i actually like her. i think that she's got her head together (except when she wore knee socks with those boots in one of the pics).
With her glossy mane of brown hair, classic English-rose looks and natural, unforced elegance, Kate Middleton displays all the poise and sophistication expected from a girl who might one day be wife of the heir to the throne.
A mature 25-year-old, Kate possesses a quiet self-assurance.
She appears equally at ease with her boyfriend Prince William's louche set of friends in London nightclubs such as Boujis and Mahiki as she is meeting the Queen and Prince Philip in the sedate drawing rooms of Royal palaces.
Academically bright - she was privately educated at Marlborough and left St Andrews University with a 2:1 degree in History of Art - she could almost be thought of as the product of generations of upper-class breeding. Scroll down for more...
Little princess: Schoolgirl Kate Middleton aged six
But nothing could be further from the truth. Her family history is in fact more like something out of a Catherine Cookson novel.
Looking at Kate now, it is hard to believe that just 80 years ago her grandmother was struggling to make ends meet in a condemned flat on the outskirts of London.
Now, with the help of her extended family, many of whom had not even realised they were related to a girl who might be a Princess, The Mail on Sunday has pieced together the extraordinary details of the social odyssey that eventually led to the birth of Kate Middleton.
Through a fascinating series of personal recollections and family photographs, they reveal a remarkable journey from the grimy back streets of Southall, West London, to the apartment in Clarence House where Kate now spends most of her time.
They are an ordinary family who through hard work, determination and a keen eye for social niceties overcame deprivation and adversity in just two generations to produce a young woman on the brink of joining the Royal Family.
In a sense, Kate's family history mirrors that of millions of British people. Kate has aunts, uncles and cousins she has never met. While some branches of the family have been aspirational and thrived, others stayed humble, working-class and poor. There have been rifts and fallings-out, hard times and moments of triumph.
At the heart of this exceptional success story are two powerful matriarchs: Kate's late great-grandmother Edith Goldsmith, an indomitable widow who passed on to her six children the merits of hard work, and grandmother Dorothy Goldsmith, known in the family as 'Lady' Dorothy, who, helped by the family's building business, devoted her life to the pursuit of prosperity, property and respectability. Scroll down for more...
Look of love: Kate and her Prince on a night out in London
Dorothy, in turn, passed on her drive and ambition to her daughter Carole, Kate's mother. It was Carole, a former air hostess, who finally cemented the family's precarious social status by marrying into the middle class and steering Kate and her sister Pippa through private schools and university into London's famously exclusive social elite.
Kate's family story begins in a small terrace house in Clarence Street, Southall, where Edith and her labourer husband Stephen raised six children. The youngest was Ronald, Kate's grandfather, who was born on April 25, 1931.
Southall is now a predominantly Asian area but back then was a white working-class suburb that provided labour for huge factories, railway depots and engineering works. Life was a struggle for the Goldsmiths. Stephen had been posted to France during the First World War and returned home with crippling emphysema that meant he had to abandon his manual work shifting household coal in favour of a factory job.
When Stephen died in 1938, he was just 51 but his four oldest children had already left school and moved out of the family home, and Edith was left to bring up their two youngest children, Ronald and Joyce, on her own. Scroll down for more...
Sisterly love: Kate and her younger sister Pippa
Forced by penury to move to a condemned flat in nearby Dudley Road, and go out to work on the production line at Ticklers jam factory in Southall to make ends meet, Edith farmed out Ronald, then only six, and Joyce, then 13, to their elder sisters Alice and Ede while she went to work.
Edith was a tough, bird-like woman who smoked 20 Woodbines a day and used to send her daughters to the local pub in the evening for a jug of stout and ten cigarettes. She never really managed to escape her impoverished roots but ruled her family with a rod of iron and instilled in her children a resourcefulness and refusal to be beaten.
Alice, now 96, is the only one of the six Goldsmith children still alive. Today, she lives in her own flat in Uxbridge, Middlesex. Alice tells how she left the Goldsmith family home in 1929, nine years before her father died, to marry her husband Bill, a haulage driver. She remembers how tough life was.
"My mum had to work hard to bring us all up," she says. "She wasn't a bad lady but she had a temper. You only had to say one word and she would take her shoes off and throw them at you. She liked a drink and smoked but who could blame her with what she had to put up with. In those days everybody was hard up."
