Not since Charles and Di were married have we been so gripped by a royal wedding. Some of the obsession surrounding Will and Kate is due to Britain's status as the world's most famous and popular monarchy, making the April 29 vows exceptionally high-profile.
The rest of the attraction, however, is because of the blushing bride herself. After all, Kate's beautiful and smart, and she's living every little girl's fantasy by becoming a bona fide princess. In the months since the couple announced their engagement, we've been clamoring for details about Kate. What makes her tick? How'd she win over the prince? Was she raised with ambitions of becoming a member of royalty?
Whether you're a charter member of the "Waitey Katie" fan club, or you simply find celebrity weddings to be utterly fascinating, look no further. We've put together a list of 10 things you should know about Prince William's bride-to-be.
10: She's (Kind of) Robbing the Cradle
She's no Mary Kay Letourneau, but Kate has snagged herself a younger man -- technically speaking. Kate, who was born on Jan. 9, 1982, is 29 to William's 28 years (June 21 of '82 is his birth date).
Although it's unlikely that Kate's six-month edge on the prince will make much of a difference in terms of their relationship, many hope that her status as an "older" bride will help her adjust to her new lifestyle with greater ease than Diana, who was merely 20 when she wed Prince Charles.
9: She's No Blue Blood
Many see Kate's acceptance by the royal family as a positive advancement toward modern values.
Noble blood might not run in Kate's veins, but the prince is hardly slumming it by choosing her for his bride.
The daughter of Michael and Carole Middleton, who successfully launched their own multimillion-dollar party supplies company, Kate enjoyed a lovely (and somewhat privileged) childhood. But other members of Kate's family made their way as laborers and miners, and her own mother was once a flight attendant.
8: She's Already Being Immortalized
You've either become legitimately famous or committed a notorious crime when Lifetime makes a movie about you.
Kate and her prince fall into the former category. The movie's barely in production yet, but casting announcements have made waves around the world.
Appropriately enough, a British actress named Camilla Luddington recently landed the role of the world's most popular princess in the made-for-television movie "William and Kate."
7: She's an International Sex Symbol
Ever since she first hooked up with the prince nearly a decade ago, Kate Middleton has become eye candy in men's magazines and on Web sites everywhere, thanks to her glossy tresses and near-perfect figure.
In fact, she's been profiled in magazines like Maxim and Men's Health and was recently ranked No. 61 on AskMen.com's Top 99 Women of 2011. We doubt that her father is jumping for joy over these profiles, but at least she's not a centerfold, right?
6: She's Done Something No Other Queen in History Has
Get your mind out of the gutter -- we're talking about her college education!
Incredible though it may seem, if Kate makes it to the throne alongside William, she'll be the first college-educated queen in England's storied history.
Kate's education was none too shabby from an early age since she attended Marlborough College, a pricey boarding school, where she earned good grades, competed on the cross-country track team and played field hockey.
She then traveled to Scotland, where she attended University of St. Andrews and picked up a prince along the way. She earned her degree in History of Art and graduated in 2005.
5: She Wears a Lot of Hats, Professionally Speaking
Kate Middleton joins scores of college graduates everywhere who earn a degree in a particular area and then go on to pursue a career in a completely unrelated field.
Kate's work history features a stint as an accessories buyer for Jigsaw, as well as several roles within Party Pieces, the company her parents founded. A smattering of those responsibilities included work as an event planner, Web site designer and marketing expert.
Reportedly, Kate found her true passion while acting as a shutterbug for the company, which she later parlayed into a short-lived gig alongside renowned photographer Mario Testino. Rumor mills went into overdrive when Kate scrapped her photography plans; the buzz was that the royal family insisted she give up her burgeoning career. What's more, Kate recently resigned from her position at Party Pieces to prepare for her upcoming wedding and the major life changes that will quickly follow.
Although she might not have a salaried position with a 401(k) plan, we have a feeling she'll keep busy somehow.
4: She's Resilient
Don't try to deny it: At some point following a heart-wrenching breakup, you've embraced the natural urge so sit at home by the phone with a pan of brownies and a six-pack of wine coolers.
When Kate and Will broke up in 2007, she didn't wallow in misery. Instead, she used her celebrity status to show her former flame exactly what he was missing out on.
Photos were published around the world of her hitting parties, looking gorgeous and otherwise having the time of her life (although sources claim she was secretly pining after the prince). The very patient Kate saw this strategy pay off when the Will crawled back to her just three months after their breakup.
Sure beats listening to sappy love songs and gaining a few dress sizes, right?
3: She's Relatively Scandal-free
The royal family might be edging toward a more modern attitude in many ways, but no one who wears a crown is on board with scandalous behavior.
Fortunately for the queen, quiet and collected Kate has caused precious few scandals since she began dating the prince so many years ago. In fact, the worldwide media seems to be so eager for a hubbub that they latch onto even the smallest story with pit bull-like tenacity.
Recently, photos of Kate and her family looking less than sober were published, much to the royals' chagrin. But compared to Fergie's topless photos or Prince Charles' extra-marital affairs, there's simply no comparison. Top it off with the "controversy" over Party Pieces using Kate to plug the company and its wares, and the future princess seems hardly capable of producing a scandal that the public could really sink its teeth into.
2: She's Naturally Beautiful
At 5 feet 10 inches, Kate certainly boasts a regal height. The fact that a woman of such stature can maintain a size two frame is clearly a testament to what must be a fabulous metabolism, right?
Although that's probably true, she's reportedly something of a workout fanatic, spending roughly an hour a day doing some sort of exercise. It's even rumored that she was a smoker in the past because nicotine is a known appetite suppressant. Fortunately, Prince William objected to the habit, and she gave it up. She now concentrates on staying thin in healthy ways, such as working out solo or enjoying outdoor activities with the prince, like biking and skiing.
1: She's a Fashion Icon
Perhaps the way that Kate got Prince William to really sit up and take notice foreshadowed her current status as one of the most fashionable women in the world.
Although Kate and Will were already friends at St. Andrews at the time, sources report that the prince saw her in a new light after watching her strut her stuff at a 2001 fashion show. Sure, she would have looked gorgeous in a paper sack, but it probably didn't hurt that she was sporting a bikini with a sheer (read: completely see-through) cover-up.
Of course, her day-to-day wardrobe is much more modest, but her natural instinct for fashion has firmly fixed her in the international spotlight. In fact, a survey recently deemed "Kate Middleton" the top buzzword for Fall Fashion Week, which was hosted in New York Feb.10 through 17. The survey, conducted by Global Language Monitor, analyzes print, online and other media to identify the most dominant fashion-related phrases and words.
The royals are thanking their lucky stars that Kate is more conservative than the second place personality, meat- wearing Lady Gaga. Something tells us that the queen wouldn't be too keen on a cocktail dress made entirely from sirloin.
Lots More Information
- 10 Reasons Not to be Jealous of Princess Brides
- 10 Reasons We Can't Wait to Watch Prince William and Kate Middleton's Wedding
- 10 Tips to Get a Princess-worthy Dress on a Budget
- 10 Ways to Get Princess-worthy Hair on a Budget
- 5 Tips to Get Princess-Worthy Flowers on a Budget
- 5 Prince William Wedding Rumors
- How can I marry prince charming?
- Who pays for a royal wedding -- and how much does it cost?
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