December, 2010


31
Dec 10

29 Surprising facts about Kate

Lucky Kate Middleton! Christmas is barely over before she  will be showered with presents again on January 9, which is her 29th birthday.

You may think you already know a lot about her, but here are 29 surprising facts about the brunette from Berkshire.

 

1. She is marrying into a family renowned for its bright blue eyes, but hers are actually green

 

2. Kate owes her glowing complexion, which still looks dewy and fresh even after a night of clubbing, to avoiding alcohol. She doesn’t  touch a drop.

 

3. One of the best-tressed women in Britain, her glossy curtain of long, straight hair is the result of an expert blow-dry. At school and In her early years at  university she had an unruly mop of kinky curls she has now learned to tame.

 

4. Kate is a demon on the piste. She can outski and outlast William on any black run.

 

5. Like Princess Diana, her favourite sport is tennis. She even played on a court outside the rented house in Cornwall where she and her family celebrated Christmas a year ago.

 

6. While often seen stopping off at a Tesco  in North Wales, Kate is actually a Waitrose kind of girl. When at home in Chapel Row, Berkshire she drives off to the next village which boasts her favourite supermarket.

 

7. Kate grew up in a modest red brick semi in the small village of Bradfield Southend in Berkshire, where her family lived until July, 1995. It was even more modest when Kate’s parents moved there in 1980, later adding a side extension used as a playroom for the three Middleton children. 

 

8. Not surprisingly, Kate’s favourite colour for clothing is blue. She chose the blue Issa dress she wore on her engagement day, as she jokingly explained, ‘to match my sapphire engagement ring.’

 

9. Kate belongs to the ‘Less is more’ school of makeup, avoiding face powder for a natural, dewy look with only a trace of eyeliner and mascara.

 

10. In the seaside farmhouse she shares with William on Anglesey Kate has recreated the cosiness and comfort of the farmhouse north of St.Andrews where they first lived alone together during their last 18 months at university.

 

11. Sharing clothes with her mother  is one way canny Kate saves money. She turned up at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2006 wearing a brown fur hat, which Carole Middleton donned for Prince William’s graduation from Sandhurst the following December.

 

12. She is a High Street rather than a high fashion girl. She bought that much-admired white overcoat from Reiss.

 

13. To avoid the London paparazzi, she has been shopping in the Reading Mall, just a few miles from her family home. ‘We see her here all the time,’ one shop assistant told Hello!

 

14. High maintenance she is not. Her nails are kept short with a natural polish.

 

15. Apart from her sapphire and diamond engagement ring, Kate has always liked inexpensive, ethnic jewellery. But that seems set to change once she marries and has a tiara on her glossy hair.

 

16. Kate left Marlborough College with three A levels, two A grades in mathematics and art, and a B in English.

 

17. While William spent his Gap Year in exotic places like Kenya and Peru, art lover Kate went to Florence in September, 2000 for a 12 week Italian course at the British Institute.

 

18. While in Italy Kate shared a flat with several girls, including singer Chris Rea’s niece Alice Whitaker.

 

19. Kate’s artistic bent emerged while working for the High Street chain Jigsaw. In 2007 she designed a £42 silver and rose quartz necklace with the help of jeweller Claudia Bradby

 

20. Kate shares her January 9 birthday with singers Joan Baez and Crystal Gayle as well as the late President Nixon.

 

21. Like Prince William, Kate drives an Audi.

 

22. Kate first holidayed with William’s family when she joined him and Prince Charles in Klosters in 2004.

 

23. The first time she met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh was at Peter Phillips’ wedding in May, 2008.

 

24. William’s pet name for Kate is ‘Babykins.’

 

25. Her name for him is ‘Big Willie.’

 

26. Fun-loving Kate revealed her daring side when she turned up wearing Bunny ears at a Rampant Rabbit party at St.Kitt’s nightclub in Chelsea three years ago.

 

27. The Middletons live in a leafy village in a detached house surrounded by fields and woodlands. Behind the house is an area large enough for Prince William to land his helicopter on a flying visit.

 

28. Kate is the tallest bride to marry into the royal family for many decades. I am 5ft.8 and Princess Diana gave me a crick in my neck when I gazed up at her. Kate is even taller, around 5ft.11inches.