Life was hard too for Alice's own family but as Bill's haulage company prospered they made progress and they were able to send their daughters Pat and Linda to grammar school.
Pat, now 74, later worked for the BBC while her late husband Roy Charmanwas in films and won an Oscar for his soundwork on the Indiana Jones movie Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
Pat still lives around the corner from her mother and says: "We were a very close family. During the war, when the men were in the Army, we had nothing. At Christmas we used to get together at Aunt Ede's house or my mum's house and they would pool whatever food they had. Scroll down for more...
Country girl: Kate joins Prince William in his country pursuits
"We used to play charades. Ede was great at playing the piano. I can see her now in my mind's eye playing Roll Out The Barrel."
She recalls her grandmother Edith's flat in Dudley Road. "In the corner of the kitchenette there was one of those old-fashioned boilers. Edith used to put coal in it. All the washing went in it and she used to do the Christmas puddings there as well. The lavatory was in the same room. It had a wooden seat with a bowl in it. I hated going to the loo there."
Kate's grandfather Ron was brought up in that same flat. "I was already married when Ron was born," says Alice.
"I had quite a lot to do with him. I used to have my daughter Pat at one end of the pram and Ron the other. I used to take the two out and people would say, "Oh, you've got two children." But Ron was my brother. I always had him with me. And then he worked for my husband. He was a lovely child and a lovely man."
Like his brothers and sisters, Ron left school at the age of 14, in 1945. After driving lorries for Bill he started his own business as a builder. He was 22 when he married 18-year-old Dorothy Harrison, a shop assistant, on August 8, 1953, at the Parish Church of Holy Trinity, Southall. They held their modest reception at the local pub, The Hamborough Tavern. Scroll down for more...
Temporary hitch: The couple briefly split just weeks after this photo was taken
Dorothy always took a great deal of pride in her appearance but she and Ron were so poor she had to borrow her going-away outfit from Ron's sister Joyce. After their marriage Ron and Dorothy squeezed into the Goldsmith family's Dudley Road flat and Kate's mother Carole was born there in 1955.
Being poor did not suit Dorothy. She had grown up in a run-down street in Southall. Her father Thomas Harrison - Kate's other grandfather - was a carpenter. He had moved the family to London from the Durham coalfields when Dorothy was just a child. It was the Thirties and Dorothy was apparently appalled by the tales she heard of destitution in the North East.
Perhaps it was these stories that inspired her always to strive for the best. Certainly, by the time she was Ron's young ambitious wife, she became well known for her passion for style.
Ron's niece Ann Terry - his sister Joyce's daughter - got to know Dorothy when they worked together in a jewellery shop. Ann, now 60, says: "Dorothy's father was a dapper little man with a small moustache, who had a small-holding where he kept chickens. His wife Elizabeth was all right, too. They were just ordinary people with nothing to be snobbish about.
"I don't know where Dorothy got her airs and graces from. She always thought she was one cut above everybody else. Dorothy learnt her trade from me. She was a good saleswoman but she was a bit of a snob. The whole family used to call her Lady Dorothy."
She isn't the only one to question Dorothy's pretensions. Alice's daughter Pat adds: "Dorothy went to a secondary-modern school. They lived on one of the most scruffy streets in Southall. As my mum would say, she didn't have a pair of knickers to her name.
"After she and Ronald got married, they lived with my granny Edith until my dad helped them get a deposit for their first home. Dorothy had the biggest Silver Cross pram you have ever seen after Carole was born. It had to be carried up and down the stairs.
"My grandmother used to grumble about Dorothy because she used to hen-peck her Ronald. She always wanted more and more money. She wanted to be the top brick in the chimney. She was too good for the rest of us."
For the next decade, Dorothy and Ron moved up the social ladder, first moving out of the flat to a council flat, then buying their own small flat with financial help from Ron's successful brother-in-law Bill.
But it was not until 1966 when Carole was 11 - a year after the birth of her brother Gary - that they moved into their first proper family home, in Kingsbridge Road, Norwood Green, the posh end of Southall. The family lived there for 25 years until the children left home.
By the time he moved into Kingsbridge Road, Ron had plucked up the courage to leave Bill's haulage firm to set up in business as a builder on his own while Dorothy, by then middle-aged, earned pin money at Collingwood Jewellers, in Hounslow High Street, where her niece Ann was the manager.
