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Kate Middleton travelled a lot with her family when she was younger. In fact, the now-Duchess has lived abroad on more than one occasion. Her globe-trotting has taught Kate a number of key skills.
One of these is a knowledge of Arabic – picked up during a childhood stint in Jordan.
Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael, who was a pilot at British Airways, decided to make the move to live and work overseas in May 1984.
Living in Amman, the Jordanian capital, proved an eye-opening experience, as author Marcia Moody explained in her 2013 book Kate: A Biography.
“It was a completely different world to what they were used to,” Moody wrote.
“[Kate] attended the Al Saheera nursery, where she learned nursery rhymes in Arabic,” Moody went on.
“To the amusement of those around her, she was able to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in Arabic before she could sing it in English.”
In fact, the whole family “needed to get used to English not being the first language” as they adjusted.
So what was life like for the Middletons at this time?
“Amman was a bustling, dusty and thriving city full of souks, mosques and street traders,” detailed Moody.
“There were horses and donkeys in the streets, and the people lived in typically Arabian square white houses with flat roofs.
“The food was predominantly Lebanese, which meant lots of stuffed vine leaves, rice, lamb and flatbreads, along with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
“As a ninety percent Muslim country, the air often undulated with sounds of the call to prayer from the minaret towers.
“The family needed to get used to English not being the first language, the currency of Jordanian dinars and the different national holidays of Eid Mubarak and Ramadan, instead of Christmas and Easter. In Jordan, Friday, not Sunday, was the day of rest and people worked at weekends.
“The young family moved into a simple one-storey, flat-roofed building in the shadow of a tower block. The rent was paid for by BA, which meant they could keep their Berkshire home to return to.”
Moody continued: “As a family, the Middletons have always enjoyed being outdoors and they explored the country while they were there, visiting local sites such as the Greco-Roman ruins in Jerash.
“Their own area was dusty and rocky and full of orange and olive trees; however, they could also venture down to the Jordan River, which separated the country from Israel, and cut through a lush, picturesque valley.
“At home, they would eat out on their veranda and, before long, Kate and Pippa’s hair went golden blonde in the sun.”
Living abroad clearly pleased Kate, and, many years later, during her Gap Year, she lived in Italy for several months.
However, it would seem her linguistic skills might not have stuck.
She previously told a well-wisher when greeting a crowd: “My languages are so bad.”
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