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Catherine Elizabeth Middleton ( 1982 - )  Category ( Royalty ) [suggest a correction]

Kate MiddletonCatherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton is best known for being the girlfriend, and then fiancee, of Prince William of Wales. William is the son of the apparent heir to the throne of the United Kingdom, Prince Charles, and the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

Kate and William met while attending the University of St. Andrew, in Scotland. Media attention focused on the couple from the first suggestion that the two were dating. Long before their marriage (which is set for April 29, 2011), Kate's image has graced the covers of dozens of magazines, and featured on everything from television specials to Internet blogs.

Such public scrutiny is new to Middleton, who grew up quietly in Berkshire, England. Her mother, Carole Goldsmith, was a flight attendant, and her father, Michael Middleton, was a flight dispatcher for British Airways. The two married in 1980. In 1987, they started their own business, Party Pieces, a mail order company specializing in party decorations and supplies. The couple have three children. Kate, their oldest child, attended St. Andrew's School in Pangbourne, Berkshire. She attended high school at Marlborough College, located in Wiltshire in South West England. Upon graduation she enrolled at the University of St. Andrew, where she met William and majored in art history. She graduated the program with honors.

The couple began as friends, then housemates, sharing a house with several other students. Over the next few years, it appeared the two were dating and had formed a close relationship. Indeed, Kate attended William's Passing Out Parade at the Royal Military Academy as an official royal guest. Following that event, gossip and speculation only increased. Numerous media outlets predicted an engagement announcement from Buckingham Palace. Then, in the spring of 2007, world media reported that the couple had parted ways. William's representatives offered no comment.

Later that year, at a memorial concert in honor of his mother's memory, William sat two rows away from Kate, and it was reported that the two remained good friends. By 2008, however, Kate was again attending prominent royal events with William, including his investiture into the Order of the Garter. On November 16, 2010, William and Kate's engagement was officially announced by his father's representatives. In interviews that followed, the couple revealed that they had become engaged in Kenya, during an October vacation. William brought his mother's famous sapphire and diamond engagement ring along on the trip, stating he carried it in his backpack. During their stay in Kenya, he asked Kate to marry him, giving her his mother's ring. The wedding is set to take place in Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011.

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