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Kate Middleton’s former school made to feel shame

April 5, 2011

Kate Middleton's former school has been the subject of much media attention

Since the announcement of the royal engagement, the media has been flooded with information and intrigue about the future Mrs. Prince William. Who is the designer deemed royal enough to design her wedding dress? What did she get up to on her not-so-naughty hen night? And so on and so forth.

More recently, however, the press has picked up on a number of stories about Ms. Middleton’s past – from her slightly awkward appearance as a young prep school pupil, to her starring stint in a St. Andrews fashion show. Unsurprisingly, many newspapers have eagerly lept upon rumours that the future Queen of England was once bullied out of her well-to-do Berkshire-based boarding school, Downe House.

Tales of cliquey girls smearing excrement in Kate’s bed – proven to be a ludicrous lie after it was revealed that Kate, a day girl at the school, never actually used a bed – and bitchy back-stabbing have dominated a number of publications over the past week.

While the school has remained quiet about the whole affair – offering their apologies that Ms Middleton ever suffered any unhappiness while at Downe House – others have come out to defend the well-known all-girls establishment, offering their utmost support to the school.

Some have attempted to shed light on the potential reasons why bullies may have chosen to pick on Kate, while others have condemned the school for ever letting the brutish bullies to scare Kate away from the school after only two terms.

Downe House has been criticised for not taking a stronger stance on bullying

As a former Downe House pupil myself (although I was there a few years after Ms Middleton had left), I feel that it is only right for me to pledge my support to the school. While I do not doubt that Wills’ bride-to-be had a terrible time during her short stint at Downe, my own experiences of the place lead me to believe that hers was an exception to the majority of happy and well-rounded school years.

I certainly relished the time that I spent among the white-washed, Spanish-style walls (see the photo if you don’t know what I am referring to). Don’t get me wrong, having spent six years in an all-girls educational system stuck on the top of a hill in the middle of the Berkshire countryside, I was most certainly ready to break free when the time for leaving came around. However, the time that I spent there was everything that one could hope for from an all-girls boarding school! There were drawbacks to the place, don’t get me wrong, but for the most part the school did everything it could to ensure that I was entirely happy for every minute that I was there.

Many who know nothing about the school may be quick to judge it, having heard terrible tales of the ghastly experiences that Ms Middleton may (or may not) have gone through while there. To these people I urge you, take the time to read more about the school, speak to a former student, realise that the experiences of one pupil, while horrible, do not represent the institution as it is now.

Bullying of any kind is, to my mind, completely unacceptable, however one must remember that girls can be complete and utter b***hes when they want to be, regardless of any authority figure trying to prevent it. Throw a load of young girls together in what is sometimes a rather chlaustrophobic and high-pressure environment and things can begin to go awry. Rude comments, cliquey groups and evil glares are, more often than not, an every day occurence in such an environment. Sadly that’s just how girls are.

This in no way excuses those bullies who picked on our future Queen (how foolish they must now feel) nor indeed any other bullies who have matriculated through this school or any other. However, I feel it only fair that the other side of the story be made clear.

While Google searches for Downe House will undoubtedly flag up tales of bullying for weeks/months/years to come, I hope that these stories will be looked at with a certain amount of objectivity…

As a Downe House alumni I offer my sincerest apologies to Kate for any unhappiness that she felt while at the school. I’m sure those responsible are quaking at the thought of their names appearing in tomorrow’s papers, forever branded as the b***hes who bullied Queen Kate.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Bemsy permalink
    April 6, 2011 4:44 pm

    I do wonder if she was actually bullied or whether it was just speculation on the part of the media to create a juicy story. She may have only lasted two terms at Downe for many other reasons. I moved from Downe to Stowe for sixth form, but I only lasted a week there and returned to Downe, and I certainly wasn’t bullied out! It just wasn’t the place for me, so maybe it was the same for Kate. I think all stories about the queen-to-be should be taken with a pinch of salt, after all, there must be hundreds of journalists digging around for the story that everyone wants to read. I’m just glad that you’ve stood up for the school and quashed any claims that the school is a bully’s haven.

  2. coriander permalink
    May 21, 2011 5:37 pm

    kate added a bullying charity to the exclusive list of charities people should give to for her wedding. I think we can all agree she implicity implied she was bullied. She has never come out in support of Downe House and that speaks volumes. I think the problem lies with Kate. She is tacitly implying Downe House was shit to her.

  3. Former DH pupil permalink
    June 25, 2012 5:24 pm

    I agree with ‘corriander’ She has made it very clear. I am a former DH girl myself, arriving before Kate’s year had left. I was badly bullied all the way through, the things I was forced to endure haunt me to this day and I even admit an attempt in taking my life once. Every year group joined in, and I know I was not the only one. In fact, I have found the majority of those who claim their years at Downe were so wonderful, have been the most unpleasant and heartless of all. They had a good time because they stuck with their small group and terrorised the rest into not only leaving them be, but holding doors and running errands for them.

    • June 26, 2012 4:46 pm

      I’m so sorry that you had such a terrible experience while at school.

      I completely understand that everyone has different experiences while at school; not just at Downe but at any school across the world. I was fortunate enough to have had an incredible time while at Downe. I know there were others who didn’t feel quite so lucky.

      I should, however, point out that nothing anywhere near as horrendous as what was said about Kate’s time at the school happened while I was there. We had a different headmistress, who I believe joined just after Kate’s departure, and I don’t doubt for a second that she would have been incredibly quick to eradicate any such behaviour.

      I can’t say that I would ever be so quick to judge everyone who passes through Downe’s gates. I like to think that I had a wide circle of friends while there – although they may not agree! – many of whom I remain close with to this day.

      I truly hope that there is nobody out there who thinks me “unpleasant and heartless”, particularly not because of the school that I attended.

      Again, I can only apologise for the horrible time that you had while at the school and hope that nobody else has to endure anything similar now, or in the future.

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