by Marianne Garvey | Tue., Nov. 16, 2010 2:21 PM
She didn't have to kiss a lot of frogs, but she sure landed a real prince.
Kate Middleton, dubbed "Waity Katie" by the British tabloids, finally got Prince William to put a ring on it—the engagement ring worn by his mother Princess Diana, in fact. The couple's engagement has pleased both the royal family (the queen likes her!) and Prime Minister David Cameron, who was the first official to congratulate the happy couple.
But who is the soon-to-be real princess and future Queen of England? And how did she win the prince's heart? We're going to tell you...
1. She's from a hard-working family: Kate's upper-middle class, but still a "commoner," which hasn't always made it easy to deal with the royal family, especially the queen. Kate's mom, Carole, a former flight attendant, and her father, Michael, a businessman, own a party supply business and raised Kate in Berkshire, about an hour outside of London.
"She's from a perfectly good family, but when she's in the royal homes, especially Balmoral (the family's castle in Scotland), the staff consider her 'common,' and she's considered below standard. It just shows you how elitist they are," a royal expert tells E! News. "She's liked, but not considered near the same class. Diana was never really accepted by the queen. Although Kate is treated much better than that."
2. She was eyeing a career in fashion: After college at St. Andrews University, Kate moved to London and took a job as an accessory buyer at London chain Jigsaw in 2006. Down-to-earth Kate even played gofer at times, paying her dues by fetching coffee on photo shoots. In 2007, she quit in order to have "some time for herself" and was bashed in the British tabloids for receiving special treatment while employed.
Kate's love of fashion was even responsible for bringing these two together at the start. Prince William paid more than $300 to watch his future wife strut her (way hot) stuff in a lace dress over a black bra and bottoms in a charity fashion show in 2002, while they were both students.
3. She's a keeper: Kate must mean more to William than anyone will ever know. When he proposed in Kenya a month ago (trustworthy pals kept it mum), the prince gave her a $45,000, 18-carat, white gold ring with a huge oval sapphire and 14 diamonds that was his late mother's own engagement ring. Wills said giving her that ring, from jeweler Garrards, was his way of making sure Princess Di, who died tragically in a car crash in 1997, "did not miss out on today." The ring had actually been left to William's brother, Prince Harry, who passed it along for the momentous occasion.
4. She always held a spot for William: Kate had a crush on her future prince long before they actually met in person; she even famously had a poster of her dream boy on her wall. (We're sure she took it down by the time they became housemates in college.) Kate, known as the prettiest girl on campus at St Andrews, was originally dating classmate Rupert Finch, but her prince was always in the wings. Once he made a play for her, she dumped Rupert like a hot potato in the winter of 2003.
5. She and William were engaged before (not), and they once called it quits (true): Kate's fairy-tale ending almost never came true. After nearly five years together, the duo broke up in 2007, calling it an amicable split. This came after rumors about an impending royal engagement reached a fever pitch. The break came during a wild phase for the prince, who was snapped getting very friendly with another female in party pics that hit the British tabs.
Prior to the split, it looked like Kate had won over the queen. She received her highness' royal blessing to watch William graduate from Sandhurst Military Academy. It was her first ever appearance at a royal event, and she brought some much-needed spice to the event, winning fashion critics over in a gorgeous red coat.
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