William didn't know if it was possible to love just one girl… but then Kate hit the town in a sexy dress and he came running backThe true story behind THAT break-up – concluding our highly revealing series by PENNY JUNOR
23:43 GMT, 7 May 2012
06:40 GMT, 8 May 2012
Royal author has better insight into Prince William than PENNY JUNOR,
who has used her unique contacts to write the most definitive ever
account of his life in a major new biography. In the final part of our
unmissable series, she reveals how William fell for Kate Middleton, but
was scared of becoming too attached…
Despite her good looks, Kate Middleton appears to have left little impression on the academic staff at St Andrews university. ‘She was another girl in a pashmina,’ says one tutor candidly.
‘When I read about her charismatic personality — well, maybe it’s developed, but it wasn’t that obvious then.’
Some of her fellow female students even admit to having felt slightly sorry for her. While others were having the time of their lives, Kate diligently went to lectures and seemed to put in more work than most.
Stunning: Her daring hemline exposing her toned thighs, Kate heads out to a nightclub during her split from Prince William
Indeed, she struck some who shared history of art seminars and tutorials with her as seeming rather shy and vulnerable. She didn’t hang around with the girls in her year — and didn’t seem to like the ones that hung around Prince William.
Unlike many of them, Kate wasn’t a Sloane Ranger or a ‘Ya’, didn’t speak with an exaggerated upper-class accent and had no airs and graces. Most of the time, she didn’t even wear make-up.
In short, she didn’t stand out — and this quality alone was a potent part of her allure to Prince William. Unlike many of the girls who tried to catch the royal eye, she never looked as if she was trying too hard.
Having been educated at Marlborough College, a mixed-sex public school, Kate Middleton was relaxed around men. But William, who’d been largely educated at boys’ schools, clearly found the female sex somewhat alarming — particularly in his history of art tutorials, where there were seven girls to two men.
William, who’d been largely educated at boys’ schools, clearly found the female sex somewhat alarming
Professor Brendan Cassidy, his first tutor, recalls: ‘William seemed very uncomfortable with the girls, and in the second or third week, the other man didn’t turn up for the tutorial — so William was there with seven women. His body language said it all: he tried to wrap himself up [with his arms].’
But he didn’t find Kate threatening at all; in fact, she struck William as one of the least pushy of the girls he encountered in his first year. As well as going to the same history of art lectures, they also had rooms in the same hall of residence. Before long, they discovered they were both sports enthusiasts. So, as the friendship developed, they swam and surfed together, played tennis on the university courts and went to pubs and wine bars.
She had a quiet, confident presence and laughed easily — but Kate had acquired a boyfriend, fourth year student Rupert Finch, and William’s eye was roving elsewhere. There seemed little chance, in short, that they’d ever be more than good friends.
/05/08/article-0-005FADCC00000258-472_634x548.jpg” width=”634″ height=”548″ alt=”Having fun: Prince William at a ball held by members of the Tynedale Hunt at Welton Hall, near Stamfordham, Northumberland. The girl in the picture has not been identified ” class=”blkBorder” />
Having fun: Prince William at a ball held by members of the Tynedale Hunt at Welton Hall, near Stamfordham, Northumberland. The girl in the picture has not been identified
It had been Prince Charles’ idea for him to spend part of his gap year taking part in Operation Raleigh, which takes young people from a mixture of countries and backgrounds and gives them the chance to explore, face major challenges and do some good.
Before leaving on the 11-week trip, William met Malcolm Sutherland, a Raleigh expedition leader, for a briefing at St James’s Palace.
‘He was in jeans and T-shirt — scruffy,’ recalls Malcolm. ‘He’d just been dragged out of bed and he was sitting there with his cup of tea and his Sunblest white-bread toast. It was in a sitting-room upstairs — tiny, very casual, with computer games in the corner.’
Malcolm warned him that conditions would be extremely tough, with the volunteers expected to sleep in tents or on floors in community projects.
/05/08/article-0-0F5DF31A00000578-879_634x491.jpg” width=”634″ height=”491″ alt=”Close: William and Kate on their graduation day. During their time at St Andrews they attended the same history of art lectures and had rooms in the same hall of residence” class=”blkBorder” />
Close: William and Kate on their graduation day. During their time at St Andrews they attended the same history of art lectures and had rooms in the same hall of residence
The next three weeks were spent in a small coastal village called Tortel, where William helped out in the primary school. ‘He was completely and utterly at one with himself and happy to be with [the kids] and to make a fool of himself and look silly; there was no pretence,’ says Malcolm. ‘It was his true self popping out.