 

29. At St.Andrew’s boarding school  in Berkshire, Kate starred in an end-of-term play in a Victorian melodrama opposite a leading man called William. When a fortune teller predicts she will meet a handsome, wealthy man she asks, ‘Will he fall in love with me and marry me? Oh, how my heart flutters.”

Amazingly, this prediction really did turn out to be true.


17
Dec 10

Kate’s super-busy Christmas

Christmas is a manic time for most of us but this year it’s even busier for Kate Middleton, who will have a much longer gift list now she is joining the royal family.

She spent last Christmas in Cornwall with only her immediate family in a house rented from the Duchy of Cornwall estate, but this year, snowy weather permitting, she will be dashing about all over the country.

kate-christmas-blog.jpgShe is spending the weekend before Christmas with Prince William at Sandringham in Norfolk, supporting him as he attends a local Christmas spectacular for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry will be in Berlin the same weekend at a TV gala collecting a Golden Heart Award for his work with children’s charities.

Kate then goes back to join her parents Michael and Carole, brother James and sister Pippa for what may be the last time they all celebrate the festive season together.

Everyone who marries into the Queen’s immediate family is invited to be with her and Prince Philip at Sandringham House, their favourite home, where Kate will undoubtedly spend next Christmas as William’s bride.

Attending this family gathering of the Queen’s children and grandchildren in Norfolk is not exactly a royal rule but no one fails to show up without a convincing excuse.

Prince William has one this year as he volunteered to work over the Christmas weekend flying Search and Rescue missions at his base RAF Valley in Anglesey, so colleagues with young families could enjoy time off.

He will be sleeping in officers’ quarters at the base not at the farmhouse he shares with Kate a few miles away. So he will be tucking into festive fare supplied by Royal Air Force caterers rather than turkey and all the trimmings served up by the Queen’s chef at Sandringham.

But this means he will be off duty at New Year, when he and Kate are expected to be with her family, celebrating not just the start of a very thrilling New Year but also the beginning of their royal life together.

Kate got a taste of what this will be like when she met William’s extended family on December 16 at Buckingham Palace, just one month to the day after their engagement was announced.

She was invited to lunch by the Queen for the first time along with more than 50 other guests, including gangs of Gloucesters, crowds of Kents and dozens of other assorted royal grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews.

I watched her drive through the palace gates into the central inner courtyard in a silver Range Rover squashed in the back seat between William and a Scotland Yard protection officer. She looked excited but also perhaps a tiny bit apprehensive. And who can blame her? She was clearly the centre of attention as many of the family had not met her before.

When she drove out two and a half hours later she was laughing with William and Harry, clearly relieved that her big debut at the palace was over.

She may have a little time off between now and early January but then the countdown to her April wedding will start again. And there’s a wedding dress to buy, bridal attendants to choose and a million other details to sort out.

It looks like Kate will have an even busier New Year!


9
Dec 10

What a difference an engagement ring makes!

Not so long ago Kate Middleton couldn’t go anywhere without being snapped by the paparazzi. This meant making certain every time she walked out of her front door that she was perfectly groomed.

Now it’s reported she is posing for fashion photographer Mario Testino, who has just taken her official engagement photos. Naturally, hair and make-up experts were all on hand to make the result like a page from Vogue.

This is just one of the changes Prince William‘s fiancée is undergoing on her path to royal status.

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What an amazing difference an engagement ring makes!

A year ago I reported for HELLO! magazine on a carol concert held at St. Luke’s Church in Chelsea, London, in aid of one of Prince William’s charities.

Although William didn’t attend, it wasn’t surprising that his girlfriend Kate Middleton joined a gang of volunteers to serve drinks and nibbles outside the Church at the end of the evening.

Wearing a warm white overcoat she poured glasses of wine for guests and when the last one had left, she helped to clear up the mess, stashing all the rubbish into dustin bags.

Then she hailed a passing taxi to take her home.

Twelve months later and Kate turned up once again last week at this year’s carol concert at St.Luke’s, this time, dressed in a black coat and boots. But she didn’t lift a manicured finger.

