Kate and Wills (as he's sometimes called by the press) met while they were both attending the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. According to one royal biographer, the prince was smitten with Middleton from his very first glance. Upon being introduced, Middleton gave the prince a curtsy -- it's customary to bow or curtsy before royalty in England -- and he responded by spilling his drink all over himself. Kate claims their first meeting was brief. She said, "I actually think I went bright red … and sort of scuttled off, feeling very shy." Luckily for William, Kate's bashfulness was only temporary, and before long, the two had become good friends.
But even though they were just friends, there was obviously an attraction. William paid close to $350 for a front-row seat to see Middleton modeling lingerie at a charity fashion event, and that seems like a pretty high price to pay to see a pal walk around in skivvies -- even for a prince. Still, the two grew closer but remained platonic for over a year, and they even shared space in a flat together with some additional friends. As William and Kate spent more time around each other in such close quarters, their relationship changed, and in 2002, they began dating.
As anyone who's seen a supermarket tabloid in the last eight years can tell you, Prince William and "Waity Katie" had their share of ups and downs. In 2007, they broke up for a few months, and they dated for seven years before he finally popped the question.
So, what got them through it all? According to William, "Being friends with one another is a massive advantage." He believes that their friendship set "a good foundation," and we have to agree. Eight years is a long time to wait, but in Kate and Wills' case, it allowed them to build a relationship strong enough to endure the rigors of royal life -- and that's worth having to endure a tabloid nickname or two.