Prince William's proposal fears with Kate Middleton led to untraditional engagement

The Duke of Cambridge popped the question in 2010

Prince William and Kate Middleton had been an item for nine years before he popped the question, but that doesn't mean he wasn't full of nerves!

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Although the pair didn't officially make the announcement until 16 November 2010, the Duke of Cambridge sweetly got down on one knee during a trip to Kenya with friends in 2010, presenting his future bride with his late mother Princess Diana's iconic sapphire and diamond engagement ring. But the 39-year-old later revealed that his proposal broke with tradition since he was too afraid to ask Kate's father Michael Middleton for his daughter's hand in marriage!

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He explained during their engagement interview with journalist Tom Bradby in 2010: "Well, I was torn between asking Kate's dad first and then the realisation that he might actually say 'no' dawned upon me.

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"So I thought if I ask Kate first then he can't really say no. So I did it that way round." The royal added: "I managed to speak to Mike soon after it happened really and then it sort of happened from there."


The couple pictured at their engagement photocall in 2010

It didn't seem to matter since Michael later told reporters: "We all think he's wonderful and we're extremely fond of him." And of course, William has become even closer to his in-laws since marrying Duchess Kate in 2011. 

By comparison, his brother Prince Harry reportedly asked Meghan Markle's mother Doria Ragland permission to marry the future Duchess.

William also revealed it took him a whopping three weeks before he decided to propose – and he carried the ring around with him everywhere.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got married at Westminster Abbey in 2011

"I had been carrying [the ring] around in my rucksack for about three weeks before [the proposal]," William told ITV. "Everywhere I went, I was keeping ahold of it, cause I knew if this thing disappeared, I'd be in a lot of trouble."

The couple – who met at St Andrew's University – got married in 2011 in a spectacular ceremony at Westminster Abbey, with Kate wearing an ivory silk tulle Alexander McQueen wedding dress. Fast-forward eleven years and William and Kate are now the proud parents to three children: Prince GeorgePrincess Charlotte and Prince Louis

Their engagement continues to be memorable and heartfelt for the pair, with William explaining at a reception marking the UK-Africa Investment Summit in 2020: "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. And when deciding where best to propose to Catherine, I could think of no more fitting place than Kenya to get down on one knee."

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