What you didn't know about Prince William & Kate's marriage

Though it's far from normal to have your wedding televised around the globe with two billion people watching, Will and Kate, or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they are officially known, are refreshingly normal despite their royal status. From the way they met to their long road to the altar, almost every aspect of Will and Kate's marriage was practically turned into a daily column by the world's tabloid press.

Replicating Princess Diana's warm relationship with the media, which allowed for an unprecedented peek in on her marriage to Prince Charles, Will and Kate may have set an example for another thoroughly modern royal wedding: that of Will's little brother Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle. For now, however, let's review some of the lesser known details of their royal romance. These are the things you didn't know about Prince William and Kate Middleton's marriage.

The dress that roped Kate a royal

Though they had met once before through mutual friends, it was Kate Middleton's catwalk during a charity fashion show in 2002 that had Prince William scrambling to win a date with his future wife. In fact, according to ABC News, William was so taken with Kate in the above dress, he asked her out that night at a party and even kissed her, despite the fact that she was allegedly in a relationship with a boy named Rupert Finch at the time.

The notorious sheer dress, designed by Charlotte Todd, sold at auction in 2011, the year of Will and Kate's wedding, for a whopping 78,000 pounds, according to the BBC. The buyer, known only as "Nick from Jersey," said it was an "iconic piece" and that he was "happy with the purchase." Prior to being put on the auction block, the dress sat "in a box at the bottom of [Todd's] mother's wardrobe for eight years." Of the small fortune her risqué design earned her, Todd said, "I'm completely shocked, I need to sit down and get my head round it."

A royal split

You think your breakup was bad? Try being in a long-term relationship with the future King of England. According to Marcia Moody's biography (via Parade), Kate Middleton and Prince William split in 2007, after the couple began spending more and more time apart and Kate had grown frustrated with William's bar-hopping ways. The breakup reportedly left Kate heartbroken and devastated; after all, according to Moody, there had been talk about a royal wedding.

However, as is often the case with young love, Moody writes that the couple got back together within a few months. In 2010, Kate and Will reflected on their breakup in a high-profile interview with The Telegraph. "I, at the time, wasn't very happy about it but actually it made me a stronger person," Kate said, adding, "You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn't realized." She continued, "You can get quite consumed by a relationship when you are younger. I really valued that time, for me as well, although I didn't think it at the time, looking back on it."

Duchess done right

In an interview with the BBC right after their engagement, Prince William spoke of how important it was for him to give Kate Middleton enough time to acclimate to public life. "I'm trying to learn from lessons done in the past and I just wanted to give her the best chance to settle in and to see what happens on the other side," he said. Kate explained how she drew inspiration from William's mother, Princess Diana's life, and that her basic goal in joining the royal family was to hopefully "make a difference, even in the smallest way."

Of course, Kate took to royal life in a way that exceeded expectations. Part of that may have had to do with the "two-year grace period from public life" that they were granted from the queen after their wedding, so they could have a little breathing room and enjoy married life for a while. According to Vanity Fair, this two-year period was an idyllic portrait of matrimony, spent "on the Welsh island of Anglesey a rented five-bedroom farmhouse." But more on that in a moment.

Kate's not just a pretty face

Kate and William met at the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, where she was pursuing a degree in Art History, and he majored in geography. She graduated with honors in 2005, which would eventually make her the first royal wife in the history of the United Kingdom to hold a college degree.

Kate now shares this distinction with Prince Harry's wife, Meghan Markle. Kate's sister-in-law attended Northwestern University in Chicago, where she was a self-proclaimed "theater nerd," who majored in theater and international relations, according to The Chicago Tribune.

At her sister Pippa's wedding, it was revealed that the Duchess of Cambridge is also a talented artist — she sketched the illustration of the church where Pippa was married on the couple's wedding programs.

Given the emphasis Princess Diana placed on her sons' education — William and Harry were the first Royals to "attend public (if still posh) schools" —  it's no surprise that both men ended up with well-educated ladies.

The Middleton Family got an upgrade

Because the Duchess of Cambridge hails from a "commoner" family — in other words, her parents are just regular, non-royal folks (who happened to make a mint in the party supply business) — her father, Michael Middleton, saw it fit to commission an honorary coat of arms upon her marriage to William in 2011.

According to the BBC, Michael paid 4,400 pounds for the design of the new Middleton family crest, which was overseen by Thomas Woodcock, Garter Principal King of Arms, from the College of Arms in the City of London. The coat of arms bears three acorns, representing the three Middleton children (Kate, James, and Pippa) and the area in England where the family hails from, West Berkshire.

