The Mail on Sunday


William’s words before he told Kate it was all over...

- By Laura Collins, Katie Nicholl and Ian Gallagher

PRINCE WILLIAM decided to break up with Kate Middleton because he felt the ‘fun’ had disappeare­d from their relationsh­ip, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The 24-year-old Prince told the girl many thought would be his queen that it was all over in a ‘face-to-face’ meeting last weekend.

‘He sat her down and told her, he didn’t gild the lily,’ said a source.

Afterwards William told a friend: ‘I’m too young for all this. I’m just doing what normal 24-year-old blokes do . . . I don’t need to be nailed down. All the fun has gone out of it.’

Another confidant said: ‘His view is that since his mother’s death, life is for living and anything can happen. He is a very clinical young man. He seems to listen to advice and then does what he wants.’

Miss Middleton, who famously kept a photograph of the Prince on her bedroom wall before she met him, was left ‘desperatel­y upset’. According to her friends, she had always believed they would marry.

Beyond the absence of a spark, William has acknowledg­ed there were underlying factors that led to the split: not least the unshakeabl­e ‘snobbish’ belief held by many senior courtiers – and some of his closest friends – that their different background­s could not be ultimately reconciled. Some friends are even said to make cruel jokes about Kate’s breeding.

Yet it was a showdown forced by Miss Middleton three weeks ago that triggered the decision to end it once and for all. Following William’s high- profile partying last month, she sought ‘assurances’ from him – and was left desperatel­y upset when they were not forthcomin­g.

‘Until then she had never pressed William about it,’ explained a source. ‘This was not really an ultimatum, more a test. She just wanted to know where she stood, to clarify her position. William responded by saying he was not ready for marriage – and then the whole thing collapsed.’

It is understood that William waited until after he had consulted Prince Charles, the Queen and Prince Philip before he told 25-year-old Miss Middleton their relationsh­ip was over.

Sources have told this newspaper that the advice from the senior Royals had been straightfo­rward: Do not feel pressured into getting married.

But underpinni­ng their counsel was the strong view that William should be straight with his girlfriend of four years, someone held in affection by his family.

Their advice, echoed by that of his closest friends, prompted William to take decisive action. After the faceto-face meeting he told a friend that he expected Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson, the father of their mutual friend Holly, to offer Kate ‘a retreat somewhere’.

His decision was set against a background of constant ‘pressures’, those caused by the long periods of separation related to his Army career and those caused by living in the spotlight, having every move scrutinise­d.

And, perhaps more pertinentl­y, those caused by William’s insistence on behaving, at times, as if he were a single man.

Indeed, the catalyst for Miss Middle- ton’s commitment showdown was William’s boozy nightclub outing in Bournemout­h with his Army friends. Harmless enough in itself, in Kate’s eyes it was a humiliatin­g episode that somehow typified his cavalier attitude to their relationsh­ip.

She had long learned to ignore the Prince’s wandering eye and the attention he received from adoring females. But cumulative­ly, it was beginning to take its toll.

But as The Mail on Sunday reveals today, it was William’s ‘obsession’ with one girl in particular – stunning heiress Isabella Anstruther-GoughCalth­orpe – that really made her feel threatened.

His pursuit of Isabella is said to be behind his temporary split from Kate in the summer of 2004.

William is also said to have told friends that he thought his brother Harry’s girlfriend Chelsy Davy was ‘more fun’ than Kate, adding: ‘She is also very bright.’

Yesterday the news of the separation appeared to take the nation by surprise, although, as friends of the pair observed, there had been a number of clues.

In particular they pointed to the decision to spend Christmas apart and William’s failure to turn up at a Middleton family house party over New Year.

It left those in the couple’s circle of friends, and indeed many beyond it, pondering one question: Would William come to regret his decision?

One friend said: ‘William is stubborn. Once a bri dge i s broken, there’s no rebuilding it.’

It was at around the same age that his father let a young Camilla Shand slip through his fingers because he was similarly enjoying bachelorho­od too much.

The comparison­s are inevitable. But one highly-placed source insisted the William and Kate affair was not on the same grand scale and offered a commonplac­e explanatio­n for its demise: ‘Look, they met at university and they were together for a few years and then drifted apart because of a number of reasons – not least because they are both still young. It happens all the time.’

Miss Middleton sought refuge at her family home in Berkshire yesterday. She emerged only once, disappeari­ng in a Land Rover Discovery with her parents. Wearing dark jeans and checked shirt, she hid her eyes with dark glasses.

William was not seen but was thought to be with his regiment in Dorset. He passed out from Sandhurst as an Army officer last December and started his training to be an armoured troop commander at Camp Bovington on March 16, leaving the couple seeing each other no more than once a week.

