Duchess Kate

A former class­mate opens up about the royal’s child­hood tor­ment

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SHE’S KNOWN AS THE POLITE AND poised Duchess of Cam­bridge, hav­ing taken on her royal du­ties with grace and pride. And when Kate Mid­dle­ton mar­ried Prince Wil­liam and proved her­self wor­thy of a royal ti­tle, she be­came loved across the globe.

Sadly, Kate’s wide pop­u­lar­ity and ado­ra­tion wasn’t al­ways the case. In fact, the com­moner-turned-royal had her own bout of tough times grow­ing up. Open­ing up to British news­pa­per The Sun, a class­mate of the duchess re­vealed that she was bul­lied so badly at school that her par­ents had to in­ter­vene for the sake of her men­tal health. Jes­sica Hay at­tended the elite Downe House all-girls board­ing school along­side Kate, which sets par­ents back $52,000 per year in school fees. “She was picked on be­cause she was per­fect, well turned-out and lovely,” Hay said.

The tor­ment from her fel­low peers was so bad, the then 13-year-old be­came an “emo­tional wreck” and broke out in eczema due to the stress other stu­dents caused. It was at that point her par­ents, Michael and Ca­role Mid­dle­ton, pulled their daugh­ter out of the posh school and en­rolled her in Marl­bor­ough Col­lege, Wilt­shire – even fur­ther away from her fam­ily home. One of the stu­dents at Kate’s new school was Gemma Wil­liamson, who no­ticed she seemed quite drawn. “Ap­par­ently she had been bul­lied very badly and she cer­tainly looked thin and pale,” Wil­liamson told the UK’S Daily Mail.

The shy stu­dent’s house tu­tor was Joan Gall, who also told the paper that Kate was un­usu­ally quiet when she ar­rived. “Com­ing into a big school like Marl­bor­ough was dif­fi­cult, but she set­tled in quickly.”

Ac­cord­ing to Gall, Kate was wel­comed into the school com­mu­nity, which felt more like a “big, happy fam­ily”.

“We would do things like bake cakes and watch videos,” she said.

While Gall re­mem­bered Kate’s de­meanour and her eczema quite well, Marl­bor­ough head­mistress Ann Patch­ing says she couldn’t re­mem­ber how they came to learn about the pre­vi­ous bul­ly­ing, but that the fam­ily wanted a fresh start. “She didn’t make a big deal about

it. I can’t re­mem­ber if it was her or Ca­role who men­tioned Downe House,” Patch­ing said. “It was a con­cern, but they were de­ter­mined to move on.” What her former teacher did re­mem­ber, how­ever, was that the fu­ture duchess could eat as much lasagne and pasta bake as she liked. “[She] al­ways stayed very slim,” Patch­ing added. Go­ing on to de­scribe a young Kate, fel­low stu­dent Kathryn So­lari re­vealed her kind na­ture was ex­actly the same as the one she now shows to her ador­ing fans and royal fol­low­ers. “Cather­ine was al­ways re­ally sweet and lovely. She treated every­body alike,” So­lari told the Daily Mail. “I wouldn’t say she was the bright­est but­ton, but she was very hard-work­ing.” It was her time at Marl­bor­ough, though, that would seal Kate’s fate of meet­ing her fu­ture hus­band, Prince Wil­liam. Hay says that Kate told her very early on that she had a crush on the boy from Eton who would visit for in­ter-school events. “She al­ways said: ‘I bet he’s re­ally kind. You can tell by just look­ing at him.’ ” •

The love­birds met in 2001 at the Univer­sity of St An­drews where they were both stu­dents.

Kate pic­tured along­side her class­mates when she at­tended the St An­drew’s Prep School.

Kate and Wil­liam mar­ried on April 29, 2011.

In the lead-up to their wed­ding, Kate and Wil­liam asked at­tend­ing guests to do­nate to Beat­bul­ly­ing – a char­ity that sup­ports anti-bul­ly­ing cam­paigns.

Kate with Louis, now 8 months, Ge­orge, 5, Wil­liam and Char­lotte, 3, at Prince Louis’ chris­ten­ing on July 9 last year.

Kate, aged 19, dressed for the fash­ion show where she caught Will’s eye in 2002.

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