19 March, she gave her first speaking engagement for the opening of the Treehouse, a new children's hospice opened by East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), a charity of which she is a patron.
After the birth of Prince George, the Duchess carried out her first engagement in late August when she accompanied the Duke to meet runners preparing for an ultra-marathon on the isle of Anglesey, where they had a residence. At the beginning of March 2014, details were announced of the half-month-long tour to New Zealand and Australia that the couple and their son would be taking from 16 to 25 April. The tour was Catherine's first visit to the area and Prince George's first major public appearance since his christening in October 2013. The tour began in New Zealand where they visited Wellington, Blenheim, Auckland, Dunedin, Queenstown and Christchurch. It ended in Australia where they visited Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Brisbane, Uluru, Adelaide, and Canberra. In June 2014, the couple visited France to attend the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings at Gold Beach.
On 21 July 2014, it was announced that the Duchess would be making her first solo trip, visiting the island of Malta on 20-21 September 2014, when the island was celebrating its 50th independence anniversary. Her trip was cancelled, with the Duke taking her place, after the announcement of her second pregnancy in early September. In December 2014, the couple visited the United States and attended a charity dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In April 2016, the Duchess and her husband undertook a tour to India and Bhutan. The Duke and Duchess toured Canada again in September 2016. On 11 October 2016, the Duchess made her first solo foreign trip to The Netherlands. Countries visited by the couple in 2017 include France, Poland, Germany, and Belgium. The Duchess takes official portraits of her children and joined the Royal Photographic Society in 2017. She visited Luxembourg City in May 2017 for the Treaty of London commemorations. In January 2018, the couple visited Sweden and Norway. The Duchess accompanied her husband on a tour of Pakistan in October 2019, which was the royal family's first visit to the country in 13 years.
In March 2011, the Duke and Duchess set up a gift fund held by The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry to allow well-wishers who wanted to give them a wedding gift to donate money to charities they care about instead. The gift fund supported 26 charities of the couple's choice, incorporating the armed forces, children, the elderly, art, sport and conservation. These causes were close to their hearts and reflected the experiences, passions and values of their lives.
The Duchess of Cambridge's charity works focus mainly on issues surrounding young children, addiction, and art. She has a number of patronages: The Art Room, National Portrait Gallery, East Anglia's Children's Hospice, Action on Addiction, Place2Be, Natural History Museum, Anna Freud Centre, Sportsaid, and The 1851 Trust. The Duchess, who was an art student, takes an interest in art and handpicked the Art Room, which "helps disadvantaged children express themselves" through art therapy, and the National Portrait Gallery. In her capacity as patron of Action on Addiction, the Duchess has occasionally made visits to its centres, spending time with recovering addicts. The Duchess is joint Patron of 100 Women in Hedge Fund's Philanthropic Initiatives, along with Prince William and Prince Harry. She is also a local volunteer leader with the Scout Association in north Wales, of which the Queen is patron, and the Duke of Kent is president. It aims to provide activities to over 400,000 young people in the UK.
In 2012, together with the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, Catherine launched Coach Core. The program was set up following the 2012 Olympics and provides apprenticeship opportunities for people who desire to pursue a career as a professional coach. In October 2012, the Duchess gave her royal patronage to the M-PACT programme (Moving Parents and Children Together), one of the only UK programmes to focus specifically on the impact of drug addiction on families. In December 2015, she assumed the patronage of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets for youths 12-19 years of age. The Duke of Edinburgh, who had been patron of the RAF Cadets for 63 years, formally handed over during an audience at Buckingham Palace. In 2017, she replaced the Queen as patron of The Lawn Tennis Association,All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, and Action for Children.
In January 2018, locks of her hair were reportedly donated to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which makes wigs for children diagnosed with cancer. In February 2018, the Duchess became the patron of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. She also launched Nursing Now, a three-year worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the profile of nurses. She said the campaign was personal to her as both her grandmother and great-grandmother were volunteer nurses. In March 2018, Kensington Palace announced the Duchess of Cambridge would become the first royal patron of the Victoria and Albert Museum. In July 2019, she lent her support to Backyard Nature, a campaign created to inspire "children, families and communities to get outside and engage with nature". In August 2019, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge competed in the King's Cup yachting regatta to raise money for eight different charities. In December 2019, she succeeded the Queen as Royal Patron of Family Action.
In December 2019, after consulting various organisations and experts, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced the Earthshot Prize, which will be given to five individuals or organisations who could come up with solutions for environmental problems between 2021 and 2030. The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will run the project, which is also supported by philanthropists.
