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UK’s Prince William splits with girlfriend April 15, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in The Royals.

Britain’s Prince William and his longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton, who had widely been expected to marry, have split up, the Sun newspaper reported Saturday.

The mass circulation daily said the news would come as a shock to all but their closest circle, as the couple had been believed only weeks away from announcing their intention to wed. The paper quoted a close friend as saying the pressures had become too much for them, particularly because the 24-year-old prince’s military duties meant they were rarely together and because of the enormous media interest in Kate, living alone in London.

“As far as Kate is concerned, William simply has not paid her enough attention,” the friend said. “She is stuck in London while he is living in an officer’s mess in Dorset. Kate feels hugely frustrated.”

Clarence House, the office which handles the prince’s affairs, refused to confirm the split, saying “We do not comment on Prince William’s private life.”

The couple had been going out for four years. The prince, who is second in line to the throne, met Kate in 2001 at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland where they shared a flat with two other students. They quickly became inseparable. They were first seen in public together on the ski slopes at the chic Swiss resort of Klosters in April 2004.

But according to the Sun, their relationship had been on a downward spiral since the future king passed out from the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in December last year. Now a fully-fledged officer in the Blues and Royals, the prince has thrown himself into army life, preferring to go out drinking with his colleagues than drive back to London to see Kate, friends told the paper.

He recently began a two-and-a-month tank commander course in the county of Dorset, which means that he spends Monday to Friday each week on an isolated base in the middle of the countryside. According to the Sun, the fact that his time has been fully taken up with his military career has put further pressure on Kate.

“At university they were living together. Now, nearly three years on, they are lucky if they see each other once a week,” it quoted a close friend as saying. “When he does get a night off, it appears to Kate that William would rather spend time drinking with his new-found army pals.”

At 24, the prince also feels he is too young to marry and refuses to be rushed into it, friends told the Sun. The last time the pair were seen together was at Cheltenham Racing Festival, when they wore matching tweeds. The Sun said Kate, who works as a part-time buyer for a fashion company, would spend the weekend with her self-made millionaire parents talking over the “amicable decision to split.”

When Kate celebrated her 25th birthday in January she was harassed by paparazzi who see her as a new Princess Diana, the prince’s late glamorous mother, who died 10 years ago in a Paris car crash while she was being pursued by reporters.

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