Kate first saw William 10 years before she met him at uni – when she was only 9

The now Duchess of Cambridge famously met Prince William at university, and their strong friendship soon developed into romance.

But according to a royal expert Kate first saw her future husband when she was much younger – nine years old to be exact.

The couple have both loved sport since they were very young and played for their school teams.

According to author Katie Nicholl, William first caught Kate’s eye when their schools’ rugby teams played each other.

The young prince, then nine, and his classmates reportedly went to Kate’s school – St. Andrew’s Prep – for the fixture.

Although it’s unclear as to whether they actually spoke, there was understandably a lot of excitement at school that day.

In her book Kate: The Future Queen , Katie writes: "Although she 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."

Kate is said to have loved her time at St Andrew’s Prep, and returned there in her new royal role in 2012 to open their new hockey pitch.

Speaking at the time, she said: She said: "It is such a treat to be back here at St Andrew’s. I absolutely loved my time here; they were some of my happiest years, which makes it so incredibly special to be here today.

"In fact, I enjoyed it so much that when I had to leave, I told my mother that I was going to come back to be a teacher. While that didn’t quite happen, I was thrilled to have been asked back today on St. Andrew’s Day.

‬"It was while I was here at school that I realised my love of sport. Sport has been a huge part of my life, and I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunities I had to get outside and play in such wonderful open spaces – though sadly there was nothing quite as glamorous as this in my time!

"I hope that you all enjoy playing sport here as much as I used to, and make the most of these incredible facilities."

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