Prince William told her that it would be "unbearable" for her if they stayed together and they decided to break up.
It was at a fashion show when sparks ignited between two university students, who went on to become a formidable couple of the British royal family. On March 27, 2002, after the fashion show at St. Andrews University, Prince William and Kate Middleton spoke to each other at a party in what would be the start of their close friendship.
"She was, I think, as shocked as she was flattered. And she pulled away, because, at the time, she was dating a fourth-year student called Rupert Finch," ABC News Royal Correspondent Katie Nicholl said. "Well, that was the start of their relationship, and poor Rupert Finch. Well, he didn't stand a chance, did he?"
While talking about the way they met, Prince William told The Telegraph, "We obviously met at university, at St Andrews we were friends for over a year first and it just sort of blossomed from then on. We just spent more time with each other, had a good giggle, had lots of fun, and realized we shared the same interests and just had a really good time," as quoted by Romper.
According to ABC News, Kate Middleton also said about the time, "I actually think I went bright red when I met you and sort of scuttled off, feeling very shy about meeting you."
Eventually, the pair became good friends and started dating later. However, as the years passed by, Prince William was not ready to make a commitment and was worried about how life with him would, in turn, change her life as well. "The press will make your life unbearable as long as we're together," he was reported to have told her, according to an excerpt from the book William and Kate: A Royal Love Story" by Christopher Andersen, published on Today.
"I don't want you suffering the way my mother did," Prince William reportedly told her. The couple went on to take a break from their relationship in April 2007 and Prince William told her at the time, "I can't... It just isn't going to work. It isn't fair to you..."
Although Kate Middleton was upset at first, she eventually felt that taking time off from their relationship benefitted her. She told Sky News, "I think I at the time wasn’t very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person… You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn’t realized," as quoted by Goalcast.
"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," she added.
Their break didn't go on for too long and by early 2008, they were both seen back together. When their romance resumed, Prince William made it a point to reassure Kate Middleton that he was in the relationship for the long haul. "There on the paradise island, William promised Kate that he was in the relationship for the long term," wrote Katie Nicholl in her book, Kate: The Future Queen, according to The Sun. "For the very first time, they talked seriously about marriage, and with the ocean before them and beneath the night sky, they made a pact to marry."
In October 2010, Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton and slipped an engagement ring onto her finger; it was the gorgeous sapphire ring that once belonged to his mother.
"We had a little private time away together with some friends, and I just decided it was the right time really. We’d been talking about marriage for a while, so it wasn’t a massively big surprise, but I took her up somewhere nice in Kenya," Prince William said about his proposal to Sky News, according to Goalcast.
On April 29, 2011, 72 million viewers tuned in to watch Prince William and Kate Middleton exchange wedding vows in Westminster Abbey. Nearly a decade has passed since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tied the knot. The happy couple went on to become parents to their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
Prince William is grateful for the family he has and told BBC, according to Romper, "It is fantastic having a lovely little family and I am so thrilled. Catherine has been doing an amazing job as a mother and I'm very proud of her."