Kate’s anguish unearthed as Duchess ‘occupied a miserable no man’s land’ for years

Kate Middleton enjoys victory with SailGP team

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The Duchess of Cambridge officially joined the Royal Family by marriage in April 2011, when she tied the knot with Prince William. The now Duke went down on one knee to propose to Kate the previous year, and the Palace made their engagement public in November 2010.

However, the relationship between Kate and William had become known to the public years prior, after the couple had started to date while attending the same Scottish university, St Andrews.

Australian royal commentator Daniela Elser noted how Kate found herself at the mercy of the paparazzi for several years between the end of university, when the privacy of Prince William was protected by a media blackout agreement, and her engagement announcement.

She wrote in an op-ed for News.com.au: “See, right up until the second that Kate got Diana, Princess of Wales’ enormous sapphire on her left hand, Kate occupied a miserable no man’s land.

“She might have been one of the most famous women in the world, she might have been able to sail past the security checkpoint at Clarence House and get to regularly snog the bloke who will one day get his to preside over his very own government, armed services and church, but she was still an ordinary citizen.

“Up until it was determined that Kate would be joining the House of Windsor, she had no official status, meaning she received no real protection.”

Ms Elser went on to recall how difficult the situation experienced by Kate became on her 25th birthday, in January 2007.

As speculation Prince William would mark this milestone birthday by proposing to his long-term girlfriend spun out of control, Kate found several paparazzi waiting outside of her house “surrounding her physically and hounding her to her car where they surrounded it”, Ms Elser said.

This prompted Prince Charles’s firstborn and heir to issue a stern statement, in which he said to be “very unhappy” at the “paparazzi harassment” being experienced by Kate.

The statement went on to add: “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.”

Ms Elser said paparazzi continued to focus their attention on the now Duchess for several more years.

She wrote: “Cast your mind back: There was only about six months between Diana first being outed as Prince Charles’ latest squeeze and their engagement being announced, meaning she only faced a comparatively short trial-by-paparazzi before she got bodyguards.

“By contrast, Kate single-handedly dealt with this hell daily from 2005 up until the very end of 2010.”

Kate and Prince William met in 2001, when they both began their four-year course at St Andrews University.

The pair initially struck a friendship and even moved in, with other friends, into a four-bedroom apartment near the town centre.

Kate and William only became romantically involved months later and in 2003 moved in together, this time as a couple.

The now Duke and Duchess’ relationship continued and, in 2006, Kate attended Prince William’s graduation at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

After almost five years together, Kate and William split in April 2007 and remained apart for a few weeks.

Speaking about their decision to break up, albeit temporarily, the Duke told ITV broadcaster Tom Bradby during his engagement interview in 2010: “We did split up for a bit, but that was just, we were both very young, it was at university, and we were both sort of defining ourselves as such and being different characters and stuff.

“It was very much trying to find our own way and we were growing up.”

Following their nuptials, the couple welcomed three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

Since 2017, when William quit his job as a helicopter pilot at East Anglia Air Ambulance, the couple have been dedicating full time to royal duties, and have become two of the most important members of the Firm.

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