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A decade after Kate Middleton married Prince William in the "Wedding of the Century," the love story continues for the royal couple, now parents of three

By Lisa Russell
April 02, 2021 11:24 AM
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Cover of People's William & Kate Anniversary Issue

It seems impossible, but a decade has flown by since a global audience of millions watched Prince William marry his college sweetheart, Kate Middleton, on April 29, 2011. Now PEOPLE is commemorating the occasion with a new special edition, William and Kate: 10 Joyous Years, which traces their lives together beginning with their courtship at the University of St. Andrew's in Scotland, through their brief split, to their engagement, and to today, as the couple devotes themselves to their three kids—Prince George and Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte—and to the charitable causes that move them.  

This collector's edition also includes a detailed look back at William and Kate's glorious spring wedding. As expected, there was the grandeur and age-old traditions that have held the royal-watchers rapt since Queen Elizabeth's 1947 nuptials to Prince Philip were broadcast live over the radio to 200 million listeners. There was Kate's jaw-dropping gown (by British designer Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen), gleaming horse-drawn carriages, a flyover by the Royal Air Force and cheers for newlywed kisses on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.  

Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a visit to the vaccination center at Westminster Abbey
Kate Middleton and Prince William at Westminster Abbey, 2021
| Credit: Aaron Chown/AP/Shutterstock

But there were also plenty of signs that served to say: This is not your nan's royal wedding. The most obvious update to the House of Windsor—the bride herself. Kate Middleton was a commoner and a confident, grown-up woman, not a 20-year-old member of Britain's aristocracy, as William's mother, Lady Diana Spencer, had been when she married Prince Charles. After dating William for nearly 10 years before they announced their engagement, Kate had no illusions about what her life as a royal would be and the down-to-earth tone she intended to bring to it.

Throughout the one-hour ceremony, Will and Kate appeared lighthearted, locking eyes and smiling, a united team of equals genuinely enjoying their day. The whole affair "felt like being at a family wedding, albeit quite a large one," a guest and friend of the Middletons, Tim Hirst, told PEOPLE. "It was very intimate, very comfortable, very friendly—you had to keep pinching yourself to remember that this was the most amazing wedding of the future King and Queen."

That remains true today. Yes, the Duke of Cambridge is an heir to the British throne and his wife will someday be Queen Consort. But at home, they are simply William and Kate. He'll make tea for guests, she might serve enchiladas. As Dad and Mum, they divvy up the parenting duties that seem to have multiplied as school and work went remote during the COVID pandemic. "I've become a hairdresser . . . much to my children's horror," Kate has shared. The pair have also been homeschooling George, 7, Charlotte, 5, and Louis, 2, and conducting work by video. To help, they've been given use of the Queen's Sandringham country house, not far from their Anmer Hall home. "It's a lovely, welcoming house," a source told PEOPLE.

The Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge And Their Family Attend Special Pantomime Performance To Thank Key Workers
Prince William and Kate Middleton take their kids to the theater
| Credit: Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty

Also inside this photo-filled issue: How the Middleton family has thrived in the spotlight that came when Kate married into royalty, how Kate has refined her style, and how becoming parents three times over changed the couple and refocused their commitments to making the world a better place.  William has continued in his father's environmentalist footsteps, hosting a Discovery+ documentary, A Planet for Us All. "We face a stark choice: Either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet, or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve," said William when he unveiled a multimillion-dollar award for the best ideas tackling environmental challenges.

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Kate, meanwhile, has concentrated on early childhood development. Last year she announced a groundbreaking survey called the 5 Big Questions on the Under Fives, which she launched with a 24-hour tour around the U.K. "I want to hear the key issues affecting our families and communities so I can focus my work on where it is needed most," she said. She partnered with the charity Place2Be to kick off children's mental health week, addressing parents in a video: "This is a hugely challenging time for us all, so please look after yourself too," she said. "We really do need to be the very best versions of ourselves for the children in our care."

PEOPLE'S William & Kate: 10 Joyous Years is available now on Amazon, and wherever magazines are sold.