Hockey, catwalks and a prince! No wonder Kate hankers misses uni life

No wonder Kate Middleton still hankers after university life – after sporting fun, strutting down THAT catwalk and meeting her Prince

  • Read more: ‘I’d love to be a student again!’ Kate reminisces on her university days as she visits Nottingham Trent University

Kate Middleton told undergraduates at Nottingham Trent University today that she’d ‘love to be a student again’, as she reflected on her four years spent north of the border at St Andrews’ University. 

The 41-year-old royal was in the East Midlands to discuss mental health in young adults and reminisced about her own university days. 

Looking elegant in a £110 cream knitted top from Sezane and a £135 matching skirt, the Princess of Wales told this year’s freshers: ‘University, for me, was when I learnt to try out [lots of things] because there’s so much on offer.’

The mother-of-three studied Art History at St Andrews, graduating with an impressive 2:1 MA in art history…but, as the history books now recount, she bagged much more than just a qualification while studying. 

The Princess of Wales enjoyed reminiscing about her university days while visiting Nottingham Trent University, telling undergraduates that she met that she’d ‘love to be a student again’

While mental health amongst students was the main reason for her visit to the East Midlands, the Princess of Wales also discussed what she’d enjoyed, saying: ‘University, for me, was when I learnt to try out [lots of things] because there’s so much on offer.’

University sweethearts: Prince William and Kate Middleton on the day of their graduation ceremony at St Andrews University in June 2005. The couple met as freshers four years prior

Kate – dubbed ‘Beautiful Kate’ at St Andrews graduated in June 2005, with a 2:1 in Art History

A certain Prince William arrived to study the same degree at the same time in 2001 – although he later switched to Geography – with the couple meeting in their shared halls.

The four years Kate spent on Scotland’s east coast – enjoying sporting fixtures, nights out with friends and secret dates with William – was also the last time the Princess of Wales was truly anonymous – mingling in with the university’s 7,500 students. 

Here, FEMAIL looks at why Kate’s uni days proved so much fun… 


Within the first week of arriving at St Andrews, Kate was dubbed the ‘prettiest girl at Sally’s’ in freshers’ week – Sally’s being St Salvator’s halls, where Prince William also resided in the first year (Kate pictured in 2005)

Kate, pictured in her third year, quickly became part of the Glosse Posse with a group of fellow freshers from St Salvator’s halls

Shortly after starting as a fresher at St Andrews University in 2001, Kate earned a reputation as the ‘prettiest girl at Sally’s’ in freshers’ week – Sally’s being St Salvator’s halls – according to Vanity Fair. 

Indeed, many at St Andrews knew her as ‘Beautiful Kate’ and the future Princess of Wales quickly became part of the ‘Glosse Posse’, a group of girlfriends who fulling immersed themselves in student life, including dressing as schoolgirls for a Harry Potter themed party in their first year at St. Andrews.

Meanwhile Prince William was, along with friends Fergus Boyd, a former classmate of the Prince at Eton, and Olli Chadwick-Healey part of a group known as the Sally’s boys, which also included Ali Coutts-Wood, Graham Booth, Charlie Nelson and Oli Baker.


In the spring of 2002, Kate famously caught Prince William’s eye when she sashayed in a see-through sheer dress with visible black underwear down the runway at a university charity fashion show, prompting Wills’ much-quoted comment, ‘Wow, Kate’s hot!’

On March 27, 2002, a then-20-year-old Kate took part in a fashion show held at the five-star Fairmont St Andrews Hotel and displayed a sheer black-and-gold silk dress with visible black underwear on the catwalk.

The dress had been borrowed by the organisers of the DONT WALK charity gala, a St Andrews fund-raising effort for the families of victims of 9/11, the atrocity that clouded the start of term the previous September.

Hundreds of students volunteered to help, and one managed to pull in Yves Saint Laurent as a sponsor.

Charlotte Todd had designed Kate’s outfit for a project appropriately called ‘the art of seduction’. 

The future royal wore the £30 student-designed dress…and Prince William paid £200 for a front row seat 

Together with the passage of time, the fashion show’s place in Kate and William’s story has made it seem as though she alone wore a risque creation that night – and did so with the sole intention of catching the eye of the future King’s – when, in truth, lingerie was something of a theme.

This lace slip, that cost just £30 to make, was credited with kick-starting the royal romance. Prince William had paid £200 for a seat at a candlelit table inches from the runway, later declaring it was money well spent.