In June 2019, she succeeded the Queen as patron of the Royal Photographic Society. In January 2020, she and other photographers took part in an exhibition to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. In May 2020, the Duchess as the patron of the National Portrait Gallery launched "Hold Still", a project to capture people's life in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Advocating for mental health
Catherine, who has tackled issues surrounding mental health and disabilities, has made visits to charities and hospitals such as St Thomas' Hospital and Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute to spend time with mothers and children who deal with these issues. To encourage people to open up about their mental health issues, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry initiated the mental health awareness campaign "Heads Together" in April 2016. The Duchess later voluntarily talked about her problems as a mother, and admitted that she suffered a "lack of confidence" and "feelings of ignorance" during certain periods of time.
The Duchess of Cambridge also launched the Mentally Healthy Schools, a project which helps the students and staff with access "to reliable and practical resources to improve awareness, knowledge and confidence in supporting pupils' mental health." Benita Refson, president of Place2Be, one of Catherine's patronages, has praised the Duchess's work saying she would help "shine the spotlight on child mental health." In February 2016, she travelled to Edinburgh to promote the work of Place2Be, launched Children's Mental Health Week, and contributed to the HuffPost UK as a part of the Young Minds Matter movement, an effort "to raise awareness for children's mental health issues." The Duke and Duchess later met with members and representatives of Young Minds and Youthscape to promote their mental health campaign. In recognition of their work with charities concerned with children's mental health, the Duchess and her husband were awarded the Gold Blue Peter badge, an award previously granted to the Queen. During a speech at the Royal Foundation forum in 2018, the Duchess said she would continue her work to raise awareness for mental health and said that "The mental health of children and adults is one area where a long-term view will make all the difference to future generations."
In January 2019, it was confirmed that the Duchess would work together with the Royal Horticultural Society as one of the co-designers for a garden display at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show. Catherine designed the "Back to Nature Garden" together with Andree Davies and Adam White. The garden, which featured "a tree house, waterfall, rustic den and a campfire" among other parts, was unveiled at the Chelsea Flower Show in May 2019 to emphasize "the benefits the natural world brings to mental and physical well-being". The garden was later expanded and moved to Hampton Court Palace as a part of the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. In May 2019, as a part of their "Heads Together" initiative, the Duchess of Cambridge together with her husband and in-laws, launched Shout, a text messaging service for those who suffer from mental issues. In October 2019, the Duchess of Cambridge, together with other members of the royal family, voiced a PSA video for Public Health England "as part of its Every Mind Matters program". In January 2020, Catherine launched a national survey on early childhood development by embarking on a 24-hour tour of the United Kingdom. Ipsos MORI run the survey between 21 January to 21 February on behalf of the Royal Foundation to encourage people to take part in the conversation about the issues concerning children under 5. In late March 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge started supporting a new mental health initiative by the Public Health England amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. In Britain's Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week of May 2020, she engaged in a video call with new parents, midwives and other maternity service professionals to promote her message of mental health awareness during the pandemic.
Public image and style
Middleton, prominent for her fashion style, has been placed on numerous "best dressed" lists.The Daily Telegraph selected her as the Most Promising Newcomer on its 2006 list of style winners and losers.Tatler placed her at number eight on its yearly list of the top ten style icons in 2007.People featured her on its 2007 and 2010 best-dressed lists. Middleton was named one of Richard Blackwell's ten Fabulous Fashion Independents of 2007. In June 2008, Style.com selected her as its monthly beauty icon. In July 2008, Vanity Fair included her on its international best-dressed list. In February 2011 the Global Language Monitor named her the Top Fashion buzzword of the 2011 season. In January 2012, the Headwear Association voted her Headwear Person of the Year. Middleton was number one on Vanity Fairs annual best dressed lists in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; she also appeared as the cover star in 2012. The Duchess was named to the International Best Dressed Hall of Fame List in 2014. In 2014, she was already being regarded as a British cultural icon, with young adults from abroad naming her among a group of people who they most associated with UK culture. These included: William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth II, David Beckham, J. K. Rowling, The Beatles, Charlie Chaplin, Elton John and Adele. In June 2016, she took part in her first magazine shoot for Vogue's centenary issue appearing on the cover. In 2018, Tatler named her on its list of Britain's best dressed people, praising her for "recycling her looks, rather than wearing them as one-offs", as well as her use of "both high street and high-end brands".
The "Kate Middleton effect" is the trend that the Duchess is reported to have had on others in sales of particular products. While Catherine wears items from many new designers, she has also worn dresses by Catherine Walker, who designed many of Diana's favourite evening gowns and day suits. She has worn outfits, hats and ensembles by many other fashion designers. The brands she favours are noted in the media.
