Kate Middleton & Prince William Talked Breakup & 'Shock' Proposal in Engagement Interview 11 Years Ago
Soon after they announced their engagement, the couple sat down for their first-ever joint interview — and it's still their longest to date.
The interview, which served as an intimate look at the beginnings of their relationship and the proposal, aired on ITV on the day they announced their engagement to the public. Kate, of course, was wearing her now-famous royal blue Issa dress — the ensemble that truly started the "Kate effect."
William popped the question a few weeks before the interview while the two were vacationing in Kenya with friends. While they had been discussing an impending engagement for a while, Kate was still surprised when the big moment arrived.
"It was a total shock when it came," Kate said. "There's a true romantic in there."
William added, "As every guy out there will know, it takes a certain amount of motivation to get yourself going. So I was planning it and then it just felt really right out in Africa. It was beautiful."
The 18-carat sapphire ring on Kate's hand made headlines on its own. The future royal showed off the sparkler, which once belonged to William's late mother, Princess Diana, while William spoke of the sentimental value behind the ring.
"Obviously, she's not going be around to share in all the fun and excitement, so this is my way of keeping her close to it all," he said of his late mother.
Will and Kate also discussed the origin of their relationship, starting with when they met as students at the University of St. Andrews. William said that they were friends for a year before they started dating, and after a laugh or two, things started "to blossom."
Kate admitted that when she first met William's father, Prince Charles, she was "really nervous," but that the Prince of Wales was welcoming and friendly from the start.
"It couldn't have gone easier for me," Kate said.
Meeting the Queen at Peter and Autumn Phillips's 2008 wedding went just as smoothly, the couple shared. And Kate's relatives, including mom Carole, dad Michael, sister Pippa and brother James, embraced William as part of the family early on.
"Mike and Carole have been really sort of loving and caring and really fun," William said. "They have been really welcoming towards me, so I've felt really a part of the family."
The couple also discussed their 2007 split, and how they grew — both together and as individuals – during their time apart.
"At the time, I wasn't very happy about it," Kate admitted. "But actually, it made me a stronger person. You find things about yourself that maybe you hadn't realized. I really valued that time for me."
There was a bit of foreshadowing, too. Kate spoke of her desire to help others and engage in charity work ("I really hope I can make a difference, even in the smallest way," she said), which she's done through her role as patron for organizations like Action on Addiction and the Art Room, in addition to her work to erasing the mental health stigma for children. The two also spoke of their desire for a family, which has now come to life through their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
And although the ring may be the same, William was adamant that there was no pressure on Kate to be the "next Diana."
"No one is trying to fill my mother's shoes," William said. "It's about carving your own future and your own destiny, and Kate will do a very good job at that."
And for the past 11 years, she's more than lived up to her husband's pre-wedding prediction.