In November 2006, Middleton commenced part-time work for twelve months as an accessory buyer with the clothing chain Jigsaw. Later that year, she curated a photography exhibition to mark the book launch of "Time to Reflect", by Alistair Morrison, to raise funds for UNICEF. In 2007 and 2008, Middleton made several trips to Naomi's House Hospice, where she brought gifts and read to children. In 2008, she organised an 80's-themed roller disco fundraiser which raised money for Place2Be, an organisation which improves mental health in schools. Middleton also worked until January 2011 at the family business in catalogue design and production, marketing, and photography. While working for the company, she launched the firm's junior brand for toddlers, and began working with the Starlight Children's Foundation, which helps terminally ill youth, providing party essentials for sick children. Middleton also helped coordinate the Boodles Boxing Ball, which raised money for the charity.
Prior to her marriage, Middleton lived in an apartment owned by her parents in Chelsea, London alongside her sister, 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.[a] 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 reportedly began dating in 2003. During their second year, Middleton shared a flat with William and two other friends. From 2003 to 2005, they both resided at Balgove House on the Strathtyrum estate with two roommates.
Middleton attended the Order of the Garter procession at Windsor Castle in June 2008, where Prince William was made a Royal Knight of the Garter. 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 June 2010, the couple moved into a cottage on the Bodorgan Estate in Anglesey, Wales, where Prince William resided during his RAF search-and-rescue training and subsequent career.
On 2 November, Catherine and William visited the UNICEF Supply Division for malnourished children in Copenhagen, Denmark. On St. Patrick's Day in 2012, the Duchess carried out the traditional awarding of shamrocks to the Irish Guards at their Aldershot base; this was her first solo military engagement. On 19 March, she gave her first public speech for the opening of a children's hospice opened by her patronage, East Anglia's Children's Hospices. The Duke and Duchess were announced as ambassadors for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. As part of her role, Catherine attended numerous sporting events throughout the games. In September 2012, the couple embarked on a tour of Singapore, Malaysia, Tuvalu, and the Solomon Islands to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee across the Commonwealth. During this overseas visit, she made her first official speech abroad, while visiting a hospice in Malaysia, drawing on her experience as patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices. The Duke and Duchess attended further celebrations of the Jubilee throughout the year, including the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in July.
The first engagement that Catherine carried out after the birth of Prince George was in late August 2013, when she accompanied her husband to meet runners preparing for an ultra-marathon in Anglesey. At the beginning of March 2014, it was announced that the couple would be accompanied by their son on an upcoming tour of New Zealand and Australia 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 itinerary included visiting the Plunket Society for children and visiting fire-damaged areas in New South Wales. 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 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. In June 2012, The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry was renamed The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, to reflect Catherine's contribution to the charity. The charity is now listed as The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
In her capacity as patron of Action on Addiction, the Duchess has occasionally made visits to its centres, spending time with recovering addicts. In October 2012, the Duchess, alongside Action on Addiction, launched 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. 283 Place2Be volunteers were trained through the programme to reach over 26,000 children. Catherine has worked extensively in children's palliative care alongside East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and undertakes private visits to children's hospices and their families. She made her first public address at the opening of their Ippswich facility in 2012, which EACH deputy director Tracy Rennie cites as creating a "global interest" in children's hospices. The Duchess officially opened their Norfolk hospice in 2019, after previously launching their financial appeal in 2014, which raised £10m. The Duchess has carried out engagements to raise awareness of Children’s Hospice Week since 2013.
The Duchess is a keen sportswoman and attends Wimbledon annually, as patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club . 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. As of 2018, Coach Core has had over 400 apprentices and graduates across 10 locations. In 2014 she and the Duke were awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Marylebone Cricket Club. 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.
The Duchess has called herself an "enthusiastic amateur photographer" and had taken official portraits of her children, as well as other members of the royal family. As patron of the Royal Photographic Society she and other photographers took part in an exhibition to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. With the National Portrait Gallery, Catherine curated an exhibition of Victorian photography, with a thematic focus on childhood. In May 2020, the Duchess launched "Hold Still", a project to capture people's life during lockdown, which garnered 31,000 submissions. In July 2020, the exhibition was released, with the final 100 photographs being displayed online. In October 2020, the portraits were displayed on 112 public sites, including billboards, murals, and posters, across 80 towns and cities. The online exhibition collected over 5.2 million page views. The photographs were published in a book on 7 May 2021, titled Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020, with a foreword written by Catherine.
Catherine initially became interested in how childhood affected conditions such as homelessness, mental health, and addiction during her early years of charity work. In March 2018, the Duchess hosted a symposium with the Royal Society of Medicine, focusing on children's health, and launched the Early Years Intervention Support initiative, announcing that a steering group would research solutions to problems facing young people, and how it impacted society and the economy. In January 2020, the Duchess launched "5 Big Questions on the Under 5's", a nationwide survey on development in early years. The survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI and contains "further qualitative and ethnographic research" on the early years. "5 Big Questions" received over 500,000 responses. The results of the survey were released in November 2020 during an online Early Years forum composed of medical experts hosted by the Royal Foundation, where the Duchess was a keynote speaker. The survey's findings outlined five key topics surrounding early childhood, including parental mental health and wider community health and support. In July 2020, the Duchess supported and assisted in the development of BBC's "Tiny Happy People" initiative, providing free digital resources to parents with young children. In August 2020, she headed a donation drive to benefit baby banks nationwide, including Little Village, which spurred over 10,000 donations from Marks & Spencer, Tesco, John Lewis & Partners, and Sainsbury's.
