BEFORE Kate Middleton headed to university where she would meet future husband Prince William, she enjoyed a fun Italian gap year filled with “handsome waiters”.
After finishing her studies at Marlborough College in Wiltshire she jetted off to Florence with some pals at the age of 18.
Kate had already secured her place to study at St Andrews, but deferred it for a year to take the gap year – with some later suggesting that she had done it deliberately so she would join at the same time as William.
Whatever the reason for her deferral, Kate arrived in Italy in 2000 and secured an apartment with four other girls for her three month stay.
The Mail on Sunday reported that Kate’s parents came to visit and took her and her friends out to dinner.
They reported that a friend on her course said: “Carole teased Kate about an Italian waiter, saying, ‘Isn’t he handsome?’
“She would try to get Kate to take an interest in boys and say things like, ‘Let’s go and buy you some nice clothes, darling.’”
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However, Kate allegedly only had eyes for one man back then, and it wasn’t the royal prince joining her future university halls.
The publication claimed Kate was pining for her Marlborough first love, Harry Blakelock.
The pal added that Kate certainly wasn’t lacking male attention, but was “shy” around boys and would get “embarrassed” when they found her attractive.
Kate studied Italian and history of art at the British Institute of Florence in Palazzo dello Strozzino during her European break – and could have developed her photography skills during this time.
It is said she “relished being able to roam unfettered, photographing the city cathedral and countless Renaissance treasures.”
Prince William also did a gap year, which involved travelling through Kenya, teaching English in a Patagonian mountain village and “roughing it with the Welsh Guards in the Belize jungle.”
Coincidentally, Kate did the same Patagonian trip with Raleigh International just a month apart from William – so they could have met a bit earlier if the stars had aligned.
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Despite meeting at university in 2001, it wasn’t until two years later that Kate and Will fell in love for the first time and began dating.
Then came the shock 2007 break-up – which, fortunately, only lasted a matter of months – and the happy engagement in 2010, followed by the fairytale wedding a year later.
They now have three kids together: Prince George, eight, Princess Charlotte, six, and three-year-old Prince Louis.
We revealed how Kate ‘didn’t have the energy to bond with Meghan Markle’ before she married Prince Harry, author claims.
And we shared inside ‘normal’ Kate Middleton’s bargain wardrobe from her £16 Zara dress to her £1.50 Accessorize earrings.