29/08/2012 06:11 BST | Updated 06/12/2012 08:48 GMT

Move Up Like The Middletons: History's Commoners Turned Nobility (PICTURES)

As little girls, aided by the rags to riches tale of Cinderella and her pumpkin carriage, many of us dreamed of growing up to become a princesses. We imagined entering lives swathed in luxury, in which we'd never have to lift our fingers -- except to wave at the plebs.

Then, as those little girls grew older such dreams begin to fade and were replaced by the harsh knowledge that we're likely to work until our mid-sixties, and then endure a penurious retirement.

But then something happened to remind us that every now and again someone does rise through the ranks and become royalty: Kate Middleton.

You know the story: boy meets girl, boy marries girl, girl becomes Princess and eventually Queen consort. And we all kick ourselves wondering why we didn't apply to go to St Andrews University and nab Prince William ourselves.

If Kate's tale hasn't yet turned you green with envy, fear not we've got a selection of more commoners turned nobility in the gallery below, to really make you squirm.


Moving Up Like The Middletons