The Shady Side Of Prince William

Prince William has been in the hot seat since the Sussexes' bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, which blew the lid off some of the Palace's darkest rumored secrets. This included Meghan Markle alleging that her son may have been stripped of his royal title because of his mixed-race and Prince Harry's shocking admission that he was not currently speaking to his brother.

Despite the constant media speculation, Prince William has, by no means, been as controversial a figure as his younger brother. The Duke of Cambridge is far more publicly reserved. He settled down relatively early (nearly a decade younger than average for the UK) with his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton (the pair had dated on and off since college). They started popping out heirs to the throne shortly thereafter, around the same time that Wills left the military to devote more time to charity.

Overall, it seems like the former pilot met every typical milestone expected of the future monarch, whereas Prince Harry racked up break-ups and scandals (like that time he donned Nazi attire for a costume party or allegedly left a prank voicemail message on the Queen's personal cell phone). Nonetheless, he's still a member of the royal family — which means he hasn't escaped the odd tabloid rumor. Here's the alleged shady side of Prince William, at least in the eyes of the tabloids that have Meghan and Harry at war.

Prince William 'deeply' hurt Kate Middleton during their secret trial separation

As the story goes, Prince William supposedly first took an interest in his St. Andrews University classmate Kate Middleton when he spotted her walking down the runway of a charity fashion show wearing a now-infamous see-through outfit. The rest is well-documented history, with a few shocking tabloid blips in-between — including the pair's secret alleged breakup.

Behind-the-scenes, things reportedly started deteriorating between Kate and Wills during the summer of 2004, a year before they graduated. As documented in an excerpt of Royal biographer Katie Nicholl's book, William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls, published by Vanity Fair, the 22-year-old prince "told several of his friends" that he felt "claustrophobic." That summer, the couple embarked on a secret trial separation. He went on a boys-only holiday to Greece, while Kate spent time in Berkshire with her family, only allegedly mentioning the breakup under the influence of white wine (in true millennial form). "She was debating whether or not she should text or call him," a friend told Nicholl. "She said how sad she was and how much she was missing William, but she never mentioned it after that."

Despite her seemingly blasé attitude, the space couldn't have been more enormous or painful for Kate, who was reportedly "deeply" hurt by Wills' rumored relationship with American heiress Anna Sloan. During the break, Wills was also romantically linked to heiress Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe and Jecca Craig.

The night club photos Prince William didn't want anyone to see

Though Wills and Kate patched things up, graduating together in 2005, the pair still appeared to have problems in the years that followed. The tabloid's speculation was only exacerbated when photos emerged from a Bournemouth nightclub in which the prince appeared to grab the breast of a woman named Ana Ferreira behind Middleton's back.

"I was a little bit drunk myself," Ferreira told Christopher Anderson in his book, William and Kate: A Royal Love Story. "But I felt something brush my breast. I thought it couldn't be the future king, but now that I've seen the picture, it's no wonder he's got a smile on his face! He has big, manly hands and certainly knows what to do with them."

That same evening, Wills reportedly also flirted with a woman named Lisa Agar, dragging her to the dance floor and, in her words, getting "very touchy-feely." She added, "He was not a shy boy and didn't talk about Kate," claiming she went back to the Prince's barracks but left after he decided to go to sleep. In his defense, Agar also claimed the royal was "quite pissed," so perhaps he can blame this one on the juice — or specifically, Stella Artois, sambuca, and a momentary lapse in judgment.

Prince William dumped Kate Middleton over the phone

In 2007, Kate Middleton reportedly joined the unfortunate club of people who were dumped over the phone. Hey, at least it wasn't a Post-It note breakup like Carrie Bradshaw (which was inspired by true events) or text message dumping like Katy Perry (imagine having the audacity to end a literal marriage with a few short words). Nonetheless, it's not exactly the noblest way to dump your girlfriend of three years. Even worse? The future monarch did it when Kate was at work.

According to Christopher Anderson's book, William and Kate: A Royal Love Story, the future Duchess of Cambridge was working a part-time job as an accessories buyer at Jigsaw, a luxury retailer when Prince William called her to end their relationship. "She excused herself, went to a back conference room out of earshot of the other buyers, shut the door, and for the next hour heard Wills sputter the reasons he was breaking up with her," wrote Christopher Anderson.

As terrible as that is, Kate eventually forgave William. In a joint TV interview announcing their engagement, she admitted, "It actually made me a stronger person. You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn't realized. I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you are younger, and I really valued that time for me as well although I didn't think it at the time."

Prince William's controversial engagement ring

You'd think that Prince William's engagement would be far from controversial — especially because Kate Middleton wasn't out of left field. Though she was technically considered a so-called commoner, she was already independently wealthy (her parents reportedly own a $41 million party planning business). Let's just say, she would've fit right in with the cast of Made In Chelsea.