Thanks to Kate's royal marriage, both her siblings are entitled to the family's new coat of arms, as well. However, in order for Kate to "place her father's Arms beside those of her husband," she had to first receive a "Royal Warrant from The Queen."

No prenup for these princes

Despite advice from royal advisors, Prince William reportedly refused a prenuptial agreement on his wedding to Kate Middleton. One of William's friends told The Telegraph that William "trusts [Kate] implicitly, and was adamant that no agreement was necessary." That's kind of remarkable, considering the royal family's rough history with sorting out the financials of past divorces.

There are plenty of examples, but just considering Charles and Diana's epic split alone should have been enough for William to consider some financial protection. After all, when the dust cleared, Charles ended up forfeiting "his entire personal fortune," which at the time was just over 23 million U.S. dollars, according to ABC News.

Incidentally, Harry followed in his big brother's footsteps by also leaving his reported 30 million pound fortune to the whims of Cupid, according to Business Insider. "He's determined that his marriage will be a lasting one, so there's no need for him to sign anything," a friend of Harry's allegedly told the Daily Mail.

Best of luck, boys!

Will's not into bling

Fans of the royal couple may have noticed over the years that the Duke of Cambridge does not wear a wedding band. William got out in front of the issue early in the marriage by dispatching a palace aide to issue a statement (via Time). "It was something the couple discussed but Prince William isn't one for jewelry," the statement read. "He doesn't even wear a signet ring — and decided he didn't want to."

William may have picked up the quirk from his grandfather, Prince Philip, who has never worn a ring. Kate, on the other hand (pun intended), does wear a simple gold Welsh band, a longstanding tradition of the English royal family, in addition to her engagement ring, which belonged to Princess Diana.

And in case anyone feels like William's "dislike of jewelry" excuse is a way to explain his lack of romanticism, he covered that area in spades when he remarked of giving Diana's ring to Kate that it was "my way of making sure my mother didn't miss out on today and the excitement." Prince Charming, indeed.

Their wedding was officially a big deal

Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding was one of the most highly anticipated events in royal family history. Complete with a celebrity guest list, lavish trappings, and most of the family traditions upheld, the live-televised nuptials were a spectacle to behold. And behold it the world did, to the tune of approximately two billion viewers

The day, April 29, 2011, was officially marked on the calendar by then-Prime Minister David Cameron, who said, "We want to mark the day as one of national celebration — a public holiday will ensure the most people possible will have a chance to celebrate on the day."

According to "royals expert" Katie Nicholl, the idea for the national holiday was all Will and Kate. "They wanted a Friday. They wanted a spring wedding and they wanted to give the country a day off," she told Good Morning America. Seriously, is there anything in the world more regal than having the power to grind a nation's economy to a halt so people can watch you get married on TV? That's some serious power right there.

Seriously, how did they arrange this?

Speaking of the power of the royal family, there was a very "blue blood" reason that Prince William and Kate Middleton's college courtship wasn't daily tabloid fodder. According Julian Knight, a schoolmate who spoke with CNN, the way Will and Kate avoided the glare of the spotlight was through a "media blackout" arranged between the press and the crown. The fledgling lovers were able to go out on dates without a trail of paparazzi following them. In fact, Knight chalks up the lack of press scrutiny as one of the reasons Will and Kate's romance could blossom in the first place. "They were able to get to know each other as friends without anyone going, 'Ooh, what's going on there?'" he said.

That's not to say that the press wasn't ravenous for details of Will's college life. According to Knight, they invaded campus on graduation day, when the so-called gentlemen's agreement ended, at which point they were allegedly "coming up to students offering to clear their student debt for stories about Prince William." Oh well, all good things must end, right?

What happens in the Alps apparently doesn't stay there

There haven't been many waves on the pleasure cruise that is Prince William and Kate Middleton's marriage. However, during a Spring 2017 ski trip in Verbier, Switzerland, William seemed intent on testing those waters. 

According to Vanity Fair, William ditched Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey to hit the Swiss slopes with some guy friends. While there, someone recorded him "dad dancing" and "putting his hand on the waist of a mystery woman" while partying at Farinet nightclub. Kate was said to be "less than pleased" that while she was home tending to the kids, William was allegedly getting day-wasted with Australian model Sophie Taylor and "a 30-year-old British former beautician from Blackpool named Rosie Peate." A source close to Kate told Vanity Fair, "She thought his partying days and larking around with the boys was a thing of the past. I imagine she'll find this humiliating and William will have come in for a pasting."

