[ 2007-04-14 20:10 ]
this photo made available Sunday Feb. 11, 2007 Prince William and his
girlfriend Kate Middleton watch the England against Italy Six Nation rugby
match at Twickenham stadium in London, Saturday Feb. 10, 2007. (AP
Prince William and his
girlfriend Kate Middleton have ended their four-year relationship, dashing hopes
of a royal wedding to rival that of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
The Sun newspaper reported Saturday that the couple had reached an "amicable
agreement" to separate. Sources confirmed the split to the Press Association
William's Clarence House office refused to comment, saying it did not discuss
the prince's private life, but royal sources did not deny the report, tacitly
acknowledging it was true.
The newspaper said the split was caused by the huge pressures on the young
couple and by William's career in the army. The second in line to the throne
graduated from Sandhurst military academy in December and is undergoing further
training at an army base in rural England.
News of the break-up took many royal-watchers by surprise. It was widely
thought the couple would soon announce their engagement; one bookmaker was so
certain of a royal wedding it had stopped taking bets on it.
Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine, said the couple's relationship had
reached an impasse.
"They can't go forward because William is in the army and he's dedicated the
next few years of his life to that, so he's not in a position to get married,"
"They had lived together when they were at university, so in a way their
relationship has become more difficult. They have seen a lot less of each other
and are under a huge amount of pressure."
The prince, 24, and Middleton, 25, met as students at St. Andrew's University
in Scotland in 2001 and had been dating since 2003.
Middleton has been the focus of intense media pressure for months as rumors
spread that the couple would announce their engagement. She has frequently had
to dodge paparazzi on her way to work as a retail accessories buyer, in scenes
that evoked the romance of William's father, Prince Charles, and the then-Lady
Diana Spencer a quarter-century ago.
Last month, Middleton lodged a complaint of media harassment with Britain's
press watchdog, the Press Complaints Commission. She settled the claim earlier
this month following an apology and admission of error by the Daily Mirror