It’s not unusual to attend an ex-partner’s wedding.
But Prince William is perhaps going above the call of duty, having flown to Kenya last week for the nuptials of his teenage love, Jecca Craig, 34, who was married on Friday to conservationist Professor Jonathan Baillie on the Lewa wildlife reserve run by her father, Ian Craig.
William has always been exceptionally close to the Craig family—he skipped his cousin Peter Philips’s wedding to attend that of Jecca’s brother.
Indeed, Kate is rumored to have experienced more than the occasional tinge of jealousy when it comes to Jecca, and has apparently done so ever since Jecca was seated in pride of place at William’s right hand side at his 21st birthday in June 2003, after Kate and William had decided to moved in together at St. Andrew’s University.
Kate hasn’t gone with him on this trip, but allegations of jealousy may be misplaced—Kate has a forthcoming royal trip to India and Bhutan.
Although William has not had as complicated a love life as his brother, he was known to have an eye for the ladies in his youth. So who are William’s ex-girlfriends? Read our definitive guide.
William and Jecca have had a complicated relationship over the years.
She is part of the ‘naughty’ royal set of William’s old friends—of which Kate largely disapproves.
She was the only girl to accompany William, Harry, and four male friends on a wild boar hunting trip to Spain in 2013, for example.
William’s relationship with Jecca goes way back to the pre-Kate years. He is often said by ill-informed commentators to have first met her in 2000, when he spent a the gap year at the Kenyan ranch owned by Jecca’s parents where her wedding just took place.
In fact, the families have known each other for much longer than that.
Jecca did grow up mainly in Kenya, attending a small Kenyan boarding school, but the family were frequent visitors to London, where their circle of friends included the posh environmentalist set, including, significantly, Mark Shand, Camilla’s late brother, who was a friend of Ian Craig, Jecca’s father.
It has been rumored that William’s feelings for Jecca were a factor in his 2007 split from Kate. Ultimately, the relationship would probably never have worked out because Jecca--strong, self-assured and willful--would never have been able to slot into royal life.
William met Isabella Calthorpe at a dinner party hosted by his cousin Eugenie in 2001, when he was 19, well before he ever laid eyes on Kate. Blue-blooded Isabella is the daughter of John Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, (who was the son of Sir Richard Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, 2nd Baronet), and Lady Mary-Gaye Georgiana Lorna Curzon (daughter of the sixth Earl Howe) and was very much seen as marriageable material, so friends and family were disappointed when the two did not start dating. However, all that changed in 2005 when William and Kate separated for the first time, and William threw himself into pursuing Isabella, who is the half-sister of Harry’s former flame Cressida Bonas. Many of William’s friends were delighted as they didn’t like Kate; they found her cold, boring, and common. In the end, it was Isabella who made it clear the relationship could not work and Will got back together with Kate.
In 2013 Isabella married Sam Branson, son of Richard Branson, heir to a £3.4 billion fortune. The couple married at his father’s safari lodge near Kruger National Park. Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York were present at the wedding but William stayed away.
The Prince’s first university girlfriend, Olivia Hunt, dated William during their first year at St Andrews University, but their romance fizzled out when Kate arrived on the scene. “William was seeing Olivia when he met Kate, and when Kate came on the scene Olivia moved off pretty quickly,” a university pal said in 2007. “Kate was jealous of other girls at St Andrews.” Olivia, who worked for hotelier Andre Balazs, has remained friends with Kate and William and has skied with them at Klosters.
Another childhood friend, willowy Rose is the daughter of Captain Ian Farquhar, former Master of the Beaufort Hunt. She and William were childhood friends, but started dating after he left school. After splitting with William she trained at New York acting school the Lee Strasberg Institute.
Immediately before the April 2007 breakup with Kate, Prince William was spotted sharing a drunken embrace with Tess Shepherd on the dancefloor after meeting through a mutual friend in trendy London club Boujis. Eventually William decided to break up with Kate, which he did by cellphone. That evening he jumped up on a table in the nightclub Mahiki, proclaiming, “I’m free!”
That’s famous last words for you, eh?