It was the first time the couple, whose relationship had been shrouded in scandal and uncertainty at the time, had been pictured together since their split.
The intimate photos resurfacing on the eve of Wills and Kate’s anniversary is rather bad timing.
After everything that’s happened in the past 12 months – from Megxit to Prince Andrew’s fall from grace – the palace was hoping the couple’s anniversary would be smooth sailing and a cause for celebration. The last thing the royal family needs right now is more scandal and backlash tarnishing the monarchy.
William and Kate first started dating in 2003 after meeting at the University of St Andrews only to split up four years later. Not long after, Wills was photographed partying with other girls, leaving Kate distraught.
“We were both very young … we were both finding ourselves and being different characters,” Wills reflected years later. “It was very much trying to find our own way and we were growing up, so it was just a bit of space and it worked out for the better.”
Royal author Phil Dampier agrees, explaining the break-up was a “good thing”.
“They realised how much they missed each other and that they were better off together,” Phil tells New Idea, adding that while William was photographed “getting drunk and chatting up other women”, Kate also “dated other guys”.
“She very much told William: ‘Look what you are missing!’ She never wallowed in self-pity and [instead] went out on the town with friends and it worked a treat.”
Phil explains that William quickly realised that he would never find a better partner. Kate was someone who would support him through thick and thin on his journey to be king.
“Kate is no doormat,” Phil tells New Idea.
William, 38, and Kate, 39, went on to be the picture of love and happiness when they finally tied the knot on April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London.
However, the rumour mill erupted in yet more scandal eight years later, with unsubstantiated whispers that Wills had an alleged affair with the couple’s friend, Rose Hanbury.
Talking about the Cambridge’s early romance, Phil believes Kate was always going to be the one to take the throne with Wills. And try as they might, keeping their relationship under wraps was always going to be impossible.
“Kate in particular copped it all but showed she has an inner strength. She was called ‘Waity Katie’ for taking so long to settle down, but I think William was just worried that he might marry too early.
“He saw what happened to his parents – that they married in haste and that [his mother]Diana was too young, and he didn’t want his marriage to fail.”
For more, pick up the latest issue of New Idea. Out now!