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William and Kate: A Tale of the Typical Student Romance?

21st April 2011

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Prince William and Kate Middleton: the modern Royal celebrities who live in a completely different world, only accessible to us via the glossy pages of Hello! magazine or through the occasional TV documentary. This is the general opinion I uncovered when asking a selection of students how “normal” they consider William and Kate to be - clearly the answer suggests “not very”. However, the love story behind the Royal wedding suggests that William and Kate may actually be more like the average students than we may first think.

The media has frequently coined their relationship ‘The Modern Romance’ but, reading the story of how the couple got together, ‘The Typical Student Romance’ also seems an appropriate description of this seemingly normal love story.

Meeting your husband or wife at university is extremely common and will certainly happen for many of us. William and Kate have followed the trend by beginning their love story at the University of St Andrew’s, which has a high percentage of relationships resulting in marriage.

Despite being the future King of England, William spent his first year of university living in university accommodation, St Salvator’s Hall, also the residence of his future wife. After their first year, it was time to move out of halls and find a house. Having become good friends, William and Kate decided to share a house for their second year, along with two other university friends. Speaking in their first TV interview since the announcement of their engagement, William and Kate appeared to look back fondly on their time sharing a student house, laughing and joking about William’s apparently rather poor cooking ability and reminiscing about good times spent with their housemates. Apart from the mention of ‘their first TV interview’, I could be describing the university lives of any typical students.

Learning the bare details of how William and Kate became the world-famous couple that they are, makes their love story both fascinating and endearing to many students who will have experienced a similar path to relationships. The intimacy of living together often strengthens friendships, which can commonly lead to romance. Despite living in an unattainable world, William and Kate’s university relationship projects them as a typical pair of student lovebirds.

I spoke to some students about their university relationships, both past and present, to investigate the effects of living with a uni lover. ‘I met my fiancé in my first year when we were living in the same corridor. We didn’t live together in our second year but, like William and Kate, we are getting married this year’, revealed one happy student. Another student I spoke to experienced the same road to romance: ‘I met my girlfriend in halls. From seeing each other everyday and being in such close contact, we formed a close friendship which was the best basis for a relationship.’ William and Kate’s engagement photographs portray a young couple who are deeply in love and their initial friendship will have most likely formed the perfect basis for their successful relationship.

Clearly, sharing a house was an enjoyable experience for William and Kate but, for some students, this can be the make or break of a relationship. I spoke to some students who had conflicting experiences of house shares with uni lovers. ‘We just saw too much of each other which resulted in us arguing about trivial things, eventually leading to the breakdown of the relationship.’ Although this student highlighted the danger of living with a partner whilst at university, another student had a positive experience: ‘Living together brought us closer as we had the opportunity to spend lots of time to spend together and relax in each other’s company.’ Although the experiences differ, sharing a house with a uni partner seems to be a normal situation, implying William and Kate’s ‘typical student’ status.

Of course, the lives that William and Kate lead do not mirror those of typical students. Most of us can only dream of attending glamorous parties and having our wedding outfits made by the best designers in the business, whilst imagining having to endure the media frenzy that surrounds such a high-profile couple. Yet, despite their present lives and the future that awaits them, William and Kate’s university love story places them a lot nearer to us than most Royal couples.

Although on April 29th we will be watching the future King and Queen of England walk down the aisle of Westminster Cathedral, we can also see the Royal wedding as a result of two graduates who tell the tale of a typical student romance.

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