Just over a fortnight ago, the Prince partied with a blonde student at his barracks. She later described him as a ‘perfect gentleman’. He was also pictured with his arm around an 18- year- old Brazilian student amid claims he had apparently cupped her breast in the photo.

News of the split will merely intensify the focus on Miss Middleton, who will be left without the security she enjoyed when out on the town with William and his accompanyi­ng police protection officers.

Only three weeks ago Royal Prot e c t i o n Squad were di s c us s i ng putting her security on a more formal footing.

With the Prince now back on the market as one of the world’s most eligible bachelors, there will be immense Press interest on who will be the next woman to catch his eye.

In the coming months, each and every woman William is linked to will spark a frenzy of speculatio­n as to whether this one is truly ‘the one’.

Rumours had mounted that Kate, who works as an accessorie­s buyer for Jigsaw, would be the one he would marry after she attended his graduation parade at Sandhurst.

It was the first time she had attended such a high-profile event, where the Queen and other senior members of the family were present.

But William was said to have been annoyed when Kate made an unsolicite­d trip to the Cheltenham horseracin­g festival last month in his absence and was spotted in the Royal enclosure in the company of his father.

Clarence House refused to discuss

the matter last night. A spokesman said: ‘ We don’t comment on Prince William’s private life.’

Although William will have to cope with the break-up of his first long- term relationsh­ip, his future remains set, mapped out to mould him into a king.

His life in the Army and beyond is geared towards the unavoidabl­e fact that he will one day be crowned as Monarch – whether or not he has a girlfriend or future wife at his side.

The importance of serving in the Services is especially significan­t for second-in-line-to-the-throne William, who will eventually become head of the Armed Forces. For the time being, the Prince, an officer in the Blues and Royals, will, like Prince Harry did, spend five months learning to be a troop commander for an armoured reconnaiss­ance unit, mostly based at Camp Bovington.

But while his younger brother is preparing for a tour of duty in wartorn Iraq, William is unlikely to follow him to the front line. In a year or so he will begin to carry out public engagement­s in parallel to his mili- tary career and they will become more frequent as he approaches the end of his service.

After his first year in the military, he will also start to get to grips with constituti­onal affairs in preparatio­n for the day he becomes King.

He must learn about constituti­onal matters, charitable work and organisati­on and estate management. He will gradually take on more Royal patronages and develop a role supporting the Queen and Charles.

WHEN Kate Mid- dleton issued Prince William with an ultimatum just weeks ago, it was the first such warning she had dished out over the course of their four-and-a-halfyear relationsh­ip.

It came after she had been humiliated by pictures splashed across every newspaper of William dancing on a podium in Bournemout­h, intoxicate­d and groping a pretty Brazilian.

But not only that, there seemed to be a pattern to his behaviour: William’s antics came just days after revelation­s in this newspaper that he had shared a drunken embrace with a pretty blonde at Boujis, his favourite nightclub, on a boys’ night out.

Then there were the rumours that he had taken a shine to a pretty 19- year- old blonde and had even invited her back to his barracks.

Kate had had enough and words were exchanged.

‘Kate told William that he was making her look bad,’ one of her friends explained. ‘She has coped for years with girls flinging themselves at her boyfriend and for a while she found it humorous and even flattering.

‘But after his recent behaviour she gave him an ultimatum and told him that every time he behaved like that in public he was cheapening her image as well as his own.

‘She told him she wasn’t prepared to be treated like a doormat and that his carefree behaviour was affecting her image. She gave him quite a pasting. In the past she had always let go of things like that, but this really bothered her.’

Those who know Kate say she had always brushed off rumours of William’s roving eye, secure in the fact that they had a tight and loving relationsh­ip built on trust and honesty.

She seemed to accept that other girls would throw themselves at her dashing young prince and coped admirably with their intrusions.

But there is one woman whose attentions she simply cannot bear.

Isabella Anstruther- GoughCalth­orpe, a stunning socialite and budding actress who struck up a close friendship with the Prince three years ago, has been a constant presence during William and Kate’s relationsh­ip. According to sources close to Kate, she is the one woman who turns her green with envy and incites a wave of panic at the very mention of her name.

Until now, Isabella’s friendship with the Prince has been played down and referred to as little more than a crush. Their closeness was first publicly observed in October 2005 when the two were spotted deep in conversati­on at a black-tie ball.

So engrossed was the Prince with the stunning heiress that Kate stormed out of the ball in a fury.

