Prince William and Kate Middleton
Tim Graham/Getty; Tim Ockenden/AP
04/14/2007 at 08:15 AM EDT
has split from his girlfriend Kate Middleton
, PEOPLE has 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.
A spokesman at the prince's office at Clarence House says they will not be commenting. "We don't comment on Prince William's private
life," the rep says. Britain's The Sun
newspaper first reported Saturday that the pair had reached an "amicable agreement" to separate.
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. (Speculation continued over whether the couple would get engaged.
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.