‘That was the one time his smile was non-stop. He was buzzing, he was natural, he was jumping around as if nobody was watching him. He was teaching a bit of English, playing games, drawing animals on a blackboard and writing the English name next to them; his drawings weren’t too great and everyone was laughing at that.’
For the final three weeks, William lived in a tent ‘in the middle of nowhere’, tracking and monitoring the area’s Huemul deer, now in danger of extinction. Finally, there was a giant party before everyone flew back to their vastly differing lives. ‘It was a massive blow-out, lots of dancing and people swinging from the rafters — and he was one of them. He got on the plane with a very sore head,’ says Malcolm.
‘I’m sure he’d been homesick. But by the end, he’d made friends and was very comfortable with everyone. I think it gave him great confidence.’
Worryingly, however, William’s confidence appeared to trickle away when he embarked on his four-year degree at St Andrews. Dr Corner, the registrar who looked after his non-academic welfare, thinks the Prince was lonely.
He shrank from curious stares, deliberately sitting in the front row at lectures so no one could turn round to look at him, and wearing a baseball cap and an Aston Villa scarf in the street. Meanwhile his protection team, trying to blend in and look like students, stood out a mile.
‘The protection people were a scream: they dressed like Seventies students in cords and jackets,’ says Dr Corner.
That year, the Prince spent most weekends away and seriously considered dropping out. The accepted wisdom is that he was homesick, but Corner — who met him for a chat every three weeks — thinks the real problem was self-doubt. In his view, the Prince was finding the other part of his course, social anthropology, very challenging.
‘Social anthropology is very theoretical and William is quite a practical person,’ he says. ‘St Andrews has lots of very bright students. I remember my own experience of going to Oxford from a Birmingham school; you talk to your peers and they all seem to know more than you do.
‘And it was that sort of reaction, partly. He’s not the brightest student we’ve ever had, but he was always conscientious.’
'Not the brightest student weve ever had': Prince William at St Andrews University library in 2004. Tutors there say he struggled with the social anthropology elements of his further education
Over the year, the Prince had many conversations about dropping out with his father and Prince Philip, both of whom tried to dissuade him. In the end, he decided to stay — and from his second year onward, he was much happier.
With Kate and two other friends, he rented a smart flat in Hope Street, an area where many parties went on noisily into the night. But not all the flats were rented by students: one was the home of a lecturer called Dana.
‘The poor girl was plagued with students partying three times a week,’ says Dr Cassidy. ‘She was really suffering, on the verge of tears because she couldn’t sleep. One night, she got up and knocked on the door of one to ask them to keep the music down — and who was in the hallway but William.’
Dana’s plea apparently failed to make a blind bit of difference.
So comfortable did William feel with his three new flatmates that they continued to live together for the rest of his time at St Andrews. Dr Corner reflects: ‘I think it was because he was lonely that he became so close to the group. He needed them and they were incredibly protective.
‘I remember seeing them once in Anstruther [a fishing village]. He’d gone to get some fish and chips and I saw a local weaving his way up the road, pointing a finger and cursing and muttering.
‘It was very interesting to see their group movement. They almost formed a shell around William, and I thought: how mature for kids of that age.’
And Kate Sometime during that second year, she became more than a friend.
Sheer: Kate in a sheer black lace dress over a bandeau bra and black bikini bottoms at a university charity fashion show attended by Prince William
William was now clearly enjoying student life. He never went too far out of his comfort zone – all the friends he made had been to public schools — but like any other student, he dressed in jeans or chinos, wore a collection of bracelets around his wrist, drank too much and cracked jokes with his friends — memorably, on one occasion, over a sex toy that one of his hostesses had been given for her birthday.
Like other students, of course, he had opportunities to take drugs — but it’s highly unlikely that he ever gave into temptation.
A friend of William and Harry’s says: ‘The idea of Harry being the wild one and William the good one is nonsense: they were both wild. William lets his hair down and puts down some serious drink on occasion — certainly he did as a student.
