With her glossy dark hair, classic looks, natural appearance and cut-glass accent, Kate Middleton displays all the poise and breeding expected from the wife-to-be of the heir to the throne. Sophisticated beyond her years, as well as academically gifted, Kate has charmed William's louche circle of friends as well as the House of Windsor.
Yet behind her polished veneer lies the extraordinary tale of an impoverished working-class family that overcame deprivation and adversity to rise to the upper echelons of society.
Claudia Joseph has spoken to members of Kate's family and friends, who have provided an intriguing insight into the extraordinary journey her family has made from the mining villages of Durham to an apartment in the royal residence of Clarence House.
Drawing on exclusive interviews and containing previously unpublished photographs, this is an authoritative account of Kate Middleton's life so far.