The Duchess, who attended the 71st British Academy Film Awards, did not participate in Time's Up movement calling for women to wear black on the red carpet. Royal protocol forbids members of the royal family from taking part in political movements but she wore a black sash and carried a black handbag as a variation to the informal black dress code. In March 2018, together with the Countess of Wessex, the Duchess hosted the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange reception at Buckingham Palace during 2018 London Fashion Week.
In 2009, before her engagement to William, Middleton was awarded £10,000 damages and an apology from the photographic press agency Rex Features Ltd. after she was photographed playing tennis on Christmas Eve while on holiday in Cornwall.
In September 2012, the French edition of Closer and the Italian gossip magazineChi, published photographs of the Duchess sun-bathing topless while on holiday at the Château d'Autet (a private château on a 260-ha estate 71 km north of Aix-en-Provence). Analysts from The Times believed the photographs were taken from the D22 (Vaucluse) road half a kilometre from the pool--a distance that would require an 800-mm or a 1000-mm lens. On 17 September 2012, the Duke and Duchess filed a criminal complaint with the French prosecution department and launched a claim for civil damages at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre. The following day the courts granted an injunction against Closer, prohibiting further publication of the photographs and announced a criminal investigation would be initiated. Under French law, punitive damages cannot be awarded but intrusions of privacy are a criminal offence carrying a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to EUR45,000 for individuals and EUR225,000 for companies. In September 2017, Closer was fined EUR100,000 and its editor Laurence Pieau and owner Ernesto Mauri were each fined EUR45,000.
In December 2012, two Australian radio hosts, Michael Christian and Mel Greig, called King Edward VII's Hospital where the Duchess was an in-patient for hyperemesis gravidarum. Pretending to be the Queen and the Prince of Wales, Greig and Christian spoke to a nurse on the Duchess's ward, enquiring about her condition. Following a hospital inquiry and a public backlash against the hoax, Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who put the call through to the ward, committed suicide. The radio hosts subsequently apologised for their actions.
In February 2013, Chi published the first photos of Catherine's exposed baby bump, taken during her vacation on the private island of Mustique. The British press refused to publish the paparazzi shots. While the Duchess was visiting the Blue Mountains in Sydney, a picture was taken of her bare bottom as her dress blew up. Many newspapers outside the UK published the picture.
On 14 August 2015, Kensington Palace published a letter detailing what it stated were the "dangerous" and invasive efforts of the media to get paparazzi pictures of Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Jason Knauf, communications secretary to the Cambridges, wrote the letter to media standards organisations in various countries.
In May 2020, Kensington Palace said that the cover story of Tatler magazine titled 'Catherine the Great' contained "a swathe of inaccuracies and false misrepresentations". Despite the palace's statement that most of the material was not given to them before publication, the magazine's editor-in-chief announced that he would stand behind the story as the palace had been aware of it for months.
In September 2013, the Queen granted a conjugal coat of arms to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, consisting of their individual arms displayed side by side, beneath a helm and coronet denoting the duke's status as grandson of the sovereign. Below is shown the earlier grant of the duchess's personal arms, impaled with those of her husband.
Quarterly 1st and 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langed Azure (England), 2nd Or a lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure within a double tressure flory counterflory of the second (Scotland), 3rd Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (Ireland), the whole differenced with a label of three points Argent with the central point charged with an escallop Gules (Prince William); Impaled with a shield per pale Azure and Gules, a chevron Or, cotised Argent, between three acorns slipped and leaved Or (Middleton).
To the dexter the Lion as borne and used as a Supporter by "Our Dearly Beloved Grandson His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales Duke of Cambridge" and to the sinister a Hind Argent unguled and gorged with "a Coronet of Our Dearly Beloved Grandson's degree Or". The hind is white (argent) and is hooved, unguled and has about its neck (is gorged with) the Duke of Cambridge's coronet. Both the hooves and coronet are gold (Or).
The dividing line (between two colours) down the centre is a canting of the name 'Middle-ton'. The acorns (from the oak tree) are a traditional symbol of England and a feature of west Berkshire, where the family have lived for 30 years. The three acorns also denote the family's three children. The gold chevron in the centre of the arms is an allusion to Carole Middleton's maiden name of Goldsmith. The two white chevronels (narrow chevrons above and below the gold chevron) symbolise peaks and mountains, and the family's love of the Lake District and skiing.
