Before she was a royal, she was a young woman with a broken heart

By Maura Hohman
September 07, 2018 07:52 PM
Kate Middleton at the opening oif Gemma Billington's exibition a
Credit: Liam Mulcahy/Independent News and Media

When Kate Middleton and Prince William broke up after they’d been dating for five years in 2007, she treated herself to a trip to Ireland.

In previously unseen photos from The Irish Independent, the then-25 year-old was snapped attending an art exhibit by family friend Gemma Billington before the news of her split from William split officially broke. In one photo, she is seen talking to musician Ben Carrigan of The Thrills and former Arsenal Football Club player Niall Quinn.

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Sources told PEOPLE at the time of the break-up in 2007, just before Easter, that there was no last-straw moment and instead it was more of a gradual unraveling. Six years after meeting at the University of St. Andrews in 2001, they elected to end the relationship for about three years despite how many friends believed they were good together.

Kate Middleton and Prince William
| Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The couple reunited in June 2010, and Prince William popped the question in October of that year. In their first interview with the press following the news, they were beaming as they answered questions about the proposal, their upcoming wedding and their life together. “Hopefully I’ll take it in my stride,” Kate said of her royal future. “William’s a great teacher, so he’ll be able to help me along the way.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty
Britain's Prince William and his wife Ka

On April 29, 2011, thousands of guests gathered inside London’s Westminster Abbey to watch the couple say their “I dos.” Even more well-wishers lined the streets of London to watch the newlyweds kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, which served as the site of Will and Kate’s lunch and evening receptions, thrown by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, respectively.

Prince Louis christening
Prince William, Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Prince Louis
| Credit: PA Images/Sipa

And since then, of course, the royal parents have welcomed three children together: Prince George in July 2013, Princess Charlotte in May 2015, and most recently, Prince Louis in April 2018.