Kate Middleton Shares New Candid Photo of Prince William With Their Kids for Birthday Tribute

trooping the colour 2024
A Timeline of Prince William and Kate MiddletonNeil Mockford - Getty Images

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The last few years have seen a lot of enormous changes in the British Royal Family, an entity known more for tradition than rapid growth. After the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, who ruled over the U.K. most of the 21st century, some people may be looking for some stability. If there's any couple in the family who offers that, it's Prince William and Kate Middleton.

William and Kate have had what appears on the outside to be a bit of a fairytale romance, from the storybook wedding to the picturesque family of five they have now. Sure, the full details of that fairytale aren't known, and some of what's been shown may be in part to help the royal family's image. But optics aside, there’s something about them that has captivated people since the beginning of their relationship. Here’s a look back at their journey, from college sweethearts to royal power couple.


Prince William and Kate Middleton meet while both studying at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Rumor has it that William was won over after seeing Kate modeling at a student fashion show for charity (a show for which he reportedly paid £200 for a front row seat).

Other rumors suggest that her reason for being at St. Andrews was entirely related to meeting her future husband.

The Crown historian Robert Lacey wrote in his 2020 book Battle of Brothers: William and Harry—The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult, that Kate was trying to manifest her future relationship with William when she was only 19.

“Kate was very strategic,” Lacey said. “She gave up her place at one of Britain’s premier universities, Edinburgh, and opted for another one [St. Andrews] that probably didn’t have the same academic standard. She had already been to Edinburgh to get her flat accommodations sorted out but switched universities and switched her courses to history of art because that was William’s. She delayed her own education by a year and even takes the chance she won’t get into St. Andrews.”

She was not the only person making these choices. Applications to the school reportedly went up by 44% after it was announced that was William's choice of university. They might not all have been marriage hopefuls, but some probably were like Kate.


Hello! magazine reported that Prince William was moving from his dorm into a flat with three college friends, one of them “a pretty 20-year-old brunette” who, as you might guess, turned out to be Kate Middleton.

He allegedly started out as just her friend, before seeing her walk in a fashion show in this see-through dress on March 26, 2002.

uk kate middleton dress photo call in london
Rune Hellestad - Corbis - Getty Images

“She’s there and about to walk down the runway on the fashion show, and she strips off an extra layer of clothing,” Lacey explained. “Here is a very strategic lady who knows what she wants and has got it.”

They began dating soon after.


William and Kate are photographed together for the first time during a ski trip in Klosters, causing then-Prince Charles to threaten to sever ties with The Sun, the outlet that published the photos. Charles was said to have been “very disappointed” by the breach in an agreement between the press and Buckingham Palace that ensures royal children can continue their education without having their privacy intruded upon.


Both William and Kate graduate from St. Andrews. The Middletons later share a photo of them together on the day.


The couple attend Camilla's daughter Laura Parker-Bowles’ wedding, marking one of their first big public appearances together, and sparking speculation that they were serious enough to one day walk down the aisle together themselves.

Spring 2007

In 2007, William and Kate took a time-out and broke up for a couple months. Kate took a vacation to Ireland with her friends afterwards, while William awkwardly fielded questions about “how things are going” with Kate.

Kate later said in 2010 during an interview after their engagement that in hindsight, she thinks it was healthy for them to have time apart.

“I think I at the time wasn't very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person...You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn't realized,” she said. “Or I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you're younger. I really valued that time for me as well although I didn't think it at the time, looking back on it."

July 2007

By July of that same year, rumors began to swirl about a possible reconciliation as Kate is seen attending a Princess Diana tribute concert—though she sat two rows behind William with her sister Pippa.

March 2008

The two are seen together again, back where it all began: the ski slopes. Photos show Kate and William together in Klosters as sources told newspapers that they were very much back together.

April 2008

William graduates from his RAF training, with Kate at his side.

October 2010

William proposes to Kate while on a trip to Kenya, with Princess Diana’s sapphire engagement ring. “We had a little private time away together with some friends, and I just decided it was the right time really,” William later said in their engagement interview. “We'd been talking about marriage or a while, so it wasn't a massively big surprise, but I took her up somewhere nice in Kenya.”

April 29, 2011

Prince William and Kate Middleton get married in a fairytale ceremony at Westminster Abbey witnessed by nearly 72 million people worldwide. The bride did her own makeup, the groom wore sweat pads so that he wouldn’t sweat out of his uniform, and Ellie Goulding performed at the reception.

In marrying William, Kate gained the title Duchess of Cambridge, the Countess of Strathearn, and Lady Carrickfergus.


After the wedding, the married couple settle in Wales and adopt a dog, an English Cocker Spaniel named Lupo.

December 2012

St. James’ Palace announces that Kate is pregnant with the couple’s first child. During her pregnancy, she’s hospitalized for hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness.