Oh boy. Neither Will nor Kate ever publicly addressed the scandal, but we imagine there was plenty spoken about it within the walls of Kensington Palace.

Are Prince Harry and Kate BFFs?

Though the royals are notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to speaking about each other in the press, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton have deviated slightly from that policy from time to time. In June 2016, Harry told Newsweek that Kate is "the big sister he never had." In April 2017, Kate called Harry "brilliant" and agreed that he was a "hero" for his public statements about dealing with his "mental health struggles."   

Of course, close watchers of the royal family have also picked up on many more instances of the warm dynamic between the in-laws over the years. The Daily Mail alone cites "the London Olympics, weddings, Trooping the Colour, or even somber events like the World War I centenary commemorations in Belgium in 2014" as times when Harry and Kate were obviously getting on quite well. Obviously, it's great that these two seem to be thick as thieves. Perhaps Kate could convince Harry to teach her husband how to look not so, well … Williamesque on the dance floor.

Morning sickness is a royal pain

As if giving birth to the future heir to the throne wasn't pressure enough, Kate suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum with all three of her pregnancies. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe form of morning sickness that basically lasts 24/7. The lucky expectant mum (the condition effects less than 3 percent of pregnant women) suffers through intense bouts of vomiting and usually — as Kate did — requires hospitalization to receive IV fluids to avoid dehydration. The condition usually occurs during the first trimester when it's especially dangerous for both mother and child. As such, Kate was in the hospital for three days during her pregnancy with Prince George and had to cancel most of her public engagements during the early days of her pregnancy with Princess Charlotte.

Unfortunately, history repeated itself in September 2017 when the royal couple announced Kate was pregnant with their third child, but was again suffering from the dangerous and debilitating condition. However, Kate and baby were just fine in the end. She delivered the couple's second son, Louis Arthur Charles, on her due date of April 23, 2018.

They had a storybook romance. Literally.

In April 2015, co-authors Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan published a novel inspired by the Duke and Duchess' relationship and their journey to the altar called The Royal We. The book became a bestseller and was optioned by Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham for CBS Films. "It truly isn't Wills and Kate," Cocks told People, although see if any of this sounds familiar: The novel follows Bex Porter, an American student at a prestigious British university, who falls in love with a fellow student, Nick, who just so happens to be the heir to the British throne. Nick just so happens to have a red-headed brother, Freddie, as well as a "a once hounded-by-the-paparazzi mother."

"Yes, it was an idea borne of watching their seemingly courtship in the media," Cox said, "but through Bex's eyes we had the freedom we needed to imagine all the potential behind-the-scenes emotions and conflicts of that love story." 

Does Freddie have a chapter where he gets busted partying naked at a penthouse in Vegas? Nah, that would be too on-the-nose.

They're doing quite well

Prince Charles holds the royal pursestrings for his family. The dependents get a portion of about $5 million to cover travel expenses, wardrobe costs, and more. (Prince Charles' total allowance is around $31 million.) Though the specific cut that Will and Kate receive is not public knowledge, it's not as though they're waiting around with their hands out.

Kate is worth an estimated $10 million thanks to her work with her parents' wildly successful party supply business. William is no slouch in the income department, either, having inherited $15.6 million from his mother, according to Yahoo. Perhaps the best way to put this all into perspective is to point out that William donated his full salary as a helicopter pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance, a reported $62,000 per year, to charity. If that doesn't say "financially secure," we don't know what does.

God save the relatively boring average couple!

Despite their royal status and the intense public scrutiny of their marriage, the strangest thing about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge seems to be that they are actually quite normal. The long courtship, their break-up, and an overall responsibility for themselves and their three children make Prince William and Kate Middleton fairly relatable as far as celebrity couples go.

In fact, in September 2012, a Vanity Fair profile of the then-newlyweds painted a particularly humdrum portrait of the world's most famous couple. According to writer Katie Nicholl, who describes herself as "the UK's leading royal expert," Will and Kate spent their aforementioned "two year grace period from public life" doing things like walking the dog multiple times a day, "pottering around making tea and toast," as well as mastering the art of homemade sausage and jams.

Of course, now that Will and Kate have fully embraced their roles within the royal dynamic — jet-setting around the world on goodwill visits and participating in various philanthropic efforts — we're not sure how much time they still have for canning strawberries. It's easy to see, however, that theirs is a true marriage for love, with all the challenges that go with it, from William's partying a bit too hard on a ski weekend to Kate managing Prince George's bad behavior at Pippa's wedding. Who knew? Royals — they're just like us.