How Prince William and Kate Middleton's breakup in 2007 ultimately led to their fairytale wedding
An excerpt from Marcia Moody's book 'Kate: A Biography' reveals why Prince William and Kate broke up in between before getting back together and married later
Ever since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married in May, the world has been obsessed with the couple. Meanwhile, the other royal couple Kate Middleton and Prince William have mostly gone under the radar and continue to keep their affairs private. Little is known about their breakup in 2007 which was a crucial point in their relationship and ultimately led to their happy engagement.
According to Marcia Moody's book 'Kate: A Biography', by the time the year 2006 came to an end, a young Kate and William's relationship saw a setback when Kate’s family invited William to stay with them for the New Year. William originally agreed to come, and the Middletons booked Jordanstone House set in the snowy countryside on the outskirts of Alyth, North of Dundee for the occasion. However, at the last minute, William called the visit off leaving Kate annoyed and upset.
The reason behind Kate's annoyance was obvious: the couple hadn't spent a lot of time over the festive season since, as per protocol, William had spent Christmas with the royal family and the Queen in Sandringham. Kate was kept out of the royal Christmas celebrations because she was still not married to William — only married couples were allowed to attend Christmas at Sandringham.
However, things have clearly changed since then. In a first, Meghan had joined the royal family for Christmas in 2017, which was reportedly a first for a royal fiancée.
Unfortunately for Kate and William, the trend of them spending a lot of time apart from each other seemed to continue well into the next year. A day before Kate's 25th birthday, William left to join his first regiment, The Blues and Royals, stationed with the Household Cavalry at Bovington Barracks in Dorset. That in a way ensured his absence for the next few months, and the three-hour drive to London clearly indicated that he would be doing a lot less visiting over the weekends.
On the other hand, right before her birthday, Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson wrote a piece about Kate in The Spectator where he called her ‘The Next People’s Princess’ and spoke highly about how the young Middleton would be a glamorous and much-needed addition to the royal family. As a result, when Kate made her way to work the next day, she was swarmed with more paparazzi than ever before.
Soon Kate couldn't handle the scrutiny and William made his press secretary issue a public statement to stop the madness. The statement read, "He wants more than anything for it to stop. Miss Middleton should, like any other private individual, be able to go about her everyday business without this kind of intrusion. The situation is proving unbearable for all those concerned."
According to Parade, who first published the excerpt from Kate's biography, after Kate's birthday and all the issues with paparazzi were solved, William sent his lady love a pre-Valentine's Day gift in the form of a green enamel Van Cleef & Arpels diamond-framed makeup compact, featuring a polo player about to hit a pearl. And even though the gesture was relatively sweet, the couple had not seen each other for quite a while and cracks in their relationship were starting to deepen.
Since William was stationed outside London, the couple spent a significant amount of time apart from each other. Even though they were young and still trying to get a hang of their lives that lay ahead of them, somehow Kate felt that she had less of a say in their relationship and their future.
Moreover, Kate was at a juncture in her life where she was still confused about her long-term goals, both professional and otherwise. She did enjoy her job at Jigsaw but she was rather confused as to whether she should use her art history degree and go into a related field, pursue her interest in fashion, or if she should maximize her past experience and family contacts and go into the party industry like her parents.
The only reason she was unable to arrive at a concrete decision was her relationship with William, what it would mean for her and her career if she indeed ended up getting married to him. Kate knew even at that time that, in case a marriage was to happen in the future, she would be required to submerge herself fully in royal life, which in turn would require a lot of time and preparation on her part.
Moreover, William, who was already aware of his duties which came to be a part of his destiny as an heir to the British throne, was in no rush to pay his girlfriend a visit every, not even on the weekends. His quarters had a single bed and were quite small, so it wasn't the ideal place for a couple to stay for the weekend. So, in order to see each other, William had to make the effort of going to London or Berkshire, something which he did not seem too keen on doing.
Instead, he started spending a lot of time with his mates at the barracks, going out drinking and dancing. On one occasion, when the young royal did find his way back to London, he was spotted clubbing in Boujis where he ended up flirting with a strange girl, and the story made it to the papers the next day. Kate was not only embarrassed but she had grown increasingly fed up with William's neglect and disrespectful behavior.
The couple was next seen attending the Cheltenham Festival together, but it wasn't all heart-and-roses for them. Although last year's Kate could do no wrong while seated in the royal box with Charles and Camilla, this year, the couple looked quite unhappy and completely out-of-sorts. A few days after their joint appearance at the festival, William was back in his barracks and was soon seen at a nearby nightclub in Bournemouth.
The usually somber Prince was spotted drunk surrounded by half-naked girls from the club. In one of the pictures that were taken that night, William was seen holding the breast of Brazilian Ana Ferreira. A club-goer by the name Lisa Agar said that the young royal was being extremely flirty — dancing and making suggestive comments.
When all the pictures and quotes from the night colored the pages of the newspapers around the world the next day, a very embarrassed Kate and William began to realize that William was indeed unsure of his current relationship and, hence, was completely acting out in his own way. William, at last, found the solution to his dilemma, and chose to walk away from his four-year-old relationship.
The last time that the couple was seen together before their breakup was with their friends Hugh and Rose van Cutsem, whose wedding they had attended just a couple of years ago. It was on March 31, 2007 when the foursome attended a night out in the van Cutsems’ local pub in Bledington and, by the time Kate set off for Ireland on April 3, their four-year relationship was over.
The breakup left Kate quite devastated but, instead of isolating herself in her grief, she chose to get busy. She signed up for a charity challenge with an all-female dragon boat racing crew called the Sisterhood.
The team trained on the Thames in the leafy London borough of Chiswick from 6.30 am, and Kate threw herself into training. Her fellow rower Emma recalled at the time, "Kate was very down and I think the training became her therapy. Kate had always put William first and she said this was a chance to do something for herself."
"It wasn’t a question of, 'Oh, she’s Kate Middleton so she makes the team,’" Emma told the Daily Telegraph at the time. "She has had to prove herself. We launched the challenge in November and Kate joined in April. Our coach said she could only join if she was up to it."
In her engagement interview, Kate said of the breakup, "I think at the time I wasn’t very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person, you find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn’t realized. I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you’re younger. I really valued that time for me as well, although I didn’t think it at the time!"
Kate then started making her own life and attending events, especially once her sister Pippa Middleton moved into her Chelsea apartment after her University was over. The two girls would have spray tans and blow-dries together, and as for her post-breakup transformation, Kate's dresses became shorter, her tops lower and her outfits racier.
Meanwhile, William spent the summer at his barracks and, during his free time, he was scheduled to fulfill his royal duties, all the while playing polo and enjoying a few nights out with friends.
It wasn't long before he started having second thoughts about his decision to separate from Kate, and taking his father's history with Camilla as an example, decided that letting Kate go wasn't the best thing to do.
However, he did realize that Kate had been extremely hurt and, therefore, it would take a lot of convincing from his side to get her back with him. William knew it very well that Kate 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 secretly got back together on June 9 when Kate was spotted attending a party at his barracks to celebrate the end of training. The theme for the party was ‘Freakin’ naughty’, where William showed up wearing hot pants, vest and policeman’s helmet, while Kate was dressed as a naughty nurse.
Later, while speaking about their breakup in an interview, 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."