Kate Middleton Passes on Becoming Queen

Prince William has split from his girlfriend Kate Middleton, PEOPLEhas confirmed. The breakup was "amicable," according to a friend of the couple.

The prince, 24, and Middleton, 25, have been dating for nearly five years, after meeting at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

The pair are said to have grown increasingly independent of each other since their university days. William is currently taking an armored corps commander course in Dorset, around 125 miles west of London, and it has kept him from Middleton and her new life in London.

Middleton, who is an accessories buyer for the British fashion chain Jigsaw, also was having difficulties with the media pressure that came with being his long-term girlfriend.

Although she has been "brave," as one friend tells PEOPLE, the attention was an ongoing source of trouble. Earlier this month she won a public apology from a British newspaper after it printed a photograph of her heading to work.

The engagement talk peaked in December, when she appeared at his graduation from military college, sitting in a prominent seat along with her parents and two of his closest friends.

The tabloids in Britain have been increasingly hard on Kate and have been following her every move more and more. The pressure may of been too much for her. What pressure it would be to be the possible future Queen of England.

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