After nearly 17 years together, Kate Middleton and Prince William are considered to have one of the most solid marriages going – not just in royal terms, but even for ‘normal’ people.
Since their 2011 wedding, Kate has assimilated with ease into her new role as Duchess of Cambridge, enjoying a nearly 10-year head-start since first meeting Britain’s future king back in their first year of college at St Andrew’s University. But their relationship wasn’t always so blissfully happy and they famously split – albeit briefly – in 2007 after five years together, during which time Kate secretly fled to Ireland with her mother Carole Middleton to recover.
As the world’s obsession with the British royal family continues to grow apace, old stories are recirculating among a new generation of royal watchers and news of Kate’s holiday to Dublin was spread again. At the time, the then 25-year-old wanted to escape the impending attention and retreated to the capital for some respite with her mother and close friends.
The couple eventually reconciled within three months, but during that time, she enjoyed an art exhibition by her friend Gemma Billington and visited the National Gallery of Ireland, a fitting spot as she is an art history graduate and The Art Room is among the causes of which she is a patron. As our exclusive pictures show, Kate was all smiles as she was pictured speaking with Irish football legend Niall Quinn and her artist friend at the private event.
During their engagement interview in 2010, they were asked about their split, which Kate said ultimately made them stronger.
“I think I at the time wasn’t very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person,” she explained.
“You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn’t realized. Or I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you’re younger. I really valued that time for me as well although I didn’t think it at the time, looking back on it.”
Similarly, William echoed: “But that was just, we both were very young, it was at university, 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 and 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.”
It’s believed the reason William waited so long to pop the question was because he wanted his future wife to have an accurate understanding of how much her life would change once she officially became a royal.