July 22, 2013

Kate gives birth to Prince George, and steps out for post-baby photos.

September 2014

Kensington Palace announces that Kate is pregnant with their second child. Kate had not reached the 12-week stage, but the Palace made the announcement because they felt they couldn’t keep the pregnancy under wraps from the press for much longer. Once again, Kate suffers from extreme morning sickness.

May 2, 2015

Kate gives birth to Princess Charlotte, who becomes fourth in line for the throne after Prince Charles, her father Prince William, and her older brother Prince George. She’s also the first to take up the title of Princess in 25 years, and is the highest ranking female in line for the throne.

February 12, 2017

The coupled made their red carpet debut at the British Academy Film Awards, where Prince William presented a BAFTA Fellowship award to Mel Brooks. Kate wore an off-the-shoulder tiered Alexander McQueen gown in a floral print.

ee british academy film awards red carpet arrivals
Karwai Tang - Getty Images

September 2017

Kensington Palace announces that Kate is pregnant with the couple’s third child. As with her previous two pregnancies, she suffers from hyperemesis gravidarum.

April 23, 2018

Kate gives birth to Prince Louis, who is now fifth in line for the throne. Though tradition dictated that Louis, as a male, would overtake Princess Charlotte for a place on the throne, the policy was amended prior to George's birth with the Succession to the Crown Act 2013. That made Charlotte the first female royal to trump a younger male sibling.

May 19, 2018

Kate and Prince were front and center at the marriage of his little brother, Prince Harry, to Meghan Markle.

The couple helped Harry and Meghan celebrate on their wedding day at their nuptials at St. George's Chapel in Windsor, England. “William was in a jokey, wonderful mood at the party,” a wedding guest told People at the time, adding that Kate was also in “great form.”

They added, “She and William were saying how thrilled they were to have their children there taking part.”

October 12, 2018

At Princess Eugenie's wedding, Kate and William are seen showing each other a little affection. Eugenie was marrying her husband Jack Brooksbank when the royal couple were seen holding hands in the pew.

Kate and William tend to be hands off when out in public.

April 2020

After lockdown began in the U.K., the couple spoke with the BBC in a rare joint interview, discussing what it's like to parent through a pandemic.

“It's been ups and downs, like a lot of families self-isolating,” Kate said. “The children have got such stamina, I don't know how. Honestly, you get to the end of the day and you write down the list of all the things that you've done in that day. So, you pitch a tent, take the tent down again, cook, bake. You get to the end of the day—they have had a lovely time—but it is amazing how much you can cram into one day, that's for sure.”

November 2020

Nine years after welcoming their cocker spaniel, Ludo, into their lives, the couple announced they had bid him farewell. They shared a handsome portrait of the dog on Instagram with a heartfelt goodbye.

“Very sadly last weekend our dear dog, Lupo, passed away,” the post read. “He has been at the heart of our family for the past nine years and we will miss him so much. - W & C.”

April 29, 2021

April of 2021 was the 10-year anniversary of the couple's marriage, otherwise known as the tin anniversary. To celebrate, they shared some new portraits by Chris Floyd at Kensington Palace.

They also posted a video of themselves with their children walking through the sand dunes in Norfolk, England, thanking everyone for the well wishes on the occasion of their anniversary.

June 29, 2021

Queen Elizabeth appoints Kate Middleton as a sponsor of the naval battleship HMS Glasglow. The office requires Kate to maintain a “strong and enduring personal connection to the vessel and her crew, often supporting milestones, events and deployments.”

“Her Majesty the Queen has approved the appointment of my wife Catherine as Sponsor of the superb ship we see taking shape outside—HMS Glasgow,” Prince William said in the announcement. “I know that Catherine will be delighted to join you here in Glasgow for the naming ceremony in due course.”

September 28, 2021

The couple got all dressed up for the No Time to Die premiere in London, posing with Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. The royal family members were guests of honor at the event.

no time to die world premiere red carpet arrivals
Karwai Tang - Getty Images

Kate wore a Jenny Packham capelet gown covered in gold sequins.

October 20, 2021

Kate and William enjoyed their first Earthshot Awards, at Alexandra Palace in London. The environmental initiative was launched by William, and he was tasked with giving a speech at the ceremony. A photo shows them sharing a sweet moment together behind-the-scenes.

the earthshot prize 2021 behind the scenes
Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Also at the event was Emma Thompson, Emma Watson, David Oyelowo, and Mo Salah. Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, KSI, and Coldplay performed.

May 19, 2022

Enjoying another fun premiere, the coupled hit the red carpet for Top Gun in the U.K.

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Neil Mockford - Getty Images

Kate wore a black Roland Mouret gown, with an off-the-shoulders, white wraparound detail.

