Kate Middleton received a phone call from future husband Prince William which left her “heartbroken” in the early days of their relationship.
In their third and fourth years at University, William and Kate, who waitressed in a local restaurant, had continued to live together with friends in a cottage just outside town.
The relationship was kept under wraps, helped by agreed rules of privacy for the prince.
But on holiday skiing in the Swiss resort of Klosters in April 2004 they were snapped kissing and the relationship became public, triggering frenzied speculation of an engagement.
Royal expert Katie Nicholl said William then began to feel “claustrophobic” in the relationship and there were reports of a brief split.
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Robert Jobson, in his book William’s Princess, writes that a Palace source told him: “Prince William thinks the world of Kate Middleton, but he has confided to at least one of his best friends that the relationship has been getting a little stale and he thinks they may be better suited as friends.
“He has been unhappy in the relationship for a while. The truth is he thinks that when they graduate in the spring they’ll go their own ways.”
They didn’t, and seemingly reconciled. But knowing his father Prince Charles had been pushed into marrying his mother Diana, William feared history repeating and snapped.
In 2005, he impatiently told one TV interviewer: “Look, I’m only 22, for God’s sake. I am too young to marry at my age. I don’t want to get married until I’m at least 28 or maybe 30.”
After university, Kate and William were often apart. He went off on his first solo royal tour abroad to New Zealand, and then began his officer training at Sandhurst, while Kate returned home to her parents and took a job as an accessories buyer with fashion com-pany Jigsaw.
As the nickname “Waity Katie” was coined, society gossips were reportedly scathing about her background, whispering “doors to manual” when she entered a room in reference to her mum Carole’s past career as a flight attendant.
When her sister Pippa joined Kate to share a London flat, they were labelled the “wisteria sisters”, a reference to their social climbing.
In February 2006, whispers that Kate might be receiving royal security sent the rumour mill into overdrive. and Woolworths began producing wedding memorabilia.
Meanwhile, William, based in barracks near Bournemouth, was snapped on a boozy night out seemingly holding the breast of a reveller, Brazilian Ana Ferreira.
It was whispered that once again he felt the fun had gone out of his relationship with Kate.
In April 2007, while she was reportedly at work, Kate received a call from William that would leave her heartbroken.
Royal historian Robert Lacey wrote of the call: “She shut the door for more than an hour. When she came out, she was single.”
Woolworths had wasted its money.
How it all began
The principal of St Andrews university was in a playful mood when he gave his speech at a particularly note-worthy graduation ceremony on a sunny day in 2005, telling the students: “You may have met your husband or wife.”
At least two shy young students in the audience no doubt blushed fiercely, perhaps slyly locked eyes, before turning away to look down at the floor.
On Thursday, those besotted graduates, Kate Middleton and William Wales, who were collecting 2:1s in History of Art and Geography respectively, celebrate 10 years of marriage.
Now careworn parents to George, even, Charlotte, five, and Louis, three, they are also a slick professional partnership, recognised all over the world.
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Their wedding on April 29, 2011, was watched by two billion people around the globe, who tuned in to see middle-class Kate, walk down the aisle in Westminster Abbey, to marry her prince almost 10 years after they first met as freshers at the University of St Andrews.
According to Dr Lang, former Vice-Chancellor and Principal, their time at the university gave them a sense of normality which provided firm foundations for their relationship.
He says: “We gave them four years in which they could find themselves and find one another. Four years in which they could get to know one another, free of intrusion, glare and publicity.”
Above all, the university allowed two very different worlds to collide.
Although educated at the elite public school, Marlborough College, Catherine Elizabeth Middleton is the descendent of coal miners, not kings.
Her parents Carole and Michael are new money, school fees earned from their own celebration mail order business, Party Pieces, run from their pleasant home in Bucklebury, Berks.
Carole, 66, was once a flight attendant, while Michael, 71, was an airline pilot turned flight dispatcher. Rumour has it that their daughter Kate had a picture of Prince William on her wall as a teenager, although she later laughed this off in their engagement interview, with: “He wishes.”
But if Kate had dreams of meeting a prince when she went to St Andrews, 19-year-old William certainly
was not snobby.
He said: “I just hope I can meet people I get on with. I don’t care about their background.”
It was hardly love at first sight when, both fresh from gap years, they first met in 2002. Some reports have it that Kate awkwardly curtsied when their paths crossed in the first year halls of residence.
She later said: “I actually think I went bright red when I met you and sort of scuttled off, feeling very shy.”
Both had other partners initially, and were just friends. William started studying History of Art with Kate, but had a “wobble” and swapped to Geography. Reportedly, it was Kate who helped him through worries about his course.
William, whose pet name for Kate is said to be Babykins, while she calls him Big Willie, recalled: “We spent more time with each other, had lots of fun and realised we shared the same interests. She’s got a really naughty sense of humour, which helps me because I’ve got a really dry sense of humour, so it was good fun.”
Historian Robert Lacey, in his book Battle of Brothers, describes one humorous incident in their first year.
He writes: “A month or so into their first term together, they attended a party at which William was getting seriously hit upon by a pushy female student.
“The prince was being polite, but he couldn’t shake her off, and the girl didn’t get the hint – until Kate appeared out of nowhere behind him and put her arms around William. ‘Oh sorry,’ he said, ‘but I’ve got a girlfriend’, and he and Kate went off giggling together.”
History has it that “things happened” in the spring of 2003, when they were in their second year, and already living together with friends.
Modelling for a charity fashion show, Kate was handed a slinky, £30 see-through number to wear.
William, in a £200 front seat, was hooked, exclaiming to Etonian pal Fergus Boyd, who is now godfather to Prince George: “Wow! Kate’s hot!”
In their third and fourth years, William and Kate, who waitressed in a local restaurant, continued to live together with friends in a cottage just outside town. The relationship was kept under wraps, helped by agreed rules of privacy for the prince. But on holiday skiing in the Swiss resort of Klosters in April 2004 they were snapped kissing and the relationship became public, triggering frenzied speculation of an engagement.
COMING LATER: Day 2 – No more Waity Katie