The Real Reason Kate Middleton Was Bullied In School

It's kind of impossible to imagine anybody having a problem with Kate Middleton. One of the most beloved royals of modern times, if not ever, the Duchess of Cambridge oozes poise and elegance wherever she goes. Middleton is also a vocal advocate for the mental and physical health of children, championing initiatives for them as a key element of her ongoing public service (via InStyle).

As it turns out, the Duchess' passion comes from a very personal place. Middleton was reportedly mercilessly bullied in middle school (secondary school, in the U.K.), making it a difficult time in her life that clearly inspired the strong anti-bullying stance she holds today. Middleton was the prime target for a group of real-life mean girls during her time at boarding school Downe House.

Kate Middleton was an outsider at school

According to Georgina Rylance, a former student who spoke to the The Sunday Times just a few weeks before the Duchess's wedding to Prince William, it was because Middleton joined the school at the age of 13, as a day pupil, rather than starting at the same time as everybody else and boarding alongside them. "It does make a difference going from 11. 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 13," Rylance recalled.

Likewise, fellow Downe House School alum Emma Sayle revealed in a tell-all memoir Kate: The Future Queen, "It is a very cliquey school and there was a lot of pressure. ...I think Kate was miserable from the start." According to yet another classmate, Jessica Hay, who spoke to the Daily Mail, advised Middleton was picked on or being "too skinny and meek." According to Hay, the other pupils would leave Middleton to sit alone at lunch, and would call her names and take her stuff to upset her.

The bullying led to a change of schools for Kate Middleton

Susan Cameron, headmistress at the time, met with Middleton's parents — but Marie Claire notes that in a statement she suggests the treatment was down to Middleton being too sensitive. "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. That certainly didn't happen," she argued. Although Cameron acknowledged the existence of cliques and teasing at the school, she chalked it up to normal girl stuff. "Maybe in Catherine's case she just kind of went quiet and didn't say anything," she reasoned.

The Sun advises the bullying was so severe Middleton only lasted one term at Downe House before being moved to a co-ed boarding school, Marlborough College. She was allegedly "an emotional wreck," "quite thin and pale from not eating," and afflicted with terrible eczema because of the high stress levels she'd endured at Downe House. Thankfully, her former tutor at Marlborough told the Daily Mail that Middleton settled in quite quickly at her new school.