How Prince William Met Kate Middleton: Their Royal Romance Over the Years
Over the next few months, a romance blossomed between the two. Eventually, they came clean to their fellow housemates. “I think at first they were a bit surprised that it had happened,” William admits. “Then they realized it was really nice.”
The group living situation gave them a temporary cover. But colleges are small, and gossip spreads fast. Soon, basically everybody at St. Andrews knew about their relationship, and the rumors reached the wider world. Reporters showed up at the Middleton family home in Bucklebury, England. “We are very amused at the thought of being in-laws to Prince William, but I don’t think that is going to happen,” Kate’s father, Michael Middleton, told them.
Yet a year later, the whole thing blew open. In March 2004, paparazzi captured the two skiing together in the Swiss Alps. The Sun blasted the news all over their April 1 front page: “Finally…Wills gets a girl,” read the headline. “Prince and Kate so close in Klosters.”
Just like that, Kate Middleton was thrust into the spotlight—and never left it.
In June 2005, both William and Kate graduated from St. Andrews. Kate’s father took a photograph of them together, wrapped in a tight embrace. They look young, beautiful, and happy.
But college, for the couple, was a bubble. The British press had agreed to a coverage blackout while William was at university, which allowed William and Kate to date (somewhat) privately. Now it was onto the real world, where that bubble would burst.
To the British tabloids, Kate’s nonaristocratic background was fair fodder. They called her family “the Middle-Class Middletons.” They dubbed Kate and her sister, Pippa, “the wisteria sisters” (because of how fast they could climb). Kate’s work ethic was also questioned—at the time, she was a buyer for the clothing chain Jigsaw. In 2006, when attending William’s graduation from military academy Sandhurst, Kate’s mother, Carole, was skewered for chewing gum.
By 2007, the pair was on the rocks. William had joined the Household Cavalry in Windsor and had little time to visit Kate. Meanwhile, pictures of him partying hit the tabloids. Come springtime, they officially split up. “At the time I wasn’t very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person,” Middleton says of the break.
Yet, as long-term couples tend to do, they found their way back together. In October 2010, Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with his mother’s ring at the foothills of Mount Kenya. Three weeks later, they announced the news to the world. “I’m willing to learn quickly and work hard,” Middleton told reporter Tom Bradby during their official engagement interview. William agreed: “She’ll do really well.”
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