The Days of Royal Yore: Will & Kate’s Courtship

Kate Middleton Smiles Prince William Cab London Mahiki Nightclub

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To celebrate today’s release of Heather Cocks‘ and Jessica Morgan‘s book, ‘The Royal We‘ (Grand Central Publishing, 2015), one thought a trip down memory lane would tie in nicely with the story of ‘We,’ about an American who falls in love with a prince while studying abroad in the UK.

The more I got to know Bex and Nick, the more I couldn’t help but wax nostalgic about a certain other couple who met as university students and tried (but oftentimes failed) to keep their relationship out of the public eye. 

June 2005: Just a few weeks before graduating from St. Andrews University, William and Kate attended the wedding of Rose Astor and Hugh van Cutsem Jr.  Their daughter, Grace, would be a flower girl at the royal wedding in 2011.


March 2005: Kate first joined the Wales boys for a ski trip to the Klosters in Switzerland in 2004, where Prince William said during a photo call that he didn’t want to get married until he was at least “28 or 30.”

Though she was not a guest at his wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles invited her on the pre-wedding holiday in March 2005, according to Katie Nicholl.


August, 2005: Kate shopped at a stall during the second day of the Gatcombe Park Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, on August 6, 2005 near Tetbury, England.


June 2005: Just before her university graduation ceremony in June 2005, Kate and her father, Michael popped into a convenience store.


June 2005: This is not at all what I looked like at my college graduation.  Not only was I not holding hands with a prince, but my body was made up of 80% Keystone Light and I was operating on 45 minutes of sleep.  This is why I will not be consort one day.  I have to accept that.  And I will, at some point.


November 2005: Kate and her mother, Carol, at the Spirit of Christmas shopping festival.


March 2006: Kate and her sister, Pippa, visited William at Eton College, where he took part in The Field Game, which sounds very complicated.


May 2006: After Camilla Parker-Bowles married the Prince of Wales in May 2005, Kate was invited to her daughter, Laura’s wedding just a year later.

Laura’s daughter, Eliza would also be a flower girl at the royal wedding five years later.


June 2006: Kate attended her first Boodles Boxing Ball wearing a teal blue jersey gown by BCBG ($670).  According to People, Kate purchased the dress at Harvey Nichols.


June 2006: Kate chatted with William’s then-Private Secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton (and later, one of Prince George‘s godparents) during the Chakravarty Cup charity polo match at Ham Polo Club in Richmond, England.  Lowther-Pinkerton stepped down as William, Kate and Harry’s private secretary in 2013.


Hardcover Copy The Royal We   Related: Why ‘The Royal We’ Is More Than Just a Love Story

June 2006: Kate and one of William and Harry’s closest friends, Guy Pelly danced at the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour’s pre-Wimbledon party, hosted by Sir Richard Branson, at The Roof Gardens on June 22, 2006 in London.


June 2006: Kate smiled as she watched William play polo at Englefield House.


July 2006: Kate with Chelsy Davy and Zara Phillips at Rundle Cup Day.


February 2007: “In all these years, without any training, quite simply she has never put a foot wrong. It’s remarkable,” a relative of William’s told journalist Vicky Ward in 2008.


March 2007: The sad tweed colors in these photos from Cheltenham are a dark reminder that a split was imminent.  In April, the Sun revealed the break-up, which the Palace was forced to confirm.


March 2007:  Kate went back on her own to the Cheltenham festival, and was invited to watch the races from the royal box.


May 2007: Instead of crying into a roll of cookie dough, Kate got a spray tan, put on something saucy and went out nearly every night to show William what he was missing.


July 2007: To distract herself from the break-up, Kate joined The Sisterhood for a charity dragon boat race across the English Channel.  She later pulled out of the race for fear that her on-again relationship with William would bring with it “security risks,” according to the Daily Mirror.

“Kate was very down, and I think the training became her therapy,” the team’s unofficial captain, Emma Sayle told Nicholl. “Kate had always put William first, and she said that this was her chance to do something for herself. We trained on the river in Chiswick, and Kate started off paddling with the others, but I decided to put her on the helm because she was an excellent boatman and really well coordinated.”


September 2008: While William trained with the RAF, Kate helped organize a charity disco roller.  A Daily Mail piece reported at the time that The Queen thought that Kate was “something of a show-off,” and after seeing her at the event, Buckingham Palace aides were “appalled at what they saw as a ‘most unladylike display that night.'”


April 2008: Kate joined Will at his graduation ceremony at RAF Cranwell.


June 2008:  “She knew that by giving him time and space she could probably get him back, and she did so by being very clever, stepping out at his favorite clubs, looking glamorous and fabulous, and making him realize … that’s the only thing.” – Vanity Fair article, 2008.


July 2008:  Lady Rose Windsor ‘s wedding.


August 2008:  “Miss Middleton is said to be anxious to prove she is not sitting round ‘waiting for William to click his fingers’, as senior Royal sources have recently claimed.” – Daily Mail, September 2008


July 2010:She always looks to me like the cat that’s got the cream,” Ingrid Seward told the Telegraph in 2008. “If she wants William, she’ll get him.”


October 2010: Harry Meade‘s wedding was the first where William and Kate allowed themselves to be photographed walking into a ceremony together, which had royal watchers all but confirming that an engagement announcement was imminent.

‘When they turned up together and went through the front where there were obviously photographers, no one could believe it,” a source at the church told the Daily Mail.  “It’s very unusual and very significant.”


The Royal We is on sale now.

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4 thoughts on “The Days of Royal Yore: Will & Kate’s Courtship

  1. Alpa says:

    what a fun look back! i’d kind of forgotten what a pretty, youthful wardrobe (ok, comparatively speaking) she had back then. halter tops, bright colors, fun patterns, sexy (but not too sexy) styles. one of my fave flashbacks was the red polka dotted halter top – a great color and cut on her, and perfect for a summer day; and something she would never wear today. more shocking though were her shoes – red, strappy, with a big red flower! where are those shoes, kate, and what made you throw them to the back of your closet and pick beige court shoes for the last 5 years?!

    it’s “funny” how she used to go watch william play polo all the time, and she’s gone about once since their engagement (am i right about that?!). ok, yes, that was snarky.

    bring back the flower shoes, kate! stop dressing like the queen when you’re 32!

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