In just a few days’ time, Prince William and his wife Kate are due to have their second child, signalling the latest chapter in their lives together. A new book, called William And Kate’s Britain, traces the memorable moments of their story so far and the special places they hold dear. Here are some of the highlights.
♡ 1. St Andrews, Scotland
They first met when at university, living in the same halls of residence, St Salvator’s Hall (Sallies) — both studying history of art (although William later changed to geography). In their second year, they shared a maisonette in the centre of the East coast town, renting it for £100 each a week with two friends. They walked to lectures and shopped at Safeway. For their final two years, they lived in a £750,000 18th-century farmhouse on the sprawling Strathtyrum estate (owned by a distant cousin of Wills). The Prince installed a champagne fridge and Kate dressed the kitchen windows with red-and-white gingham curtains. They were allowed to shoot birds for food as part of their rental agreement.
♡ 2. Balmoral Estates, Aberdeenshire
It was at the royal estate — described by Queen Victoria as ‘my dear paradise in the Highlands’ — that new royal girlfriend Kate was first spotted dressed in camouflage gear, lying in the heather, being coached by ghillies on how to use a hunting rifle. This was ultimate proof that the girl from a middle-class family in Berkshire was being groomed to be a royal bride.
♡ 3. Witton Country Park, Blackburn, Lancashire
Where Kate made her last public appearance as a single girl — in 2011. Alongside her boyfriend, she visited Witton Country Park (480 acres of picnic spots and nature trails which was used by the Army during both world wars and is now owned by Blackburn and Darwen Council). Lovebirds Wills and Kate were presented with the Lancashire traditional ‘Courting Cake’ — a heart-shaped shortbread cake with their names on the icing.
♡ 4. Bodorgan Estates, Isle of Anglesey
With a private beach and views of Snowdonia, a four-bedroom whitewashed farmhouse on the south-west corner of the island is where they led a simple life in their first years of married life.Renting from landowner Sir George Meyrick for £750 a week, they often went for drives in a battered white Ford Transit van, wearing baseball caps and sunglasses to try to be incognito. William was, though, spotted speeding along country lanes dressed in leathers and hiding behind his helmet on a red-and-white 180mph Ducati motorbike, with Kate occasionally riding pillion.
♡ 5. Llanddwyn Beach, Isle of Anglesey
A favourite spot to exercise their cocker spaniel Lupo. The couple would walk hand in hand along the five-mile stretch of beach (Llanddwyn is named after St Dwynwen, who is the Welsh patron saint of lovers).
♡ 6. Healthbeds, Thurcroft Industrial Estate, Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Where they bought their marital bed — from a firm founded in 1893. The couple had slept in a similar four-poster with a bespoke mattress and made of ‘sumptuous cashmere, silk, cotton and wool fillings’ while living in rented accommodation in Anglesey. Desperate to buy one of their own, they asked their former landlord in North Wales for details and tracked down the 4,200-spring model to the Yorkshire company, which says its beds allow people to ‘enjoy a healthier night’s sleep by combining state-of-the-art technology with traditional craftsmanship’.
♡ 7. Aston Villa Football Club, Villa Park, Trinity Road, Birmingham
After the birth of George, William (who is the President of the Football Association) said he was determined that his son would inherit his love of the team. In a message recorded to mark the FA’s 150th anniversary, the Prince joked: ‘When Villa thrash Man U at Villa Park, my son will be there.’
Fiona Cairns started her pastry-making career by baking a batch of miniature fruit cakes in baked bean cans for friends one Christmas. Twenty-five years later, her team now sells bespoke cakes from £500 (with 20 candles costing just £2.50) and she was invited to create the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding cake. The eight-tiered cake, made by a team of chefs in two months, was decorated with 900 sugar-paste flowers. It is believed that William and Kate saved the top three layers for themselves — suggesting we might yet have three royal christenings.
♡ 9. The Sandringham Estate, Norfolk
Kate’s first visit to the Queen’s Norfolk country retreat was for a shooting party in 2002, hosted by Prince William at Wood Farm, a modest cottage, set in a secluded corner of the Sandringham Estate. She was one of six girls and ten boys — including the Prince — crammed into the six-bedroom cottage.
♡ 10. Anmer Hall, Norfolk
The Queen’s wedding present to William and Kate — after a £1.5 million make-over of the late-Georgian property. This involved stripping out a £38,000 kitchen (featuring £17,000 worth of worktops and an £8,630 fridge). Built in 1802, it is one and a half miles from Sandringham House.
♡ 11. The Westleton Crown, Southwold, Suffolk
This 12th-century coaching inn was where they spent the night before their first wedding anniversary. They were among a group staying here for the wedding of two friends. On arrival, they had a glass of champagne with the other guests, who included Kate’s sister Pippa, before retiring to the £165-a-night Swan Room, which had a four-poster bed and a ‘stylish roll-top bath big enough for two’.
♡ 12. Warner Bros Studios, Hertfordshire
A six-months-pregnant Kate, with William and Prince Harry, visited the Warner Bros Studio in 2013 for a tour of the Harry Potter set. They were each given a wand, taught a few spell techniques, and invited to duel (Kate successfully took on her husband). The trio, who were accompanied by 500 guests and children associated with their charities, were shown props from the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, including the Batmobile and Bat Bike. ‘We should borrow that for the weekend!’ William whispered to Harry.
