In Brief

A day in the life of Pippa Middleton

'I'm not a party girl – I work very hard,' says Duchess of Cambridge's sister in rare newspaper interview

Despite a public persona that paints her as a glamorous socialite, Pippa Middleton says she prefers cooking at home and nights in with her fiance.

Speaking to the Daily Mail in a rare newspaper interview, the Duchess of Cambridge's younger sister says: "People see me as someone privileged who has used my position to advantage; that I don't really work, that I am a socialite - that word really irritates me - and that I'm a party girl without any substance."

In reality, she says, "I work very hard".

Although it was her appearance as a bridesmaid at her sister's wedding that propelled her into the spotlight, Middleton, who studied English literature at Edinburgh University, has been out to prove she is more than a privileged glamour girl.

She works five days a week in a rented spot in a shared office space in South Kensington, where she juggles writing commissions with a wide range of charity commitments.

Her first literary venture, Celebrate:  A Year of British Festivities for Families and Friends, was widely criticised for containing "tips" such as: "When hosting a party, move any clutter from the space where you're entertaining."

Middleton, who readily admits the book was a mistake and that she should have "waited a bit longer before doing it", continues to write occasional pieces for Vanity Fair and has a regular column for Waitrose Kitchens.

She has also co-authored another book that she hopes is more in line with her expertise – Heartfelt, which will raise money for the British Heart Foundation, is a guide to nutritional cooking.

"It's nice to go out but it's nicer to entertain at home," Middleton tells the Mail.

She tested the recipes – which have all been vetted by dieticians - on her parents and sister. "They were very honest. So some of the recipes have been culled. They never made the book," she says.

Middleton's first in-depth interview comes in the wake of her engagement to hedge fund manager James Matthews, a former Eton pupil who is the brother of Made in Chelsea's Spencer Matthews.

The couple announced their engagement in July and plan to marry next year.

Pippa Middleton engaged: What you need to know

19 July

Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, is engaged to be married to hedge fund manager James Matthews.

The couple are planning to marry next year after Matthews reportedly proposed during a trip to the Lake District.

Royal watchers across the country are already getting excited about the dress and the bridal party, with many wondering what role her nephew and niece, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, might play.

Here's what we know so far:

Who is James Matthews?

The 40-year-old hedge fund manager is the brother of Made in Chelsea star Spencer and is chief executive of Eden Rock Capital Management, based in Mayfair.

Matthews is "terribly active", says Tatler, and run the 156-mile Marathon des Sables through the Sahara in 2008. He has raised thousands of pounds for the Michael Matthews Foundation in honour of his late brother, who died after climbing Mount Everest at the age of just 22 in 1999. He was also a talented go-kart driver when he was younger and ran the British and European Formula Renault championship at the age of 18, says The Times.

When did they meet?

Matthews and Middleton are said to have become an item last year, after briefly dating in 2012. They spent New Year on St Barts in the Caribbean, where Matthews' parents own the Eden Rock hotel. They have also completed several gruelling physical challenges together, including a 50-mile swimming and running race in Sweden last September and a 33-mile cross-country ski race in Norway earlier this year.

How did he propose?

Richard Kay at the Daily Mail seems to have the inside scoop here. The couple were apparently in the Lake District admiring the "magnificent views" when Matthews popped the question on Sunday.

"As Pippa took in the scenery, her romantic beau was dropping to his knees and preparing an even more spectacular sight – drawing out a stunning diamond ring from deep within a pocket," says Kay. Matthews is said to have asked the permission of Middleton's father, Michael, first.

Why does it matter?

Kay predicts it will be the "the most glamorous and talked about match since Kate Middleton's to Prince William five years ago" – so it might be difficult to escape the build-up, whether you are interested or not. 

"Their marriage will not just cement Matthews into the wider family circle that William and Kate have established," he says, "it will also link them to the celebrity world inhabited by James's brother Spencer."

Vogue says it is at least some "happy news" to come out of "Brexit-entrenched England".

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