Prince William and Kate Middleton

The future princess not only fulfilled Prince William's requirements, she persuaded the queen her future granddaughter-in-law is nothing like Diana. Now all the royals have to do is make the wedding of the year look thrifty.

Alpha / Landov,STEPHEN DANIELS

Alpha / Landov

First Shot

At a shooting party in Norfolk in 2002, Prince William and Kate Middleton were captured together on camera for the first time. The two met in 2001 while attending the University of St. Andrews, roomed together as flatmates, and began dating in late 2003.

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A Princely Pastime

William can often be seen playing in polo matches, like this one in 2006 at the Englefield House Polo Club in Berkshire. But his royal girlfriend, Kate, revealed in 2009 to The Daily Mail that she's allergic to horses, which may explain why she's sometimes seen keeping her distance.

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The Graduate

In 2006, William graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to become a lieutenant in the British Army. Both Kate and Queen Elizabeth II were in attendance. The queen inspected William at the ceremonial Sovereign's Parade, where the cadets displayed their parade-ground skills.

Richard Heathcote / AP Photo

Sports Buffs

Accompanied by Prince Harry, the young royal couple cheered on England at the RBS Six Nations Championship in 2007. William captained his school rugby team at Ludgrove School.

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Before the Break

In March 2007, a month before The Sun newspaper reported that William and Kate had broken things off, they appeared the happy couple at the Cheltenham Race Festival, taking part in yet another royal equestrian pastime.

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Style Maven

Kate on the last day of the Cheltenham Race Festival. Known for her sense of fashion, she has also managed to pull of many styles of hats, opting here for a conservative side-swept beret.

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Concert for Diana

In memory of their mother, Diana, William and Harry hosted a tribute at Wembley Stadium in 2007, with 60,000 devotees, to celebrate her life and what would have been the her 46th birthday. Kate attended, though she sat separately from William. After the concert, William said, "For us, this has been the most perfect way of remembering her."

Michael Dunlea, Pool / AP Photo

Getting His Wings

After breaking up in April 2007, the couple reunited by summertime. The next year, Kate was by William's side when he received his British Royal Air Force wings from his father. During one of his training flights, William landed an air force helicopter at Kate's parents' house, angering the British press, which dubbed it a £30,000 ($48,000) stunt.

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Partying the Night Away

Despite always being in the spotlight, the royal couple in training still stays out for some late nights. Here they're spotted leaving in the wee hours from Raffles Club in the Chelsea district of London in 2008.

Harry Page, The Daily Mirror / AP Photo

Pomp and Circumstance

A regular figure at royal and family affairs, Kate attended the ceremony for the Most Noble Order of the Garter, alongside Harry and the Duchess of Cornwall. William was inducted into this exclusive group in 2008, which bestowed on him one of the highest orders of honor in Britain.

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Making Waves

Taking a break before his special forces training, William vacationed with Kate in the Caribbean in 2008. The couple spent a week at an exclusive villa, while the media speculated about a possible proposal.

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Low Profiles

After six years, the couple was still going strong and appeared together at the Audi Polo match in 2009. William and Henry played, while Kate and sister Pippa cheered from the sidelines.

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Hitting the Slopes

Vacationing with friends at the French ski resort Courchevel, William and Kate were spotted heading to the slopes with Pippa. It was their fourth getaway in less than a year and another chance for the couple to meet up between William's busy training schedules with the Royal Air Force.

Woolworths / Getty Images

A Royal Wedding?

Anticipating the British wedding of the decade, maybe even century, Woolworths mocked up a souvenir mug with a month, date, and year to be determined. The collection also includes traditional china plates, thimbles, and mouse mats. But it seems like Woolworths already missed the boat, as 2009 passed with no announcement of an engagement.

PA Photo / AP Photo

Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Lady Diana Spencer became the Princess of Wales on July 28, 1981. Following the wedding ceremony, the royal couple appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to acknowledge the 600,000-strong crowd gathered to witness what was marked as a national holiday.