How Kate Middleton will celebrate her 40th birthday and who is on the guest list
Kate Middleton spent her last birthday quietly at home with Prince William and their children as the pandemic put paid to any grand plans.
Yet the previous year she partied in style with a group of her closest friends, throwing a house party at Anmer Hall in Norfolk.
Like any other young couple the Cambridges have missed socialising with their inner circle and William is determined that Kate’s big 4-0 should be a truly special occasion.
He is said to be planning a series of surprise celebrations rather than one enormous bash.
But which friends will be included on the guest list?
We take a look at the key members of Kate’s friendship squad.
Emilia D’Erlanger, the niece of Viscount Exmouth, met Kate at Marlborough College and they played in the hockey team together.
As a teenager Emilia went on a cruise of the Greek Islands with Prince Charles, William and Harry and later became part of the young Gloucestershire polo set known as the ‘Glosse Posse’.
In the summer of 1999 she invited Kate to a house party which William also attended. Soon afterwards Kate applied to study at St Andrews University, where Prince William was going rather than her original choice of Edinburgh.
The two women grew so close that when Kate and William broke up in 2007, Emilia flew out to join Kate in Ibiza to help her get over her heartbreak.
Thankfully the couple were soon reunited but Emilia was first to wed and in 2010 William and Kate attended Emilia’s marriage to David Jardine-Paterson whose younger brother, JJ, went out with Pippa for four years.
Emilia is now Prince George’s godmother and one of Kate’s most trusted confidantes.
She is also co-founder of interior design company d’Erlanger and Sloan and helped Kate do up Kensington Palace and Anmer Hall.
Trini has also known Kate since their Marlborough days and the pair had both decided to go on and study at Edinburgh.
Kate switched to St Andrews but Trini took an MA in politics at Edinburgh and then worked as an assistant in the office of MP Jeremy Hunt.
She now lives in Wandsworth, London with her husband Ted, a lawyer.
They have a son Alexander who is the same age as Prince George and the two mums have been seen together on playdates in Kensington Gardens.
Trini is said to be one of Kate’s closest, but most private pals. She was photographed with Kate and family members when the Duchess made a birthday trip to see Cirque du Soleil in 2013.
Lady Laura and James Meade
Lady Laura Meade is the daughter of Julian Marsham, 8th Earl of Romney. She is married to one of the Duke of Cambridge’s best friends, fellow Etonian James Meade, son of Olympic three day event champion Richard Meade.
James co-delivered the best men’s speech at William’s wedding to Kate in 2011, and William was an usher at his in 2013.
James is one of Princess Charlotte’s godfathers and Laura is Prince Louis’ godmother.
The couple live close to Anmer Hall in Norfolk, often spending time with the royal couple. Lady Laura and her son were pictured with Kate and the Cambridge children at the Houghton Horse Trials in 2019.
Alice Avenel St John Webster
Alice St John Webster, the daughter of an Army officer, was in the same year as Kate at Marlborough College and went to Edinburgh university with her sister, Pippa.
Alice and Kate were joint captains of the school tennis team, but the future Duchess was also a big hit with Alice’s brother, Woody. The teenage Kate is rumoured to have shared her first ever kiss with him.
Alice was also a member of the ‘Glosse Posse’ and a close friend of Prince Harry’s pal Guy Pelly.
At the Royal Wedding, she was given a prime seat in the Statesmen’s Aisle, behind Prince William’s ex-girlfriend, Arabella Musgrave.
She is now married to Gerald Avenel, a French banker, and lives in Fulham.
Alice was a language teacher but, after having children, she went into clothes design making smocked cotton dresses under the Little Alice label. When Princess Charlotte wore a Little Alice dress to visit newborn brother Louis, it instantly sold out.
Yoga teacher Zoe Warren is the youngest child of the 14th Earl of Galloway. Her husband, Jake is the son of the Queen’s racing manager, John Warren and runs the Highclere Stud near Newbury with his father.
Jake was one of Princess Diana’s 17 godchildren and is close to both William and Harry.
Jake and Zoe have three daughters – twins aged five and a two year old. One twin, Zalia, is Prince Harry's goddaughter and was a bridesmaid at his wedding.
Zoe, 37, has become part of Kate’s inner circle and the Duchess is thought to have joined her online yoga classes during lockdown.
