Here's Who Kate Middleton Was Dating When She Met Prince William

Ever since her engagement and subsequent wedding to Prince William, Prince of Wales, Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, has become one of the most recognizable faces in the world, and one of the most popular members of the British royal family. She and William first met at the age of 19 in 2001, while they were both attending the University of St. Andrews, and began a relationship about a year later, per ABC News. Although they experienced bumps in the road — breaking up more than once before their 2011 wedding — they're widely regarded as among the most stable couples in the notoriously turbulent royal family. They have even been compared to a modern-day "fairytale" (via Vanity Fair). 

However, many royal observers may not know that Kate Middleton — who was famously a "commoner" before her wedding to the now-Prince of Wales — was actually dating someone else when she and William first met, forcing William to put his desire for a relationship with Kate on hold for almost a year. 

Kate Middleton dated Rupert Finch before Prince William

In a 2019 episode of "The Windsors" podcast, royal columnist Victoria Arbiter spoke about how the saga between Prince William and his future wife Kate Middleton began with the former seeking the latter, as Kate was already dating someone else when they first met around 2001. Apparently, her boyfriend at the time was a fellow St. Andrew's student, Rupert Finch. 

Finch, who Arbiter described as "by all accounts [a] nice man," was three years older than William and Kate and graduated in 2002, right around the time he and the princess split up. When William and Kate first met, they were reportedly both interested in each other, but it took a while before they made it official. "[Kate] and Prince William were friends initially," Arbiter explained. "[William] kind of expressed a bit of interest but I think Kate was still playing hard-to-get; she wasn't terribly sure if she was interested." 

Of course, it all changed at the famous student fashion show in March 2002, when the Prince of Wales finally made a move on Kate, per ABC News. After Kate showed up in a particularly scanty garment, William allegedly turned to his friend and said, "Wow, Kate's hot!" At a party that night, William supposedly kissed her for the first time, and their love story officially began from there.

Rupert Finch and Kate Middleton attended each other's weddings

In the years since he dated the Princess of Wales, Rupert Finch has remained close with both Kate Middleton and Prince William, and even attended their 2011 wedding. According to Tatler, the then-Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also attended Finch's own wedding in June 2013, which took place in Cirencester, in south west England. 

Finch married Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs, an English fashion designer, and aristocrat. Her father is Simon Isaacs, 4th Marquess of Reading, who served as a member of the House of Lords from 1980 until 1999. Additionally, Kate is apparently an admirer of Beulah London, Natasha's fashion brand, and has even publicly donned their garments a number of times. 

Finch currently works as a lawyer for a sustainable technologies company called Johnson Matthey, and has three daughters with his wife: Georgia, born in 2015, Cienna, born in 2017, and their youngest child, India Grace Albertine, born in 2020