Prince William and Kate Middleton's romance may seem like a fairy tale, but their story has "the same ups and downs as every love affair," writes Katie Nicholl in her new book Using her eight years of experience as royal insider, Nicholl gives readers all the details on Prince William and Kate Middleton's "modern royal romance" in her new book "The Making of a Royal Romance: William, Kate and Harry: A Look Behind the Palace Walls."
Nicholl's career as a royal writer began when Prince Harry invited her to join a private party and she was struck by how "normal" he was. Since then, she's gotten to know both princes and describes William as "determined to do things his way," pushing royal boundaries like his late mother Princess Diana was known to do.
In her latest project, a revised and expanded version of her book "William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls," Nicholl redirects her attention to chronicling Prince William and Kate Middleton's eight-year relationship, starting from the moment William saw Kate in that famed see-through dress and leading up to their upcoming wedding at Westminster Abbey on April 29.
Read the Preface from the book below, then check out some other books in the "GMA" library.
"Modernisation is quite a strong word to use with the monarchy because it's something that's been around for many hundreds of years. But I think it's important that people feel the monarchy can keep up with them and is relevant to their lives. We are all human and inevitably mistakes are made. But in the end there is a great sense of loyalty and dedication among the family and it rubs off on me. Ever since I was very small, it's something that's been very much impressed on me, in a good way." ------Prince William on his twenty-first birthday
It was an unexpected encounter with Prince Harry at the Kensington Roof Gardens in London in April 2003 that lit the touch paper for my career as a royal writer. At the time I was working as the show business correspondent for the Mail on Sunday and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Prince Harry was enjoying a private party in the VIP room and invited me to join him. He should have been revising for his A-levels, instead the prince was drinking vodka Red Bulls and enjoying the company of a group of pretty young girls. Gregarious, vivacious and most of all normal, I was struck by how warm and charming the handsome young prince was. When I met his brother at a polo match shortly afterwards I was equally impressed. These are two young men born into extraordinary lives, with no choice but to live under the scrutiny of the public eye. Having overcome the greatest tragedy – the loss of their beloved mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, at such a tender age – they are now forging their own lives and careers.
Over the course of my career I have spent many nights in Boujis, once William and Harry's favourite club, attending polo matches and travelling on official royal tours and engagements, getting to know the princes. In my book William and Harry, which I have updated, refined and retitled as The Making of a Royal Romance ahead of the royal wedding, my unrivalled sources told me that Prince William would finally marry his university sweetheart Kate Middleton in 2011. According to the couple's inner circle they were already 'as good as engaged' and had made a secret pact to be together while on holiday in the Seychelles in 2007. William promised Kate she was the one, but he wanted to complete his military training before they got married. Kate put her trust in William and waited. The press may have dubbed her 'Waity Katie' but Catherine Middleton, as she prefers to be known, knew better.
It was on the slopes of Klosters on 1 April 2004 when the world was first introduced to the girl who had captured Prince William's heart at St Andrews University in Scotland. 'Finally . . . Wills Gets A Girl' was the headline in the Sun newspaper. The truth was William and Kate had been dating for months but because of an agreement between the press and the palace to leave William in peace, the romance was known to only their closest friends. Ever since that day we have been intrigued, mystified and captivated in equal measure by William's beautiful and beguiling brunette. I have been chronicling Prince William and Kate Middleton's romance ever since it began when they were students living in a modest top-floor flat in Hope Street in St Andrews. To the public it may seem like a fairytale but this is a story of true love, companionship, compromise and sacrifice. It is in every aspect a modern royal romance which has experienced the same ups and downs as every love affair.
A normal middle-class girl from the home counties who descends from a coal-mining ancestry, it was this sporty yet quiet and unassuming girl who caught William's eye when she shimmied down the catwalk in their second semester at university in a see-through dress and her lingerie. 'Wow,' William whispered to his friend Fergus Boyd. 'Kate's hot!' After one of the longest courtships in royal history William and Kate are to be married on Friday 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey and history will be made. It will be the first time an heir apparent has married a commoner in 350 years.
