William and Kate: A Fairytale Romance Fit for the Story Books
By Kiki Von Glinow Posted Jan 8th 2011 04:00PM
The Princess Diaries, The Prince and Me, The Princess Bride -- the public just can't get enough of sweeping, melodramatic fairytales. Thank goodness there are real-life royals around to satiate our palates for regal romances. Not since the world's obsession with the epitome of style and grace that was the late Princess Diana and her marriage to Prince Charles have we had a royal love story to mesmerize us. This one began once upon a time amid the humble backdrop of the campus at the University of St. Andrews in 2001.
The couple's meeting couldn't have been scripted better: When Kate Middleton first met Prince William, she (who was a year ahead of William) made a gesture resembling an awkward half-curtsy. William, who had been attempting to play down his royal status and fit in with the rest of his classmates, was taken so off-guard that he spilled his drink all over himself. Not quite the etiquette you expect from a royal heir, but Kate was intrigued by William's unpretentious demeanor.
The two were fast friends and ran in similar social circles but had no idea that a whirlwind royal romance was in the cards -- Kate was already involved with someone, and William wasn't looking for a serious relationship. But things would change at a St. Andrews fundraising fashion show. Kate was asked to model a $45 Charlotte Todd sheer, strapless dress. William made sure to nab a $200 front-row seat to cheer on his friend. But "sheer" was an understatement, and Kate strutted down the runway in a completely see-through number clearly exposing her sexy black underwear, bra and toned body.
Still friends, in the fall of 2002, Kate and William decided to round up two more buddies and platonically share a four-bedroom flat. Although rumors began to swirl that the attractive couple was more than just roommates, Kate and William denied anything but a great friendship. But the tabloids were on to something -- in April of 2004, the two hit the Swiss mountains together on a skiing vacation and finally admitted that they were, in fact, a couple.
Things went too far when photographers began documenting Kate's every move and even published the location and photos of her London apartment. In February 2006, Kate was told she would be supplied with a 24-hour security detail. But because no engagement between Kate and William was underway, the Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department could not justify the cost of the extra security force, and Kate was left to fend for herself.
Still, the lack of a ring on her finger didn't mean that things weren't serious. In December of 2006, Queen Elizabeth herself invited Kate to attend the royal Christmas lunch. Although Kate respectfully declined the invitation in favor of spending time with her own family, it was a gesture that meant the royal family was bracing for a new member.
Recognizing the pressure that his girlfriend felt, in 2007, William reportedly broke up with Kate over the phone. Contrasting reports speculated that he wanted to date other women; that, at 24 years old, he felt too young to marry; and that he simply felt guilty for the media scrutiny and constant expectations that were being leveled on her. The duo reportedly licked their wounds by dating and hitting the party circuit, but it ultimately led them back into one another's arms. They reunited months later, and she attended the Aug. 10 anniversary memorial that William and Prince Harry had arranged for their late mother.
The two continued to date for the next three years, and in November 2010, made history when they announced their engagement. William had popped the question with Princess Diana's 18-carat sapphire engagement ring (a gift from Harry) while the two were vacationing in Kenya -- after the polite prince had asked for Kate's father's blessing and approval, of course.
With the engagement finally announced, speculations about a venue, who would be saddled with the wedding bill and which designer would create Kate's dress ruled the blogosphere, water cooler banter and the imaginations of tiny princess wannabees around the world. Forget economics and politics, it will be the collective "oooohs" and "ahhhs" heard round the world that will make history when, on April 29, 2011, Kate gracefully steps from her carriage and down the aisle of Westminster Abbey.
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