Prince William spent nearly a decade dating Kate Middleton before he finally proposed.
In contrast, King Charles III only met Lady Diana Spencer 13 times before proposing.
William seemingly learned a lot from Charles' relationships with Diana and his now-wife, Camilla.
Charles and Camilla first met when they were in their early 20s.
The future king and Queen Consort were introduced in 1970, when Charles was 22 and Camilla was 24.
The Washington Post reported that Camilla introduced herself to Charles with the line: "My great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-great-grandfather. I feel we have something in common."
While they began as friends, Charles and Camilla were instantly attracted to each other and a romance quickly developed.
Charles pursued Camilla with "elaborately-worded love notes and late-night telephone chats," royal expert Marlene Koenig told Insider in September.
The pair also had plenty in common, as Koenig wrote in an article for BBC's History Extra. They shared a love of life in the country, and were both fans of horses and hunting.
But their relationship came to an end when Charles left England to serve in the Royal Navy and Camilla became engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles.
The royal family made it clear that there was no chance the future king could marry a woman who wasn't a virgin. They knew Camilla had dated Andrew Parker Bowles (who was also briefly linked to Charles' sister, Princess Anne) on and off since she was 17.
Charles' godmother later told royal biographer Gyles Brandreth, who wrote the 2007 book "Charles & Camilla: Portrait of a Love Affair," that he and Camilla couldn't have wed in the '70s because "Camilla had a history, and you didn't want a past that hung about."
Charles and Camilla spent one last weekend together in December 1972. Months later, she was engaged to Parker Bowles.
Charles would remain England's most eligible bachelor for nearly a decade.
Charles was linked to several women throughout the '70s, including Lady Sarah Spencer — the older sister of Princess Diana.
Charles was introduced to Diana in 1977, when he came to stay at Sarah's family estate. The prince later said during his and Diana's engagement interview that he remembered thinking Diana was a "very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old" when they first met.
Charles began dating Diana in 1980, while he was having an affair with Camilla.
Charles and Camilla rekindled their romance in 1979, shortly after the assassination of his great-uncle Louis Mountbatten.
"Camilla was the only person to whom he could talk about anything," Koenig wrote in her History Extra article. "She was his best friend, his soulmate, and, after the death of his great-uncle, lover."
But Charles still needed to find a future queen. And after reconnecting with Diana at a barbecue in 1980, things moved very quickly.
By February 1981, Charles and Diana were engaged.
The couple had only met 13 times before Charles proposed.
Charles and Diana wed just five months after announcing their engagement.
Their July 1981 nuptials became known as the "wedding of the century."
Charles ended his affair with Camilla following his and Diana's engagement, but her presence still loomed large in the newlyweds' relationship. The couple's honeymoon was ruined when Diana discovered love letters between Charles and Camilla, as well as cuff links with two intertwined C's.
"Boy, did we have a row," Diana later recalled in tapes she sent to Andrew Morton for his biography, "Diana: Her True Story — In Her Own Words."
"Jealousy, total jealousy," she continued. "And it's such a good idea the two C's, but it wasn't that clever in some ways."
Within five years of their wedding day, Charles and Diana's marriage was in shambles and he rekindled his affair with Camilla.
Diana knew of the affair and later told Morton that she confronted Camilla about it.
"She said to me: 'You've got everything you ever wanted. You've got all the men in the world fall in love with you and you've got two beautiful children, what more do you want?'" Diana recalled. "So I said, 'I want my husband.'"
In June 1994, Charles publicly admitted during a BBC interview that he had been having an affair with Camilla.
Charles and Diana didn't officially divorce until 1996 — a year after Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles finally split.
Royal expert Kristen Meinzer told Insider that much of Charles and Diana's misery through the '80s and '90s could've been prevented if he had been "a little bit more like his mother."
"You know who married who they loved? The Queen," Meinzer said. "There was some pushback on her marrying Philip, but she did it anyway. She married who she wanted, even though there was some resistance."
