She's a party girl with her own royal crew – but who is her date to the wedding?

By Alison Schwartz
April 28, 2011 10:00 AM
Richard Young/Rex USA

All eyes will be on Kate Middleton Friday as her fairytale ending unfolds at the Westminster Abbey for the greatest and grandest royal wedding since Charles and Princess Diana’s. By her side? The day’s other leading lady: Pippa Middleton, maid of honor and younger sister.

With her sibling, 29, about to marry into the royal family, Pippa, 27, has already stepped up to the plate. Last month, she pulled off a top-secret, no-boys bachelorette bash for Middleton, and rumors have swirled that she might be lady-in-waiting material.

But before you see her all dolled up for her duties at the altar, here are five things to know about the woman who knew Kate long before Prince William made her a household name.

What kind of name is ‘Pippa’?
Just as Kate is short for Catherine, so is Pippa a nickname. Her full name is Philippa, though family and friends call her Pip.

She’s a party girl
It’s no wonder Kate called upon her sister to plan her bachelorette party. Pippa knows how to have a good time – and she writes all about in the aptly named blog she launched, The Party Times. Topics range from recipes to decoration ideas (even a section devoted to the perfect presents). Such party prowess runs in the family, after all – the sisters’ parents run Party Pieces, a one-stop party shop, which is where Pippa’s blog calls home.

She has a date for the wedding
The princess-to-be’s sister seems to have a prince of her own. Alex Loudon, a pal of William and former professional cricket player, is Pippa’s rumored date for the big day, according to The Washington Post. The couple began dating just before Christmas – not that Pippa seemed to mind being a single lady. In 2008, she was crowned the No. 1 Society Singleton by Britain’s Tatler magazine. Former editor Catherine Ostler told ABC News, “Pippa has a reputation as being the really fun one, slightly louder and more outgoing than Kate. Possibly slightly naughtier.”

She’s already in with the Royals
Maybe it’s a sister thing. While studying English at the University of Edinburgh, Pippa buddied up to George Percy, the eldest son of the Duke of Northumberland, and Lord Edward “Ted” Innes-Ker, the second son of the Duke of Roxburghe, with whom she roomed. She also dated Alexander Spencer-Churchill, who is reputedly related, albeit distantly, to Diana and Winston Churchill.

She’s Hollywood material
Lifetime didn’t leave out Pippa out when they cast William & Kate, a shot-by-shot portrayal of the royal romance. Mary Elise Hayden – a budding actress with a few TV and indie film credits – portrayed Pippa in the made-for-TV movie, which aired April 18. Middleton was played by Camilla Luddington and Nico Evers-Swindell was William.