Sophie Carter Snuggs
Sophie, 37, is the daughter of a Norfolk construction tycoon and, growing up close to the Sandringham Estate, became one of the so-called Turnip Toffs.
A Durham University graduate, she developed a phonics educational app and used to work as a nursery and prep school teacher.
Sophie has been close to Kate for many years and they have been pictured out together at parties, at Wimbledon in 2008 and on skiing holidays.
She used to go out with Prince William's best friend Thomas van Straubenzee, and her brother Robert married one of Kate's school friends, Hannah Gillingham.
Sophie is godmother to Princess Charlotte and both George and Charlotte were attendants at her wedding to Robert Snuggs in 2018. Her daughter, born in 2019 was named Amalia Rose Charlotte.
Alicia is the younger sister of Olympic star William Fox-Pitt, and was Kate’s best friend at Marlborough College.
Kate’s one moment of indiscretion at school seems to have been to vomit on a train coming home after overdoing it at an all-night champagne and dancing party at Alicia’s.
She was one of a very select handful who attended Kate’s hen night celebrations where legend has it there was karaoke and Kate sang Fight For This Love by Cheryl Cole. They both attended each other’s weddings and still enjoy regular suppers together.
They later trained together with the Sisterhood dragon boat crew with Alicia saying at the time: “Kate's a very gifted sportswoman and we played a lot of sport together at school.”
Six foot, red-haired Alicia married entrepreneur Sebastian Stoddart in July 2013, but Kate sadly missed the big day as she was about to give birth to Prince George.
Alicia is a qualified vet and lives in Dorset with her husband and two children.
Hannah Carter (formerly Gillingham) is another of Kate’s friends from her Marlborough College days. The two were boarders at the £9,000-a-term private school.
Despite their close relationship Hannah has remained largely out of the public eye but was given the honour of being one of Prince Louis’ godparents.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended her wedding to Norfolk landowner Robert Carter in May 2012.
By their second year at St Andrews University Kate and William were firm pals but not yet an item. They decided to live off campus and share a house with two pals, Olivia Bleasdale and Fergus Boyd.
Olivia, or Livy, studied History of Art with Kate and they were neighbours in student halls. Their friendship blossomed at the same time as Kate and Wills’ love and the two share a special bond.
Olivia went on to work for a hedge fund before joining a Mayfair firm as office manager. Old Etonian Fergus, who nicknamed William “Steve” to help protect his anonymity, fell for another of Kate’s art history classmates, Sandrine Janet.
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Kate and William met Oli Baker when they studied together at Uni and shared a house with him during their final year.
He met his own wife Melanie Nicholson there too and the couple wed at St Andrews in 2010 with Kate and William as guests. Oli and Mel were at the royal wedding the following year.
Oli is one of Prince George’s godparents and Kate is believed to be godmother to the Bakers’ daughter.
But the couple are said to be fiercely loyal and tight-lipped about their royal connections.
Rose Astor and Hugh van Cutsem
Hugh is one of William and Harry’s oldest friends and his family lived in Anmer Hall when the Princes were growing up.
In 2005 Hugh wed socialite Lady Rose Astor and William attended the wedding. As did his then girlfriend Kate, though the two arrived separately.
William became godfather to the Van Cutsems' daughter, Grace, who went on to steal the show as the ‘grumpy bridesmaid’ at the Cambridge’s wedding.
In 2006 mum of three Rose founded the family members club Maggie and Rose.
Stylist Natasha Archer, 33, has become a close confidante and travels around the world with the Duchess.
She began working for the royals in 2007 and then became Kate’s PA. But she was promoted to stylist in 2014 after reportedly giving the Duchess frank advice on what she saw as her fashion fails.
In July 2013 Tash – as she is affectionately known – was one of the few people to visit the Duchess and newborn Prince George while they were still at the Lindo Wing.
She also accompanied Kate on a six hour trek to a monastery in Bhutan in 2016.
Tash is married to Getty’s royal photographer Chris Jackson. They have a three-year-old son Theo and are expecting a new baby this year.
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Rebecca, née Deacon, was Kate’s private secretary and right hand woman for five years and before that worked for Prince Harry’s Sentabale charity.
She left in 2017 to set up her own PR consultancy but has remained a close and trusted friend to the Duchess.
She married husband Adam in the Chapel Royal at St James’ Palace and the couple have a two year old son, Billy.
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