Who is Kate Middleton?

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On the cusp of the Kate Middleton and Prince William engagement, which has been on everyone’s mind since they were spotted at friend’s wedding this past October, besides wondering about Kate’s fashion and if she will follow in the footsteps of other royals, the other question is: who exactly is the woman set to be the future Queen?

Born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, Kate was born in Bucklebury, Berkshire, to a typical middle-class family. Her mother, Carole a former air stewardess and her father, Michael ran a children’s party supplies business. As the oldest of three children, Kate has been described as “really popular, talented, creative and sporty,” by a former classmate, according to BBC News.com.

Fate intervened when she decided to attend St. Andrews University in 2001, signing up for a degree in the History of Art. She met Prince William, and they became housemates, which later evolved into more than just a friendship. The real introduction of Kate to the public happened when the pair took a ski vacation in 2005 at a Swiss resort, when the paparazzi took photos of her with Prince Charles and Prince William. The Queen, was also said to be very taken by her grandson’s partner of choice.

It looked like the two were headed towards marriage, until in 2007 the pair announced their split. The breakup didn’t last long either. In the summer Kate attended the Concert For Diana at Wembley Stadium with her mom, but told press they were “just good friends.” In late 2007, Kate quit her job at Jigsaw (a High Street fashion chain) to work with her parents, giving her more time to spend with William at polo matches, family events and holidays. What’s not to love about this stylish and smart woman? Take even a closer look at the fashion of Kate, over the last five years in the slideshow below.

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