When Prince William announced his engagement back November 2010, the world knew very little about his college sweetheart Kate Middleton, despite the fact that they had been dating for eight years. But that all changed when the couple sat down for a candid television interview with the BBC’s Tom Bradby.
It was during that joint interview — their first ever — that the notoriously private William revealed how he popped the question. “It was about three weeks ago on holiday in Kenya. We had a little private time away together with some friends and I just decided that it was the right time really,” he told Bradby. “We had been talking about marriage for a while so it wasn’t a massively big surprise.”
Duchess Kate, who was wearing her now-famous royal blue Issa wrap dress, disagreed. “It was a total shock when it came,” she said. “There’s a true romantic in there.” Later, William explained that he had been carrying the 18-carat sapphire ring, which once belonged to his late mother, Princess Diana, in his backpack for three weeks leading up to the proposal.
“Everywhere I went I was keeping hold of it because I knew this thing, if it disappeared I would be in a lot of trouble,” he explained. “You hear a lot of horror stories about proposing and things going horribly wrong, but it went really, really well and I was really pleased she said yes.”
William went on to share that he didn’t ask Kate’s dad, Mike Middleton for permission (“I thought if I ask Kate first then he can’t really say no.”) and he tried to impress her by cooking “amazing fancy dinners” when they were students at University of St. Andrews. Kate admitted she was “really nervous” before meeting her future father-in-law Prince Charles and that Queen Elizabeth was “very friendly” the first time they were introduced at a wedding.
The couple even discussed their 2007 split. “At the time, I wasn’t happy about it,” Kate admitted. “But actually, it made me a stronger person. You find things out about yourself that maybe you hadn’t realized. I really valued that time for me.”
The future king and queen tied the knot on April 29, 2011, at the Westminster Abbey in London at 11:00 a.m. local time. The massive spectacle was televised worldwide and watched by nearly 27 million British viewers and more than 23 million Americans. William and Kate are now parents of Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2. They are due to welcome baby No. 3 in the spring.
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