Kate Middleton Turned Down a Spot at Her Dream College for a Chance to Study with Prince William

Kate Middleton had already been accepted to her dream college, Edinburgh, when she suddenly decided to take a gap year and apply to St. Andrews, where Prince William was going to study. Kate wasn't guaranteed a spot at the college, making it a risky choice.

  • As all royal fans known, Kate Middleton and Prince William famously met (and fell in love) when they both attended college at St. Andrews, but Kate almost didn't study there.
  • According to royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl, Kate had already gotten in to her dream school, Edinburgh, when she made the sudden and unexpected decision to decline admission, take a gap year, and apply to study at St. Andrews.
  • It was a risky move since Kate had no guarantee of getting in to the school. Her teachers report not understanding exactly what motivated the uncharacteristic decision.

Every  time we learn more about Kate Middleton and Prince William's love story, it feels more and more like it was destined to happen. The latest piece of evidence that Will and Kate's love was written in the stars? Kate almost didn't go to Will's college—you know, where they met and fell in love—and had a mysterious, "dramatic and sudden change of heart" that changed the course of her life (and the lives of royal fans everywhere) forever.

Here's the story: Kate didn't originally want to go to St. Andrews, the college she ended up attending along with a certain heir to the British throne. Her dream school had been Edinburgh for a long time—and she had apparently gone so far as to apply and get accepted before she decided to throw a major wrench in her life plans and apply to St. Andrews.

According to Jasper Selwyn, the career adviser at Kate's boarding school, Marlborough College, she had ranked Edinburgh as her top choice and had a spot at her dream school.

"As far as I am aware she had a place confirmed at Edinburgh," he told royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl in her book Kate: The Future Queen. "She was accepted through the usual UCAS routine. In those days, you applied for five courses and got acceptances and rejections depending on your grades. You chose one firm place and one insurance. Kate's firm choice was Edinburgh and that was confirmed."

And Kate had a good reason to want to go to Edinburgh. She wanted to study art history and Edinburgh's history of art program is among the best in Britain. Add to that the fact that two of Kate's best friends from high school were also going to Edinburgh and it was downright shocking when she decided to withdraw, take a gap year, and risk everything for a chance to study at St. Andrews.

In fact, Nicholl describes Kate's decision as a "dramatic and sudden change of heart." In Kate: The Future Queen, she writes:

"It was a bold move and very risky, and rather out of character for Kate. There was no guarantee that she would get a place in the history of art program at St. Andrews, which was oversubscribed now that William had confirmed his place. Kate was convinced it was the right thing to do."

Kate's teachers and advisors at Marlborough describe Kate's last-minute decision to turn down her dream school and take a gap year (which William was also taking, incidentally) as mysterious and say they don't know why she decided to change such a big life decision.

As Nicholl notes, admission to St. Andrews had become suddenly competitive in the wake of Will's decision to attend:

"It seemed every girl in America wanted to come to St. Andrews to search out the prince. Kate would have read the papers. She would have known that William was going and that there was every chance they could be in the same program at the same time if she got a place to study there."

Of course, we'll probably never know exactly why Kate changed her plans, but fated love seems like a good reason.

Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.