Prince William met then-named Kate Middleton when they were at the University of St Andrews in Scotland in 2001. Just friends at first, the relationship blossomed into something more a year later. Instant media interest meant the couple became paparazzi fodder, as the public grew ever more eager for behind-the-scenes details of the young couple. But life in the spotlight in your early twenties can take its toll.
Kate was widely dubbed ‘the next People’s Princess’, a nickname given to Prince William’s late mother, Princess Diana.
Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson wrote a feature for the Spectator in which he said Kate would be a “glamorous” and “much-needed” addition to the royal family, with no word of an engagement in sight.
The pressure of public expectation coupled with Prince William’s increasing distance as he went to join his first regiment, stationed with the Household Cavalry at Bovington Barracks in Dorset, put pressure on the relationship.
In 2007, after five years together, Kate and William quietly split.
While William reportedly handled the break up by going on a party spree in Maliki, Kate had a more sombre reaction.
She flew to Ireland with her mother, Carole, in early April of 2007.
Writing about the breakup in the book ‘Kate: A Biography’, Marcia Moody said: “Kate was devastated, but instead of just weeping at home in a darkened room, she got busy.
“Nothing gives a problem some perspective than getting away from it, and flying to another country was even better.”
Kate and her mother had gone to Ireland to support Carole’s friend Gemma Billington, who was showing a private exhibition of her paintings.
After viewing the exhibition, mother and daughter attended the champagne reception, and made the most of their visit by touring the National Gallery of Ireland.
While Kate might have sad associations with Ireland, it seems the whole ordeal was worth it in the end.
Ms Moody wrote: “It wasn’t long before William was having second thoughts.
“Mindful, perhaps, of the decision his father had made when he was in his twenties and let Camilla go, William did not want to make the same mistake.
“Kate, however, needed some convincing. He had broken her heart, and she wanted to make sure that if they did get back together it would be for the right reasons, and that she would be assured things would change.”
The couple reunited quietly on June 9, attending a party together at William’s barracks to celebrate the end of his training.
Speaking of the split after their engagement in 2010, William said: “We were both very young. We were both finding ourselves and being different characters.
“It was very much trying to find our own way and we were growing up so it was just a bit of space and it worked out for the better.”
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