Kate Middleton is now the Duchess Of Cambridge

Kate Middleton's close school friend has revealed how Prince William's new wife was targeted by a group of teenage bullies at school.

The new Duchess Of Cambridge attended Downe House girls' boarding school as a 13-year-old, but struggled to fit in.

'The girls there were horrible. They used to put faeces in her bed and she was very, very badly bullied,' claims pal Jessica Hay.

''She hated it, absolutely hated it. Gangs of girls can be very nasty.'

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But Kate didn't stay at the school in Thatcham, Berkshire, for long. In 1996, after only 2 terms, her mother and father moved her to Marlborough College in Wiltshire.

It was here that Kate, now 29, built her confidence and made new friends.

'When her parents realised how horribly she was being treated and how unhappy she was, they yanked her out of school in the middle of the academic year,' author Sean Smith, who interviewed Kate's closest friends for his book Kate, tells the News Of The World.

'Poor Kate was lonely, homesick and frequently in tears.

'She had run into a pack of bullies who reduced her to an emotional wreck.

'She was the outsider who was probably too nice for her own good.

'It didn't help that she was so tall and self-conscious about her eczema.'

Kate and husband Prince William chose Beatbullying as one of the charities for their wedding guests to support.

Downe House former headmistress Susan Cameron says: If Kate had been really badly bullied I don't think she would be the girl she is today. That's my take on the girl she is.

But at the time, she may well have felt a fish out of water, or unhappily not in the right place.

'Certainly I have no knowledge of any serious bullying at all. But there's what everyone calls bullying, and there's actual real, miserable bullying where someone has a dreadful time. That certainly didn't happen.'

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Esme Riley