PRINCE WILLIAM was 23 years old when his bubble burst as he was suddenly exposed to intense scrutiny and the full attention of the British public, a documentary revealed.
William had been protected from the press while in education, due to an unprecedented agreement between the Royal Family and the media. They were allowed to cover his arrival at the University of St Andrews and his graduation four years later, but in between he was left alone. When his graduation finally came in June 2005, it was clear to William and his friends that everything was about to change.
Jules Knight, a university friend of William’s described how the realisation dawned on him to the documentary ‘Prince William at Thirty’, uploaded to YouTube in June 2012.
He said: “I remember walking out of the graduation hall and there being an unbelievably large bank of photographers.
“And suddenly it brought home to everyone the time of Will being protected in this bubble was over and that all the speculation would begin.”
The documentary’s narrator added: “And begin it did.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Image: GETTY)
Jules Knight (Image: YouTube / RedSquirrelCrossing)
William joined the armed forces, training in Westbury in Wiltshire, then the Sandhurst Military Academy and finally joining the Blues and Royals Household Cavalry.
However, the press speculation would not only affect the prince but his girlfriend and future wife, Kate Middleton.
Kate and William had been dating since 2003, having met at university.
While William was getting on with his military career, Kate had moved to London and was finding herself at the centre of much media interest.
As the documentary put it: “[Kate] got her first taste of what life is like as a Royal, her every move now the subject of press speculation.”
Royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah said: “There was this intense media scrutiny on Catherine down in London.
“And I think that was very difficult for them, because their relationship had to change and adapt to that and I think it was very hard for both of them.”
Meanwhile, royal expert Katie Nicholl described their separation as their “first real major test”.
Kate on her 25th birthday (Image: GETTY)
The Duke and Duchess visit St Andrews in 2011 (Image: GETTY)
By 2007, there were rumours afloat that William was going to propose to Kate on her 25th birthday.
The future Duchess of Cambridge was met outside her home by a “gauntlet of cameras”.
Ms Nikkhah explained: “You would see hundreds of paparazzi and press photographers outside her home, which is very difficult for anyone trying to make their way.
“It was almost as if whatever she did – whether she went to work or didn’t want to go to work – she would be scrutinised and almost hounded.”
William was so unhappy about it that he moved to take legal action against the press’ harassment of Kate, as did Kate’s own family.
Ultimately, he decided against the proposal and the couple briefly separated that year.
However, the second-in-line to the throne got down on one knee in 2010 and married Kate in a spectacular ceremony at Westminster Abbey in 2011.
They now have three beautiful children together: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK