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November 16, 2011 07:05 PM

A year ago Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2010, Kate Middleton‘s life changed forever.

Though already secretly engaged, that was the day the couple decided to tell senior members of the royal family – and then the entire world – that they were getting married.

Making the announcement, the two spoke about how William proposed with the special engagement ring that had belonged to his late mother, Diana, while Kate recounted her “excitement and shock.”

From there, the attractive young brunette from Bucklebury, Berkshire, suddenly became one of the most-discussed people on the planet.

PHOTOS: Prince William & Kate Middleton: Their Fairy-Tale Romance

Today, one year later, the couple are apart, though only briefly. The Duchess of Cambridge is in London, where she continues to focus on finding various charities and causes in which she thinks she can make a difference, as those close to her put it.

William, meanwhile, is 300 miles away in Anglesey, North Wales, training to become a captain and main pilot of one of the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Sea King helicopters.

Fortunately, in the coming weeks there will be occasions to celebrate together, including their first Christmas as a married couple – traditionally spent by the royals at Sandringham, the Norfolk estate.

Then comes her 30th birthday, in January.

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