Carole, meanwhile, worked at C&A as a Saturday girl while she was still at school.
While Dorothy's social ambitions set her apart from the rest of her family, her 'Lady' Dorothy nickname was regarded as a bit of a leg-pull until 1978.
That was the year Dorothy fell out with Alice and haulier Bill, the brother and sister-in-law who had been so kind to her in the early years of her marriage.
Pat says it was a lifelong rift. "Dad was staying with me while my mother went on holiday for a break," she says. "He wasn't feeling well. But he said he was going to drive down to have a cup of tea with Young Ronnie - he always called him that.
"But he was back in about half an hour and his face was really sad. He told me, 'When I got there, Dorothy said, "We are just going out shopping. You can't come in. You will have to come back this evening."'
"It was really sad because my dad was dying then. I said to him, 'Dad, look at you. You can't go over there tonight. You've got to go to bed.'
"So that was it. He died a couple of weeks later. My mum never forgave Dorothy and Ron. She wouldn't have them at the funeral."
The rift was so bad that the only members of the family invited to Carole's wedding in 1980 were Joyce and Ann.
Carole Goldsmith's marriage to Michael Middleton was, in a sense, the culmination of all that Dorothy had set out to achieve. Carole was working as an air stewardess at the airline BOAC when she fell in love with Michael, a fellow steward five years her senior.
Michael was the solidly middle-class son of a flying instructor, who went on to train as a pilot himself. Able to trace his lineage back through his grandmother Olive Lupton - whose husband Richard Middleton of Leeds had a woollen mill - to the Tudor courtier Sir Thomas Fairfax, he would surely have delighted his new mother-in-law.
Their wedding at the church of St James the Less in Dorney, Buckinghamshire, on June 21, 1980, was a very different affair from Dorothy's. For her daughter, there would be no reception in the local pub and borrowed going-away outfit. She organised a wedding fit for a princess, complete with horse and carriage.
"I went to Carole's wedding with my mum Joyce," says Ann. "My husband was not invited because he was considered too common. She had a beautiful dress and four bridesmaids. There was even a horse and carriage. Afterwards they held their reception in a local manor house."
Two years later, on January 9, 1982, Carole gave birth to her daughter Kate - five months before the birth of Prince William. Kate's sister Pippa was born in 1983 and brother James followed in 1987.
The same year, Carole and Michael launched their successful mail-order party-planning company Party Pieces.
The rise of the internet helped them make it more profitable and they could soon afford to buy a five-bedroom detached house in the village of Bucklebury, near Newbury in Berkshire, and send their children to top public school Marlborough. From there Kate went to St Andrews where she met William.
Tough and uncompromising women they may have been, yet without Edith and Dorothy's aspirations for a better life and the drive to realise their dreams, Kate would probably never even have met Prince William, let alone been at home in his apartments at Clarence House.
For all the ups and downs of this colourful family, the pooling of genes of the middle-class Middletons and the determination and energy of the Goldsmiths have created one of the most eligible of girls in Kate Middleton, the great-granddaughter of a labourer now regularly spoken of as a future Queen of England.
The making of the Middletons: How Kate's family rose from a condemned flat in London to the verge of royalty | the Daily Mail
i actually like her. i think that she's got her head together (except when she wore knee socks with those boots in one of the pics).
Well, the whore apples sure didn't fall far from the whore tree. Sylkyn
I didn't read the article, because I'm not about to kiss anyone's ass and put them on a pedestal. But I say good for her if she has found true love. I hope she has a good head on her shoulders and stays a lady.
I think dating must be hard for Wills. I mean we know he could date probably any brit he wants but one day he will want to get married. He would want a nice girl who cares for him. If he has found that in Kate, he should hold on to it and not let go. Don't make the mistakes dad made by being pushed into an unwanted marriage.
Jesus! Who would want their family history raked up & printed in the press! Either she's madly in love or wants a title really badly....
Am I the only one who doesn't give a rat's ass about this chick?
The article is way too long, so I only read a bit. She is very pretty, I think.
Too many idiots, not enough villages.
Yes indeed. It is hard to believe that family issues from over 80 years ago form the basis for such an article.Looking at Kate now, it is hard to believe that just 80 years ago her grandmother was struggling to make ends meet in a condemned flat on the outskirts of London.
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