By Alexandra Whittaker
Aug 13, 2018 @ 5:30 pm

If you were to dissect the plot line of a true storybook fairytale romance, you'll find a few things to be remarkably similar: A prince. A palace. A love story for the ages. And of course, an enormous, showstopping wedding. 

In real life, love stories are rarely as externally extravagant as they are in, say, a Disney adaptation, but arguably the closest we've come to the grand scale of the movies is the IRL romance of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Watching them fall in love, get married, and start their family together in the public eye has caused onlookers to call it a "timeless" story that'll "make you believe in happily ever after," which is kind of a lot to live up to. 

But even with the makings of a classic love story, it hasn't all been sunshine and roses for Will and Kate. 

Chris Jackson

In fact, there was a time when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge called it quits and broke up with each other, temporarily ending their relationship altogether. 

We know, it's hard to believe, but stay with us. 

Max Mumby/Indigo

Before Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis were ever a thought in their minds, Will and Kate were recent college grads in the midst of a long distance relationship, and they hit a serious rough patch. They had dated for four years, but were living apart — Middleton in London, and Prince William in Dorset in army barracks — when a holiday fight sparked a split.

In late 2006, Popsugar reports that Middleton's family invited Prince William to celebrate New Year's Eve with them. Initially, he accepted, and all looked perfectly rosy, but that soon changed. Allegedly, he changed his mind, as spending the holidays in Sandringham with Queen Elizabeth is a strict royal tradition. Unfortunately, Kate wasn't allowed to join him, since she hadn't married into the family yet (famously, the queen made an exception to this rule for Meghan Markle).

As you can imagine, this caused a lot of tension between the couple. 

This, combined with being long distance in the first place and the paparazzi being increasingly more aggressive toward Middleton as engagement rumors flared, caused a brief, though significant, breakup. 

Of course, Will and Kate eventually reconciled and kicked off their happily ever after, but even years later while they were engaged, it came up again ... during their engagement interview. 

RELATED: Prince Harry Had a Tearful Final Talk with His Ex Before Marrying Meghan Markle

"Well I think to be honest, I wouldn't believe everything you read in the paper but in that particular instance we did split up for a bit," Prince William admitted for the first time publicly.

"But that was just, we both were very young, it was at university, we were sort of both finding ourselves as such and being different characters and stuff, it was very much trying to find our own way and we were growing up, and so it was just sort of a bit of space and a bit of things like that and it worked out for the better." 

Middleton also had an interesting take on their breakup. 

Chris Jackson

"And I think I at the time wasn't very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person," she said. "You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn't realized, or I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you are younger and I really valued that time for me as well although I didn't think it at the time. Looking back on it." 

Maybe a breakup isn't a conventional chapter of a fairytale romance, but surviving those difficult moments seemed to make Will and Kate's relationship even stronger, and for that, it couldn't be more picture perfect.