Kate Middleton trailblazer: How Kate was the first to break this royal ceiling


KATE MIDDLETON changed the Royal Family when she became the UK’s first middle class queen-in-waiting upon her marriage to Prince William in 2011. But it was just the first of many rules she has modernised.

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is the daughter of a wealthy upper-middle class family. She was not the first commoner to marry into royalty, beaten out by Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth and Anne Boleyn who were all classified as commoners in the strictest sense, despite being members of aristocratic or distinctly upper-class families. So how did Kate come to break through royal traditions and bring about modernity to this famous family?

Kate Middelton was the first royal bride to have a university degree.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

They both met as first year students in residence at St Salvator’s Hall.

The couple began dating in 2003 after Kate had broken up with her long-term boyfriend.

She graduated from university in 2005 with a masters in history of art.

Kate Middleton trailblazer: Kate and William
Kate Middleton trailblazer How did Kate Middleton break this glass ceiling

Kate Middleton trailblazer: How did Kate Middleton break this glass ceiling? (Image: GETTY)

Kate Middleton trailblazer: Kate
Kate Middleton trailblazer Kate graduated with a in History of Art

Kate Middleton trailblazer: Kate graduated with a 2:1 in History of Art (Image: GETTY)

Before Kate married into the Royal Family, no woman that had married a royal had ever been to university.

Her sister-in-law Meghan Markle was the second university graduate to join the Royal Family.

Meghan attended Northwestern University where she read theatre and international studies.

So why did the other royal wives not attend university?

Kate Middleton trailblazer: Kate
Kate Middleton trailblazer After university Kate worked for a few years before marrying William

Kate Middleton trailblazer: After university Kate worked for a few years before marrying William (Image: GETTY)

Prince Charles’ first wife Princess Diana did not shine academically and instead excelled in swimming, diving, dancing and music.

Instead of undertaking a degree, she chose to move to London where she found employment in a series of low-paying jobs before finding work as a nanny.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, completed a finishing course at the age of 16, after which time she decided to travel to France and study at the University of London Institute in Paris for six months.

But after that time, she found work in London as a secretary for a variety of companies in the West End and did not pursue further studies.

Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson also did not take to academics.

Instead her skillset showed her talents lay in swimming and tennis.

After she completed a secretarial course, Sarah worked for an art gallery, in public relations and then a publishing company.

Her ex-husband Andrew is the second of the Queen and Prince Philip’s children not to have attended university, but instead immediately entered the navy.

Their two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie however did attend university, to Goldsmith’s College, London, and Newcastle University respectively.

Kate Middleton trailblazer: Kate and William
Kate Middleton trailblazer Kate has been a full time working royal for several years

Kate Middleton trailblazer: Kate has been a full-time working royal for several years (Image: GETTY)

Princess Anne, a born royal, also did not attend university.

Like her mother the Queen, she began her work as a working member of the royal family after she completed her schooling.

Her schooling took place at Beneden School, a private all-girls boarding school in Kent.

Inheriting her mother’s life long love affair with horses, Anne rode competitively throughout her childhood, even going on to compete in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games as part of the British Three-Day Event team.

The Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward’s wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, did not undertake a university education either.

Instead, Sophie trained as a secretary at West Kent College in Tonbridge before she started a career in public relations.

She worked in public relations until 1992, but now works as a full-time working member of the royal family.

But, where did the other members of the royal family study?

  • Prince William – University of St Andrews
  • Prince Charles – Cambridge University
  • Peter Philips – Exeter University
  • Zara Tindall – Exeter University 
  • Prince Edward – Cambridge University