Kate Middleton met her prince at university, but didn’t walk down the aisle at Westminster Abbey wearing her first tiara until she was 29.
When the couple finally announced their engagement in November 2010, Charles famously joked: “They have been practising long enough.”
Prince William’s family seemed convinced Kate was the one and were confident she would make a good addition to the Royal Family, so why did he put off asking that all important question?
Unlike his parents and brother, the now Duke of Cambridge waited until the couple had known each other for ten years before they exchanged their vows at Westminster Abbey.
They were good friends at university and lived together before their romance blossomed, so many hoped William would pop the question fairly sharpish and there was reportedly a lot of pressure on him to do so.
But he refused – and his reasoning was reportedly all because of his parents.
In her book The Making of a Royal Romance, royal expert Katie Nicholl claims William vowed he would never be pressured into marriage before he was ready.
She claims he learnt from his parents ill-fated relationship and was determined he wouldn’t do the same.
She writes: “He was aware his father had been pressured into marrying Diana because she was deemed the suitable bride.
“He was reluctant to bow to similar pressure and vowed not to be hurried at the altar. He made his feelings clear, telling a journalist in an off-guard moment that he had no plans of getting married any time soon.”
According to the International Business Times, he said: “Look, I’m only 22 for God’s sake. I’m too young to marry at my age. I don’t want to get married until I am at least 28 or maybe 30.”
Kate Middleton before she was royal – from nights out to amazing holidays
When William decided decided the time was right, he planned a very romantic proposal.
In October 2020, a month before the official announcement, he whisked Kate off to Kenya and they travelled around the country before heading to Lake Rutundu.
According to royal expert Katie Nicholl, he booked a log cabin for their stay and the couple spent the day fishing (unsuccessfully) for rainbow trout.
She claims that when they returned home William took Kate out onto the veranda, got down on one knee and proposed.
The following morning it was time to check out and head home, but not before they both wrote sweet notes in the lodge’s guestbook.
Their cute messages hint at the romantic and historical holiday, although of course at the time nobody would have known exactly how special it had been.
Kate wrote: “Thank you for such a wonderful 24 hours!
“Sadly no fish to be found but we had fun trying. I love the warm fires and candle lights—so romantic. Hope to be back soon.”
She signed off Catherine Middleton.
William wrote: “20th-21st October 2010. Such fun to be back!
“Brought more clothes this time! Looked after so well. Thank you guys! Look forward to next time, soon I hope.”
Kate and William didn’t officially announce their engagement until the following month.
A statement from Clarence House at 11am on Tuesday, November 16 read: “His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton are engaged to be married.