The news that Prince William and Kate Middleton had split sent the British press into a frenzy – but for the exes, life goes on.
Middleton, 25, spent time over the weekend at her parents’ home in the village of Bucklebury, 50 miles west of London, where she avoided throngs of paparazzi.
For his part, William, 24, partied with pals at London’s Mahiki nightclub on Friday night before news of the split broke, and kept a low profile for the rest of the weekend.
It is believed that both have now gone back to work – the prince in Dorset, where he recently started an armored corps troop commander’s course, and Middleton in London, where she works an accessories buyer for the British fashion chain Jigsaw.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the BBC that the exes should be allowed to “get on with their lives.”
“They should be left alone now without reams of stuff being written that I can assure you, from my experience of royal stories, most of which will be complete nonsense,” he said.
Still, after The Sun broke the story, by Sunday all 10 national newspapers had covered the biggest royal split since the prince’s parents, Princess Diana and Prince Charles, separated in 1992.
The Daily Mail quotes an unnamed source saying that Middleton was “cool and quite relaxed when she told everyone” about the breakup. The Sun claims that the decision to split was made during a ski trip to the Swiss Alps in early March.
William and Middleton met at St. Andrews University in Scotland, where both studied art history, and dated for nearly five years. As students, they were left in relative peace by paparazzi, but the media attention grew after they left Scotland in June 2005.
A friend of Middleton tells PEOPLE that although she has been “brave” in the face of intense speculation about whether she and William would wed, the attention had been an ongoing source of trouble.
While repercussions of the royal split continue, some hope to profit from the pair’s demise. One enterprising eBayer is already urging would-be princesses to buy a button with a photo of the prince and the slogan, “I’ll marry you, Gorgeous!”