Catherine's previous coat of arms depicted the shield from her father Michael Middleton's coat of arms shaped into a lozenge hanging from a blue ribbon symbolising her unmarried state. Her sister, Pippa, also used the same lozenge-shaped coat of arms prior to her 2017 marriage. Her brother, James, will in due course inherit his father's coat of arms.
^Rayner, Gordon (13 September 2013). "'Middle-class' Duchess of Cambridge's relative wore crown and attended George V's coronation". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 21 June 2016. Retrieved 2016. Two of her father Michael's relations were baronesses who were invited to successive coronations, and one of them, Baroness Airedale, was photographed wearing a coronet and ceremonial robes on the day of George V's coronation in 1911.....some of the family wealth trickled down to the Duchess and her siblings through trust funds set up decades ago to pay for the education of members of the family
^"Kate Middleton Biography Duchess (1982-)". A&E Television Networks. Archived from the original on 1 October 2016. Retrieved 2016. It was on this job at British Airways that Carole met Michael Middleton, a dispatcher, whose wealthy family hails from Leeds and which has ties to British aristocracy.
^Reed, Michael (2016). "Gledhow Hall". House and Heritage - David Poole. Archived from the original on 6 September 2016. Retrieved 2016.
^"Headrow, Permanent House". Leodis - a Photographic Archive of Leeds. City of Leeds. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 2016. As Chairman of the Leeds General Infirmary, Henry (Dubs Middleton) had played host to Princess Mary when she visited the Leeds General Infirmary in 1932
^Beckford, Martin (29 April 2011). "Royal wedding: Prince William and Kate Middleton become Duke and Duchess of Cambridge". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 October 2013. Retrieved 2013. Buckingham Palace said in a statement published at 8 am on Friday: 'The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince William of Wales. 'His titles will be Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus. 'Prince William thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge and Miss Catherine Middleton on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.'
^Furness, H. (15 February 2018). "Duchess of Cambridge to become champion of nurses". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 April 2018. Retrieved 2018. The Duchess' own great-grandmother, Olive Middleton, is known to have worked as a nurse, caring for wounded servicemen after the Leeds estate belonging to a cousin - Florence, Baroness Airedale - was turned into a field hospital. There, in Gledhow Hall, she is reported to have nursed men...
^Hughes, A. (27 November 2017). "Kate Middleton family tree: Lineage of Prince William's 'commoner' wife MAPPED". UK Daily Express. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 2020. ...her [Kate's] father, who came from a wealthy family with ties to the British aristocracy...[Michael's] family used to entertain members of the British Royal Family in Leeds in the 1920s...Richard Noel's son was Captain Peter Middleton, an airline pilot who acted as a first officer to the Duke of Edinburgh on a two-month flying tour of South America in the 1960s.
^A Photographic Archive of Leeds, Leodis. "Headingley Castle". Leeds Library and Information Service, Leeds City Council. Archived from the original on 4 November 2014. Retrieved 2015. The Luptons of Leeds were landed gentry; a political and business dynasty
^Rayner, Gordon (13 September 2013). "'Middle-class' Duchess of Cambridge's relative wore crown and attended George V's coronation". The Telegraph. p. 7. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 2015. ...relatives were very much landed gentry and some were titled...Researchers have discovered that relations of her father Michael were baronesses who were invited to successive coronations, and one of them,...was photographed wearing a coronet and ceremonial robes on the day of George V's coronation in 1911...Baroness von Schunck, was also invited to the coronation of George V...
^Gutteridge, N. (2 July 2016). "PICTURED: Kate's great grandmother and her own extraordinary contribution to Britain's war". UK Daily Express. Archived from the original on 21 October 2019. Retrieved 2019. Born Olive Lupton, she, her three brothers and sister enjoyed the life of aristocratic luxury before Britain was ravaged by the outbreak of the Great War. She grew up in opulent surroundings at the family's ancestral seat of Potternewton Hall Estate, near Leeds in Yorkshire, after being born into one of the pre-eminent families of her time.
^Bradford, E. (2014). "THEY LIVED IN LEEDS - Francis Martineau Lupton (1848-1921)". The Thoresby Society. Archived from the original on 11 April 2019. Retrieved 2020. He had a comfortable, favoured childhood: first at Potternewton Hall, a handsome Queen Anne house, long demolished, and then at 'Beechwood', an impressive mansion (now offices) set in parkland in Elmete Lane, Roundhay...and they moved to a new, handsome house, 'Rockland', at the top of St Mary's Road, Newton Park, built on part of the Lupton estate...In 1914 his daughter Olive married a Leeds solicitor, Richard Middleton - a union which has famously linked the family story to the ancestry of the present Duchess of Cambridge..