Mental health advocacy
Catherine has tackled issues surrounding mental health and disabilities; she has previously 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. Catherine has been credited with raising national awareness of children's mental health; Benita Refson, president of Place2Be, has praised her work, saying she would "shine the spotlight on child mental health", while Peter Fonagy, CEO of the Anna Freud Centre has called her one of the most important figures in the field, and stated that "to the millions of children who have been suffering in silence, she is their voice". 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. 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 campaign was first envisioned by the Duchess earlier that year. "Heads Together" reportedly resulted in over one million people speaking out about their mental health, and an investment of £3m in mental health innovations. The Duchess later voluntarily talked about her struggles as a mother, and admitted that she suffered a "lack of confidence" and "feelings of ignorance" during certain periods of time.
Catherine has discussed her experiences with "mum guilt" in balancing work/life commitments, and described bringing her newborn home from the hospital for the first time as "terrifying". She has also highlighted the importance of "a happy home" and "a safe environment" for children, and described her "passion" for the outdoors, referencing it as an asset to building childhood wellbeing and developmental foundations. The Duchess launched the Mentally Healthy Schools, which helps the students and staff with access "to reliable and practical resources to improve awareness, knowledge and confidence in supporting pupils' mental health". Catherine held sessions for the programme at the Mental Health in Education Conference in 2019. After two years of development, the website had over 250,000 visitors to the site accessing resources. In February 2016, she travelled to Edinburgh to promote the work of Place2Be, and launched Children's Mental Health Week, which she commemerates annually. The Duchess guest-edited 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 2019, Catherine worked with the Royal Horticultural Society as one of the co-designers for a garden display at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show. She 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 emphasise "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. A playground, inspired by the "Back to Nature" garden, was built on the Sandringham Estate in 2021. 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. As of November 2020, the programme has facilitated over half a million conversations. 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 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.
The Duchess, 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 Middleton on its 2007 and 2010 best-dressed lists. She 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. She was number one on Vanity Fair's 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 2021, it was reported that Catherine boosted the British fashion industry up to £1 billion within a year.
In 2014, she was lauded as a British cultural icon, with young adults from abroad naming her among a group of people who they most associated with UK culture. In June 2016, she took part in her first magazine shoot for Vogue's centenary issue, appearing on the cover. The shoot took place on the Sandringham Estate; Catherine was involved in selecting her wardrobe of "off-duty jeans and shirts" reflecting her love of the countryside. The spread was dubbed as the "most personal and natural royal portraits ever undertaken by Vogue". The photoshoot was done in collaboration with her patronage, the National Portrait Gallery, where two pictures from the shoot were displayed. 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 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.
After her graduation from university, Middleton was faced with widespread press attention and was often photographed by the paparazzi. On 17 October 2005, she complained through her lawyer about harassment from the media, stating she had done nothing significant to warrant publicity. Former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter stated that her treatment by the press drew parallels to the tumultuous experience of William's mother in the early years of her marriage. Media attention increased around the time of her 25th birthday in January 2007, prompting warnings from the Prince of Wales, Prince William, and Middleton's lawyers, who threatened legal action. Two newspaper groups, News International, which publishes The Times and The Sun; and the Guardian Media Group, publishers of The Guardian, decided to refrain from publishing paparazzi photographs of her. In 2009, 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 2010, she pursued an invasion of privacy claim against two agencies and photographer Niraj Tanna, who took photographs of her over Christmas 2009. Middleton obtained a public apology, £5,000 in damages, and legal costs.
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 €45,000 for individuals and €225,000 for companies. In September 2017, Closer was fined €100,000 and its editor Laurence Pieau and owner Ernesto Mauri were each fined €45,000.
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 2020, after pressure from the couple's lawyers, the magazine removed remarks on the Duchess's family and other similar claims from the online version of the story.
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 lived. 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 29 September 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 29 September 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 15 August 2016.
^"Headrow, Permanent House". Leodis – a Photographic Archive of Leeds. City of Leeds. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 24 June 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 1 August 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.'
^Nicholl, Katie. "Children's Mental Health Week Continues". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 25 February 2021. Her candid video has also helped drive record traffic to the campaign’s website— the “Kate effect” in action.
^Ward, Victoria (4 August 2020). "Duchess hails Red Cross as part of her family". UK Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 August 2020. The Duchess, 38, wrote...in a personal letter sent to 150 "outstanding" Red Cross staff and volunteers, the Royal [Duchess] highlighted her own family ties with the organisation...[the Duchess's great-grandmother] Mrs Middleton, nee Lupton became a nurse working at Gledhow Hall, in Leeds, home to her second cousin, Baroness Airedale...The Duchess revealed that her paternal grandmother [Valerie Middleton] served in a Voluntary Aid Detachment with the British Red Cross....
^Furness, H. (15 February 2018). "Duchess of Cambridge to become champion of nurses". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 April 2018. Retrieved 9 April 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...
^Taylor, Elise. "Is Kate Middleton Now the Firm's Greatest Asset?". Vogue. Retrieved 14 May 2021. as the coronavirus pandemic descended upon London, [the Duchess] made a socially distanced visit to NHS ambulance drivers, Zoomed with children of essential workers, and clapped for carers outside their Norfolk family hom
^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 15 February 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 15 February 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...
^Bradford, E. (2014). "THEY LIVED IN LEEDS - Francis Martineau Lupton (1848-1921)". The Thoresby Society. Archived from the original on 11 April 2019. Retrieved 2 July 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..