‘He likes a good night out with his friends, but he’s always quite careful to protect his image. You get p***** — so what Nobody cares. You take drugs, and it tarnishes you for ever if you’re going to be King.’
Some nights, William and his housemates stayed in, taking it in turns to do the cooking. They also shared all the household chores, including shopping for food — a novelty for the young Prince
Finally, William was achieving his dream of — almost — blending in. Casting aside his baseball cap, he began walking confidently through the town, popping in and out of shops, pubs and cafs with barely a second thought; he also started speaking up in tutorials and seminars.
History of art was dropped in favour of geography, but only after he’d made a long list of pros and cons. One of the cons, surprisingly, was that he’d rarely been able to visit major art galleries.
In the first semester, his tutor Brendan Cassidy had asked students to compare two pictures that hang in the National Gallery.
‘I never twigged, of course, that William couldn’t just walk in,’ he recalls. ‘I asked if he’d seen the pictures, assuming he had, and he said, no, he’d never been in the National Gallery. If I’d been smart, I should have given him an essay on something at Windsor and he could have borrowed something from Granny’s collection.’
In the event, geography was a far better fit. ‘I think he surprised himself with his ability to cope with the quantitative, mathematical side of geography,’ says his academic adviser, Colin Vincent. ‘He had a view he couldn’t do it. His father had been concerned that, like him, he didn’t have a quantitative brain.’
His geography tutor, John Walden, recalls that William was most motivated by the parts of the course with a social context — such as studies on HIV and Aids. Once, the Prince went on a ‘human geography’ field trip to Dundee.
He was in a street, discussing low-quality housing with other students, says Walden, ‘when someone in a flat three floors above threw open the window and, in the broadest of accents, told the group, including the future King, to go f*** themselves.’
On another field trip, this time to the Jostedalen ice-cap in western Norway, William let his hair down in the evenings when everyone gathered for hearty stews.
‘He’s a born raconteur.’ says Dr Charles Warren, who led the group of 15 students ‘He told some highly entertaining anecdotes about the goings-on behind the scenes at royal dos — the imminent disasters and chaos.
‘There’s this image he painted of the swan effortlessly gliding past while lots of frantic paddling is going on underneath the surface. He told [the stories] in such an amusing and entertaining way, we were all in stitches.’
When it came to writing essays, however, William didn’t join other students in the library, where it was hard to escape unwanted attention. Instead, he’d do them in a room at the top of the local police station.
For their last two years at St Andrews, William and Kate and their two housemates rented a stone cottage about a mile to the west of the town. With open countryside to walk in without fear of being spotted, and open fires at home, it provided the perfect sanctuary for the couple to explore their relationship further.
She also had a solid sense of her own self-worth. When someone remarked that Kate was very lucky to be going out with the Prince, she didn’t hesitate before replying: ‘He is very lucky to be going out with me.’
Unlike other students, William was continually being reminded of the world outside because his family were so often in the news
Eventually, William began accompanying Kate on visits to her parents, Michael and Carole, in Berkshire, where he delighted in the relaxed atmosphere of their red-brick house. In the kitchen, family members clattered about or sat down for chatty, friendly meals together. It was all a revelation to a Prince who’d never experienced intimate family meals while he was growing up. But there was, of course, a limit to how normal William’s life could ever be.
Unlike other students, he was continually being reminded of the world outside because his family were so often in the news. And during his final year, just as his first set of exams was looming, it was his brother’s turn to make headlines.
During the Christmas vacation, both Harry and William had been to a fancy dress party in Wiltshire, with the dress theme ‘colonial and native’. William had dressed as a lion and Harry — then 20 — had donned a German desert costume, complete with Nazi arm-band, that he’d found in a local fancy-dress shop.
Someone at the party took a photograph, which the Sun newspaper ran — under the headline ‘Harry the Nazi’ — shortly before Holocaust Memorial Day, in which the Royal Family were taking a leading role.
There was immediate uproar. Some of Harry’s critics even suggested he wasn’t fit to attend Sandhurst, where he was due to start training later in the year.
Far from home, with his brother in distress, William was clearly distraught — to the point where he considered asking for this to be held in account when he sat his exams the following month. Dr Walden reveals: ‘William had obviously spent a lot of time talking to his brother and not revising for exams, and so he came to me and said: “I’m having a bit of a crisis. What do I do about my exams”
‘He was really wound up about the way the press was treating his brother. It was obvious that he was very upset, so we had a conversation.’ The upshot was that William sat the first tranche of his finals in January 2005, without any special dispensation. He graduated a few months later with a respectable 2:1 degree.
