The world’s most famous bridesmaid is set to become a bride herself. We take a look at the rise and rise of Miss Middleton…
It’s hard to believe it’s now over five years since Pippa Middleton first made her grand entrance into the public eye. Walking behind sister Kate as she married Prince William, she didn’t realise the furore she would cause as she caught the eye of millions – suddenly everybody wanted to know who this girl was.
Since then, the interest in Pippa and her life hasn’t wavered. She’s become a regular face in gossip columns and on style blogs, has written for high-profile publications and published a book, and has also become prolific for her involvement in charity work. Her recent engagement has once again seen her catapulted into the public eye, and speculation over her upcoming nuptials are a constant media focus; from her dress decision to whether Kate will return the favour and be her maid of honour.
Lady in Waiting
It’s rumoured that Pippa’s fiancé James Matthews pursued her for 10 years – but his perseverance paid off, as in July the pair announced their engagement, with Pippa sporting an art-deco ring rumoured to be worth over £200,000.
Although the pair have been friends for years, and briefly dated in 2012, it was only after Pippa split with her long-term partner stockbroker Nico Jackson in November 2015 that James and Pippa rekindled their romance, and it wasn’t long before the hedge fund manager proposed during a romantic trip to the Lake District.
Brother of TV personality Spencer Matthews, former Etonian James is heir to a Scottish estate, meaning that Pippa will one day have her own title – Lady Glen Affric.
Attention has turned to Pippa’s upcoming nuptials and the dress she’ll be wearing on her big day – there’s been much speculation over which designer she’ll choose, and whether she’ll ask Sarah Burton, who created Kate’s spectacular dress and also her now infamous bridesmaid dress.
When Pippa stepped in to the silk-crepe sheath Alexander McQueen dress, she had no idea that she, the dress and her figure would come under such intense scrutiny.
“The plan was not really for it to be a significant dress. Really just to sort of blend in with the train.”
Nevertheless, it was her effortless elegance that sparked an interest in the new royal’s sibling, and five years later, people are still talking about the outfit that wowed 3billion viewers. Now, with her own wedding expected to take place in 2017, there’s no doubt her dress will once again be the hot topic of discussion around the world. Experts have already waded in to the debate, with many suggesting she’ll opt for two dresses, and that, judging by the stir her figure caused before, she’ll once again choose something fitted to show off her slim silhouette. Pippa however, has joked that she may choose something else entirely:
“If I had to get married, it would be in my tennis whites – shorts with no pleats or frills.’’
Career & Charity
Born Philippa Charlotte Middleton in 1983 (this month sees her turn 33), Pippa is the middle Middleton, with Kate the eldest and their brother James four years her junior. Growing up in Berkshire, she, like her sister was educated at St Andrew’s School, then Downe House School, before attending Marlborough College on a sports scholarship.
After graduating from Edinburgh University, she worked in public relations and events, before taking up a role in her parent’s party planning company Party Pieces. Writing had always been a passion of hers, and after the royal wedding she was offered multiple opportunities, including becoming a columnist for Tatler, The Sunday Telegraph and Waitrose Weekend and having a party planning book published in 2012 entitled Celebrate. She also had a brief stint as a TV presenter in the US.
In recent years, Pippa’s writing has taken more of a backseat as she’s concentrated on charity work. As well as being an ambassador for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Mary Hare School for deaf children where she regularly completes difficult challenges to fundraise, she’s also become heavily involved with the Michael Matthews Foundation – a charity set up in memory of her fiancé’s brother, who lost his life while climbing Everest. Just two months ago she and her brother James completed a 15,000ft French Alps mountain trek to raise money for the charity, and earlier this year she accomplished the Great Wall marathon in China for the BHF.
Despite their busy lives and Kate’s royal engagements, the Middleton family are very close, with Kate and Pippa maintaining a strong relationship. The pair try to see each other when possible, and Kate is thought to be very supportive of her younger sister, while it’s reported that Prince William and Pippa are also close, with him offering her career advice and guidance on her charity ventures.
“We have a very normal, sisterly relationship. We’re very close. And, you know, we support each other and get each other’s opinions and things. Obviously she has pressures that she’s taken on, but we spend a lot of time together. We still do a lot together as a family.”
The Pippa Effect
Retailers across the globe have long-spoken about ‘the Kate effect’; the process whereby the Duchess is spotted wearing something and within hours the said item has sold out worldwide. And it would seem that, much like her sister, Pippa’s sense of style has the nation gripped – handbag brands and shoe retailers sold out of their products when Pippa was spotted wearing their labels, and after her recent engagement jewellers reported a rise in requests for ‘the Pippa ring’. Much like Kate’s wedding dress sparked a lace resurgence, Pippa’s infamous bridesmaid dress saw demand for slim-fitting wedding dresses rise, and since the royal wedding many brands have attempted to make their own replica wedding dresses emulating Pippa’s.
With her style status on the rise and wedding plans in place, there’ll no doubt be an increase in interest surrounding the Duchess’ sister – as the world waits to see what dress she’ll be walking down the aisle in next year, the Pippa effect shows no sign of slowing down…