Arguably, Prince William and his wife, Catherine Middleton (affectionately known as Kate, or The Duchess of Cambridge), are one of the most famous couples in the world. Since getting married in front of millions on 29 April 2011, the pair have welcomed three adorable children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and baby of the family, Prince Louis, and are super hands-on parents.
As their relationship continues to evolve, and William prepares to one day take on the major role of king, the public displays of affection that he and Kate were more freely able to indulge in when they were dating have become somewhat reduced. We've no doubt that the couple are still very loved up, but given the serious nature of The Duke's future position, they've definitely taken a step back when it comes to things like hugging, or stealing a cheeky peck, in front of photographers.
In the spirit of celebrating their relationship and how far The Cambridges have come together, we've rounded up 17 of our favourite photos from their early days – featuring some excellent outfits and lots of flirty vibes (obsessed).
1) Graduation day, 23 June 2005
The couple met at St. Andrews University where they both studied art history. In 2002, they moved into a student house with two other friends and it's believed that by Christmas 2003, romance blossomed after Kate split from a previous boyfriend. Here are the happy pair looking very much in love on the day of their graduation ceremony on 23 June 2005.
2) An Eton Old Boys football match, March 2006
When William took part in an 'old boys' football match at Eton College, Kate and her sister Pippa (also in the above picture) popped along to say hello and cheer him on. Here, William was caught on camera greeting them.
3) A Six Nations rugby match, February 2007
Prince Harry tagged along for this outing in Twickenham, where all three royals seemed to be heavily invested in the game (to be fair, England were playing).
4) Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival, March 2007
The couple attended Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival together, where they were seen chatting away to William's cousin, Zara Phillips, and their old mutual friend, Oliver Baker.
5) Skiing in Klosters, March 2008
This isn't the first ski trip that William and Kate went on, but it is the first where they were photographed together – The Duchess previously joined William on a family holiday back in 2005, but took great care not to be seen with the royals in front of any cameras.
6) William's RAF Graduation, April 2008
This happy shot was captured after the ceremony – we love how beaming and proud Kate looks here!
7) Calcot Manor Hotel County Fair, June 2008
Taken on William's 26th birthday, he and Kate were spotted hanging out with friends at a county fair. The following day, Kate watched both princes take part in a charity polo match at Beaufort Polo Club, Gloucestershire. (Is anybody else noticing their relationship involves a lot of sports?).
8) Leaving Raffles nightclub, 15 August 2008
While trying to make a sneaky exit from Raffles nightclub, Kate and William were caught leaving together at 3am (good effort). We're so here for this kind of throwback content it's not even funny.
9) Sharing a joke at another RAF ceremony, January 2010
The couple were snapped giggling during another RAF course graduation ceremony event (this time celebrating that William received his helicopter pilot's license). Ten months later, the Prince gave Kate one of his mother's, Princess Diana, rings and they announced their engagement to the world.
10) Attending a wedding together, 23 October 2010
Photographers captured the future Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at their friends', Harry Meade and Rosie Bradford, wedding. Media at the time described them as looking "so in love" – they weren't wrong!
11) Engagement announcement, 16 November 2010
A biggie! On the 16th of November 2010, after seven years together, a statement was released to the world announcing: "Prince William and Miss Middleton became engaged in October during a private holiday in Kenya. Prince William has informed The Queen and other close members of his family. Prince William has also sought the permission of Miss Middleton’s father."
12) The Teenage Cancer Trust's Christmas Spectacular, 18 December 2010
Following the engagement, which saw the world's interest in their relationship intensify, Kate began to attend events and royal engagements with William. It was during this time, ahead of their wedding, that they began to be seen out and about more frequently. Here is the first time they 'officially' stepped out together in public.
13) A visit to Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station in Wales, 10 February 2011
More beaming at one another! More being loved up! This time, Kate tagged along to a lifeboat station and got stuck in with greeting crowds. No doubt William would have supportively showed her the ropes.
14) Returning to St Andrews University, 25 February 2011
As part of a UK tour ahead of their wedding, Prince William and Kate Middleton stopped off for a spot of co-ordinated waving at the place where it all began: St Andrews University. While there, they helped the school to celebrate a new scholarship announcement (and no doubt had fun reminiscing about their own student days).
15) A visit to Belfast, Ireland, 8 March 2011
During their whirlwind recce of the United Kingdom, a soon-to-be-wed William and Kate tossed pancakes for Shrove Tuesday and greeted crowds in Belfast. While there, it started to drizzle a bit and Kate was kindly passed an umbrella, which William looks unsure about standing under. Maybe he thought he'd be too tall?
16) Witton Country Park, 11 April 2011
By this point, the wedding countdown was well and truly on! With little over two weeks to go, the couple delighted well wishers who'd gathered at Witton Country Park and were clearly enjoying one another's company. It was the last time they were seen together prior to the Big Day.
17) The royal wedding, 29 April 2011
We're allowing this final one on a technicality, as y'know, it shows Prince William and Kate Middleton's very last moments of 'dating' before they were officially married. Isn't it the loveliest moment?
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