June 23, 2022

The couple's first official portrait was unveiled at the University of Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum. Originally commissioned in 2021 by the Cambridgeshire Royal Portrait Fund, it was painted by Jamie Coreth. Coreth is an award-winning portrait artist.

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PAUL EDWARDS - Getty Images

September 7, 2022

The Duke and Duchess take their three children to visit the Lambrook school, where they will be newly attending. The preview day offered the family a chance to get to know the facilities and teachers.

prince george princess charlotte and prince louis start lambrook school
Pool - Getty Images

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis were all wearing their school uniforms.

September 8, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II dies on September 8, sending the family into mourning. There is also a great deal of change in terms of titles and responsibilities. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge became the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and of Rothesay, and on September 9, his father conferred the title of Prince and Princess of Wales.

In his address to the nation following the immediate news of his mother's death, King Charles III said, “With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground where vital help can be given.”

The Princess of Wales was a title once held by William's mother, Princess Diana.

September 10, 2022

Along with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, William and Kate visit Windsor Castle to view flowers and gifts left by citizens to honor the late Queen.

the prince and princess of wales accompanied by the duke and duchess of sussex greet wellwishers outside windsor castle
Chris Jackson - Getty Images

September 19, 2022

The couple attends Queen Elizabeth's funeral at Westminster Hall after escorting her coffin from Buckingham Palace.

the coffin carrying queen elizabeth ii is transferred from buckingham palace to the palace of westminster
WPA Pool - Getty Images

They post their farewells to her on Twitter with a photo of the procession.

November 12, 2022

Kate and William attended the Festival of Remembrance, a ceremony dedicated to the day the Allies and Germany signed the armistice that ended World War 1 in 1918 for Europe.

britain royals war remembrance history
CHRIS RADBURN - Getty Images

At the commemorative concert at the Royal Albert Hall later that evening, Kate paid tribute to the late Queen by wearing some of her famous jewelry: her Japanese pearl choker necklace along with her Bahrain diamond and pearl drop earrings.

December 15, 2023

The Princess of Wales shared her Together at Christmas carol service on ITV after filming it at Westminster Abbey, for the second year in a row. The event was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth's memory and attended by William, George, and Charlotte.

the british royal family attend the together at christmas carol service
Chris Jackson - Getty Images

December 8, 2022

Harry and Meghan's docuseries is released on Netflix, and it was reported that Kate and William refused to watch it.

Vanity Fair wrote, “While aides will be watching the series closely, along with the royals’ lawyers, the palace are reluctant to comment on the show because they don’t want to feed what has become a media frenzy.”

Another source told Page Six that William and Kate haven't watched the series.

“William and Kate’s aides have briefed them on the show, but don’t expect the couple to sit down in their cottage with a bowl of popcorn to tune in themselves,” the insider said.

Later in the month, they must have acquired more details, because a source told Us Weekly on December 22 that Kate felt “betrayed” by the situation.

“Kate feels hurt and betrayed that Harry would do this to her, too, especially as the pair used to be so close,” they said.

As for William he “isn’t planning to give his side of the story or openly retaliate.”

January 12, 2023

After the docuseries, Kate and William were hit with another wave of bad publicity when Harry's memoir Spare was officially released, making things even icier between the two couples. A source who knows both couples told Entertainment Tonight in a report published January 12 that “[their] relationship has completely broken down.”

A separate source said Kate felt “hurt and disappointed” over what Harry shared about her in Spare because she believed “private matters had been made public.”

March 19, 2023

Kate and William marked British Mother's Day on their Instagram, sharing new photos of Kate with the couple's three children. “Happy Mother’s Day from our family to yours ❤️,” the couple wrote.

April 29, 2023

The royal couple celebrated their 12 year anniversary with an adorable photo on Instagram in which they're sitting on matching bikes and the prince has his arm around the shoulder of his princess. They're both dressed casually in jeans, and Kate is wearing a lacy white button down while William is in navy blue.

“12 years ❤️,” they captioned the photo.

September 2023

A source spoke to Us Weekly about how Kate and William’s relationship is going, saying “more than anything, they’re proud of their marriage and beautiful family.”

“William and Kate are more in sync than ever,” a palace insider told the outlet. “They cherish what they have with each other. For them, family comes first, and it always will.”

The source said the challenges the couple has faced in the last year, including the death of Queen Elizabeth II, have strengthened their relationship. “They’re in awe of each other,” the source said. “William tells anyone who will listen that he couldn’t do it without Kate, and she echoes that right back.”

They’ve also become slightly more comfortable showing PDA, although they are still very reserved in public: “William used to be quite awkward about showing too much affection, but Kate’s helped him relax.”

