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William: Kate Isn’t “Trying to Fill My Mother’s Shoes”

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She's got the engagement ring that Prince Charles once gave to Princess Diana, but Prince William says there is "no pressure" for Kate Middleton to emulate his late mother.

"It's about carving your own future," he said Tuesday during his first post-engagement interview. "No one is trying to fill my mother's shoes."

Related: PHOTOS: William and Kate's eight-year romance

Giving Middleton, 28, his mother's engagement ring "is my way of keeping her close to it all," he said.

His mother was killed in a car crash in 1997, the year after she and William's father, Prince Charles, divorced.

"I would love to have met her," Middleton said. "She was an inspirational woman."

Related: PHOTOS: Stars gone too soon

Of their wedding, the prince, 28, said, "Obviously, she is not going to be around to share in the fun and excitement of it all."

The two appeared more jovial when discussing their engagement and eight-year relationship.

The prince revealed that he carried around his mother's engagement ring in Kenya in a rucksack for three weeks before he popped the question.

Related: PHOTOS: Amazing celeb wedding rings

William said he had been planning to pop the question for a while but added, "As every guy out there will know, it takes time a certain amount of motivation to get yourself going."

He said he was torn between asking her first if she'd marry him — or asking her father for permission. Realizing her father might say no, he said he asked her first.

"It just felt really right out in Africa and was beautiful at the time," he said of his proposal (though he didn't reveal how he popped the question).

Related: PHOTOS: Unforgettable celeb weddings

As for the long-term romance (they met at St. Andrews University in Scotland), he joked, "She had 10 or 20 pictures of me up on her wall at university."

Middleton played off him well: "No," she replied back, "it was a Levi's ad."

"It was me in the Levi's," he playfully snapped back.

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