Prince William and Kate Middleton — properly known as Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge — are beloved by many for their storybook wedding and beautiful family. This two are parents to three beautiful children: Prince George, who is the future king after his father and grandfather, and his younger siblings, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are known to have met at university and dated for years before finally getting engaged, getting married, and starting their family. But along the way, there have been a lot of wrong things that people started believing about Kate, William, and their family — and a lot of these myths are pretty strange in their origin!
Regardless of myths we may believe about the two, they are much beloved members of the royal family — and are undeniably the future of the monarchy. It’s about time to get to know their history a little bit better.
Myth: Kate Middleton always follows royal style etiquette
Kate Middleton is often heralded for never taking a misstep when representing her famous family at official engagements, but she’s actually breached royal fashion protocol a few times.
One example is when the then-future duchess famously wore her hair half-down, half-up at her wedding. Apparently, that’s not what the family wanted. "Royal sources tell me that the royals indicated very strongly to Kate that they would prefer her to wear her hair up for this very special occasion," said royal reporter Ashley Pearson in the documentary "William & Kate: The Journey," as noted by Cosmopolitan. "However, Kate had her heart set on wearing her hair down with long flowing curls, which is her favorite way to wear it, and actually William’s favorite as well."
She’s also been photographed on many occasions wearing wedges, which the queen is reportedly not a big fan of, and she has been photographed in dark nail polish, despite the queen seeming to prefer light shades for royal women (via Town & Country).
Myth: Kate Middleton came from a modest upbringing
There is a long-standing myth that Kate Middleton came from a working-class home with parents of modest jobs and income. In fact, many believe she’s one of very few working class people to have married into the royal family.
However, that’s actually not quite accurate. While there’s no denying that Kate married into considerable wealth when she married Prince William, she actually was already wealthy. Kate’s parents made their fortune from their party supplies business, Party Pieces (via Harper’s Bazaar). This business proved so successful they made enough money to purchase a beautiful five-bedroom house and ultimately send their daughter to elite private school Marlborough and then later to St. Andrews for university, as noted by Vanity Fair.
This family business shaped much of Kate’s childhood. In a 2018 Vanity Fair interview, Carole, Kate’s mom, even shared that Kate "was on the cover of one of the catalogues, blowing out candles" as a little girl.
Myth: Kate Middleton is obsessed with all healthy foods
While Kate Middleton is undeniably fit and active and is known to watch what she eats, she’s apparently not obsessed with all plant-based options!
In 2017, a Self article listed almond milk as one of Kate’s favorite foods, so, presumably believing the publication or a similar report, an employee at a charity-run café set out almond milk for the royal during her visit in 2018. But apparently, Kate’s not a big fan. "Don’t believe everything you read," the duchess was quoted saying in People. "I don’t even like almond milk." This is an important reminder that just because something is written about a celebrity, it doesn’t make it true.
That said, the duchess does like to keep things healthy. It’s been reported that she’s tried the Dukan Diet (via Marie Claire Australia), which involves giving up most carbohydrates in favor of lean proteins and vegetables.
Myth: Meghan Markle made Kate Middleton cry when planning her wedding
No, despite reports to the contrary, Meghan Markle didn’t make Kate Middleton cry when shopping for Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress. It turns out that what happened was actually the other way around, according to an interview Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, did with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021. She insisted that it was actually Kate who made her cry.
"The reverse happened," Meghan explained, according to People. "And I don’t say that to be disparaging to anyone, because it was a really hard week of the wedding, and she was upset about something. But she owned it, and she apologized and she brought me flowers and a note apologizing." Well, that kind of changes the story, especially since it seems no effort was made by the royal family to correct the media when, for years, they were telling the opposite version of the story to the public.
Myth: William and Kate have stayed together since college
While Prince William and Kate Middleton did get to know one another during their freshman year at university, they became friends first, and they reportedly only started to feel a spark later on in college when they ended up sharing an apartment with some friends (via Biography).
And though many may think of the two as sticking by each other since they started dating, they actually broke up in 2007. Why? According to an excerpt from "William and Kate: A Royal Love Story" (via Today), William wasn’t ready to marry. It was reported Prince Charles was an influence, as he was worried his son would rush into marriage as he had and have it not work out.
Shockingly, this breakup happened in a phone call! "We were both very young," William once said of the split, according to Marie Claire UK. "We were both finding ourselves … and being different characters and stuff, it was very much trying to find our own way and we were growing up…"
But true love will not be denied. The couple got back together a few months later, and they got engaged a few years later in 2010, as noted by Grazia.
Myth: Prince William inherited Princess Diana’s engagement ring and gave it to Kate
While Kate Middleton does wear Princess Diana’s ring, and — obviously — Prince William did give it to her, Prince William actually did not inherit it from his mother.
Younger brother Prince Harry actually inherited the ring from their mother upon her death, but the brothers had reportedly made an agreement that whichever one of them got married first would give the ring to their intended bride, according to Vogue. As William and Kate got married years before Harry even met Meghan Markle, Kate got Diana’s ring. It was "my way of keeping [my mother] sort of close to it all," Prince William said of the ring in an interview with ITV News about their engagement.
The ring has some history behind it, as Princess Diana chose her own engagement ring, an 18-carat sapphire stone with a ring of 14 diamonds set in white gold. At the time, it got a lot of attention because it was chosen from a catalog.
Myth: Kate Middleton is just a duchess, not a princess
While Kate Middleton may go by the title Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, she’s actually also a princess.
Kate’s official title is Her Royal Highness (HRH) the Duchess of Cambridge, and HRH is actually a designation for senior royal members (via CNN). However, British tradition has only blood princesses — that is, women born as princesses — as using the title of princess in their own right, ahead of their first name. Those who marry into royalty instead take on an extension of their husband’s title. So Kate is not "Princess Kate," but she is "Her Royal Highness, Princess William of Wales," as explained by CheatSheet.
Notably, when the couple’s third child, Prince Louis, was born, that was how her name was reflected on his birth certificate, according to CNBC Make It. Prince Wililam is listed as "Prince of the United Kingdom" in the "occupation" section of the certificate, while Kate wrote, "Princess of the United Kingdom."
Myth: Prince William and Kate Middleton first crossed paths at university
While this version of history sounds like it’d be true, it’s actually not! Though it’s been thought that the first time Prince William and Kate Middleton crossed paths was at university, they reportedly encountered one another for the very first time at the tender age of 9 when their schools’ sports teams competed against one another.
Royal biographer Kate Nicholls told Grazia that Kate first saw William while his prep school was playing against hers in a hockey match. "It was the first time Kate had set her eyes on the young prince, but certainly not the last," the biographer said.
This couple, who first connected over sports, have continued to enjoy adventure together even as a longtime married couple with three small children. They’ve enjoyed everything from archery to boat racing together. Hey, whatever keeps the spark alive!
Myth: Kate Middleton was never criticized by the press
Totally untrue! The media has a long history of interest in the royal family, and other royals before Meghan Markle have had a rough time of it, though not to the same extent. This most notably includes the late Princess Diana — but also Kate Middleton!
While Meghan did have it much worse, the sometimes intrusive media also did harass Kate, and, as she was Prince William’s college girlfriend, the press wondered if she was a suitable bride and even gave her the nickname "Waity Katie," as she dated William for many years before marriage. At one point, William was angered by how Kate had been treated and issued a statement asking the press to leave Kate alone. "Prince William is very unhappy at the paparazzi harassment of his girlfriend," a statement read, as Marie Claire UK reported. "He wants, more than anything, for it to stop. Miss Middleton should, like any other private individual, be able to go about her everyday business without this kind of intrusion."
Myth: Kate Middleton and Prince William don’t work
This beloved royal couple actually does work, and they work very hard! But their job may not look like the jobs the rest of us have.
Now as active working members of the royal family, their job is quite simply to assist the queen in carrying out her duties and also to work in "public and charitable service," as noted by the royal family’s website. Prince William and Kate Middleton are active senior members of the royal family and make appearances at events and take tours in their position. It may look like a whole lot of garden parties and cocktail receptions, but it is their job! A fun and glamorous job to be sure, though.
The pair both worked hard before they were married too. They both have college degrees: William graduated with a master of arts degree in geography, and Kate earned a master of arts degree in art history. Before becoming full-time royals, Kate Middleton worked as an accessories buyer, as Hello! noted, and Prince William flew for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (via BBC News).