Until that night, the pair’s friendship had been a platonic affair; he thought of her as solid, dependable Kate.  

Apparently, a then 19-year-old William apparently turned to his Old Etonian friend Fergus Boyd, now a financier and godfather to Prince George, as she sashayed past  and is said to have observed over the pounding music: ‘Wow! Kate’s hot!’ – a curious remark given that she was already widely known at St Andrews as Beautiful Kate.


University sweethearts: Prince William and Kate Middleton on the day of their graduation ceremony at St Andrews University in June 2005. The couple met as freshers four years prior

Prince William and Kate both joined St Andrews as History of Art students (although he later switched to geography) and lived in the same halls, St Salvator’s – known to residents as Sally’s.

William would frequently run into a brunette girl and took immediate notice of her. Kate recalled in their engagement interview that she ‘turned bright red and sort of scuttled off’ when they met ‘feeling very shy about meeting him’.

The world at his feet: Prince William In The Geography Department Of St Andrews University

The future couple quickly started a budding friendship after realising how much they had in common – they both enjoyed skiing and both went on a gap year travelling around the world.

At the time Kate had a boyfriend, Rupert Finch, a dark and handsome fourth-year student reading law. William also had a girlfriend, second-year English student Carley Massy-Birch, a Devon farmer’s daughter. 

After she and William began dating, Kate moved out of student halls and into a house with the royal and some other friends – but they didn’t quite live the lifestyle of your average student.

The couple’s flat in Edinburgh had bomb proof doors, bulletproof windows and high-tech laser security system.

William and Kate were careful not to appear as a couple in public. They rarely left the house at the same time and observed a strict no holding hands rule when out. All pretence was abandoned, however, behind closed doors and in the company of their most trusted friends. 

The royal love map: Prince William and Kate Middleton’s favourite haunts during their uni years

Kate was known for enjoying meals out during her student days, and is said to have frequented a curry house, Jahangir, with her then-boyfriend. The royal couple were also ‘regular customers’ at their local chippy, Anstruther Fish Bar.

In her third year of university, Kate moved into Balgove House, on the private Strathtyrum Estate with Prince William – an impressive four-bedroom property owned by one of William’s distant cousins.

There, Kate and William hosted dinner parties for their friends – and even had a champagne fridge.


Speaking to students at Nottingham Trent University today, Kate told student how she’d leapt at the chance to join clubs and societies, saying: ‘University, for me, was when I learnt to try out because there’s so much on offer.’

A keen hockey player during her school days, Kate kept up the sport while at university

William joined the water-polo team and would swim with Kate most mornings at the Old Course Hotel. Pictured: Prince William makes his water polo debut for the Scottish national universities squad in the annual Celtic Nations tournament against Wales and Ireland in Cardiff, in  April 2004

Focusing in on the type of activity to which she has always been drawn, Kate noted her love of sport, telling students, ‘I love to be outside’.

In particular, she noted how she tried out hockey and tennis – but also developed her love of taking photos in the photography club too.

Kate was captain of the hockey team of St Andrew’s prep school in Berkshire, when she studied from 1986 to 1995, and carried on her love of the sport while at university.  

Meanwhile, William joined the water-polo team and would swim with Kate most mornings at the Old Course Hotel. 


Kate Middleton at her graduation ceremony at St Andrews in June 2005; she graduated in Art History after a four-year course

First class…. well, 2.1: Prince William at his graduation ceremony at St Andrews University in 2005

At the Class of 2005’s graduation ceremony, the university’s then principal, Dr Brian Lang, told students in his speech that they had been studying at the nation’s top matchmaking university. 

‘You may have met your husband or wife,’ he speculated, mischievously.

William, in a £29.50 hired gown, was said to be too nervous to walk across the auditorium to collect his degree. Instead, he popped up on the stage via a side door. As his name – William Wales – was announced, he walked forward with head bowed.

The Prince and Princess of Wales’s alma mata – The University of St Andrews in Scotland

In primrose yellow, the Queen, who had never attended the graduation of a close family member before and ignored a heavy cold to travel, could not hide her pride.

Charles kissed his son warmly and patted him on the back before William scurried off to congratulate Kate, looking glamorous in heels and black skirt. Needless to say that on this auspicious occasion, the skirt, though on the short side, was tastefully opaque.

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