It’s been 12 years since Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with his mother's £300,000 sapphire and diamond ring at the foothills of Mount Kenya.
The Duke of Cambridge had been travelling around the country with Kate for three weeks with the engagement ring stashed in his rucksack before deciding Lake Rutundu was the perfect place to pop the question.
Revealing the emotional reason why he chose Kenya as the destination, William explained, “The African continent holds a very special place in my heart. It is the place my father took my brother and me shortly after our mother died.
“When deciding where best to propose to Catherine, I could think of no more fitting place than Kenya to get down on one knee.”
The prince also said that he was determined to use his late mother, Princess Diana’s engagement ring as a "way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement."
Speaking in their engagement interview, he added, “We had been talking about marriage for a while, so it wasn’t a massively big surprise."
Five months after the proposal on 29 April 2011, William and Kate married at Westminster Abbey. There were 2,000 guests, with 9,000 journalists covering the event and billions watching worldwide.
On the day of the wedding, the Queen conferred a dukedom on William, meaning the couple then became known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The couple’s married life together began in Anglesey, Wales, where William worked as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. Then in December 2012, their life took another joyful turn as Kate’s first pregnancy was announced.
The duchess was so ill with morning sickness it was rumoured that she was having twins, but Prince George arrived solo on 22 July 2013. He was followed in 2015 by Princess Charlotte, and then in 2018 by Prince Louis.
As podcaster Michelle points out, navigating life with three young children seemed to bring them even closer together. “They’re very aligned on their parenting. It’s clear there’s real teamwork… If one goes to an engagement, the other is usually at home looking after the children. It just seems to work for them.”
Since then, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis have been stealing the hearts of the nation on a regular basis.
Although devoted, hands-on parents, William and Kate also make time for their royal duties.
It’s thanks to their modern ways that the couple’s popularity continues to soar, and when they visited the Caribbean in March this year, it was again evident how successful their partnership is.
Richard Palmer, who was part of the official press pack on the trip, says, “Their body language on the tour was that they are very much in love… they complement each other perfectly. Kate is a smart cookie, and William is lucky to have her.”
Robert agrees, saying, “There is no doubt the adage ‘behind every great man there is a great woman’ has never been truer than in the case of William and Catherine. William’s marriage to Catherine has grounded him. They are equals and they are friends, as well as lovers and parents.”
William met Kate when they were both 19 and studying at Andrew's University. They were good friends before they moved into a shared house with other pals, where romance blossomed.
Aside from a brief split in 2007, the couple had been dating for eight years when William decided to pop the question.
Article taken from Ok!'s royal special William At 40. Pick up at your local newsagent for just £5.99 or you can purchase the special edition magazine online now here!
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