Kate Middleton’s 'horrific' school experience revealed by royal expert as the future queen was ‘bullied by mean girls’

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge gestures as she leaves the Ely & Caerau Children's Centre in Cardiff, south Wales on January 22, 2020 as she launches a UK wide survey to help improve early childhood
(Image credit: Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images)

Kate Middleton was reportedly “miserable" during her time at Downe House boarding school after becoming the target of bullying from "cliquey" girls. 

Kate Middleton might seem to have a fairytale life since she married Prince William, but her time at school was apparently anything but magical. The Duchess of Cambridge is now an integral part of the Royal Family, sometimes known as The Firm, and she and William celebrated their milestone 10th wedding anniversary last month. 

The couple met at the University of St Andrews and their relationship went from strength to strength. But Kate’s educational experience was not always so positive, as it’s been claimed she experienced types of bullying during her time at Downe House.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge greet crowd of admirers from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on April 29, 2011 in London, England

The girls’ boarding school in Berkshire may be prestigious, but Kate was apparently teased for being different. According to RSVP Live, royal biographer Katie Nicholl claimed: "Being especially slender and a head taller than her peers, she stood out for the wrong reasons and was teased for being gangly and lanky."

Whilst Emma Sayle, Kate's former classmate described the school as being “cliquey”, something Kate hated. 

"It is a very cliquey school and there was a lot of pressure," she said. "The girls were all high achievers, and there were lots of girls with eating disorders. Everyone wanted to be the best, the fittest, the prettiest. I think Kate was miserable from the start."

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing black as a mark of respect following the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing, visit 282 East Ham Squadron, Air Training Corps in East London on April 21, 2021 in London, England

And this wasn’t the only shocking revelation, as it seems that the fact Kate started at Down House at 13 had a huge impact.

"It does make a difference going from eleven," another former Downe House student, Georgina Rylance, told the Sunday Times, according to Katie Nicholl. "You have two years of bonding, your first time away all together. Even some of the most popular girls in my school had a hard time when they came in at thirteen."

It’s been claimed that Kate was essentially told she was “too sensitive” and later moved to a different school. RSVP live reports that school headmistress Cameron responded: "Certainly, I have no knowledge of any serious bullying at all. But there's what everyone calls bullying, and there's actual, real, miserable bullying where someone had a dreadful time.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge meet young people supported by the Cheesy Waffles Project, a charity for children, young people and adults with additional needs across County Durham, at the Belmont Community Centre on April 27, 2021 in Durham, United Kingdom

"That certainly didn't happen. Yes, there would be teasing. It's all a part of the normal competition of growing up, of establishing a pecking order.”

She later explained: "I think it's fair to say she was unsettled and not particularly happy. Maybe in Catherine's case she just kind of went quiet and didn't say anything."

Whether or not these revelations about Kate’s school years are indeed true, she has now very much moved on from those days. As a proud mum-of-three and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate consistently inspires royal fans with her devotion to her family and royal duties. 

Emma Shacklock
Senior Lifestyle Writer

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, Goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.