Instead, the controversial part of William's engagement was the ring. Princess Diana's engagement ring was already controversial when Lady Diana Spencer picked it from a catalog rather than requesting a custom design. According to Vogue, Prince Harry inherited the ring when their mother passed away, but he felt like it was something that should "be on the finger of the future Queen of England." He gave it to Wills to give to Kate, but according to Marie Claire, critics viewed it as a bad omen because it came from Diana's unhappy marriage (anyone who's watched the most recent season of The Crown knows there were supposedly affairs on both sides).

As we've come to discover, Diana's ring turned out to become a true family heirloom, representing love far more than it represents a failed marriage. Three kids into it, Will and Kate appear to be doing just fine, bad omens notwithstanding.

Prince William partied so hard he knocked out his tooth

Prince William's partying has gotten him in trouble with the tabloids — and probably his wife — in the past. This time, it got him in trouble with his pearly whites (and also, potentially Kate, again). In 2013, during what Vanity Fair describes as a "marathon drinking session," the future monarch didn't party until the sun came up. Rather, he partied until his tooth came out. 

According to Daily Mail, Kate was pregnant with George when she skipped out on the so-called "Royal Wedding of the North" (the nuptials of William's best friend Tom van Straubenzee and Lady Melissa Percy). Instead, William showed up to represent the royals, parting into the early hours of the morning and "tearing up the dancefloor." At one point, he was horsing around with his friend Tom Inskip, who accidentally struck him in the face, which knocked out a significant portion of his front tooth and sent him straight into an emergency dental surgery.

"William was joking that if Kate went into labor that night, he'd have to smile for the cameras with a missing tooth," a source told the tabloid, while another source claimed that William rushed to fix it because "he was worried Kate was going to go completely spare." 

Prince William's controversial dad's night out

If the tooth thing wasn't enough, Prince William (probably) made Kate roll her eyes even harder after a so-called "dad dancing" incident during a lad's only ski trip (proving once and for all that boys-only holidays always get the Duke of Cambridge in some sort of trouble). Nonetheless, papa apparently needed a night off.

According to Vanity Fair, Middleton was "less than pleased" after a video of her husband partying with his friends and a "mysterious brunette" at a nightclub surfaced in "several tabloids" in 2017. While the idea of "dad dancing," as the tabloids dubbed it, seems harmlessly cringey, the real scandal was a little more salacious than bad rhythm. Per The Sunhe reportedly was seen "gyrating with a blonde" and putting his hands "on [a] woman's waist." At the time, Kate was at home watching Princess Charlotte and Prince George, who will eventually inherit the throne and hopefully none of his father's dance moves.

Beyond that, the ski trip caused William to miss a Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, which the Queen reportedly regards as "one of the most important" dates in the royal calendar (i.e. it was a big deal that he wasn't there). To this day, the ski trip is regarded as one of the rare controversial decisions made by the future monarch.

Prince William's alleged affair triggered a 'rural rivalry'

Alas, the so-called cursed engagement ring finally reared its ugly head in 2020 with a tabloid story that alleged Prince William had cheated on Kate Middleton while she was pregnant with their third child. As we previously reported, this would have been an obvious slap in the face for the doting mama who's already endured Wills' alleged wandering eye and dutifully earned her role as a royal through seven grueling years of dating a tabloid sensation.

According to Lainey Gossip, it all began when The Sun published a story of a royal rivalry between Kate Middleton and her "Turnip toff" friend Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley (for those unfamiliar, the Turnip toffs are a group of aristocrats in the English countryside loosely associated with the royals). Of course, with Britain's strict libel laws, no tabloid dared to so much as whisper the reason behind the women's alleged feud — at least until InTouch ran a cover story directly alleging that William had an affair, which opened the floodgates. According to Daily Beast, the affair was confirmed (and quickly unconfirmed) by royal reporter Giles Coren, who spoke of the affair in a tweet, which he later deleted.

After that, the Palace supposedly took legal action, and the InTouch report appears to be scrubbed from the internet. It should also be noted that (via The New York Times), that's the same tabloid that runs multiple false stories about Jennifer Aniston being pregnant.

Prince William raised suspicion by breaking royal protocol

The royals have a policy of ignoring all untrue stories. In theory, acknowledging the headlines only makes it look like you have something to cover up. This was the case with Prince William's alleged affair with Rose Hanbury. Though it probably would've filtered out of the tabloids quite quickly, the former pilot raised a whole lot of suspicions when he circumvented royal protocol to shut down the rumors faster than Meghan Markle shut her own car door.

Per Daily Beast, the palace reportedly served "legal warnings" to "at least one British publication" who re-printed In Touch's cover story that perpetuated the rumors (previously, most British tabloids only hinted at a so-called "rural rivalry" between the women). Duncan Larcombe, The Sun's former royal editor, told Daily Beast that in this case, a legal letter is "very much a move of last resort," adding, "If the stories of Kate freezing Rose out are true, then whatever caused the falling out must have been very serious."

