Kate Middleton’s birthday heartbreak as unexpected decision left her ‘crushed’
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Even though the Duchess of Cambridge is spending her 39th birthday in lockdown, we're sure Prince William, George, Charlotte and Louis will make sure it's a day to remember.
She's had some lovely celebrations over the years, from nights out clubbing with her sister, Pippa, to family get togethers with the Middletons.
But her 27th birthday was one that probably doesn't bring back the best memories, as she was forced to say an emotional goodbye to Wills after he made a decision that left her "crushed".
The couple had already been together for years, after meeting at St Andrew's when they were 19, however Kate's dream of a royal engagement still hadn't happened.
And in September 2008, when there were several rumours that the Duke was ready to pop the question, it was officially announced that he was to join the RAF – a decision that came as a surprise to his family and his girlfriend.
The royal couple met at University in St Andrews
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Having just completed assignments with each section of the Armed Forces, William had two choices – to return to the Household Cavalry or quit the forces and begin his royal duties.
For William, the RAF career path would allow him extra time and freedom before starting his royal journey full time, giving him an independent life that his grandmother and father were denied.
But for Kate, it was a step backwards as everyone was expecting for her to marry the prince and start her royal life.
Kate and William on the day of their graduation ceremony at St Andrew's University
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In her book, Kate: The Future Queen, royal expert Katie Nicholl writes: "With that single decision, Kate's life was turned upside down.
"She had expected a proposal once William had completed his military training, but instead, she was forced to accept that there would be no engagement any time soon.
"Kate would have to wait even longer."
William's new job would involve 18 months of training in Shropshire followed by two years at a remote location somewhere in the UK.
Katie writes: "Was Kate prepared to join him? She supported his desires and ambitions, but privately she was crushed.
"William was asking her to be an army wife – without the nuptials. Her frustration was understandable."
In the weeks that followed Kate and William spent some quality time together in Scotland, where they stayed for New Year, and Kate went on holiday with her family, but by the time her birthday came around it was time for the next stage in the prince's life to begin.
They were very close, but Kate still wasn't wearing that engagement ring
(Image: Getty Images)
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Katie claims that William was confident their relationship would survive the long distance, with the Shropshire base around three hours away from London.
Katie claims that Kate found it even harder as all their friends were settling down and she was being left behind.
She writes: "For Kate, it was a step backwards. It seemed that everyone was getting married except for her.
"As she neared her 27th birthday, Kate's plan to be married with children by the time she was thirty was looking increasingly unlikely."
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And according to Katie, it wasn't just Kate who was worried and her mum, Carole Middleton, was also getting "jittery".
However, the pair did manage to make it work and William would regularly make the 130 mile drive back to Bucklebury to see Kate.
And at the end of 2010 William finally made things official, getting down on one knee and popping the question.
However they decided not to share the news until the following month, making the announcement on November 20.
The couple tied the knot at a stunning royal wedding at Westminster Abbey in April 2011.