Today the Duchess of Cambridge is known for her royal patronage of major charities. But when she first announced the names of the first four charities she intended to support, her choice of BeatBullying raised a lot of eyebrows. Last year during their wedding, William and Kate even asked guests to donate to an anti-bullying charity as wedding gifts
The website BeatBullying, a nonprofit organization, describes itself as UK's leading bullying prevention charity. It’s an org. Kate holds close to her heart. The Duchess' patronage to this campaign is said to be due to personal reasons. She is understood to have been a victim of bullying, having been tormented and bullied at the Downe House a prestigious boarding school in Cold Ash, Thatcham in Berkshire, she attended at age 13.
Apparently, the bullying was so severe that her parents pulled her out after just two terms, in the middle of the school year. She was then enrolled at Marlborough College in April 1996. Even author Sean Smith in the preview of his book, "Kate" refers to Middleton’s "unhappy time being bullied at school before finding her feet at Marlborough College.”
When Kate Middleton arrived at the posh private school she was pretty, clever and adept at sports, but soon girls there allegedly starting making her life an ordeal for her. A former Marlborough classmate Jessica Hay spoke about Kate's time at Downe House "She hated it, absolutely hated it. The girls were horrible. She was picked on because she was perfect."
Kate Middleton and Hay shared a dormitory at Marlborough. The latter disclosed that both of them would share late-night heart-to-heart chats. During those girlie talks, Kate Middleton is understood to have confided about her painful experience at Downe House.
In an interview with the Daily Mail Hay said that groups of girls would call Kate names, steal her books or knock it out of her hands. When Kate used to go for lunch and sit down with other students, they would get up and move to another table. At other times they would push her to the back of the lunch queue.
Hay believed they targeted Kate “because she was quite a soft and nice person." Further in her interview to author Sean Smith for his book, Hay made a shocking claim that Kate Middleton's alleged bullies even smeared her bed at Downe House with feces. Of course, later Hay claimed she had been misquoted on this. But Smith asserted that he had recorded the interview, and that Hay was not misquoted.
This kind of adverse publicity for Downe House obviously meant it would be one of the few institutions not to have benefited from its connection with Kate Middleton as her alma mater. Susan Cameron, former principal at Downe House, told the Daily Mail that that Kate did not suffer any "serious harassment."
According to Cameron, its possible that classroom cattiness and teasing could have made Kate Middleton uncomfortable. However, she is believed the “bullying issue has all been blown up” The school headmistress concluded by stating. "Hand on heart; I can almost swear nothing terrible happened to her at Downe House."
Recently Emma Sayle, one of Catherine classmates, and close friend clarified the matter defending the school. According to her the main aspects of the bullying tale just don’t add up. “There was no poo in her bed because she was a day girl and not a boarder, and she was not bullied for being too perfect. The girls considered perfect were never bullied but idolized. They were the ones ruling the roost… and Kate went on to rule one of the biggest roosts in the world.”
Sayle is quite a feisty person herself, famous for organizing swingers’ parties. She said “It’s true that Downe is a fighting school; any girl who makes it into Downe has fought to be there.” Meanwhile even the other famous alumni of the school Clare Balding and Sophie Dahl have not made any reference to a bullying culture there.
Angie Bray also counters stories of Kate Middleton being bullied. She says: “I had a wonderful time there and I speak as someone who was expelled. The school encouraged independence, and while I took that advice too far I recall the school was then famous for being friendly, and so its alleged association with bullying is bemusing,” added Bray.
Another peer, who like Kate, was pulled out of the school by her parents, recalls: “At Downe I found the girls blindingly clone-like. ‘You mean you didn’t go to Cornwall?’ they said when I told them where I’d been on holiday. They couldn’t understand anyone being different. Bullying has nothing to do with the victim being inferior; it’s about the bullies being scared.”
While, like other private matters, Duchess Kate may not speak about her experience at school, but bullying is something virtually widespread all over the globe. According to Beatbullying 81% of school students say they have been bullied. By speaking up, of her own experience in whatever form, Duchess Kate can help to do a world of good for those myriads of children world over suffering from this heinous malaise.
Sources: Daily Express.co.uk/Shine.com/Daily Mail