The story of a royal romance
Love is very much in the air in Britain, with Valentine’s Day almost upon us and the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
A few chapters ahead in their own love story, next week also marks the royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Sweden and Norway. We mark their blossoming relationship with four places in Great Britain to feel the love.
St Andrews, Scotland
The University of St Andrews in the quaint coastal town of St Andrews in Fife is where the couple’s story began. William arrived in 2001 to study art history (he eventually switched to geography), where he met Kate who was on the same course. Follow in their footsteps, wandering around the university quads, and admiring the striking architecture.
Nearby, climb the 156 steps to the top of St Rule’s Tower at St Andrew’s Cathedral for panoramic views across Fife. It’s free to visit, and the cathedral ruins hint at the grandeur of what was once Scotland’s largest church, and a meeting point for medieval pilgrims. You can also make your own two-hour ‘pilgrimage’ to Edinburgh by train.
Before their engagement, the couple lived on the island of Anglesey, just off the northwest coast of Wales.
Marking the official start of their life together, Anglesey was a particularly special place to call home and the ideal base for William’s job as a Royal Air Force Search and Rescue pilot.
Get swept away by its wild beauty along the 130-mile Anglesey Coastal Path which circles the island, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You can also explore on horseback and enjoy views of the Menai Straits and Snowdonia’s mountains.
Anglesey is also known for its ancient sites – there are around 120 megaliths and burial chambers scattered across the island. Add to this, historic lighthouses, medieval castles and pretty harbours and it makes for a picture-perfect break.
The Queen gifted the secluded Georgian estate of Anmer Hall to the future monarchs, also giving them plenty of privacy to raise their children. It’s also just two miles from the Queen’s own beloved Norfolk residence of Sandringham, where William spent much of his childhood.
The couple have been spotted in local towns including Holt, where the Duchess has been seen browsing independent shops to furnish their countryside retreat.
Check in at the Kings Head Hotel in King’s Lynn for a romantic weekend retreat. It’s rumoured the royal couple dined here. You can also visit Sandringham’s spectacular house and gardens, including the museum’s extraordinary collection of royal vehicles and rare memorabilia. The grounds are free to explore.
In 2017, the couple and their two children (with a third on its way) moved into a 20-room apartment inside Kensington Palace to step up their royal duties, dividing their time between here and Norfolk.
Also the home of newly-engaged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, visitors can tour public areas of the palace, including the lavish King and Queen’s state apartments.
To re-create your own special proposal, consider dinner and drinks at the west London institution that is Bluebird Chelsea or the unusual dine-in-the-dark Dans Le Noir ? in Clerkenwell, east London, where the pair are reported to have enjoyed pre-wedding dates.
Finish up with Kate and William’s Royal Wedding Tour of London to trace their whirlwind romance. Spots include their favourite Mayfair nightclubs, designer shopping haunts, the jewellers selling that engagement ring, and the hospital where their children were born.