Five Things You Know After Five Years of Marriage

As the Cambridges celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary, Kate Faithfull-Williams reveals what she has learnt so far

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their families at Princess Charlotte's christening. Picture / Supplied.

Five years ago, on a hugely anticipated April weekend, the country watched Kate and William get married. The next day I, Kate, took Mr Williams to be my lawfully wedded husband. Our wedding day involved less fanfare (unless you count the roar of 120 people mainlining prosecco), but there are spooky similarities between us and the royal couple.

My husband John-Rhys and I met in our first year of university, while Kate met her William in halls at St Andrews, forging common ground with a boy of a completely different social class. “I can’t believe I have a girlfriend who hasn’t paid for her education,” said my own future husband, for whom a private education was just what one did. None the less, I found him charming, especially because my Prince of Wales is actually Welsh.

A few years after graduating, freaked out by a twentysomething’s fear of the future, Mr Williams and I broke up. Right on cue, Kate and Wills did, too. You may have noticed Kate’s hemlines, and possibly her cocktail consumption, went up during those months. Yep, mine too.

READ: How Kate Middleton Avoided More Diana Comparisons

It doesn’t take many nights at Mahiki to make you realise your relationship is worth saving. In 2007, the four of us got back together. Two years on, my Prince of Wales proposed, and we carefully chose April 30 2011 as our wedding date, because it wouldn’t clash with the Six Nations or any other national event. Kate Middleton, meanwhile, became known as “Waity Katie”. Six months before our big day, Kate showed us her sapphire sparkler and William announced they’d be getting married the day before us. I shed a tear watching the royal nuptials on TV, then took up the wedding baton and ran off to decorate our marquee.

After the emotion of the big day, here’s what me, my husband and - hopefully - Kate and Wills have learnt in the first five years of marriage...

1. Your home is your castle
Almost literally, in the Cambridges’ case. They spent a reported $8 million renovating their Kensington Palace apartment, with a 350 sq ft kitchen. I can relate to this. In my dreams. But it’s true every married couple goes through a nesting phase, because the idea of renovating your house is wonderfully romantic, until you realise living with builders and the scream of a tile-cutter will test your vows to breaking point. For better or for worse, I muttered, every morning of the three months I woke up covered in a fine layer of plaster dust.

2. You are the first person in the world to have a baby
Holding your firstborn in your arms honestly makes you feel like you’ve unlocked the meaning of life. When the hundreds of photographers flocked to the Lindo Wing in July 2013 for their first sighting of Prince George, I was glued to the sofa. Not because the arrival of a royal baby made such gripping TV, but because I was in the middle of a 24-hour breastfeeding marathon. My daughter Indy was five weeks old; there were 25,300 tweets per minute about the #RoyalBaby, but whatever. Did you know Indy’s newborn picture got 93 likes on Facebook?

READ: How to Dress Like a Princess

3. Your in-laws actually feel like family
Kate had a big task winning the affection of William’s family; no wonder she refined her vowels and practised her curtsey endlessly. My in-laws, Alan and Beryl, were easier going. At first, I was thrown by Beryl marching straight to our freezer and filling it with lasagne, cottage pies and chillies. I got territorial about my kitchen. But then I got off my high horse and realised it’s really nice to have someone cook you dinner. Like my own parents, my in-laws are exceptional grandparents, as they prove every fortnight when they drive the length of the M4 to babysit. Kate is probably thinking “jammy cow” right now; I think I win this point.

4. Family ‘holidays’ are not holidays
Kate and Wills chose Mustique for Prince George’s first holiday, in February 2014. Coincidentally, three months previously Indy’s first vacation was also in the Caribbean, as we stayed at a friend’s house in St Lucia. I’m sure Kate and Wills will concur that holidays are distinctly less relaxing when there’s zero chance of a lie-in and your baby screams like a kidnap victim when you cover them in suncream.

5. Work becomes an exotic parallel universe
Seven weeks after Prince George’s birth, Kate went back to work. I use the word “work” fairly loosely, as her job involved attending the Tusk Trust Conservation Awards gala dinner and smiling in a sequinned Jenny Packham dress. None the less, seeing Kate looking amazingly slim and grinning giddily with her new-found freedom was a watershed moment for me. Until that moment, I’d surprised myself by how little I thought about my career. Now work opened up possibilities of not carrying a nappy bag! Of wearing a dry-clean only dress! And I could go to the loo and nobody would cry!

But when I actually did go back to work, the person who cried when I went to the loo was me, and I was wearing a not-quite-clean pair of black trousers with a forgiving waistband. And no, I wasn’t back to my pre-baby weight (before getting married, it’s normal to be preoccupied with how you’ll look in your wedding dress. You innocently assume no one will care about your appearance beyond this point - but, as the royals will testify, Kate’s weight and Wills’s receding hairline are constantly scrutinised. Everyone waits to see if you “let yourself go”).

Fortunately, it didn’t take me long to discover that having a family to rush home to at the end of the day, ignited a superhuman productivity during work. Or perhaps a simple disregard for tasks left undone. Five years on and you start to feel differently like that. Happy Anniversary to us!

- The Daily Telegraph·

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