Meinzer added: "If Charles would've married Camilla from the start, everyone would've been happier in the long run."
But Charles and Camilla didn't go public with their romance for another two years following Princess Diana's death in 1997.
Koenig told Insider that the royal family knew it would be bad optics for Charles to be seen with Camilla following the outpouring of grief from Diana's fans all over the world.
Thirty-five years after they first met, Charles and Camilla finally wed.
It had been three long decades of young love, hidden trysts, and many broken hearts. A tumultuous history that Prince William, Charles' eldest son, didn't want to repeat.
Unlike his father, Prince William wasn't a bachelor for long. He met Kate Middleton during his freshman year of college in 2001.
The future Prince and Princess of Wales met at the University of St Andrews, and they were fast friends, as Kate said in her and William's first interview as a couple after they announced their engagement in 2010. They were just 19 years old at the time.
"William wasn't there for quite a bit of the time initially. He wasn't there from Freshers' Week, so it did take a bit of time for us to get to know each other, but we did become very close friends from quite early on," she said.
Their friendship became romantic in 2002 after William saw Kate walk in a college fashion show wearing a $40, see-through skirt, according to a 2021 ITV documentary titled "The Day Will and Kate Got Married."
However, William also told The Telegraph in 2010 that just spending more time together made the friends turn into lovers.
"We were friends for over a year first and it just sort of blossomed from then on," William told the outlet. "We just spent more time with each other and had a good giggle [...] and realized we shared the same interests."
Although their relationship wasn't a secret, William kept Kate out of the public eye in the early years of their relationship.
Few public photos of Kate and William exist during the early years of their courtship, as the prince did not bring his then-girlfriend to public events.
She made her first appearance at a royal event at the Sovereign's Parade at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in 2006, and although William was part of the event, the couple didn't pose for photos together.
In fact, the pair even briefly broke up in April 2007, which allowed them to explore their own identities before being a royal unit.
According to royal expert Katie Nicholl's book, "The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth's Legacy and the Future of the Crown," William and Kate broke up because the relationship had become "too intense" because of the public nature of the royal's life.
But like Princess Diana, Kate didn't shy away from the public eye following the separation.
According to Nicholl's book, Kate "embarked on a mission to show William what he was missing, partying at some of his favorite London nightclubs with his friends and showing off."
They were back together by the summer of 2007.
And as the couple told The Telegraph in 2010, the breakup ended up being good for their relationship.
"We were both very young, and we were both finding ourselves," William told the outlet. "It was very much trying to find our own way and we were growing up."
"I, at the time, wasn't very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person," Kate said of their brief separation. "You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn't realized. I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you're younger."
William proposed to Kate three years later, in October 2010.
"It was about three weeks ago on a holiday in Kenya. We had a little private time away together with some friends," William told The Telegraph of the proposal. "And I just decided that it was the right time really."
By the time they got engaged, Kate and William had been together on and off for eight years.
It was only after their engagement was official that Kate started appearing alongside William at royal events.
Although they had dated for years, William ensured Kate did not take on royal responsibilities until she had agreed to be part of the monarchy for life.
As Town & Country reported, Kate did not make an official royal appearance until February 24, 2011, when she and the prince attended a lifeboat naming ceremony in Wales.
Prince William and Kate Middleton got married on April 29, 2011.
The college sweethearts became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge nearly ten years after they met.
It seems William learned from both of his father's marriages as he approached his relationship with Kate. He chose to take his relationship slowly, unlike his father did with Princess Diana, as Nicholl wrote in "The New Royals."
"He knew the monarchy could not afford to see his parents' history repeated," Nicholl wrote, adding that their courtship was an "apprenticeship" in what royal life would be like for Kate.
And as King Charles did with Camilla, William protected Kate by keeping her out of the public eye for as long as possible, ensuring their relationship had a strong foundation before they became the faces of the future of the monarchy.
Read the original article on Insider