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Kate Middleton first spotted her future husband when she was just nine years old.

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So, it seems the one of the world’s most high-profile fairytale romances began decades earlier, with a chance meeting.

It’s been well-documented that Prince William and Kate Middleton first met in 2003, when they were students at St. Andrews University. But, according to royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl, the pair crossed paths in their elementary school days, when their schools, Ludgrove Prep and St. Andrews Prep, played each other in sports.

In her book Kate: The Future Queen, Nicholl writes:

“Although [Kate] wasn’t especially interested in boys, the arrival of one particular young man had caught her attention.

“Nearby Ludgrove Prep school would often play matches against St. Andrew’s Prep, and there was much excitement when Prince William, a left back on Ludgrove’s Colts team, came to St. Andrew’s to play a hockey match when he was nine years old.

“William, like Kate, loved sports and was one of the best hockey and rugby players in his year. Of course, the arrival of the prince generated a flurry of excitement.”

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Kate was also just nine years old at the time.

Nicholl adds in her book that Kate’s former teacher Denise Allford said:

“I remember when William came to play hockey. The boys wanted to know why so many cars had stopped on the way in because it was unusual. It was William’s protection officers and bodyguard.”

It was then that Kate got her first glimpse at the future King of England; and the rest, as they say, is history. The couple became engaged in 2010, were married in 2011, and have Prince George, five, Princess Charlotte, three, and 11-month-old Prince Louis, together.

But of course, that’s the part of the fairytale you already knew.

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