The Stunning Transformation Of William & Kate's Relationship

Even if you don't normally care about the royal family or the goings on of famous people at all, you probably still were interested in (or at least heard about) the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton ( via Town & Country). The pair captured the attention of the world practically before their relationship was made public, and for good reason: it was the first time in years that a member of the British royal family — and a high-ranking one like Prince William — had started a romantic relationship.

But if you really look at the stunning transformation of William and Kate's relationship, it's quite obvious that the couple has come a long way since they first got together, and they've really changed a lot. But one thing has remained the same over the years, and it's that despite all the paparazzi and the rumors about their marriage, William and Kate are still super in love. Seriously, if they aren't couple goals, then who is?

William and Kate met at this college

For anyone who knows anything about Prince William and Kate Middleton's love story, the way they met is a pretty well-known fact. But, what even the most die-hard royal fan might not know is that it wasn't exactly a coincidence that they met in college in the first place. While meeting at University might sound innocent enough, there was more to it than that.

Kate and William actually met at St. Andrews in 2001, and while it wasn't love at first sight, their first meeting was seriously important. So important, in fact, that historian Robert Lacey told Elle that "Kate was very strategic," in heading to St. Andrews. "She gave up her place at one of Britain's premier universities, Edinburgh, and opted for another one [St. Andrews] that probably didn't have the same academic standard," probably because William was supposed to attend there. Hey, Kate knew what she wanted and wasn't afraid to go for it, and that's pretty romantic.

This is how Kate caught William's attention

Just because Prince William and Kate Middleton went to the same college doesn't mean it was necessarily easy for Kate to catch the young prince's attention. In fact, there was kind of an infamous moment during a charity fashion show when Kate was able to get William's attention — and make him see her as more than a friend.

Specifically, Kate wore a sheer dress that really got William to see her in a different light. "She's there and about to walk down the runway on the fashion show, and she strips off an extra layer of clothing," royal historian Robert Lacey told Elle. And one of the couple's old college friends, Ben Duncan, backed this story up, telling E! News that Kate really captured William's heart that day. "She was in a very daring dress, in a sheer stocking-like dress," Duncan revealed. "He was sitting front row and his eyes were like stalks." Now that's the beginning of a hot and steamy relationship.

William and Kate lived together, but just as friends

As Prince William and Kate Middleton continued to get to know each other while attending the same college, there was definitely a spark. But, like all sparks, it took some time for it to grow into a full-on flame. 

While William and Kate were getting to know each other, the pair actually lived together, though they both denied that anything happened while they were roommates. "No we moved in together as friends because we were living together, we lived with a couple of others as well, and it just sort of blossomed from there really," William told ABC News in an interview. "We just saw more of each other, and you know hung out a bit more and did stuff." 

So, while William and Kate didn't exactly have your typical getting-to-know-you phase while they lived together with other people, it clearly still worked out for them, and made their love story even more unique.

William and Kate went public about their relationship a short time later

Obviously, being that Prince William is indeed a literal prince, it would be understandable if the new young couple wanted to keep their relationship on the down low for as long as possible. After all, once the rest of the world finds out about a relationship in the royal family, there's little chance for privacy thereafter. And that's certainly what William and Kate Middleton attempted to do, though their attempts were ruined when they were photographed on a romantic getaway.

Specifically, as Express reported, William and Kate were photographed on a ski trip in Switzerland together in 2004, just three years after meeting. Apparently, the royal family's spokesperson didn't deny that the pair were in a relationship, but they also didn't confirm anything — so from that moment on, people couldn't stop talking about the pair's secret love affair. Hey, even though the press eventually found out William and Kate were more than friends, it's impressive they were able to keep it quiet for so long.

Kate even attended some official royal events with William

Marrying into the royal family is a seriously big deal, but it's also a big deal just to date a member of the Firm. After all, to become romantically involved with a royal means you could potentially marry them, and that means you yourself would also be a member of the royal family, and that's just like a real-life Cinderella story. Additionally, there are so many official royal protocols you have to learn before getting too close to the Firm, and so it's natural that the relationship would have to progress pretty slowly.

