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Kate Middleton enjoyed this rare privilege before becoming a royal

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been married for ten years

Danielle Stacey

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are enjoying the school holidays with their children and are thought to be among the family members to have visited the Queen at Balmoral this summer.

But did you know that Kate was given a rare invitation to the monarch's Scottish estate before her marriage to Prince William?

READ: 20 incredible photos of the royals enjoying their summer holiday at Balmoral

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WATCH: William and Kate visit former university where they fell in love

The royal girlfriend was pictured in the Highlands with her future father-in-law, the Prince of Wales, back in August 2007, months after she and William reconciled their relationship following a brief split.

Kate, William and their friends were also spotted in Scotland in 2009, and the following year, the future Duchess' parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, were invited to the Queen's estate.

Kate's appearances with the royal family in Scotland sparked rumours that an engagement was imminent. William finally popped the question to his long-term university girlfriend during a trip to Kenya in 2010 and their engagement was announced to the public shortly afterwards.

MORE: Has Meghan Markle ever stayed with the Queen at Balmoral?

MORE: The Queen takes great-grandchildren for a special picnic during summer holiday

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William and Kate revisited their university in May

Scotland is a special place for the Cambridges as the couple met at the University of St Andrews in 2001 and recently returned for a trip down memory lane in May 2021.

Future royal bride Lady Diana Spencer was already engaged when she joined Prince Charles at Balmoral shortly before their July 1981 wedding, with the couple posing for a series of photos during a countryside walk.

Similarly, the Queen rarely invites partners to stay at her Sandringham estate before marriage, but Meghan Markle was believed to have become the first fiancée to spend Christmas with the royals in Norfolk 2017.

Princess Beatrice's future husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, also joined his fiancée at Sandringham for Christmas 2019.

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