Stepping out of a chauffeured Range Rover with an escort of five police bodyguards, she joined friends in the church for the service.

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Afterwards, while her pals served the 800 guests outside in the freezing porch, Kate stayed snug and warm inside, an honoured special guest. She didn’t have to serve trays of sausages and smoked salmon with other volunteers or pour drinks, they were all brought to her.

Hovering around throughout the evening were not one but two palace officials making certain that her first public appearance since her engagement went smoothly.

It was the same place she had been 12 months earlier, the same carols were sung and even the guests, pals like Sir Richard Branson’s gorgeous blonde daughter Holly, were the same, but there was something distinctly different about Miss Middleton.

It seemed the transition from commoner Kate to future crowned head was well underway.

For several years Kate has been a supporter of the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund for which the carol concert raised funds. It was set up in memory of a young guy, who tragically died in a car accident aged just 18 in 2002.

He had been at Ludgrove Prep School with William and his brother Thomas is the Prince’s best friend.

Naturally, Tom van Straubenzee is now one of Kate’s closest friends. He has often been her escort at parties when William is busy working. But now Kate has Scotland Yard’s finest shadowing her wherever she goes, she is not likely ever to feel lonely again.

And this is just the start of all the incredible changes that will happen to Kate as she becomes one of the merry wives of Windsor.


2
Dec 10

Nostalgia

Only 130 days to go now before Kate and Wills‘ big day. All this royal wedding fever fills me with nostalgia. It takes me back to July 29, 1981 when the Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer.

I was lucky enough to be one of a handful of journalists inside St.Paul’s Cathedral, perched on a seat closer to the bride than the end of her 25 ft. train (well, almost).

I still have my media access pass, which I had framed. It listed instructions from the Lord Chamberlain’s office about what to wear – ‘Officers – full ceremonial day dress (no swords,) civilians – morning dress or lounge suit and ladies – day dress with hat.’

 
diana-blog.jpgAlmost 30 years later I remember walking down Fleet Street to St.Paul’s carefully trying not to step on people sleeping on the pavement. We lowly reporters were required to arrive incredibly early, around 8.00am for the ceremony which began at 11.00am.

It was fascinating to watch all the VIPs taking their seats and note Princess Diana’s elder sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale creeping into her place near the high altar at the very last minute. She had stayed behind at Clarence House to help Diana get dressed, I learned later.

Of course, we were all counting the seconds until the bride appeared and we got a look at THE dress. At the first glimpse of Diana drowning inside that crumpled, tea cosy there was a universal sigh from the press pen, ‘Oh, it’s all creased!’ Looking back, it now seems a sad omen just like the way Diana mangled her vows, promising to marry ‘Philip Charles’ instead of Charles Philip.

But my lasting memory of that unforgettable day is the wonderful music Prince Charles personally chose for the occasion, soaring and swirling up into the great dome of St.Paul’s. Diana’s only input was choosing her favourite hymn I Vow to Thee My Country, which sadly was also sung at her funeral 16 years later.

There were no mobile phones then, so when the newlyweds left and the fanfares faded , I fought my way through the crowd out of a side door and ran all the way back to the office to file my glowing report.

Five years later when Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson we were all squeezed into much smaller Westminster Abbey. The bride arrived like a country girl with a wreath of flowers in her hair and walked out an hour later as a royal duchess with a tiara on her head. This lovely way of marking the transition from commoner to Prince’s bride seemed so romantic. Kate will have to try hard to better that.

I’ll also never forget the scent of the magnificent white flowers which filled every corner of the Abbey, transforming it into a summer garden.

 

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When Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999 the wedding took place in Windsor Castle so we were all denied the customary kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as crowds cheered in the Mall below.

Prince Charles and Camilla also celebrated their 2005 wedding at Windsor on a bitterly cold early April day. Standing in a roped-off area for reporters, my fingers were so frozen I could barely scribble a note.

I’m hoping that the weather is kinder to Kate and William at the end of April, as well as for everyone lining the route.

Up until then I’ll be blogging about what’s really going on behind palace doors as Miss Middleton gets ready to become Princess William – or whatever title the Queen bestows on the couple. So watch this space!

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