But, just a couple of years after Prince William and Kate Middleton were photographed together for the first time and rumors of their relationship began to swirl, Kate began attending some official royal events. Specifically, William and Kate both attended Camilla Parker Bowles' daughters' wedding in 2006 (via The Telegraph). Then, Kate went to William's graduation from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, where Queen Elizabeth was as well (via Town & Country). Clearly, things were moving right along in William and Kate's early relationship.

William and Kate took some time apart in 2007

Every relationship is unique and different in its own way, and Prince William and Kate Middleton are no exception. The pair certainly have had their ups and downs over the years, but perhaps nothing is quite as well-known as the fact that they actually broke up before they got super serious. However, as William explained in an interview with ABC News, their break might have been for the best.

When asked about their split by reporters, William said the break was intentional. "We were sort of both finding ourselves as such and being different characters and stuff, it was very much trying to find our own way," he explained. "We were growing up, and so it was just sort of a bit of space and a bit of things like that and it worked out for the better." Kate added that though she wasn't happy with the split at the time, since then, she's realized that the break made her and their relationship stronger.

William and Kate got engaged in 2010

In the fall of 2010, Prince William and Kate Middleton took their relationship to the next level when they got engaged, setting the stage for Kate to officially join the royal family, and making history along the way. Not to mention, their engagement sounds like it was pretty romantic.

During their official engagement interview with ABC News, William told reporter Tom Bradny that he proposed "on holiday in Kenya." Yes, it really was like a fairytale. "We had a little private time away together with some friends and I just decided that it was the right time really," he recalled. "I took her up somewhere nice in Kenya and I proposed." Additionally, Kate added that she was completely shocked by William's proposal. 

Furthermore, William explained why he chose to give his wife-to-be his mother's engagement ring. "I thought it was quite nice because obviously she's not going to be around to share any of the fun and excitement of it all — this was my way of keeping her sort of close to it all," he continued. Ugh, Kate was truly living her own Disney princess story.

William and Kate's royal wedding was a historic event

Obviously, following an engagement is a wedding, usually. And while couples stay engaged for different amounts of time, and there's no wrong way to have a wedding, when that wedding is a royal wedding things are a bit different. There are rules, procedures, and a global interest, just to name a few key differences between a royal and non-royal wedding. Still, it can be pretty exciting.

Prince William and Kate Middleton got married on Friday, April 29, 2011 with the entire world watching. Not only did people travel from all over to gather outside the church and palace, just hoping to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds, but an estimated 17.6 million people tuned in to watch the nuptials, according to Hello! magazine. Additionally, the United Kingdom made the wedding day a national holiday, so people could take the day off to watch the wedding on television or travel to London. Basically, it was a huge, historic event and one that won't be forgotten any time soon.

Kate's first official royal duty with William was a big deal

After the high from their huge, extravagant wedding and romantic honeymoon died down, Prince William and Kate Middleton got right back to work when they returned home to London. In fact, their first official royal duty as a married couple involved meeting with another high-profile couple from across the pond: William and Kate met Barack and Michelle Obama on their trip to London, and it seemed like a big, happy occasion.

In fact, a palace spokesperson told Politico that both of the couples had a great time meeting each other. "Very warm words have been spoken between the royal family and the Obamas," the spokesperson said. "There is a genuine, genuine — and I really mean this — a genuine warmth between the two families." Clearly, Kate and William got off on the right foot in their marriage, and Kate couldn't have done a better job at settling right into her royal duties.

Kate and William had their first child together in 2013

As if Prince William and Kate Middleton's new life together as husband and wife wasn't charming enough, in 2013, two years after their fairytale wedding, they welcomed their first child into the world. Prince George was born at 4:24 pm on July 22, 2013 at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London. Just hours after Kate gave birth, she stood on the steps of the hospital to pose for photos with her husband and newborn baby, something any mom would understand to be seriously stressful.

Years later, while speaking to the "Happy Mum, Happy Baby" podcast, Kate explained that the experience was "slightly terrifying," according to Marie Claire. Additionally, Kate added that "for us to be able to share that joy and appreciation with the public, I felt was really important. But equally it was coupled with a newborn baby, and inexperienced parents, and the uncertainty of what that held, so there were all sorts of mixed emotions." 

