Prince William Broke Up With Kate Middleton Over the Phone in 2007: ‘It Isn’t Fair to You’

Prince William and Kate Middleton might have eventually had their happily ever after, but it didn’t come without its own set of struggles. The duke and duchess have been together since 2002, though things did fall apart a few times. And the couple’s more infamous breakup happened when William dumped Kate over the phone.

Prince William and Kate Middleton
Prince William and Kate Middleton make a public appearance shortly before their 2007 breakup | Carl De Souza/AFP via Getty Images

William and Kate split briefly in 2004

When William first saw Kate walking in a fashion show in 2002, he realized that she was the one for him. The two had been good friends for a while before that, but the show was the one thing that changed the way William saw his future wife.

For a while, things went smoothly. But still, William and Kate were young, and he reportedly had a bit of a wandering eye (though there is no evidence he ever stepped out on Kate). Eventually, he broke things off with her in 2004. It’s unclear exactly how long the split lasted, but it was brief, and most people forgot it ever happened.

William’s poor behavior caused tension a few years later

Things were going well for the two for a while; they graduated college in 2005, and they were so in love. But only a couple years later, emotional distance started to set in. William was stationed several hours away from Kate for military-related work, and the distance put a strain on their relationship. Plus, over winter break in late 2006, William pulled out of plans to spend the holidays with Kate’s family at the last minute. And it was clear even then that cracks were beginning to show.

William reportedly spent many nights out drinking while away from Kate, and he was once photographed with his hand on another woman’s breast. It was the breaking point for both of them, and within about a week, William and Kate had broken up.

The prince dumped Kate over the phone

There’s hardly anything worse than getting broken up with over the phone. Whether it’s a text message or a phone call, any meaningful relationship should end face to face. But with William and Kate so far apart, it wasn’t exactly easy for them to see each other. And with that, William picked up the phone one day in spring 2007 and dumped his girlfriend of five years.

Kate, who was at work when William called, excused herself to talk to him. “I can’t… It just isn’t going to work. It isn’t fair to you,” William reportedly said, after having a long conversation with his father about not being ready to commit (sources say Charles advised William not to make the same mistake he did by marrying Diana when he wasn’t certain about it). And from there, the two were officially single.

He regretted his decision almost immediately

It didn’t take William long to realize that he never actually wanted to lose Kate. The distance, plus William still only being 24, were reasons enough to think he wasn’t ready to take the next step with her. But ultimately, spending four months away from Kate was the most he could take.

Sources close to the two say they still talked now and then while they were apart, which means William probably never handled their split well. By July 2007, he had won her back. And this time, he was serious about her. William proposed to Kate three years later, and the two wed in a 2011 ceremony watched by millions.