Inside Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Marriage ‘Pact’ They Made Years Before Their Wedding

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge were together for nearly a decade before they wed in 2011. Despite the fanfare, their romance wasn’t always the fairytale it seems. There were certainly trials and tribulations, which might have played a role in dating for so long before tying the knot. The couple broke up twice, leading them to create a marriage “pact” in 2007, four years before their wedding.

Prince William and Kate Middleton wed in 2011
Prince William and Kate Middleton wed in 2011. | Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Prince William and Kate Middleton broke up in 2004 and 2007

The duke and duchess started dating back in 2002 while attending University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Though they met in 2001, they were only friends at first. But a fashion show caused William to see Kate differently, and they started dating during their first year of college.

William was young, though, and he wasn’t quite ready for the intense relationship that followed. He broke up with Kate in 2004 after he started to feel claustrophobic in the relationship. Then, in 2007, something similar happened. William and Kate were living several hours apart, and he once again felt like he wanted to be off on his own. He dumped her once more, though neither breakup lasted long.

Prince William and Kate Middleton embrace at the 2012 Olympics in London
Prince William and Kate Middleton embrace at the 2012 Olympics in London | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

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Kate was slow to take William back each time

Both times William left Kate, he was very quick to return to her. It seemed as though he couldn’t live without her, despite that he always felt stuck in the relationship. But she was slow to take him back each time. In 2004, Kate was hurt after William vacationed with another woman. And though she still loved William, she wanted him to know that she wasn’t going to jump back into his arms.

In April 2007, William’s wild behavior while out at bars seemed to be the last straw for Kate. And when he came crawling back less than two months later, she was even more hesitant. Though things started slowly, the two were fully back together by the end of the summer. But not without a serious commitment from William.

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The two vowed to get married after getting back together in 2007

By August 2007, Kate and William had already gone through two breakups. And though he wasn’t ready to get down on one knee, he knew Kate was the one. According to royal biographer Katie Nicholl, the two decided to create a “pact” where they each promised the other that they would get married when the time was right, even if it wasn’t for a few years.

 “William and Kate are secure in the pact that they made during a romantic trip to the Seychelles in August 2007, and that they reinforced at the end of last year,” Nicholl wrote in her 2010 book. It seemed that Kate wanted something more from William to be certain of his commitment, even if it wasn’t a ring. The pact was meant as a way of promising each other that, no matter how far apart they might be in the next few years (William was still training with the military), they would remain together and get married when the time was right.

“As far as they are concerned, they are as good as engaged and enjoying their lives as they are at the moment,” a friend told the royal biographer a few months before William proposed. Eventually, he did pop the question, and the couple wed in April 2011 in a televised ceremony at Westminster Abbey.