Having a baby in general can be scary, especially when the whole world is watching — but Kate and William stood together through it all.

William and Kate had two more children together

Even though Kate Middleton had a rough pregnancy when she carried her and Prince William's first-born, Prince George (via the BBC), she went on to have two more children with her husband. Obviously, Kate and William share a ton of love between them, so welcoming all their kids into the world was just one more way for them to bond and grow closer.

Princess Charlotte was born at 8:34 am on May 2, 2015 at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, the same hospital where Prince George was born. That's also where William and Kate's third child came into the world; Prince Louis was born at 11:01am on April 23, 2018. For all three births, Kate posed for the same photo with her newborn baby and husband by her side. Clearly, Kate and William have a strong connection to welcome three precious babies into the world, and that's the truth.

Kate and William are parenting in their own way

For as young and with the times as Prince William and Kate Middleton appear to be, they definitely still follow most of the royal traditions and protocols set forth by royals of the past — most, not all. Because when it comes to parenting their three children, William and Kate like to do things their own way.

Parenting expert Mariyah Hafesji told Express that Kate and William were truly parenting as they saw fit, ignoring some royal traditions. "Despite being surrounded by cameras and press, she is always watching her children and if they become distressed or in-need, she often kneels by their side to reassure them," Hafesji explained. Clearly, William and Kate value their children's childhood and want them to feel as loved and protected as possible, a "trait that has been unheard of with previous royal parents," Hafesji added. 

As parents and partners, it's important for William and Kate to raise their kids a certain way, and that's seriously admirable and total couple goals.

Kate and William dealt with some family drama together

When Prince William's younger brother and his wife, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, sat down with Oprah Winfrey to discuss the details of their time in the royal family, things didn't look good for the Firm. The couple revealed just how hard things were in the family for Meghan, and Harry described some tense relations between himself and his brother and father, Prince Charles. So once the world knew of their family drama, William and Kate Middleton really had to lean on each other for support.

A source told Us Weekly that Kate especially had been super strong for her husband. "Kate's used to all eyes being on her," the source explained. "Being in a strong, solid marriage to William helps. They lean on each other for support during difficult times and will talk through their problems. She's been her husband's pillar of strength throughout this whole ordeal." 

Having all your dirty laundry aired on television couldn't have been easy for Kate and William, but they clearly found solace in each other.

Kate and William are both dog lovers

Pretty much everyone knows just how much Queen Elizabeth loves her corgis, and it seems as though a love of dogs runs in the family. To that end, Prince William and Kate Middleton are dog people, and have a special fondness for cocker spaniels. When the couple were still newlyweds, they adopted a cocker spaniel puppy, Lupo, who was with the family for nine years before tragically dying.

William and Kate took to Instagram to share the sad news, proving just how much the dog meant to them. "Very sadly last weekend our dear dog, Lupo, passed away," the caption of the sweet pup photo read. "He has been at the heart of our family for the past nine years and we will miss him so much." 

Fortunately, William and Kate had already gotten a new puppy — another cocker spaniel from Kate's brother, James Middleton — to help Lupo in his old age. "The new puppy is adorable and the whole family are besotted," a source close to the couple told the Daily Mail. For Kate and William, dogs bring them closer together and make their family happy, and that's the definition of wholesome family fun.

Kate and William helped each other grieve after Prince Philip's death

The death of Prince Philip in April 2021 hit the royal family hard, but Prince William and Kate Middleton helped each other cope with the devastating loss. The couple released a formal statement on Instagram announcing the death of William's grandfather, but it wasn't until a couple days later that they opened up about just how hard they were taking his passing. In another Instagram post, William expressed his heartache over the loss but said that he was happy his grandfather at least had the opportunity to bond with Kate. "I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her," he wrote.

As a couple, Kate and William sent out thank you cards to people who had expressed support after Philip's death. "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge thank you for your kind words following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh," read the note (via Us Weekly). "Their Royal Highnesses have been incredibly moved by the many thoughtful messages they have received in recent weeks."

It wasn't the first time that the couple had to deal with the loss of a beloved grandparent. Kate's grandmothers both died in 2006, and Prince William — then her boyfriend — took time away from his military training in order to rent a yacht to treat Kate to some time to help ease her grief (via Express).