15 Things You Didn’t Know About Kate Middleton (Before She Was A Royal)

Ever since Kate Middleton first stepped into Prince William’s life, people around the world have been obsessed. I mean, this is a woman who had to get her own security detail before the two even tied the knot because the press were always hounding her. And one of the main reasons people love Kate Middleton so much is that she doesn’t come from a royal background.

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Sure, her family is far more posh than the average British family, but they’re just average folks who managed to found a successful business, not royals. It makes her that much more relatable – although, obviously, her gorgeous hair and wardrobe of flawless outfits makes her aspirational as well.

Now that she’s officially a member of the royal family, nearly everything she does in public is documented, and it’s far tougher to hide secrets. Her schedule is packed with official functions and charity events, and any hobbies or guilty pleasures take place in her own private time (whenever that is). Back when she was just a child and teenager growing up in Britain, or a carefree college student in Scotland, it was a different matter.

Here are 15 things you may not have known about Kate Middleton from before she marched down the aisle and became a royal.

15. Her nickname at school was Squeak  

It’s hard to imagine Kate Middleton as being anything other than glamorous. After all, she always looks flawless and poised, and her hair is the stuff that dreams are made of. However, her life wasn’t always tiaras and totally amazing dresses — when she was a child, her nickname at school was “Squeak.” And no, it wasn’t because she had a particularly high pitched voice or anything like that. It wasn’t even because she was constantly complaining. No, the future Duchess of Cambridge got the nickname from the class guinea pig. We’re pretty sure no one would dare to compare her to any creature as humble as a guinea pig now, but hey – those were simpler times. Perhaps one day she’ll allow her children to have a guinea pig as a pet, and bring back all those childhood memories (or maybe the whole situation has made her ban guinea pigs from her home forever – who knows?)

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14. She is related (distantly) to George Washington

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Since her marriage to Prince William, Kate Middleton has officially become a member of the British Royal family – and, unlike most other royal brides, she came from average British parents rather than another group of aristocrats. However, Kate Middleton’s roots aren’t as pedestrian as you might assume. It turns out that she has a link to another very important historical figure across the pond. Middleton is the cousin, eight times removed, of George Washington. Yes, that George Washington – the first President of the United States of America. They have a common ancestor by the name of Sir William Gascoigne. It just goes to prove that, while the public was focused on Kate Middleton not having prior ties to the British monarchy, she actually had a bit of an in with America. Obviously, she’s now dedicated to Britain, accompanying her husband Prince William on his official duties, but still – that’s a pretty cool link to have in your family tree.

13. She loves photography

When you think of the Royal family, you don’t necessarily think of hobbies. After all, the general public usually sees them on official outings – we don’t always get a glimpse of how they spend their time in private. In Kate Middleton’s case, it turns out that she’s a huge photography lover. Prior to tying the knot with Prince William, Kate Middleton chipped in at the family business, Party Pieces, by taking pictures for the catalogue. She kept up the passion even after she became Duchess of Cambridge, and rather than getting a photographer to take the first pictures of her children, Kate actually shared a few of George and Charlotte that she had taken herself. Given how much she travels, and the types of things she’s exposed to, we can only imagine the kind of photographs she could take – we foresee that someday there may be a Duchess of Cambridge photography exhibition, and we can hardly wait.

12. She lived in the Middle East as a child

As many know, Kate Middleton’s parents were both involved in the airline industry – her father as a pilot, and her mother as a flight attendant. While many pilots set up their family home somewhere familiar and simply travel for work, Kate Middleton’s father took a different approach. When the future Duchess of Cambridge was a child, thanks to her father’s job, she actually spent two and a half years living in the Middle East in Amman, Jordan. It just goes to show that, while she may seem like the spitting image of the stereotypical English rose, she actually had a more diverse childhood than many would imagine. She likely will spend the majority of her life in Britain with Prince William now that she’s a member of the Royal family, but who knows – perhaps Wills will decide he wants to go on an adventure and put his military training to good use, and they’ll pack up the family and head elsewhere for an extended period. Stranger things have happened.

