Saturday, November 20, 2010

Relationship Lessons From Prince William and Kate Middleton

This week, the news was announced that the future heir to the throne, Prince William, is to marry his long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton. In these austere times, a royal wedding might be just what the country needs, but the couple haven’t made the decision lightly. In fact, their conduct throughout their very high-profile relationship has been near impeccable -- including the timing of their engagement.

The royal family needs as much good PR as it can get after the high profile divorces of the 1990s, and the publicity management of William and Kate’s relationship show that the Windsors have learnt their lessons.

But what lessons can you learn from the future king’s relationship with Kate Middleton that you can apply to your own?

Take your time, don’t rush into anything

William and Kate first met whilst studying art history together in their first year at St. Andrew’s University, Fife in 2001. Although their relationship was strictly platonic initially (she was dating fellow student Rupert Finch at the time), the pair starting spending more and more time together, eventually flat-sharing before they allegedly started dating at Christmas 2003.

It was publicly confirmed that the couple were an item in 2005, but William didn’t want to get rushed into marriage, “I'm only 22 for God's sake. I am too young to marry at my age.” The prince was quoted as saying, “I don't want to get married until I'm at least 28 or maybe 30.'' Now, after five years together, the couple have finally made the promise to wed.

The relationship may have been strained over the years (the couple briefly split in 2007), but it has stood the test of time, proving that giving a relationship time and space to breathe will only help to strengthen the bond between a man and a woman. Let’s not forget that Prince Charles got engaged to Diana Spencer after less than a year of their being together. And we all know how that worked out.

Ignore outside influences

When Prince William and Kate Middleton took a brief relationship hiatus in 2007, following intrusion and pressure from the media, Prince Charles apparently chastised his son for not demonstrating sufficient commitment to Kate, pointing out that he had yet to propose marriage. Kate may have become frustrated at the lack of commitment from William, but the future king stuck to his guns.

William had sense enough to realise that it didn’t take an engagement ring on her finger to demonstrate his loyalty; instead of following his father’s advice, he made his feelings known by dedicating more and more of his private time to Kate.

The Queen is said to have expressed surprise that it took so long for the couple to get engaged, but the fact of the matter is that couples under 30 account for the highest divorce rates in the UK, a statistic that all young couples like William and Kate should take into account when considering matrimony. Lesson learnt? Don’t let anyone influence your decision, even if it is the Queen of England.

Don’t be defined by your relationship

When Prince Charles married Princess Diana nearly 30 years ago, she was a shy and retiring 20-year-old, 13 years Charles' junior. The full glare of the media attention would eventually eclipse her, leading to the breakdown of the relationship, and ultimately, one could argue, her death.

In contrast, Kate Middleton is William’s senior by five months, and fiercely independent. Academically gifted, sporty and ambitious, Kate has spent her life doing her own thing, and although she has actively sought her own privacy, she’s never been one to hide behind William.

Whilst William was away having his military training, Kate was busy forging her career as a fashion buyer for women’s retail store Jigsaw, refusing to rest on her laurels as the potential future Queen of England. Likewise, William has gone out into the world and had a glittering military career -- a brave decision for a future king, and further proof that for true personal happiness, you should seek your own independence and not rely on your partner to fulfil your life.

If it feels right, go for it

In the run up to the big royal wedding next year, expect to hear a lot about Kate Middleton not being from royal stock. Kate comes from a middle-class upbringing, with her mother famously being a former air stewardess for British Airways, but this is something that, quite rightly, has never seemed to have concerned William.

In the past, young princes have been pushed into dynastic alliances with foreign princesses for the good of the country, and even more recently, Prince Charles was urged to select his future wife from "blue-blooded" stock, but William is very much his own person. He’s a levelheaded, independent young man; the kind of figurehead that the royal family needs, one who understands that finding your soul mate shouldn’t be limited to just selecting from the upper echelons of high society.

Keeping an open mind when you meet women should always be encouraged, and even if others turn their noses up at your spouse, don’t let anyone influence how you feel about someone, because, as the song goes, love conquers everything.

Treat your partner right

As the future king of England, Prince William could easily have spent his youth sowing his wild oats, sampling a playboy lifestyle and generally acting like a pompous fool, but those possibilities couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Prince William has acted like a true gentleman throughout his relationship with Kate Middleton, giving her space to breathe, treating her to the occasional holiday and encouraging her to pursue her career, and she’s reciprocated. She was instrumental in encouraging the prince to pursue his studies during his first year at St. Andrews, after he started having doubts about further education.

William’s old-fashioned romance, coupled with his modern-day practical approach to relationships, makes him a role model for the modern man. In preparation for the popping the question, William approached Kate’s father to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage, then he approached Kate on bended knee and proposed with his mother’s engagement ring. Every man should take note: if you’re going to propose, do it properly.

This article was taken from and was written by Tom Butler. 

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