Kate Middleton and Prince William were secretly engaged for weeks before they told their families, including the Queen, their happy news – but, according to a book, when they were finally ready to make the announcement to the world, things moved very quickly
More than 10 years ago after almost a decade of dating, Prince William finally got down on one knee to ask the now Duchess of Cambridge to marry him.
The life-changing moment took place during a romantic holiday in Kenya where they were spending the night in a remote wooden cabin near Lake Rutundu.
Kate, who turns 40 on Sunday, has since described the moment as “very romantic” and wrote that it had been a “wonderful 24 hours” in the cabin’s guestbook.
But knowing the media frenzy that would await when announcing their intention to marry – William and Kate decided to keep their engagement secret for a little while.
In her book Kate: The Future Queen, royal expert Katie Nicholl claims that Kate put her new engagement ring – which had previously belonged to Princess Diana – in a safe.
But on November 16, 2010, they decided it was time to tell the world they were getting married.
However, William had a very important job to do first, because as a senior member of the royal family, he legally had to ask for the Queen’s consent first.
Love the royals? Sign up for the Mirror’s daily newsletter to get all the latest news on the Queen, Charles, Kate, Wills, Meghan, Harry and the rest of The Firm. Click here to sign up.
According to Katie, the Queen was having breakfast with Prince Philip when she got the call from her grandson.
She claims that the monarch was “thrilled to receive William’s call, albeit a little surprised at the suddenness of the announcement”.
A source told her: “The Queen had no idea that there would be an announcement that morning.
“It was rather hurried, because William was apparently worried about it leaking out.”
Katie writes: “William enjoyed outfoxing the media, and this was one announcement he wanted to make himself. The last thing he wanted was a newspaper getting the scoop, as had happened with his father’s engagement to Camilla.”
After contacting the Queen, William then called his father Prince Charles as well as Kate’s parents as his excited bride-to-be sat at his side.
Katie claims that when telling Prince Harry his news, his response was a very excited one, saying he “turned the air blue with a string of expletives” before joking that it “took long enough”.
It was then time to tell the staff, and William’s fears of the news leaking meant they wanted to make the official announcement that same morning.
Palace staff were overjoyed by their boss’ happy news, but they had just two hours to get everything ready.
Later that day, the couple appeared at Buckingham Palace in front of photographers to announce the news and Kate showed off her gorgeous ring.
Months later, the couple tied the knot at Westminster Abbey and now almost 11 years on they have three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
And with Kate celebrating her milestone birthday at the weekend, there’s no doubt her husband and children will be by her side to celebrate with her.