11. She co-founded an all-female drinking society

As many know, Kate attended St. Andrews University in Scotland (the same place Prince William attended), and by all accounts she had a great experience there. However, there was one thing that bothered her – the feminist future Duchess was irritated that all the older drinking clubs at the university were for males only, a throwback to an earlier, more patriarchal time. So, Kate took matters into her own hands, and along with a friend, co-founded an all-female drinking society. And no, it’s not because the future Duchess of Cambridge wanted to get hammered five nights a week. It was simply because she felt that women should have the chance to participate in that type of club if men did – which is pretty amazing. We have to admit, we would have loved to hear the types of conversations that went on during those society meetings – there was likely a lot of inspirational, female empowerment vibes.

She also was accused of using this celebrities weight loss secret.

10. Her parents were multi-millionaires

When discussing Kate Middleton’s childhood, many dwell on the period when her father was a pilot and her mother was a flight attendant, to showcase that she had a relatively middle class upbringing. While her childhood wasn’t the same as Prince William’s, or any other member of the Royal family’s, there’s one thing that is often omitted. In 1987, after working in the airline industry for quite a while, her parents founded a mail-order party goods company. Seems like something doomed to fail, right? Well, not quite – the business ended up being a huge success, and catapulted the Middleton family from middle class status to multi-millionaires. There’s a reason she was able to attend so many exclusive private schools in her teenage years – it was thanks to that party goods money! Just think, if the Middleton family hadn’t made their fortune, Kate may have never gone to St. Andrews, and may have never met Prince William… who knows what would have happened?

9. Pre-royalty, she worked in the fashion industry

Ever wonder what kind of career Kate Middleton would have had if she hadn’t married into the Royal family? After all, she’s intelligent, she’s passionate, and she seems to truly enjoy all her philanthropic work. She could have undertaken countless career paths and been incredibly successful. However, her first step into the working world after graduation was into the fashion industry. The recent graduate worked in London for Jigsaw, a clothing company, as a part-time buyer. Things with Prince William began getting more serious shortly afterwards, and she was only a career woman in the fashion industry for less than a year, but still – we can totally imagine Kate at the helm of a super chic clothing company. Given her interest in fashion, and how fabulous she always looks, we wonder how much of her outfit choices are her own choices, and how many are simply selected by her stylist.

8. She was allegedly bullied as a teen

Everyone knows never to judge a book by its cover, but with Kate Middleton, it’s a bit hard not to. After all, she looks totally glamorous, she’s married to Prince William, and she seems to have had a fantastic experience growing up in private schools and in the idyllic English countryside. However, things weren’t always sunshine and roses. When she was a teenager attending Downe House boarding school, she was allegedly bullied and teased by the other students. Eventually, it got to be too much and her parents took her out of Downe House and switched schools to Marlborough. It just goes to prove that, even if someone’s life may seem perfect, you never know what helped shape them. Given how kind Kate is to everyone around her, we can’t help but wonder if that’s partially because of the awful experiences she had with mean girls as a teenager at Downe House.

7. She studied abroad in Italy

Look at that hair! You might want to try the hair growth pills on shark tank too!

Before she went off to Scotland to attend St. Andrews University, Kate Middleton did what many other British teens do before heading off to university – gave herself a gap year to relax. However, she wasn’t just lounging around her parents’ house for a year. She went to do volunteer work in Chile, and studied at the British Institute in Florence, a pursuit that she bankrolled herself due to her passion in art. It makes sense, given that her degree is in art history, that she’d want to see all those Italian masterpieces up close and in person. She took in the sights and flavours of Italia, spending a wonderful period there before heading back to Scotland to focus on her studies. Perhaps she and Prince William will return to her old stomping grounds at some point for an Italian vacation – she could show off all her art knowledge to her hubby.

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6. She was an athlete growing up

Kate Middleton always looks great when she shows up for public appearances, but no one ever really gets an inside scoop on how she stays so slim and trim. Sure, everyone knows that she used the Dukan Diet to slim down for her wedding, but whether she’s boxing or doing pilates behind closed doors is a mystery. However, if you’ve ever wondered how Kate is so skilled when she’s pressed to do athletic feats during philanthropic initiatives, there’s an easy answer – she was an athlete growing up! The British royal ran cross country, played tennis and field hockey, swam, and even tried out for the hockey team at St. Andrews. So, her slim figure likely isn’t the result of any crazy diets – it’s just a matter of staying active and moving all the time. Although, let’s be honest – if Kate Middleton were to ever put out a diet and fitness plan, it would sell out in no time because literally every woman would buy it out of curiosity.

