Kate Middleton was first photographed with Prince William 20 years ago — revisit the moment

Love was always in the heir for Kate Middleton and Prince William.

The future royal burst onto royal scene when she began dating Prince William in 2003 following their meeting at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

The couple subsequently married in 2011 after several years of courtship, later welcoming Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5.

In 2004, Prince William and then-girlfriend Kate Middleton took a vacation to the Klosters to get in some winter fun. Getty Images

William and Middleton’s holiday was full of fun, friends and wintery sports. Shutterstock

Because of her long-term bond with William, 41, the now-Princess of Wales, 42, had been thrust into the spotlight as a young adult, having an up-and-down relationship with the British press.

The future royal protected her eyes from the sun as she slid on the snow. Brendan Beirne/Shutterstock

It was in April 2004 that Middleton primarily got a taste of the media’s claws, having been photographed for the first — and certainly not the last — time while hanging out with William on the Swiss ski slopes in the Klosters.

At the time, the Sun splashed the headline “Finally, Wills gets a girl” on top of exclusive snapshots of the pair enjoying the icy sport together.

The former Duchess of Cambridge was just 22 years old when the photos surfaced.

The two were joined on the wintery vacation by Prince Harry, then-Prince Charles and some of their other pals.

Harry joined Middleton and William (left) on their ski trip back in the day. ZUMAPRESS.com

Soon after the article was published, Buckingham Palace was fuming, and they claimed that the Sun violated an agreement. They had allegedly promised to not follow William after he had official photos taken with his father.

The snaps of him and Middleton turned out to be taken by a photographer who was not on the tabloid’s payroll.

A rep for the publisher slammed the accusations, saying that their story was “100 percent true, therefore there is a strong public interest in publishing these delightful photographs.”

Despite Middleton and William first meeting in 2001 at college, they didn’t begin to date until two years later — when the royal saw his love at a fashion show rocking a see-through dress.

The outing was the first time that photos of Middleton were published in the press. Getty Images

While their relationship was on-again, off-again throughout the 2000s until their engagement in 2010, the press endlessly hounded them to get a glimpse of the possible Mrs. Wales and future queen.

The media even labeled Middleton as “Waity Katie,” as William seemed to take a long time to propose.

Middleton bundled up to go skiing in Switzerland. UK Press via Getty Images

Before the televised nuptials, one 2005 Daily Mail headline read: “Did Kate’s pushy mother send her hunting a prince?”

In 2007, a second published headline read: “Kate runs the paparazzi gauntlet on her 25th birthday.”

The following year, her occupation was also slammed. “Kate should get a proper job before Prince William announces their engagement,” one headline read. She had been working for the clothing store Jigsaw as an accessories buyer at the time.

The Prince and Princess of Wales greeting friends at the Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival on March 13, 2007. Getty Images

Fast forward to 2011 when the church bells rang, her white taffeta gown overshadowed the 1,000-year-old church’s massive doorways and thousands of royal fans happily screamed behind the gate.

Cue the positive press hits.

“Royal wedding: Prince William and country are lucky to have Kate Middleton,” the Telegraph published on April 26 — three days before the historic day.

Prince William (from left), Prince Harry and Middleton arriving at the wedding of Laura Parker Bowles on May 6, 2006. PA Images via Getty Images

While pregnant with Prince George, the Express penned in 2013: “Royal outrage as Italian magazine prints pregnant Duchess of Cambridge beach photos.”

Another Telegraph headline the same year read: “Kate Middleton’s real power? She’s rescued Prince William from the royal family angst.”

When Meghan Markle, 42, tied the knot with Harry, 39, in May 2018, the negative press seemed to move on to her with similar headlines.

The former Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced their engagement on Nov. 16, 2010. WireImage

When Middleton was pregnant in 2018 with her youngest child, Louis, one headline read: “Pregnant Kate tenderly cradles her baby bump while wrapping up her royal duties ahead of maternity leave.”

However, in 2019 when Markle was carrying her son, Archie, 4, a title read: “Why can’t Meghan Markle keep her hands off her bump? Experts tackle the question that has got the nation talking: Is it pride, vanity, acting — or a new age bonding technique?”

William and Middleton watching a rugby game in 2007. PA Images via Getty Images

When it came to baptisms for their royal children, a banner for Middleton in June 2018 read: “Beaming Kate gazes lovingly at sleeping Prince Louis as she and William attend his christening in their first appearance as a family of five. (But the Queen misses big).”

For Markle and Harry’s son Archie in 2019, one headline read: “Revealed: The Queen won’t be at Archie’s christening because Meghan, Harry and the mystery godparents planned to baptize him TODAY but had to rearrange when they realized Her Majesty and Prince Charles were already busy.”

William and Middleton appear together with their children during Trooping the Colour on June 17, 2023. Getty Images

Middleton, for her part, has been open with the public regarding milestone moments since she married William, including sharing yearly birthday photos of their children. In March 2024, she was even more personal with the public when she revealed she was diagnosed with cancer after undergoing a planned abdominal surgery two months prior.

The Firm attends the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church at Sandringham Estate in December 2018. John Rainford/WENN

While she didn’t specify which type of illness she was battling, she thanked William and her family for their never-ending love and support.

The Princess of Wales announced in a March statement that she has cancer. AP

Social media and the press had been wondering where she had been after her procedure, as she stayed MIA for weeks as she recovered. Conspiracies about her whereabouts plagued the internet, with some even believing that she disappeared.

When Middleton revealed her cancer news via video, the media appeared to finally back off.

“I think everyone just needs to give her a little bit of space,” Roya Nikkhah, royal editor of the Sunday Times of London, explained on “Good Morning Britain” last month. “This is a woman who’s been in the public eye since she was in her early 20s, and she’s barely put her foot wrong. I think we should all lay off a little bit.”

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