William and Kate' Engagment Put on Hold

Prince William's bride was dubbed "Waity Katie" for waiting so long for him to propose, but it's not just a royal's problem. Hannah Seligson on the curse of matrimony's new timetable.

Copyright 2010 Mario Testino

Copyright 2010 Mario Testino

The Engagement Photos

The couple’s official engagement photos were taken by fashion photographer Mario Testino, and Kate did her own makeup. Testino is famous for his photos of the royal family, including Princess Diana. "I am very happy to have been asked to cover this historic moment that the whole world was waiting for," Testino said. "They are in their prime and brimming with happiness.”

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First Kiss

Just days before William began his army training at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in January 2006, the prince and Kate Middleton, his longtime "friend" and housemate, were photographed kissing in public for the first time. The two were on a ski break in Klosters, Switzerland, where they had holidayed together in 2004 as well. But the getaway was not exactly a respite: Buckingham Palace was upset that the press, specifically The Sun, had violated William's privacy. "We are very unhappy with what The Sun has done," said a source from the palace, which banned the photographer who snapped the images. A representative of the newspaper retorted, "Now that he is a mature adult, there is a public interest in knowing what romantic interests might be developing in the prince's life. One of William's girlfriends could become queen one day. Her subjects will be entitled to know all about her."

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Unroyal Treatment

Two months after their first photographed snog, Kate was invited into the royal box at the Cheltenham Gold Cup horse race in March 2006. While the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were present, William was mysteriously absent. The 21-year-old made one of her first signature fashion statements, donning a coat from designer Katherine Hooker and a controversial mink fur hat. Spectators also noticed that Prince Charles had seemingly taken a liking to Kate, telling People he "had a big smile on his face" when he saw her. "He likes her very much," a family friend told the magazine. "I am sure he wouldn't be averse to having Kate around."

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And So It Commences…

Their relationship reached a new peak on Dec. 15, 2006, when William graduated from the Royal Military Academy to become a lieutenant in the British army. Though the prince was surely happy to see his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, Kate also brought a smile to his face when she attended the ceremony as an official royal guest for the first time. At that point, the couple's relationship had come under extreme scrutiny, as famed British department store Woolworths began commissioning a series of engagement souvenirs in honor of the couple, who were rumored to be betrothed.

Getty Images; AP Photo

Friends Without Benefits

Soon after their engagement rumors, however, Kate and William split and British tabloids were all aflutter over the surprising news. After five years together, sources close to the couple told People that they had grown apart since their days at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and that all the media attention was not helping. Some newspapers, including The Daily Mail, reported that Kate expected too much of William and that the notorious best friend of the second in line for the throne, Guy Pelly, was encouraging him to take a " careless approach" to relationships. "Many in the Royal household believe this young man brings trouble in his wake," a source said.

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Pressed to React

After years of alleged harassment from hungry British paparazzi, Kate made her first official complaint to the Press Complaints Commission in March 2007, over a photograph published in The Daily Mirror. The image, which showed the 25-year-old tightly clutching a coffee cup and her car keys on her way to work, was accompanied by text describing her as " stoney-faced," alleging she was unhappy that the prince had been pictured out with other women. "My client strongly objects to having her photograph taken in a public place while going about her private business," her solicitor Gerrard Tyrrell said.

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Honoring Diana

In memory of their mother, Princess Diana, William and Harry hosted a tribute at Wembley Stadium on July 1, 2007, with 60,000 devotees, to celebrate her life and what would have been her 46th birthday. Though Kate attended, she sat a few rows behind William, while his younger brother, Harry, sat beside girlfriend Chelsy Davy. At the time, the two were rumored to be seeing each other again and, according to The Daily Mail, were spotted cozying up together over a cocktail at the concert's after party, taking their rumored flirting to the dance floor.

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Partying It Up

The hot spot that had become symbolic of their status, Boujis, played a part in their rekindled romance when Kate and William were photographed partying at the club in late 2007. The images seemed to indicate that the two were getting back together after their split, but another venture cemented their new status.

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Sparks Fly While Hunting

While Kate and William had been photographed on many a hunting trip during their on-again-off-again relationship, which was first brought to light at a shooting party in Norfolk in 2002, one particular expedition was worth a note. In October 2007, Kate joined William and Charles on a deerstalking expedition at the queen's Balmoral estate. Rumors (and alleged sparks) began flying that the two were back together at a place they'd spent many previous holiday getaways. "If anything the break in the relationship, which wasn't the first as they had trial separations while they were students, has made their relationship stronger than before," an insider told The Daily Mail.

AP Photo

Knight and Day

A year after Kate was seemingly pushed to the outskirts of the royal inner circle at the Concert for Diana, she was back in at William's investiture into the Order of the Garter on June 16, 2008, where she stood alongside the royal family. It was the first time Kate had attended a formal and official royal public occasion. She even arrived in a royal car with Prince Harry, who "was acting like he was on guard duty," one onlooker told People of the prince, who reportedly positioned himself between Kate and the cameras.

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Hats Off to the Happy Couple

It was official, or as close as it would get, for Kate and William when the couple attended the wedding of Nicholas Van Cutsem and Alice Hadden-Paton in August 2009. Kate had just returned from the Caribbean island of Mustique, where her family had fled to escape her uncle's cocaine scandal. Both William and Kate had been keeping a low profile until the wedding, where they were snapped kissing, which was likely pleasing to Kate's mother, Carole, whose brother stirred the pot. "She is convinced that William and Kate will tie the knot and she doesn't want anything tarnishing her daughter's reputation," a source close to the Middletons told The Daily Mail.

Game On

The Daily Beast's Tina Brown reported in June that Kate and William's decision to hold off on their engagement began with an image taken during a Christmas holiday at Restormel Manor, Lostwithiel (pictured). Kate was photographed playing tennis with her brother and sister on the manor court, and though nothing seemed amiss, a paparazzo who took the picture claims that Kate smiled at him and wished him a Merry Christmas. Her cordial encounter with the pap reportedly did not sit well with William, who reportedly hates the press even more than his father does.

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Wedding on Their Minds?

Kate Middleton and Prince William attend Harry Meade & Rosie Bradford's wedding at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul on October 23, 2010 in Northleach near Cheltenham, England.