♡ 13. St Nicholas’ Anglican Church, Rotherfield Greys, Oxfordshire
Camilla’s son, Tom Parker Bowles, married Harpers & Queen fashion journalist Sara Buys at the Grade II-listed church in front of a host of royals — the Prince of Wales, William and Harry — but Kate (who was still only William’s girlfriend at the time in 2005) turned down the invite so as not to divert attention from the wedding couple’s day (pictured right).
14. Cirencester Park Polo Club, Gloucestershire
It was here that William spent his first Father’s Day as a parent, and his son George kicked his first ball in public. Kate took their 11-month-old to watch William and Uncle Harry playing for the Jerudong Trophy (above left) but the toddler did not want to sit still. As soon as Kate put him down, he headed towards a pony and grabbed a polo stick in an attempt to join in the fun. Then he aimed a kick at a ball with his left foot, suggesting that he might, like his father, grandfather and great-grandmother the Queen, be left-handed.
♡ 15. Highgrove House, Tetbury, Gloucestershire
Kate received her first invitation to father-in-law Prince Charles’s country home in 2007 when she was invited to Camilla’s 60th birthday banquet. Other guests included comedians Joan Rivers and Stephen Fry, and actress Judi Dench. After dinner, Kate and William took to the dance floor, where the Prince mouthed the lyrics of the Frank Sinatra song It Had To Be You to his girlfriend.
♡ 16. Westminster Abbey, London
The couple were pronounced man and wife at precisely 11.20am on April 29, 2011, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. Twenty minutes earlier, the tension was palpable as Kate emerged from her car in an ivory silk and lace gown designed by Sarah Burton and inspired by the late actress Grace Kelly. According to a lip-reader, William told his bride she looked ‘beautiful’ as she joined him at the altar, before joking to his father-in-law it was all ‘just a small family affair’.
♡ 17. St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, West London
Prince George became the tenth royal baby to be born at this hospital, which was founded in 1851 from small philanthropic beginnings based on ‘Christian and genteel values’, in an area teeming with sailors and prostitutes. It opened with just 50 beds and was a voluntary hospital for the benefit of the sick poor of North and North-West London. Prince George was delivered at 4.24pm on July 22, 2013, weighing 8lb 6oz. His father William had been born at the same hospital.
18. Kensington Palace, the couple’s London home
This was controversially refurbished at taxpayers’ expense for an estimated £4 million. Extensive work included the construction of a new roof, the overhaul of electrics and the removal of asbestos. Their apartment — which has 22 rooms — was designed by Christopher Wren and was the home of Princess Margaret until her death in 2002.
♡ 19. Holy Trinity Church, Southall
It was two months after the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 that Kate’s maternal grandparents, Ronald and Dorothy Goldsmith, got married here. Ronald was a lorry driver, working for his brother-in-law’s haulage company; Dorothy, who had two matrons of honour and two bridesmaids, was a shop assistant in Dorothy Perkins.
20. The Tower of London
William, Kate and Harry visited the memorial in August last year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I, and they placed one of the 888,246 ceramic poppies, which each represented a fallen soldier.
21. Mahiki night club, Mayfair
A favourite of the couple before they married. William drowned his sorrows here in 2007 after his split (which proved only temporary) from Kate. His group ran up a bar bill of £4,700. William is said to have yelled: ‘I’m free!’, before performing his own version of the robot-dance goal celebration that the then England footballer Peter Crouch had shown him during a World Cup training session.‘Free?’ No. The couple were soon back together.
22. Eton College, Windsor, Berkshire
William’s time at school was marred by the death of his mother in 1997, when he was just 15. But he excelled at sport — he was ‘Keeper’ (in charge) of the swimming team, took up water polo and captained his house football team — was a school prefect and member of the Eton Society (colloquially known as ‘Pop’) and left with three solid A-levels (A in geography, B in history of art and C in biology).The Prince often went for tea with his grandmother, the Queen, over the river at Windsor Castle. As an old boy, William went back to the school in 2006 to play in the Eton Field Game (a cross between rugby and football) after which Kate embraced him and playfully ruffled his prematurely thinning hair.
23. Marlborough College, Wiltshire
Kate was 14 when she went to the renowned public school (current annual boarding fees £33,090) in 1996. Nicknamed ‘Middlebum’, she was known for her ‘goofy’ behaviour and prowess at hockey (below). One schoolmate wrote in the leavers’ yearbook for 2000: ‘Catherine’s perfect looks are renowned, but her obsessions with her t**s are not. She is often found squinting down her top screaming: “They’re growing!” She was rumoured to have had a poster of Prince William on the wall above her bed.
24. Old Boot Inn, Stanford Dingley, Berkshire
A regular haunt of the Middleton family (and Prince William), so much so that the landlord was invited to the royal wedding. The whole village celebrated with a barbecue at the pub in the evening. The current menu includes ‘Prawn Cocktail served with fresh buttered bread’ (£6.50) and, of course, ‘Eton Mess served in a filo pastry basket’ for £5.95.
25. The National Lobster Hatchery, Padstow, Cornwall
‘One lucky little lobster here has been adopted by royalty,’ trumpeted the pioneering marine conservation, research and education charity after Prince Philip had bought a £2.50 Adopt a Lobster certificate for his great-grandson, Prince George, last year. The lad is sent regular updates on the creature’s progress. (x)