Kate Middleton Had to Change Schools When She Was 14 Because She Was Bullied

She reporedtly broke out in a rash from the stress of the bullying.

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Kids can be cruel. It's a universal truth that even the practically-perfect-in-every-way Duchess of Cambridge herself, Kate Middleton (opens in new tab), had to deal with. As a kid, Kate was bullied (opens in new tab)—so intensely, in fact, that she had to change schools when she was 14 to get away from the torment.

In 1996, Kate attended the all-girls private school Downe House, but left to transfer to another school in the middle of the year due to the bullying she endured (opens in new tab) from other students. By the time she left Downe House, Kate was an "emotional wreck," (opens in new tab) her classmate Jessica Hay told The Sun (opens in new tab).

Kate moved to another boarding school farther away from home, but also well out of reach of her bullies (opens in new tab). The future royal (opens in new tab) eventually settled in at Marlborough College in Wiltshire, a school she reportedly loved.

"Apparently she had been bullied very badly and she certainly looked thin and pale," Kate's former Marlborough classmate Gemma Williamson told the Daily Mail of the transfer. "She had very little confidence."

The bullying at Downe was so bad, apparently, that Kate developed eczema (opens in new tab) from the stress (opens in new tab) of it, her Marlborough house tutor, Joan Gall, told the Daily Mail. She added that Kate was pretty shy (opens in new tab) when she first arrived at her new school (which is, you know, understandable, considering the circumstances), but that she felt at home right away. 

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"When she arrived she was very quiet. Coming into a big school like Marlborough was difficult, but she settled in quickly," Gall said (opens in new tab). "It was like a big, happy family. We would do things like bake cakes and watch videos."

So why was Kate (opens in new tab) the target of bullies in the first place? According to Hay, it was literally because she was too perfect.

"She was picked on because she was perfect, well turned-out and lovely," Hay explained (opens in new tab).

Thankfully, Kate found a great fit at Marlborough. In fact, she enjoyed her time there so much that she and Prince William (opens in new tab) are reportedly (opens in new tab) considering sending Prince George and Princess Charlotte (opens in new tab) there for school when the time comes.


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Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.