Dr John Walden, whose speciality is climate change, urged him ‘to go off’ and become a major figurehead for the issue — ‘Your mum would have liked that, I said — but he wasn’t having any of it,’ he says sadly. ‘He was going to go off and do his military training.’
Engagement: Prince William and Kate Middleton pose in one of two official engagement portraits
After the couple left St Andrew’s,
Kate had her first real taste of what it was like to inhabit William’s
world. For months on end, she was followed by photographers day and
The royal household
was enormously impressed by how composed and sensible she remained,
despite enormous provocation. Asked to report any problems to them, Kate
would say almost apologetically: ‘I don’t want to make a fuss but there
are 20 men camped outside my apartment and they’re there all day and
There were other
ordeals ahead. Although only one of William and Kate’s break-ups became
public, there were other times when the relationship cooled.
problem was William: he had very real worries about whether it was
possible to love just one woman. After his hurricane childhood, he was
understandably cautious about committing to a relationship.
his early years, he’d also lost many people he was close to, starting
with the sudden disappearance of his beloved nanny. Subconsciously, he
may have been wary of allowing himself to become too attached to Kate,
in case she too abandoned him. Their most public break-up, in 2007, was
initiated by William, when he was serving with the Blues and Royals in
Dorset while Kate was in London. They scarcely saw each other; there
were days off when he chose to go clubbing with his friends in London —
without seeing her. Unsurprisingly, there had been arguments.
likely he was feeling a bit claustrophobic: after all, they’d been
together since the age of 20 and Kate had always wanted rather more
commitment than he was prepared to give.
were all his friends that keen on her: some thought she was a bit too
sensible and serious, and that she disapproved of their wilder antics.
Meanwhile, William was all too aware that he hadn’t had any other
serious relationship before meeting Kate.
brought him running back, according to someone who knows him well, was
jealousy. Although his girlfriend had been miserable, she hadn’t sat
moping at home but had hit the town night after night, wearing a brave
face and a sexy dress.
was sauce for the goose was definitely not sauce for the gander.
William is quite old-fashioned in his outlook, and he realised he
couldn’t bear the thought of her with another man. But it was another
three-and-a-half years before he proposed.
Unlike his father, who married Diana without getting to know her, William waited until he was utterly sure that the marriage would last.
The wedding day went without a hitch. That night, at Buckingham Palace, Harry provoked tears of laughter among the guests with tales from their childhood of being beaten up by William and shot at with an air rifle. But there were emotional moments too, when both boys got up to make moving tributes to their mother.
As Kate and William took off from Buckingham Palace by helicopter the next morning, everyone assumed they were going somewhere exotic for their honeymoon. In fact, William was going straight back to his work as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, and the honeymoon was delayed for two weeks.
The reason Before marrying, they’d trawled the internet and consulted Time Out guides in search of a place that promised both privacy and spectacular diving. Having found the perfect hotel in the Seychelles, they were dismayed to find it was booked solid.
They were not, however, prepared to ask the hotel for special favours, which would undoubtedly have meant turning another couple away. ‘There’s no way we’re going to do that,’ said William. ‘It could be their honeymoon.’
So, like anyone else, Kate and William simply waited until the rooms were free.
Prince William kisses Kate Middleton on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their wedding on April 29, 2011
Just as he succeeded in becoming an almost-normal student, William is desperate to be an almost-normal prince. This means that, for the time being, he and Kate do all their own cooking and shopping.
It also means that he knew just what to say when, at a party for the 40th anniversary of Centrepoint in November 2008, he was introduced to a young woman who found herself overwhelmed by the royal presence.
After she’d stammered out a few words, William bent down and whispered: ‘If you imagine me naked you’ll be able to talk.’ She burst out laughing and then the flood gates opened. She talked and talked and couldn’t stop.
Extracted from Prince William: Born To Be King: An Intimate Portrait by Penny Junor, to be published by Hodder & Stoughton on May 10 at 19.99 2012 Penny Junor. To order a copy for 14.99 (inc. P&P), tel: 0843 382 0000