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Prince William discusses fears about Princess Kate's family's reaction amid royal proposal

The royals announced their engagement on 16 November 2010

kate william engagement
Nichola Murphy
Nichola MurphyWeddings Editor
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As senior members of the royal family, Prince William and his wife Princess Kate are used to following traditions, but there was nothing conventional about the way the royal popped the question in 2010!

MORE: Real reason Prince William took so long to propose to Princess Kate

Following a nine-year relationship, after meeting at St Andrews Unversity, the Prince of Wales asked his long-term girlfriend the all-important question during a trip to Kenya with friends. Evidently, Kate said yes and she was given William's late mother Princess Diana's iconic sapphire and diamond engagement ring, which she later showed off during their engagement photocall on 16 November 2010. 

WATCH: Which royal has the most expensive engagement ring?

However, Prince William admitted he was too afraid to ask Kate's father Michael Middleton for his daughter's hand in marriage in advance – and although they chatted to him afterwards, Kate still wasn't sure if her mother Carole knew, which made for an "awkward" situation.

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.

SHOP: 5 royal engagement ring replicas you can buy on Amazon: From Princess Kate to Princess Beatrice

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prince william kate middleton engagement ring

The couple pictured at their engagement photocall in 2010

"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."

It didn't seem to matter since Michael later told reporters: "We all think he's wonderful and we're extremely fond of him."

Meanwhile, the Princess said her mother was "absolutely over the moon" once she found out, and detailed the first time she saw her following her engagement. "Actually, we had quite an awkward situation because I knew, and I knew that William had asked my father, but I didn't know if my mother knew so I came back from Scotland and my mother didn't make it clear to me whether she knew or not. So both of us were there, sort of looking at each other and feeling quite awkward about it," she laughed. 

carole and michael middleton

The royal didn't discuss his proposal plans with Michael Middleton until after he was engaged

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

"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, because I knew if this thing disappeared, I'd be in a lot of trouble."

kate middleton prince william walking at wedding

The Prince and Princess of Wales got married at Westminster Abbey in 2011

The couple got married in 2011 in a spectacular ceremony at Westminster Abbey, with Kate wearing an ivory silk tulle Alexander McQueen wedding dress. William and Kate are now 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."

SEE: 10 hidden royal wedding shoes that deserved more attention: Meghan Markle, Zara Tindall, more

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