Prince William and Kate Middleton have had what many of us would call a fairytale romance, from the storybook wedding to the picturesque family. Sure, that fairytale might be a part of their image as members of the Royal family, but even still, there’s something about them that’s captivated people since the beginning of their relationship. Here’s a look back at their journey, from college sweethearts to royal power couple.
2001: Prince William and Kate Middleton meet while both studying at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Rumor has it that William was won over after seeing Kate modeling at a student fashion show for charity (a show for which he reportedly paid £200 for a front row seat).
2002: Hello! Magazine reported that Prince William was moving from his dorm into a flat with three college friends, one of them “a pretty 20-year-old brunette” who, as you might guess, turned out to be Kate Middleton.
2004: William and Kate are photographed together for the first time during a ski trip in Klosters, causing Prince Charles to threaten to sever ties with The Sun, the outlet that published the photos. The Prince was said to have been “very disappointed” by the breach in an agreement between the press and Buckingham Palace that ensures royal princes can continue their education without having their privacy intruded upon.
2005: Both William and Kate graduate from St. Andrews. The Middletons later share a photo of them together on the day.
2006: The couple attend Camilla’s daughter Laura Parker-Bowles’s wedding, marking one of their first big public appearances together, and sparking speculation that they were serious enough to one day walk down the aisle together themselves.
Spring 2007: In 2007, William and Kate took a time-out and broke up for a couple months. Kate took a vacation to Ireland with her friends afterwards, while William awkwardly fielded questions about “how things are going” with Kate.
Kate later said in 2010 during an interview after their engagement that in hindsight, she thinks it was healthy for them to have time apart.
“I think I at the time 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,” she said. “Or 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, looking back on it.”
July 2007: By July of that same year, rumors began to swirl about a possible reconciliation as Kate is seen attending a Princess Diana tribute concert—though she sat two rows behind William with her sister Pippa.
March 2008: The two are seen together again, back to where it all began: the ski slopes. Photos show Kate and William together in Klosters as sources told newspapers that they were very much back together.
April 2008: William graduates from his RAF training, with Kate at his side.
October 2010: William proposes to Kate while on a trip to Kenya, with Princess Diana’s sapphire engagement ring. “We had a little private time away together with some friends, and I just decided it was the right time really,” William later said in their engagement interview. “We’d been talking about marriage or a while, so it wasn’t a massively big surprise, but I took her up somewhere nice in Kenya.”
April 29, 2011: Prince William and Kate Middleton get married in a fairytale ceremony at Westminster Abbey witnessed by nearly 72 million people worldwide. The bride did her own makeup, the groom wore sweat pads so that he wouldn’t sweat out of his uniform, and Ellie Goulding performed at the reception.
In marrying William, Kate gains the title Duchess of Cambridge, the Countess of Strathearn, and Lady Carrickfergus.
2012: After the wedding, the married couple settle in Wales and adopt a dog, an English Cocker Spaniel named Lupo.
July 22, 2013: Kate gives birth to Prince George, and steps out for post-baby photos.
September 2014: Kensington Palace announces that Kate is pregnant with their second child. Kate had not reached the 12-week stage, but the Palace made the announcement because they felt they couldn’t keep the pregnancy under wraps from the press for much longer. Once again, Kate suffers from extreme morning sickness.
May 2, 2015: Kate gives birth to Princess Charlotte, who becomes fourth in line for the throne after Prince Charles, her father Prince William, and her older brother Prince George. She’s also the first to take up the title of Princess in 25 years, and is the highest ranking female in line for the throne.
September 2017: Kensington Palace announces that Kate is pregnant with the couple’s third child. As with her previous two pregnancies, she suffers from hyperemesis gravidarum.
April 23, 2018: Kate gives birth to Prince Louis, who is now fifth in line for the throne. Though tradition dictated that Louis, as a male, would overtake Princess Charlotte for a place on the throne, the policy was amended prior to George’s birth with the Succession to the Crown Act 2013. That made Charlotte the first female royal to trump a younger male sibling.