Swaddled in a baby blanket just 15-days-old, Kate Middleton peeps out at the world cradled in her mother Carole's arms.

Like any proud parent, Carole Middleton, then 26, is smiling as she sits in her comfortable middle-class home and must have been full of dreams for her first-born child.

But as she gazed at her precious bundle with a mop of dark hair, could she ever have imagined on that day in January 1982 that her daughter's destiny lay with an heir to the throne, the still unborn Prince William?

Indeed, Kate's future husband arrived five months later, to the joy of Princess Diana, his father Prince Charles and millions of well-wishers.


In one of the baby prince's early photographs, his clearly delighted mother laughs as she lifts him giggling in a powder blue smock amid the beautifully appointed surroundings of Kensington Palace. It was just nine days before Diana's 21st birthday and the two babies could scarcely have enjoyed more contrasting starts to life.

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, on January 9, 1982, the eldest of three children to British Airways stewardess Carole and her trainee pilot husband Michael Middleton, who had been married for two years.
The future Queen's ancestors had been working-class labourers and miners in the North-East, many of them lucky to survive a cholera epidemic and numerous mining disasters.

The christening of Catherine took place on June 20, 1982 - the day before her future husband was born - at her local church, St Andrew's, in Bradfield on the banks of the River Pang, Berkshire. Her father, Michael, sported a traditional dark suit with striped tie for the occasion and posed proudly with Kate and Carole, who wore a Laura Ashley floral dress for the down-to-earth family event.

The very next day, June 21, William was born, and thousands of people gathered outside Buckingham Palace to wait for the birth to be formally announced.

He was the first future British king to be born in a hospital rather than at home - delivered at the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, West London.
The newborn Prince - William Arthur Philip Louis - arrived just under a year after his parents' marriage. His birth was celebrated with a fanfare Royal Salute of 41 guns.
He was baptised in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on August 4 (the 82nd birthday of the Queen Mother) by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie.
Among William's godparents were the former King Constantine II of Greece.
Kate, her sister Pippa and brother James grew up in a spacious - but far from grand - house in the village of Bucklebury, Berkshire.

The Middletons' business acumen, rather than inherited wealth, saw them build a comfortable life for their family, enabling them to send Kate to exclusive Marlborough College in Wiltshire. William went to Eton.

Their lives dovetailed at St Andrew's University in Fife in 2001, where they later shared a student house and began a romance that culminated in the Royal Wedding in April 2011.
Now the couple will be looking forward to adding a third photograph - starring Kate and her own tiny bundle - to the family album next year.