Kate, Duchess of Cambridge met Prince William while she was a student at the University of St Andrews, in 2001. The following year, they moved into a student house with two other friends and, by Christmas 2003, romance reportedly blossomed when Kate split from her previous boyfriend. Their relationship became public after they were pictured skiing in Klosters together and, in June 2005, the Prince and his girlfriend looked very much in love on the day of their graduation ceremony.
However, it was not until 2010 that the Duke of Cambridge decided to propose, after dating Kate for almost seven years.
In the years leading up to her engagement, the Duchess was dubbed “Waity Katie” as it was claimed she was simply waiting for William to get down on one knee.
After the two finally sat down with ITV journalist and friend Tom Bradby to announce their engagement in 2010, the famous newsreader produced a vivid behind-the-scenes account of the interview.
In his Daily Mail column, the journalist appeared to be furious about the treatment Kate received by the press.
In particular, he harshly criticised the “pathetic” nickname she had earned.
He wrote: “As the interview wore on, I did find myself thinking about all the things that have been said about them – and about Kate in particular – over the long vacuum of the past eight years.
“Here sat a couple who know that they can never, ever divorce and who have responded to this by taking an incredibly long, hard and very, very thoughtful look at the question of marriage.
“And how did a lot of us respond?
“By dubbing her Waity Katie. Kind of pathetic, isn’t it?”
He added: “I thought of my wife Claudia, who collaborated with Kate on a series of jewellery pieces at Junior Jigsaw (Claudia is a designer) and reached a pretty firm conclusion in that period: ‘She’s a diamond; kind, loyal, decent, very beautiful. The Royal Family is exceptionally lucky to have her.’
“And I thought of the Middleton parents, so often maligned for having the temerity to be successful in business and produce a happy, stable family.
“Honestly, I wonder what’s wrong with us sometimes.”
In his column, Mr Bradby also shared a glimpse of his good relationship with the future king.
He wrote: “William and I first met almost a decade ago.
“We went out to lunch, did some filming together and slowly built up a good relationship, friendship even, based on a substantial degree of mutual trust.”
Eleven years later, though, that substantial degree of mutual trust seems to have faded.
Earlier this week, an insider claimed William ended his long friendship with the journalist because of “the way he’s acted” over the Meghan Markle and Prince Harry fallout.
A senior source revealed that while the Duke of Sussex still speaks to him regularly, William does not and their relationship is “very much over”.
They told the Daily Mail: “The Duke feels let down by Bradby and the way he’s acted over the past few months.
“William is a sensitive soul and believes it’s in times of crisis when you find out who your true friends are.
“It would be fair to say Bradby hasn’t been one of them.”
Most famously, Mr Bradby joined Meghan and Harry for their tour of southern Africa and filmed a behind-the-scenes documentary.
In the programme, Meghan revealed that nobody had asked her if she was okay, while admitting that she wasn’t.
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Harry also used the documentary to confirm a rift between him and his older brother, saying they were on “very different paths”.
The source also insisted that Palace staff are angry at Mr Bradby and the “tone of his reporting”, which they believe is in favour of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
They said: “It’s well-known Bradby personally communicates with Harry on a regular basis and that is pretty obvious to royal aides who know how things work.
“But it’s been very difficult to accept given the long history between Bradby and William.”
Last month, the Duchess of Sussex spoke about the public comparing headlines about her to Kate in her extraordinary interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Speaking to the talk show host about the racist bullying she had to endure, Meghan insisted being called “Waity Katy” was not the same thing.
She said: “If members of his family say, ‘Well, this is what happened to all of us,’ or if they can compare what the experience that I went through was similar to what has been shared with us — Kate was called Waity Katie waiting to marry William.
“While I imagine that was really hard, and I do, I can’t picture what that felt like.
“This is not the same.
“And if a member of this family will comfortably say, ‘We’ve all had to deal with things that are rude.’
“Rude and racist are not the same.
“And equally, you’ve also had a press team that goes on the record to defend you, especially when they know something’s not true. And that didn’t happen for us.”
According to royal correspondent Katie Nicholl, the nickname “Waity Katie” really stuck with Kate.
Ms Nicholl told CBS news in 2009: “Kate has always been a model of what a royal princess should be: patient, loyal; when the prince has needed his time, she’s given it to him.
“She’s been exemplary, but ‘Waity Katy’ has stuck, and it’s a nickname that she absolutely despises.”