Kate Middleton & Prince William's College Pal: They Haven't Changed at All

04/28/2011 at 04:30 PM EDT

Royal Wedding: Prince William, Kate Middleton, Laura Warshauer, St. Andrews
Kate Middleton and Laura Warshauer at St. Andrews
Courtesy Laura Warshauer
When Laura Warshauer arrived at St. Andrews University's St. Salvator's Hall in the fall of 2001, she made fast friends with "Will Wales," who lived down the hall, and Kate Middleton, a downstairs neighbor.

"I remember the first time I met Kate, thinking, 'Wow,' " says Warshauer, a singer-songwriter from Fair Haven, N.J. "She just had a lovely way about her." As for Prince William, "When he was around, it wasn't like there was all this pomp and circumstance. He could literally just walk around as a normal guy and people didn't make a big deal of it."

Warshauer has warm memories of their dorm life together – like when the famously sweet-toothed Will was popping by to raid her stash of cookies ("I remember him saying, 'Laura, do you have any biscuits?'") and flip through her issues of Hello! magazine, or when Kate was sitting on her bed, learning to pluck a few chords on her blue guitar.

Warshauer was also there at the end of the year when Kate was voted "prettiest girl" in the dorm.



Kate Middleton & Prince William's College Pal: They Haven't Changed at All| Kate Middleton, Prince William

Prince William (left) with friends at St. Andrews

Courtesy Laura Warshauer

"There were applause, and she was wearing this cool black off-the-shoulder shirt," says Kate's former dorm-mate. "She's very grounded, and that sense of ease comes through in the way she carries herself and the way she just graciously walked up and accepted this award."

"She's obviously stunning – but she doesn't act in any way like, 'Oh, I'm this gorgeous person,' " she adds. "Kate was just genuine. And I don't feel like she'll ever change."

Nostaligia for the royal couple's fairy-tale beginning inspired Warshauer to write them a song for their wedding called "To Will and Kate, Meet Me at Exit 109."

And though she lost touch with them after returning to the States the following year, she still marvels at time they shared.

"There was just such an innocence about it – I look at my pictures, and I can see the romance and the magic," Warshauer recalls.

"When they announced their engagement, Will talked about teasing Kate, ("She's got a really naughty sense of humor," said the Prince) I was like, okay, these people haven't changed at all since I knew them in that freshman dorm!"

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