Kate Middleton and Downe House Bullying Allegations Refuse To Abate

Despite Angie Bray's insistence school was 'famous for being friendly'

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Allegations of bullying at Downe House, the school attended by Chiswick's Clare Balding and Angie Bray MP as well as future princess Kate Middleton, continued this week despite being refuted by some former pupils.

The furore began when Kate Middleton asked wedding guests to donate money to anti-bullying charity Beatbullying in lieu of gifts, leading some to believe she was making a tacit admission that she herself was a victim at school.

Chiswick resident Angie Bray MP, who was expelled from Downe House, said: "I had a wonderful time there. The school really encouraged independence, and while I took that advice too far, I have many happy memories. I recall the school was then famous for being friendly, and so its alleged association with bullying is bemusing."

She added: "If Kate did suffer, I hope it was a one-off occurrence. Perhaps in the light of suggestions, it would be nice for Downe House to make a contribution to the charity Kate’s guests are donating to."

The bullying issue is set to remain in the limelight as a book which claims to lift the lid on why Miss Middleton’s parents withdrew her from Downe House nears publication.

Jessica Hay, who shared a dormitory with Kate after she moved to Marlborough at 14, insisted that Kate confided in her about cruelty at Downe House. Hay claims there was a group of girls that called her names and they stole her books and stuff "they rounded up on her a bit because she was quite a soft and nice person."

Former Downe House headmistress insisted there was no ‘serious’ harassment, but described the ‘catty’ atmosphere and classroom pranks that could have left her feeling ‘like a fish out of water’. Susan Cameron, who was in charge of Downe House for seven years, told The Mail On Sunday: "Yes, there would be teasing. It’s all part of the normal competition of growing up, of establishing a pecking order. Girls are cliquey by nature and they can be rather cruel…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."

April 7, 2011