When Their Relationship Got Serious In the 2000s, Prince William Set Kate Middleton Up With an Crisis Hotline to Call In Case of Emergency

“William decided that something had to be done to protect Kate.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2008
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Occurrences that only happen when you’re dating a prince: The Mirror reports that, when the relationship between Prince William and the then Kate Middleton began to get more and more serious in the aughts, William set Kate up an emergency hotline to call in case of a crisis.

Prince William, Kate Middleton

William and Kate began dating in the early aughts after meeting as students at the University of St. Andrews.

(Image credit: Getty)

William “was all too aware from the start the kind of pressure a[nd] great deal of attention his partner would receive,” The Mirror writes. “However, even long before social media networks were commonplace, William was deeply concerned about how Kate would be able to manage the scrutiny that comes along with any close association with the royal family, and so quickly set up an emergency hotline for her.”

Pippa Middleton and Kate Middleton

Kate, seen here with her younger sister Pippa in 2006, was the subject of relentless press attention. Not much has changed.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

William and Kate met while first-year students at the University of St. Andrews in 2001; they are believed to have started dating by 2003, after they were roommates for a time while at university. Though there was worldwide attention on their relationship by 2004, after they graduated in 2005 and Kate moved to London, “interest in the long term girlfriend of the future King stepped up a notch, with paparazzi often following her as she went about her day-to-day activities, seeing friends, nipping to the shops, and going to work,” The Mirror reports. Especially after watching his mother, Princess Diana, suffer at the hands of paparazzi and media intrusion, William decided that something had to be done to protect Kate. “William decided to set up an emergency hotline number for Kate to use if she needed assistance, and the calls went directly to a senior Palace aide, Paddy Haverson, his father Charles’ press secretary,” The Mirror continues.

Kate Middleton

One of the more famous paparazzi shots of Kate from the decade.

(Image credit: Getty)

Kate Middleton

William wanted to protect Kate from enduring the harassment his mother faced.

(Image credit: Getty)

This was confirmed by royal author Katie Nicholl in her book Kate: The Future Queen. “William was aware of the situation and anxious about it,” she explained. “He had seen firsthand how his mother had been harassed by the paparazzi and was determined that Kate not be subjected to the same treatment.”

A Palace source speaking to Nicholl for the book said “We had been introduced to Kate early on, and we were instructed from the outset to give her every support possible. She was obviously the subject of a lot of press interest and intrusion from the paparazzi,” they said. “William said we had a duty of care to her and her family, and so we advised her on how to deal with the cameras. We told her to smile at the photographers so that there would be a better picture. She was given advice on how to manage the media, and we were there to support her if there was a crisis.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton

The couple met in 2001, began dating around 2003, became engaged in 2010, and married in 2011.

(Image credit: Getty)

William and Kate will celebrate their thirteenth wedding anniversary later this month, on April 29. They are currently away from the public eye, enjoying time with their kids Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis at their country home, Anmer Hall, as the kids are all on Easter break from Lambrook School until next week.

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.