The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have had a particularly busy start to the year. William and his father Prince Charles advised the Queen that Prince Andrew’s role within the Royal Family had become untenable ahead of her decision to strip him of his titles, according to widespread reports. Kate, meanwhile, celebrated a landmark birthday last weekend as she turned 40.
The Duchess is believed to have held muted celebrations with just close friends and family at the Cambridges’ Anmer Hall home, due to ongoing concerns about the Omicron variant.
William will also celebrate his 40th birthday later this year in what is a particularly special year for the Royal Family, with the Queen also celebrating her Platinum Jubilee.
William and Kate first met in St Salvator’s Hall as first-year students at the University of St Andrews in 2001.
They hit it off as friends very early on and moved into a student house together in their second year before beginning dating in 2003.
Royal expert Katie Nicholl wrote in her 2015 book ‘Kate: The Future Queen’ that the pair enjoyed dinner parties with their friends — especially as it allowed them both to socialise and enjoy each other’s company without having to go out into two and risk being spotted with one another.
Friends would take it in turns to host, with Kate often in charge of the cooking when it was their turn to host.
Ms Nicholl wrote: “One thing William could be relied on for was supplying copious bottles of Jack Daniel’s for the popular after-dinner drinking games.”
One of their favourite games was ‘Never Have I Ever’.
The party guest told Ms Nicholl: “She [Carly] and William were still friends, and she lived across the road in Howard Place.
“She could literally wave to William from her sitting room, which rather grated on Kate.
“When it was Carly’s turn to play, she announced, ‘I’ve never dated two people in this room,’ knowing full well that William was the only one who had because Kate was sitting next to him.
“He shot Carly a thunderous look and said under his breath, ‘I can’t believe you just said that’ before drinking his shot.”
The friend claimed Kate did not speak to Carly much after that, adding that the rest of the room was “in shock”. They said: “We knew they were together, but it was the first time William confirmed his and Kate’s relationship.”
For the final two years of their university courses, William and Kate resided at Balgove House.
Ms Nicholl wrote William had decided that he preferred the freedom and “privacy of the countryside” since he did not have quite as many lectures as in previous years.
William, Kate and two friends — Alasdair Coutts-Wood and Oli Baker — moved into the stunning home a quarter of a mile away from St Andrews.
Ms Nicholl wrote: “Kate was thrilled. The house was set in stunning grounds, with glorious views from the bedroom windows — acres of lawn, orchids, and fuchsia instead of the concrete back of the Student Union.”
Kate reportedly took up the role of “homemaker”, dressing the windows with pretty curtains, while William installed a champagne fridge and a large oil painting of the Queen in the dining room.
Perhaps most important of all, the country home allowed them their privacy away from prying eyes. William and Kate would, Ms Nicholl wrote, share a bottle of wine some afternoons, accompanied only by the occasional pheasant.
Their relationship continued through university and, besides a brief split in 2007, they have remained together ever since, and married in 2011.
‘Kate: The Future Queen’ was written by Katie Nicholl and published by Weinstein Books in 2015. It is available here.