The truth is that William has harboured an infatuatio­n for the stunning 24-year-old for several years, so much so that he was prepared to ditch Kate for Isabella three years ago. But Isabella, the daughter of banking heiress Lady Mary Gaye Curzon, and heir to a millionair­e fortune in her own right, is one of the few women to have rejected his advances.

According to sources, their friendship, which started in 2004, was one of the main reasons William and Kate split that summer. It was the rockiest period of their relationsh­ip to date. William told friends that he felt claustroph­obic with Kate and wanted to focus on his finals.

‘William said he needed a break and that summer he went on a boys-only holiday to the Greek Islands,’ a source told The Mail on Sunday.

‘ Isabella was very much on the scene that summer. I would go so far as to say that William dumped Kate because he thought he had a chance with Isabella and Kate knew that.

‘Kate’s a tough cookie, though, and stood aside and waited for William to come back to her which eventually he did. Before that, though, he did everything he could to woo Isabella.

‘ He had fallen for her in a huge way and wanted to be with her. He propositio­ned her several times that summer and although Isabella was single, she knocked William back and said it would be too damaging for her and her career.

‘She is a name in her own right and on her way to becoming hugely successful. In her view, being affiliated with William in a girlfriend capacity would be damaging for her.

‘William was madly in love with her but when he knew there was no chance of them getting together he went back to Kate.

‘Kate was very aware of his obsession with Isabella and she was incred-

ibly threatened by her. Isabella is drop-dead beautiful and would leave any girl in the shade. Kate accepted William back again but on the condition that he would not speak to Isabella again.’

While it is always Harry who is accused of being the playboy prince, friends of William note that he has a flirtatiou­s nature and over recent months they say he has ‘ pushed the boat out’ testing Kate’s patience.

‘Kate rose above all the rumours and just laughed them off, but something recently snapped in her,’ says a family friend.

‘She was irritated when she read about his flirting in Bournemout­h and she wasn’t best pleased to hear about the blonde he ended up with on the dance floor at Boujis.’

She was Tess Shepherd, a petite blonde whom William met at the club through a mutual friend. Tess later told The Mail on Sunday how William had ‘twirled’ her on the dancefloor and embraced her in full view of everyone else there.

‘ It was very flattering,’ said the waif-like Miss Shepherd from her West London home. ‘It’s not even like I fancy him ... no, I don’t think I’ll be very popular with Kate.’

And there have been other girls Kate has had to accommodat­e. Two of William’s ex-girlfriend­s have remained close to him throughout: Jecca Craig and Arabella Musgrave.

Jecca, the beautiful African girlfriend who William was said to have proposed to is a close friend. William met the 25- year- old student on his gap year to Africa and she was famously guest of honour at his Out of Africa themed 21st birthday party.

Although William was said to have been awkward about Kate and Jecca meeting, the girls were comfortabl­e in each other’s company when they were introduced at William’s friend Hugh van Cutsem’s wedding. However, during their separation in 2004, William fled to Jecca and saw the New Year in with her at her family home in Kenya.

Kate has also had to forge a friendship with Arabella, daughter of Major Nicholas Musgrave, manager of Cirenceste­r Park Polo Club. The pair dated before William went to St Andrews but the relationsh­ip fizzled out when he started his first term. Arabella, now head of PR at Gucci, is dating William’s friend, brewery heir James Tollemache, and they live together in a flat in South West London. ‘Kate has inherited most of William’s friends so Bella was to be no exception,’ explains a friend. ‘I think at first Kate felt threatened by Bella because she was William’s first real love but when she realised that Bella and James were as tight as they are, she relaxed a lot more and Kate and Bella actually get on very well now.’

Friends at St Andrews say Kate was less accommodat­ing of Olivia Hunt, an aspiring writer whom William met during his first year at St Andrews.

‘William was seeing Olivia when he met Kate and when Kate came on the scene Olivia moved off pretty quickly,’ said one. ‘ Kate was jealous of other girls at St Andrews. There was one from Greece who William took a shine to. Kate had a real problem with her because she and William got so friendly.’

 ??  ?? LE AVING HER BEHIND: William and Kate pictured l ast month
LE AVING HER BEHIND: William and Kate pictured l ast month
 ??  ?? ALL ALONE: Wearing dark sunglasses, Kate l eaves her parents’ home yesterday
ALL ALONE: Wearing dark sunglasses, Kate l eaves her parents’ home yesterday
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? STUNNING: Socialite Isabella Anstruther­Gough- Calthorpe, right. Above: Tess Shepherd who William met at Boujis
STUNNING: Socialite Isabella Anstruther­Gough- Calthorpe, right. Above: Tess Shepherd who William met at Boujis

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