Kate Middleton refused Queen’s first invite to Sandringham as she was unmarried

The Duchess of Cambridge refused the Queen's personal invitation to Sandringham before she married Prince William, it has been claimed.

Kate Middleton was invited to the Norfolk estate while she was Prince William's girlfriend, despite the offer usually being extended only to married royals.

At the time in 2006, Kate was William's girlfriend – she declined the invitation and a new book by royal historian, Robert Lacey, claims she did so because she was not married.

The book, which has been serialised by MailOnline, discusses intimate details about the royal couple.

In it, Mr Lacey said William and Kate had been in a relationship for around five years at the time the Duke invited her to the royal estate, reports Express.

He writes: "Yet when William invited Kate to join him that year at Sandringham for the Royal Family's traditional Christmas lunch, she refused."

The invite was issued by the Queen herself. Mr Lacey adds it was unprecedented, calling it "the first time the Queen had extended such an invitation to an unregistered 'girlfriend'".

But Kate apparently refused on the grounds she and William were not yet married.

The royal author added: "She would go to Sandringham on Christmas Day only when she was engaged and had a ring to prove it."

This decision to break with tradition came before William and Kate temporarily broke up in 2007, though Mr Lacey does not explicitly state the reason why in excerpts of the book released to the press so far.

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However, he suggests the Prince was subject to pressure from military friends while the Queen allegedly advised him not to "rush" into commitments.

The author goes on to detail the events that led to the couple reuniting just months later.

In the weeks following the break-up – which was allegedly conducted via phone call by William – Kate took up rowing.

Friends of the Prince are quoted as saying in the book that during that time: "'William hasn’t stopped pining for Kate since they split up.

"'He keeps saying she’s an amazing girl and the best thing to happen to him.'"

The author also reveals how the Duke missed Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael – described as "quiet and affectionate".

Lacey said it is "small wonder" William and Kate were seen dancing at a party in Dorset less than three months after they broke up.

Prince William and Kate Middleton eventually got engaged in 2010 when he was 28 years old.

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The two were on a safari holiday in Kenya at the time. The Duke had apparently planned this in advance, as he offered an engagement ring previously owned by the late Princess Diana.

The ring is encrusted with diamonds and sapphires. Prince Harry, William’s brother, had given his approval in advance.

William and Kate were married in April 2011 at a ceremony at Westminster Abbey, London.

Other sections of the book reveal insights into the relationship between William and Harry, as well as detail the Duke of Cambridge’s alleged temper.

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