William, who like his late mother continually pushes at royal boundaries, is determined do things his way from his wedding day and beyond. When the couple announced they were to be married, it was on their own terms. They kept their engagement secret for nearly a month before taking the palace and the rest of the world by surprise on 16 November 2010.
So who is this young woman who has been a part of William's life for the past eight years and who waited so patiently for him to finally propose? To truly understand Kate, one must try to understand William. I spent more than a year trying to uncover just that in William and Harry. I discovered a sensitive, thoughtful and sometimes misunderstood young man who more than anything wants to be ordinary. It was something the Princess of Wales, whose legacy lives on today through both her sons, had desperately wanted. I discovered that just like all great love stories, the genesis of William and Kate's romance lies in the character and the upbringing of the individuals involved.
William is a young man who will one day be the King of England. His future has been mapped out since the day he was born and it is exactly because of this that he refuses to be railroaded into anything. As a young boy he was known for being stubborn and sometimes spoilt, and as a teenager he was deeply sensitive and resented the attention he attracted far more than his robust and more extrovert younger brother. Like their father, William and Harry still struggle with the idea that their lives are pre-destined. While they recognise the unique privileges their royal titles bring, they both still crave normality. It is why William loves to ride his motorbike around the streets of London, safe in the knowledge that in his leather and helmet he is anonymous. And it is the reason Harry has admitted he often wishes he wasn't a prince. It is more than a decade since William and Harry walked behind their mother's funeral cortege. The single white envelope bearing the word 'Mummy' written in Harry's hand is still probably the most powerful and moving image of these two extraordinary princes. Today they are young men – they are soldiers – trying to carve meaningful careers and earn the respect of their public. Ultimately it will be William and Harry who re-shape the future of the great British monarchy and they are working hard to shoulder their responsibilities. It is not simply a case of William being the heir and Harry the spare. The bond between them runs far deeper.
Since graduating from Sandhurst Harry has gone to war and fought on the front line for Queen and country in Afghanistan. He is determined to go back and is training to fly the Apache attack helicopter in order to do so. It has meant sacrifices for the young prince and over the years his on/off relationship with Zimbabwean born Chelsy Davy has suffered.
Now a fully qualified search and rescue helicopter pilot, William has finally found a sense of purpose as well as embracing his duty. When he pulled the student Kate in towards him on those snowy slopes to kiss her, neither could have predicted the making of this remarkable royal romance. In this book I trace the true story of how Catherine Middleton met and fell in love with the future King. It was over breakfast in the canteen at St Andrews that the pair became friends before they fell in love. Over the years they have weathered two separations, both instigated by William. But he always came back to Kate.
Some royal observers have been quick to compare Kate to the young Diana Spencer, but the truth is they could not be more different. While Kate is just as glamorous and intriguing as the late princess, she is headstrong and confident. Lest we forget, this is the young woman who when told she was lucky to be dating William retorted, 'He's lucky to be going out with me.' As they prepare for their future as man and wife William and Catherine are, many believe, the future of the House of Windsor. Harry, who has always proved to be much more than just 'the spare', defined his role when he was in Africa with his brother on their first overseas tour. On a cold mountainside in Lesotho where he works tirelessly for his charity Sentebale he declared, for the first time, that his job is to support his older brother.
Male primogeniture dictates that we will have King Charles and possibly Queen Camilla before we have King William V and Queen Catherine. But many believe, myself included, that it will be William, with Catherine at his side, who will be the standard bearer for a new twenty-first century royal family.
Excerpted from The Making of a Royal Romance: William, Kate, and Harry--A Look Behind the Palace Walls, by Katie Nicholl. Available from Weinstein Books, a member of The Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2011. Check out other books from the "GMA" Library.