Kate Middleton "did not have it easy" from the media in the early days of her relationship with Prince William, according to a royal expert.
The comments came after a TikTok video showing snaps of the Cambridges partying in their youth went viral, racking up more than five million views and 500,000 likes.
In it, pictures show Kate and William dancing the night away in fancy London nightclubs and drunkenly hobbling into taxis looking worse for wear.
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Many appear to have been taken by professional snappers, waiting outside the swanky establishments to capture a glimpse of the couple when they're removed from the pomp and ceremony of royal life.
"Party hard like normal young people," was the caption.
For royal expert Daniela Elser, there is a "dark truth" behind the images, with issues starting after the royal pair graduated from St Andrews University and moved to London in 2005.
"For nearly five full years, Kate was chased, harangued, dogged and generally harassed," Elser writes for news.com.au.
As evidence she cites several snaps, from one of Kate in a supermarket wearing trackies to others at airports and train stations.
She also claims that paparazzi would often shout abuse at Kate to get a reaction.
"A photo of Kate making some terrible face or losing it was far more valuable than her just going about her business," she said.
Things got so bad that William's people were eventually forced to put out a statement addressing the harassment. "He wants more than anything for it to stop," it read.
Elser went on to praise Kate's "poise and grace" in handling the paparazzi who on one occasion paid scaffolders working on an apartment next to hers in Chelsea to spy on her movements.
Elser writes: "Kate did not have it easy by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, she got the bloke and will one day get her very own crown but were her years of royal girlfriend-dom a non-stop, giddy ride of partying in Mayfair?
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"No bloody way.
"Just imagine having to be so eternally careful; to always have to be on your guard. And all of this was before the really hard, dull work of being a working royal even began."
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