By Katie Couric
This time tomorrow night, Kate Middleton should almost quite literally be saying "I do" and entering into the royal family.
But who exactly is she?
Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born on January 9, 1982. The eldest daughter of Carole and Michael Middleton, she was raised in the upscale village of Bucklebury. So while she's refined, she's not exactly regal.
"On her mother's side they're made up of coal miners and road sweepers," explains Victoria Arbiter, a royal contributor for CBS News. "Then on her father's side you've got land gentry and solicitors."
Kate attended the prestigious Marlborough College where she excelled in sports. She then went on to ST Andrews University in Scotland to study art history.
"She integrated perfectly well with everybody else in the class," says her professor, Peter Humfrey. "In fact there was nothing distinctive about her at all I would say. She didn't act with any airs or graces."
Despite that, she still managed to attract the attention of a very distinctive classmate. At first they were just friends. But cut to 2002 and cupid's arrow hit its mark.
The couple have revealed very little publicly. They kept the romance under wraps until 2004, when paparazzi snapped a shot of the couple kissing.
"The media's reaction to the kissing in Klosters was phenomenal," says Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine. "I mean it was so exciting."
William and Kate had already been living together for two years, but Kate was about to experience the royal pain of constant media attention.
Media called her "Waity Katie," patiently waiting for her Prince Charming to pop the question. But last November the waiting was over and William presented Kate the same ring Prince Charles gave Diana.
"It's my mother's engagement ring and I thought it would be quite nice because obviously she's not going to be around to share any of the fun and excitement of it all," Prince William told ITV News. "I guess that was my way of keeping her close to it all."
And like Diana, Kate has been in a media maelstrom ever since, as tabloids question everything from her purity to whether or not she was bullied by mean girls when she was younger.
"I'd say she's very much got the last laugh because she's bagged the prince everybody wanted," Ms Seward says.
"What was so difficult with Diana was she was 19 when she got engaged," explains Ms Arbiter. "She still called Prince Charles 'sir' until the night before the wedding. Kate is 29."
And not only is Kate a grown a woman, she's also the envy of a new generation of little girls, who are seeing for the first time a fairy tale ending for someone just like them.
source: newshub archive