It's unclear why this time was the time Wills jumped to defend himself, but he admittedly looked a little suspect. Nonetheless, royal courtiers told Daily Beast the story was "totally wrong and false," pointing to InTouch's previous claims that "[Barack] Obama was having an affair and Britney [Spears] was having triplets."

Prince William tried to meddle in his brother's relationship

Prince William and Prince Harry have shared a tight bond since the death of their mother, but that bond was threatened when the future monarch allegedly meddled in his brother's whirlwind relationship with Meghan Markle, whom he met on a blind date.

According to Robert Lacey's book Battle of Brothers: The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult (via People), Wills confronted his brother after fearing his relationship with the American actor was "moving too fast." This confrontation reportedly happened sometime in 2016 or early 2017, which places it not too far from the November 2017 engagement announcement. As expected, this did not sit well with Harry. "Harry could not help but wonder whether Wills was really concerned about his personal happiness — or whether he was, once again and as per usual, thinking about the makeup and fortunes of 'the Firm,'" wrote Lacey. "The response from Harry was a brusque and offended pushback."

According to Dylan Howard and Andy Tillett's Royals at War (as excerpted by The Sun), the confrontation — or rather, warning — also involved Kate, who warned Harry that it would "take time [and] attention" to "integrate" Meghan into the family because she had a completely different past life and career (lest we forget Meghan's an American, biracial divorcée, who regularly dodged racist vitriol from the press). As we know now, Meghan did not integrate. Rather, she and Harry ended up stepping down.

Prince William's royal rift with Prince Harry runs shockingly deep

The so-called "royal rift" between Prince William and Prince Harry extended far beyond Meghan's ceremonious induction into the royal family (everyone loves a royal wedding). In March 2021, ITV Royal Editor Chris Ship told Good Morning Britain (via Express) that William hadn't spoken "directly" to his brother since he stepped down as a senior member of the royal family in early 2020. Per Robert Lacey's Battle of Brothers (as excerpted by Daily Mail), Wills even refused to attend the Queen's lunch invitation before the Sandringham summit — the now infamous meeting where they settled on Megxit — and Wills only showed up to talk business.

At the time of this writing, Prince William reportedly hasn't seen Harry in about a year, but that may change. The Sussexes' Oprah Winfrey interview — where the couple floated claims of racism in the palace and Harry alleged that his brother and father were "trapped" within the "Institution" — may have been the tipping point that forced them to talk. In the days following, Prince William reportedly broke royal protocol by speaking out and telling reporters (via Express) that the royal family wasn't racist. The Sun claimed that the pair have since reached out via text, which seems to be a new start.

Did Wills break the UK's lockdown rules?

According to Yahoo! Finance, the UK has the strictest coronavirus lockdown in all of Europe — but that may not apply to everyone. An Insider report reveals that Prince William and Kate Middleton were accused of flouting lockdown restrictions during a controversial tour across the UK in December 2020, the month the government confirmed the presence of a second strain.

Per Insider, the pair took a "private royal train" to Scotland, stopping in the country's capital of Edinburgh, which was under Tier 3 restrictions. In Tier 3, no one is permitted to travel to and from the area for non-essential reasons (in the eyes of critics, a royal public appearance to thank healthcare workers is not as essential as, for example, being a healthcare worker).

In the couple's defense, the Scottish Government admitted that they knew about the visit in advance and took precautions. During the visit, the Duke and Duchess reportedly served as "representatives of the NHS" meeting with paramedics and ambulance staff, which would technically make them essential. Traveling for charitable services or work is prohibited under the strict lockdown, as long as it can't be done from home — which begs the question, would a Zoom have not sufficed? 

Either way, critics weren't having it. As one naysayer wrote in a now-deleted tweet (per Insider), "If Edinburgh was in lockdown ... Kate and William should have respected the rules and stayed away, it's called setting an example."

Prince William hid his COVID-19 diagnosis for months

Not only did Prince William catch some heat for his travel during the pandemic, but the future king also owned up to hiding his own COVID-19 diagnosis for months. According to The Sun, Wills "was hit pretty hard by the virus." A source even claimed that "at one stage he was struggling to breathe, so obviously everyone around him was pretty panicked." He ultimately was treated by palace doctors, and isolated in Anmer Hall, the family's Norfolk home, while fulfilling 14 telephone and video engagements. The general public was none the wiser until he came clean during a March 2021 engagement.

Though Wills' admission was shocking, to say the least, his reasoning seemed pretty solid. The former pilot contracted the virus in April 2020, around the same time Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles also got the virus. He simply didn't want to alarm the nation — especially with the palpable fear permeating through the general news cycle. "There were important things going on and I didn't want to worry anyone," he admitted.