Kate Middleton was bullied as a child? Includes anti-bullying charity on her wedding registry

The charities on the royal couple's wedding registry shed light on their lifestyle, but they also offer clues to their past. Among the 26 charities to which guests can choose to donate is BeatBullying.org-and its inclusion on the list seems to be a de-facto admission that Kate Middleton was, indeed, bullied as a child.

When the princess-to-be was just 13, she attended Downe House, a posh private school in Cold Ash, Thatcham. But her parents pulled her out in the middle of the school year and enrolled her at Marlborough College in April 1996.

"She hated it, absolutely hated it," her former Marlborough classmate Jessica Hay said of Kate's time at Downe House. "The girls were horrible. She was picked on because she was perfect."

Hay shared a dormitory with Middleton at Marlborough, and said that she and Kate would share late-night heart-to-heart chats, during which Kate confided about her experience at Downe House.

"She said that there was a group of girls that called her names and they stole her books and stuff - little things like that," Hay told The Daily Mail in an interview. "They rounded up on her a bit because she was quite a soft and nice person."

Kate Middleton in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on March 8, 2011. (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images) Kate Middleton in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on March 8, 2011. (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty …Apparently, mean girl bullying tactics are the same across the pond as they are here in the U.S. "When she used to go to lunch she would sit down with people and they all used to get up and sit on another table," Hay said.

In interviews with author Sean Smith for his new book, "Kate," which will be published just a few days after the royal wedding, other classmates have described the bride-to-be as "fairly quiet and very nice," "a non-entity," and "thin and pale" as a 13-year-old day student at the all-girls school. "You didn't get much impression of a personality really," one former classmate said. During her short stint at Downe House, which costs more per year than many American universities, "She was unrecognizable as the person she is now." In a preview for his book, Smith refers to Middleton's "unhappy time being bullied at school before finding her feet at Marlborough College, where she was transformed from an ugly duckling to a swan."

Susan Cameron, former headmistress at Downe House, told The Daily Mail that while Kate did not suffer any "serious harassment," classroom cattiness and teasing could have made her uncomfortable. "I think it's fair to say she was unsettled and not particularly happy," Cameron said. "Maybe in Kate's case she just kind of went quiet and didn't say anything."

"Girls are cliquey by nature and they can be rather cruel," she added. "They can sense those who are slightly weaker, or who haven't shown their strengths yet, and it's those girls who are likely to end up being picked on or teased." She called the environment at the all-girls school a "hotbed of estrogen" and admitted that, while the girls "could be nasty to each other," they were mostly just "girls being girls."

"I honestly think the bullying issue has all been blown up to fit the fact that she's chosen this charity," Cameron concluded. "Hand on heart, I can almost swear nothing terrible happened to her at Downe House."

In her interview with Smith, former classmate Hay had said that Middleton's tormenters had smeared her bed at Downe House with feces. But, given that Middleton was a day student and not a boarder at that school, it's unlikely that she had a bed there to begin with. Now Hay, who recently quit her job to focus on selling her story, claims that she was misquoted.

A close friend of Middleton's said of Hay yesterday: "She is not and never has been a friend. Many claims are just fantasies." Smith says that he recorded the interview, and that Hay was not misquoted.

Regardless of the extent to which she was bullied, the fact that Kate Middleton is shining a light on the subject by including Beatbullying.org on her wedding registry has many people cheering.

A spokesman for Beatbullying said it had had no direct contact with the couple but plans to invite Kate to become a patron. "We advocate peer-to-peer support," he said, "and this resonates with the couple as they are young role models themselves."

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