This Royal Once Encouraged Prince William to Break Up With Kate Middleton

They reportedly thought Kate's middle class background wasn't good enough to marry into "The Firm."

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It's nearly impossible to imagine now, but there was a time where at least one member of the British Royal Family didn't think Kate Middleton was good enough to marry into "The Firm." As the Duchess of Cambridge has proven to be something of a secret weapon during one of the most tumultuous times in the family's history with her increasingly higher profile and soaring popularity, it is all but unthinkable to believe. But the truth is, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall once reportedly disapproved of Kate's non-aristocratic background and considered her "too lowly" to wed Prince William. Read on for more, and for the latest on Kate, check out The Powerful Message Behind Kate Middleton's Newest Wardrobe Staple.

In an interview for his book, Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne, author Christopher Anderson told The Daily Beast, "[Camilla] did not look at Kate as someone who was worthy of joining the Royal Family. Kate is the first working-class woman to be accepted into the Royal Family. She is descended from coal miners and her mother was a flight attendant. So for all those reasons Camilla never really felt that Kate Middleton as an individual and the Middleton family as a whole were going to be worthy of entering into the Royal Family."

Anderson alleges that it was Camilla who encouraged the breakup of William and Kate by talking to Prince Charles, who she married in 2005. The Duchess of Cornwall reportedly told her husband in 2007 that the time had come for William, who met Kate in 2001 when they were students at St. Andrews University in Scotland, to decide if his longtime girlfriend fit into his future. Over the years, it has been confirmed publicly that Charles did suggest to William that he either make a commitment to Kate or end things, as did his grandparents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. But it was said to be because the family had grown fond of her and didn't want her to be led on any longer.

William and Kate did split briefly in April 2007; he called her at her London office at Jigsaw, a high street retailer where she was working as an accessories buyer, and broke things off. But they were back together by early summer. During their engagement interview in 2010 with the BBC, Kate said of their short breakup: "At the time I wasn't very happy about it, but it actually made me a stronger person. You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn't realized."

William and Kate smiling during their first interview together with the BBC in 2010
BBC

Clearly, William also realized Kate was, in fact, the woman he wanted to marry and the couple wed in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey in April 2011, watched by two billion people around the world.

Shortly before the wedding, the Daily Mail reported that Camilla and Kate had lunch together at a London restaurant with Pippa Middleton and Camilla's daughter, Laura Lopes. A fellow diner reported overhearing Camilla telling Kate, "If I can give you one bit of advice…" Thirty years prior, Camilla had lunched with then 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer in the days before her marriage to Charles.

"Camilla is a bit of a snob. She's an aristocrat, she has always been moving in royal circles," Anderson told The Daily Beast. "She had always thought of herself as the heiress to Alice Keppel, her great-grandmother, who was the mistress of Edward VII. She was very proud of that connection, she boasted about that as a child and as an adult and that's what she intended to be: part of the royal circle in the role of mistress to the future king, and then the king."

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While the 71-year-old Prince of Wales is heir to the throne, William and Kate's popularity has largely eclipsed Charles and Camilla's. But regardless of what may have happened in the past, Camilla and Kate seem to have a good relationship now and have often been spotted sharing a laugh and sidelong glances at official functions, as they did at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding in 2018.

When they made a rare joint appearance in February of this year, Charles and Camilla and William and Kate were dubbed "The New Fab Four," after Harry and Meghan had stepped down from royal life.

"Given all that has happened, Catherine is one of the family's greatest assets now," said one Palace insider. "I'm sure if the Duchess of Cornwall felt differently at one time, she has certainly come around to recognize how valuable the Duchess of Cambridge is to the family and how well she has grown into her role has future Queen. They know they all have to work together in order to ensure the future of the monarchy." And for more on Kate's latest battle with another foe, check out How Kate Middleton Took on a Royal Favorite—And Won.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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