Friday, April 15, 2011

Royal Sister-in-Law: A Look at Pippa Middleton

On April 29, 2011 all eyes will be on the bride, as Catherine Middleton walks down the aisle to become HRH Princess William of Wales (unless the Queen makes William a Duke or decides that she will be known as Princess Catherine), but by her side will be the woman who some are calling the most eligible singleton in Britain. No one was surprised when it was announced that Kate’s younger sister Pippa, 27, would be her maid of honor. The two sisters are incredibly close, and Pippa is widely tipped to become her sister’s lady-in-waiting. The two women have made a formidable double act on the London social scene over the several years. Some snobs, who are not quite so enamored, have dubbed them the ‘wisteria sisters’ (highly decorative, terribly fragrant and with a ferocious ability to climb). Ouch! The closest double act America has would probably be Jacqueline and Lee Bouvier. Jacqueline married the closest thing America has to royalty when she married Jack Kennedy in 1983, and Lee married actual royalty when she married Prince Stanislaus Radziwill. But the two sisters are more akin to the Miller sisters who took center stage in the 1990’s when middle sister Marie Chantal bagged Prince Pavlos of Greece, and her two sisters Pia and Alexandra bagged a Getty and Alexander von Furstenberg respectively.

So who is Pippa Middleton exactly? She was born Philippa Charlotte Middleton on September 6, 1983. Like her sister, Pippa attended first Downe House School and then Marlborough, the tony boarding school where they both started to make the right connections. Friends say that while Kate and Pippa were close, they were also incredibly competitive which has continued to this day. ‘Kate was jealous of Pippa – in fact, I think Kate feared being eclipsed by her a bit,’ a friend told the Daily Mail in July of last year. ‘The two sisters are close, but there was always a sense of rivalry between them. Probably still is.” Growing up, Pippa was considered the more outgoing, sassier, and prettier of the two sisters. It wasn’t until Marlborough that Kate began to come out of her shell, turning into the confident and elegant woman that Prince William fell in love with.

Well, there is no chance of Pippa eclipsing her sister now that Kate has accomplished the get of the century, marrying the second in line to the throne! Still Pippa was voted in 2008 as top of Tatler magazine’s most eligible bachelor list, and there is no reason that when she does marry, she shouldn’t bag someone at the top of the heap. By the time Pippa arrived at college (Edinburg University), she was already cultivating the right people. At Edinburgh, she cultivated the country set, people who go to each other’s country houses for the weekend, rather than the fast crowd who headed to London every weekend to party. By her final year, she could count sons of two Dukes as her flat mates (George Percy, heir to the Duke of Northumberland, and Lord Ted Innes-Ker, the second son of the Duke of Roxburghe). According to her frenemies, Pippa is one of those charming people who are constantly looking over your shoulder to see if someone more important was in the room. She is also considered the prettier and sexier of the two sisters. While Kate looks like fun and a good laugh, Pippa is the one in the slinky dresses with the come hither look.

While Kate played the waiting game with Prince William, Pippa plunged into the London social scene. Moving into the £850,000 Chelsea flat with her sister, she took a job with an events planner. Soon invitations to fashion shows and launch parties filled her mailbox. But it wasn’t all parties and premieres. Pippa took her role as gatekeeper for her sister seriously, booking restaurants for Kate and William and sorting through their invites, sort of an unofficial social secretary. There are two people that Kate trusts implicitly, her mother and her sister. Neither of them has let her down during the years of her relationship with William.

Still while her sister has found her Prince, Pippa is still looking for hers. She’s had a long-term relationship with Jonathan ‘J.J.’ Jardine Patterson, heir to Hong Kong Jardine Matheson (think James Clavell’s Noble House), Scottish aristocrat Bill More Nesbit, diamond heir Simon Youngman, nightclub entrepreneur Charlie Gilkes, and a close friend of William and Kate’s, Guy Pelly. Currently she’s dating former cricket player Alexander Guy Rushworth Loudon, and according to royal reporter Katie Nicholls the relationship is serious. Rushworth works in finance, he’s dashingly handsome, and his family have a stately pile in Kent called Olantigh.

Currently Pippa divides her time between the events company Table Talk and editing ‘The Party Times,” the newsletter for her parents company. If royal insiders are correct, and Pippa does become her sister’s lady-in-waiting, her job at Table Talk will have to go. Her days will be filled with helping her sister with her calendar, and following her around to royal engagements, making sure to keep her on schedule. “Pippa is a great networker, like her mother,” says a friend. No doubt those skills will come in handy in the years ahead.

Sources:  Vanity Fair, Daily Mail, The Telegraph

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