October 2023

A source told Us Weekly that Kate and William’s marriage isn’t complete smooth sailing. “Kate and William have been having ups and downs in their marriage like everyone else,” the source said. “But they’re focused on their royal duties and doing that as a unit.”

November 2023

In an interview with ELLE.com, Endgame author Omid Scobie debunked past tabloid reports that Kate and William were having trouble in their marriage.I think partly, rumors take on a life of their own online, and so there will be a bigger hunger for things that aren’t even true about someone,” he said. “I think William and Kate have largely been protected from that with the British tabloids who often do lean on these very lazy rumor spreading and whatnot. But with Kate and William, particularly with their great relationships with a lot of the important newspaper editors and publishers, they managed to be kept out of that.”

“But of course, there is no control over things in the U.S., and we have seen them become fodder for a lot of the supermarket tabloids for stories about their marriage being in trouble and all the rest of it,” he continued. “I’m not here to comment on someone's marriage. I can only go by what I have heard from people that are much closer to the situation that I’d imagined a source for InTouch magazine is. I’ve not heard anything about a marriage being in trouble.”

“I’m always very careful with that stuff as well,” he said. “Just as much as I will disregard that story, I’ll also disregard the stories of Harry and Meghan's marriage being in trouble. I think it’s very lazy tabloid journalism at times because you can’t make money off people just being happy all the time. You need them to be in crisis for their lives to be more interesting, and I think sometimes two people can just be in a very safe and perhaps slightly dull marriage and that’s okay.”

December 2023

As they do every year, the Prince and Princess of Wales shared a family portrait for the Christmas holiday, and George, Charlotte, and Louis look so grown up:

the british royal family release 2023 christmas cards
Handout - Getty Images

In the black-and-white photo by Josh Shinner, the family is dressed casually in matching button-down shirts, pants or jeans, and the two youngest have on black sneakers with white toes. Charlotte is seated in front, her parents behind her, and her brothers standing on either side.

January 2024

On Thursday, January 18, Prince William was photographer driving away from the London Clinic in a black BMW following Kate's abdominal surgery.

the princess of wales recovers in the london clinic after successful abdominal surgery
Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

The planned operation was announced on the couple's Instagram.

“The surgery was successful and it is expected that she will remain in hospital for ten to fourteen days, before returning home to continue her recovery,” read a statement posted a day earlier Wednesday. They added that the Princess of Wales was “unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.”

They explained that only “significant” updates on her condition will be shared with the public in order to “maintain as much normality for her children as possible.”

“The Princess of Wales wishes to apologise to all those concerned for the fact that she has to postpone her upcoming engagements,” the statement concluded. “She looks forward to reinstating as many as possible, as soon as possible.”

On January 29, Kate was released from the hospital and it was announced she would return to official royal duties after Easter on March 31.

March 2024

On March 10, 2024, Kensington Palace celebrated U.K. Mother's Day with a photo of Kate and her three children. The picture was attributed to William and was supposedly taken in Windsor a week earlier. In the caption, a message from the princess said, “Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months. Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day. C.”

Followers noted some obvious Photoshop edits in the picture, causing a bit of controversy around the image. This was exacerbated when several news agencies, including The Associated Press, pulled the photo over image manipulation.

Kate then added to her message, admitting to editing the picture herself in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” she claimed. “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C.”

A source told ET that the princess “wanted to be transparent,” adding that “the intention with the photo was to thank the public for their support during her recovery and provide a lovely picture of the children.”

On March 22, the Princess shared a video explaining that she has been diagnosed with cancer following her abdominal surgery and is undergoing treatment.

“This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family,” she said. “As you can imagine, this has taken time. It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment.”

The next day, they released another statement to thank people for their support, saying in their message, “The Prince and Princess are both enormously touched by the kind messages from people here in the UK, across the Commonwealth and around the world in response to Her Royal Highness' message. They are extremely moved by the public's warmth and support and are grateful for the understanding of their request for privacy at this time.”

Kate did not make an appearance at Easter services at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Easter Sunday as is tradition. According to People, she spent the holiday with her family at home, but a source claimed she may join in school events relatively soon. However, that does not mean she will return to royal duties. Doctors' advice has been to rest and recover.

April 2024

The couple celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary in private. They publicly shared a previously unreleased photo from their nuptials to mark the occasion. “13 years ago today!” they wrote on April 29.

June 2024

On June 13, Kate shared an update on her treatment and recovery on Instagram, assuring her fans that she is seeing an improvement and sharing a photo taken by Matt Porteous.

Then, she made a public appearance at Trooping the Color with William and all three of her children.

trooping the colour 2024
Chris Jackson - Getty Images

On June 21, Kate shared a rare message to Prince William in honor of his 42nd birthday. “Happy birthday Papa, we all love you so much! Cx,” she wrote on their Instagram alongside a photo she took of him with their three children.

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