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26 May 2021

Back to where it all began: William and Kate in pictures as they return to St Andrews University

26 May 2021

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be returning to a happy stamping ground when they revisit St Andrews where a budding royal romance was kindled.

Largely away from the gaze of the cameras, William was able to take part in student life including the social side of university and the future king enjoyed his time at an ancient Scottish town famed for learning, its role in church history and golf.

Prince William St Andrews University (PA Archive)
Prince William Relaxing at University (PA Archive)

Catherine Middleton had also opted to move north of the border to pursue her studies and fate conspired to throw them together, with Kate said to have caught the duke’s eye while treading the catwalk during a fashion show.

The courtship continued after graduation but after a break followed by a reunion the two sealed their partnership in a 2011 royal wedding at Westminster Abbey and are now parents to George, Charlotte and Louis.

Royal wedding (PA Media)
Prince William meets the crowds as he leaves the St Salvator’s Quadrangle. William got a 2:1 in geography (David Cheskin/PA) (PA Archive)
Kate Middleton left St Andrews with a 2.1 degree (Michael Dunlea/Daily Mail/PA) (PA Archive)

In their first year in 2001, William and Kate lived a few doors apart at St Salvator’s hall of residence at St Andrews in Fife and became friendly, socialising together and playing tennis.

She captured his attention in March 2002 when the prince forked out £200 for a front-row seat for the fashion show where Kate appeared in a see-through lace dress which revealed her black underwear.

A transparent dress once worn by Kate Middleton at a charity fashion show at the University of St Andrews in 2002 which is thought to have been attended by William (Chris Radburn/PA) (PA Archive)
William plays water polo (PA Archive)
Royalty – Prince William – St Andrews University (PA Archive)

Kate, who is five months older than William, was credited with persuading him to continue his studies when he found it difficult to settle and considered quitting in his first year.

They began sharing a four-bedroom Edwardian townhouse at the start of their second year. At the time Kate was dating another student, Rupert Finch.

Prince William studies in the main university library (David Cheskin/PA) (PA Archive)
The Queen with Prince William after his graduation ceremony (Michael Dunlea/Daily Mail/PA) (PA Archive)

The first confirmation that the flatmates were romantically linked came when they were pictured on the slopes of the posh Swiss ski resort Klosters in March 2004.

Kate’s acceptance as William’s girlfriend by “The Firm” was seen as complete a year later when she was pictured again at Klosters alongside William and his father.

Prince William and Kate Middleton leave the Quadrangle during a return visit to the University of St Andrews, where they first met (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)
Prince William and Kate Middleton pass St Salvator’s halls, accompanied by Sir Menzies Campbell (right), during their return visit (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)

In April 2007, it was confirmed the pair had split, but it was said Kate handled it with grace and kept William’s confidence, and soon they were back together again.

In July 2007, she was a VIP guest in the royal box for William and Harry’s Concert for Diana in memory of their mother, and was seen with William at the after-show party.

William and Kate did a walkabout on the streets they frequented as students on their return visit (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Archive)
Prince William and Kate Middleton visit St Andrews (PA Archive)

At a wedding of friends in October 2010, the pair, sporting healthy tans from a break in Kenya, strolled happily side by side.

They were secretly engaged, with William having popped the question with his late mother’s engagement ring as they holidayed at Lake Rutundu.

What started at St Andrews became official at Westminster Abbey in 2011 (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Wire)

While the royal wedding and three appearances on the steps of the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital Paddington with their babies have been carried out in a blaze of publicity, Wednesday marks a return to the place where their story began largely away from the cameras.

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