Kate Middleton’s shock history with Grand National winner – tragic death and ‘naughty’ party

Many royal fans believe Kate Middleton and Prince William’s fairytale romance was saved by Sam Waley-Cohen, who this weekend won the Grand National for the first time

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The Grand National: The shock winners

When Sam Waley-Cohen crossed the finish line at this year’s Grand National on his horse Noble Yeates, he would have had a team of royal supporters celebrating his victory.

The 39-year-old jockey is good pals with The Firm thanks to his surprising friendship with the Duchess of Cambridge, and he’s even been credited with getting her back together with Prince William after they split early in their relationship.

He’s been spotted out and about with Kate on several occasions, and photographed with her in fancy dress at a rollerskating party before she married into the royal family.

Sam was a guest at Kate and William’s royal wedding, and the Duchess and sister Pippa were in the congregation for his nuptials to Bella Ballin.

After his victory at Aintree, the Cambridges took to social media to congratulate their pal on his win.

Kate Middleton and Sam Waley-Cohen watch the racing as they attend day 4 of the Cheltenham Festival on March 14, 2008



We take a look at Kate and Sam’s unexpected relationship over the years.

tragic loss

Kate and Sam became friends under tragic circumstances, as the Duchess was originally friends with the jockey’s younger brother Thomas.

Thomas died in 2004, just days after his 20th birthday. He was diagnosed with the bone cancer Ewing’s sarcoma in 1995.

Sam focused racing while dealing with the loss of his brother and was quick to reference him following his Grand National success, revealing that his initials were on his saddle.

After Thomas’s death, Kate organized a charity roller disco in London to raise money for a pediatric surgery ward named after him.

Kate and Sam at the roller disco in aid of Tom’s Ward


Dominic O’Neill)

Kate organized the fundraiser at the Renaissance Rooms in south London



She’s pictured at the event wearing yellow hot pants and a green sequin top, while Sam wore a bright pink blazer with an orange top.

royal matchmaking

After meeting at university and falling in love, Kate and Wills split in 2007. The couple discussed the brief breakup during their engagement interview.

Kate admitted: “At the time, I wasn’t very happy about it, but it made me a stronger person.

“You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn’t realized.

Kate and William announced their engagement in 2010



They said their split made them stronger


AFP/Getty Images)

“I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you’re younger. I really valued that time for me as well, although I didn’t think it at the time.”

William added: “We were both very young… we were both finding ourselves and being different characters. It was very much trying to find our own way and we were growing up, so it was just a bit of space and it worked out for the better.”

However before long they were back together, and Sam reportedly played a big part in their reunion.

Despite awkwardness surrounding the breakup, the jockey decided to invite both of them to his ‘Freakin Naughty-themed party’ at his family’s Oxfordshire manson.

According to MailOnline, Wills wore hot pants and a policeman helmet and Kate was dressed as a naughty nurse in fishnets.

They were reportedly seen in deep conversation during the evening, and within just a few weeks they were back together.

However Sam always plays down his role, saying in 2011: “There’s an idea that I was like Cupid with a bow and arrow. People love the idea that somebody put them back together, but they put themselves together far more.”

days out

Kate and Sam have been pictured together several times over the years, normally enjoying a day out at the races.

Back in 2008 they were seen laughing together at Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival, chatting as they looked through their race programmes.

They also attended each other’s weddings, and were seen arriving at the ceremonies in their finest outfits.

race message

Kate and Wills were clearly watching Saturday’s race as they were among the first to congratulate their pal on social media.

Taking to Twitter, they said: “Huge congratulations to @swaleycohen for winning the Grand National. What a way to retire!”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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