Prince William and Kate Middleton are happily married now (and don’t get us started on their oh-so-cute royal kids), but the couple didn’t always have eyes for each other. In fact, Prince William almost dated Camilla Parker Bowles’s niece, Emma Parker Bowles, according to one royal biographer. But don’t worry: This didn’t create any drama between the now-Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — William was 17 at the time and hadn’t yet met the woman who would ultimately become his wife. Still, weird to think about what would have been, eh?
Per The Sun, several sources verified William’s rumored crush. In his 2011 book William and Catherine, well-known royal author Andrew Morton indicated that Will was romantically linked to Emma in 1991. A palace insider reportedly shared with the author that William would often “gaze adoringly” at Emma who, at 25, was seven years the prince’s senior at the time of the flirtation. Corroborating the fact that William quite literally had his eye on Emma was a source for the Sunday People in 1999. “He was looking lovingly at Emma and she was hanging on his every word. Sometimes he gazes at her so adoringly it becomes a bit embarrassing,” the source said. “He looks every inch a young man who is falling in love.”
— Telegraph TV & Radio (@TeleTVRadio) February 5, 2017
Of course, we all know how this story ends, and it doesn’t end with William and Emma at Kensington Palace. William met Kate while they were both studying at St. Andrews University in Scotland, and they would go on to get married in 2011. Interestingly, Emma scored an invite to the royal nuptials, telling E! News just ahead of the big day, “I was really touched. I was surprised because I know he didn’t invite a lot of people.”
If there truly was an almost-romance between William and Emma, it must have ended amicably — she seemed to have nothing but praise for the royal power couple. “I think he just started off as a nice person,” she said of William. “You could see in that situation how he possibly could have turned out to be a real brat, but he couldn’t be further from that and has much more humility than a lot of people I know.” She also called Kate “absolutely stunning” and a “head-turner” in person.
So, as they say, all’s well that ends well. Although Emma has experienced some struggles over the years (she told the Daily Mail in 2011 that she “inherited” her father’s alcoholism), she now works as a journalist and TV presenter. As for Will and Kate, they recently celebrated their eight-year wedding anniversary.