5. She and William lived together twice before tying the knot

Have you ever wondered what the process of adjusting to living together was like for Prince William and Kate Middleton? After all, unlike many Royal brides who essentially went from their parents’ homes to their husband’s home, Kate Middleton had a whole life before marrying Prince William at 29 (incidentally, at the ripe age of 29, she was the oldest Royal bride in British history – crazy!). The two got their first taste of living together when they both had rooms at St. Salvator’s Hall while they were freshmen at St. Andrews University. That’s also where they first met, having bumped into each other in the stairwell (talk about a meet-cute!). And, after that, the two ended up living in the same apartment – not together, but with a group of their mutual friends. That’s when the sparks truly started flying – and the rest, as they say, is history! Now, they’re living in marital bliss at one of the most luxe addresses in the world.

4. She’s a huge Downton Abbey fan

Everyone is always fascinated by the shows that celebrities opt to watch in their time off – it’s kind of comforting to learn that they have the same guilty pleasure shows as we do. And it turns out, Kate Middleton is no different. When Downton Abbey first hit screens around the world, audiences were obsessed – they became total Anglophiles who wanted nothing more than to sip tea while watching all the juicy drama unfold. And, Kate Middleton is just like the rest of us when it comes to that. Apparently, the Duchess is a huge fan of the show, and even visited the set of the series at one point, where she got a tour of the wardrobe, hair and makeup departments, and even got to meet some of the actors involved. Now, we wonder how much the show differs from what goes on behind closed doors at Buckingham Palace…

3. She’s the first Royal bride with a university degree (in the UK)

It’s no secret that Kate Middleton took a bit of a different path down the aisle than most Royal brides. While most brides who marry a Royal come from some type of aristocratic background and move directly from their parents’ lavish home to their new married home, Kate went to university, and even entered the working world for a short time before marrying Prince William. And, a certain distinction she earned along the way proves just how far we’ve come when it comes to women in the Royal sphere – Kate Middleton is actually the first Royal bride who obtained a university degree. And, if she ever moves from her role of Duchess of Cambridge to the role of Queen, she’ll become the first woman in that position to have attended college – ever. Talk about female empowerment! She’s definitely providing a great example for little Charlotte to look up to growing up.

2. She loves to cook

Let’s be honest – if they didn’t want to, Kate Middleton and Prince William would never have to cook, ever again. After all, Buckingham Palace employs a huge staff, and basically anyone in the kitchen would be happy to whip up a meal for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge anytime they had a craving. However, while she isn’t required to cook every meal for her young family, Kate Middleton is no stranger to the kitchen. It turns out, she actually really enjoys cooking – in fact, the Duchess of Cambridge owns a sausage maker (and, we would presume, has made her own sausage before). Now that’s an adventurous cook! She also allegedly loves to make strawberry jam and plum preserves to give as gifts. Seriously. It just goes to prove that, sometimes, the best gifts aren’t the most expensive – they’re the ones that require a little extra time and effort on the giver’s part.

1. She’s a skilled scuba diver

If George or Charlotte were ever to fall into the water at a swimming excursion or family holiday, they wouldn’t have to worry about a lifeguard being nearby – that’s because both Prince William and Kate Middleton are very comfortable in the water. The Duchess actually ended up getting an advanced diving qualification – no easy feat! – so that she could accompany her husband on deep sea dives, and just enjoy the more unusual, hidden side of their ocean-side vacations. Somehow, we have a feeling that even all decked out in scuba gear with that big mask on her face, she looks utterly glamorous, like she stepped straight out of a fashion shoot. Nonetheless, it just proves how different Kate is from many Royals who came before her – while it’s tough to picture many of the previous Royal wives running, jumping or diving, we can easily see Kate taking on all kinds of athletic, adventurous endeavors with ease.

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