According to a Royal Expert, It Was Queen Camilla Who Was Behind Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Short-Lived Breakup in 2007

“She did not look at Kate as someone who was worthy of joining the royal family.”

Kate Middleton and Prince William in 2007
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Anyone who knows the love story of Prince William and Kate Middleton knows the timeline: they meet in 2001 as freshmen at the University of St. Andrews. They become friends, then housemates, and, eventually, by 2003 they’re in a relationship. They have a brief break in 2004, and then are back on, graduating from college together in 2005. Then, in 2007, the two broke up for about three months, and a royal expert and author said it’s because of an unexpected reason: Queen Camilla (then the Duchess of Cornwall).

In 2007, Kate was living in London and William in Dorset, where he was stationed with the Household Cavalry. Living three hours apart, the relationship ran into a snag, and they broke up for about three months as they were, as they said themselves, “trying to find their own way” and get “a bit of space.”

Kate Middleton and Prince William in 2007

Prince William and Kate Middleton shortly after reconciling post-breakup, 2007

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Christopher Andersen, author of William and Kate: A Royal Love Story, said that it was Camilla who was behind the split, as she at the time deemed Kate “not worthy of royalty,” The Daily Express reports. Branding Camilla “a bit of a snob,” Andersen said she was proud of her connection to royalty through her great-grandmother, Alice Keppel.

“She’s an aristocrat,” Andersen said of Camilla. “She has always been moving in royal circles. She had always thought of herself as the heiress to Alice Keppel, her great-grandmother, who was the mistress of Edward VII. She was very proud of that connection. She boasted about that as a child and as an adult, and that’s what she intended to be—part of the royal circle in the role of mistress to the future king, and then the king.”

King Charles and Queen Camilla at an event

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Of Kate, “She did not look at Kate as someone who was worthy of joining the royal family,” Andersen said. “Kate is the first working-class woman to be accepted into the royal family. She is descended from coal miners and her mother was a flight attendant. So, for all those reasons, Camilla never really felt that Kate Middleton as an individual and the Middleton family as a whole were going to be worthy of entering into the royal family.”

Andersen told The Daily Beast of William and Kate’s 2007 breakup “I was in London when the breakup occurred. I was shocked, completely stunned. Everyone thought it was only a matter of time before William was going to ask Kate to marry him. And then people started telling me that Camilla was behind it.” 

Queen Camilla and Princess Kate

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Roughly five years into the relationship and being pressured—not just by those who knew him personally, but the entire world—to either propose to Kate or let her go, William apparently felt “claustrophobic”; at the time, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles advised William to “not hurry into anything.” That advice, particularly from Charles, came because Camilla was in his ear, Andersen said.

“I was told at the time of the breakup, and later on as well, that Camilla basically whispered in Charles’ ear that it was really time to make—to force—William to make a decision one way or the other,” he said. “It has been since confirmed publicly that Charles did suggest to William that he either make a commitment to Kate or basically set her free, as it were. Now, his motives for doing that may have been pure, but Camilla’s? Not so much. She was the instigator of this.”

Queen Camilla in France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Though they did break up for about three months, William and Kate eventually found their way back to one another over the summer of 2007, and were engaged in 2010, three years later. During their engagement interview, Kate admitted that she “wasn’t very happy” about the breakup at the time but came to realize that it was for the best: “It made me a stronger person,” she said. “You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn’t realized. 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.”

The couple married in 2011 and are 12 years and three children into marriage, and it's difficult to imagine what the modern monarchy would be without Kate.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.