- It's common knowledge among royal fans that Prince William and Kate Middleton met when they were both students at the University of St. Andrews. However, Kate actually saw Will in-person years earlier, when they were just nine years old.
- According to royal biographer Katie Nicholl, Kate first spotted Will in the flesh when his prep school played hers in a hockey game.
- Nicholl notes that Kate wasn't interested in boys, but that Will was the first one who ever caught her attention.
If you're even a pretty casual royal fan, then you probably know the official story of how Prince William and Kate Middleton met. As legend has it, they were both students at the University of St. Andrews and Kate was adorably awkward and the rest, as the ubiquitous "they" say, is history.
But, as it turns out, that wasn't actually the first time their paths crossed IRL. Way back in Will and Kate's elementary school days, their schools, Ludgrove Prep and St. Andrews Prep, used to play each other in sports. According to royal expert and biographer
Katie Nicholl, this is actually when Kate first got a glimpse of Will in the flesh.
In her book Kate: The Future Queen, Nicholl writes:
"Although [Kate] wasn't especially interested in boys, the arrival of one particular young man had caught her attention. Nearby Ludgrove Prep school would often play matches against St. Andrew's Prep, and there was much excitement when Prince William, a left back on Ludgrove's Colts team, came to St. Andrew's to play a hockey match when he was nine years old. William, like Kate, loved sports and was one of the best hockey and rugby players in his year. Of course, the arrival of the prince generated a flurry of excitement."
And no, Kate was not immune to that excitement (in her defense, she was nine and a celebrity/literal prince was on her school campus).
"I remember when William came to play hockey," Kate's former teacher Denise Allford said. "The boys wanted to know why so many cars had stopped on the way in because it was unusual. It was William's protection officers and bodyguards, and it caused quite a stir. IT went round the school like wildfire."
Naturally, once word spread that Will was on campus, everyone wanted to get a look at him. As Nicholl (a little dramatically, but understandably so) points out, "It was the first time Kate had set her eyes on the young prince, but certainly not the last."
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