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Video: Prince: ‘Real relief’ to announce engagement

  1. Transcript of: Prince: ‘Real relief’ to announce engagement

    MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: But let us begin, where else, but Buckingham Palace . TODAY national correspondent Natalie Morales has made her way over there overnight. Morning to you, Nat .

    NATALIE MORALES reporting: Good morning to you, Meredith . And could the headlines be any bigger or bolder here. As you see, the Daily Telegraph , " Kate 's Very Special"; the Daily Mail, "With This Ring, Di Thee Wed." Of course, a lot of the focus on the ring, in fact, but they've been waiting a long time for this day here, as you know, of course, as long as pretty much Kate Middleton herself over the better part of the last eight years. And, of course, as you mentioned, the spotlight shining brighter than ever and the couple did not disappoint as they shared their first interview as royals now newly engaged. The royal couple, who may one day be king and queen, yesterday talked about their engagement. So how did William pop the question?

    Ms. KATE MIDDLETON: We had a wonderful holiday in Africa and it was -- it was out there and in a very quiet lodge. And no, it was very romantic and it was very personal.

    Offscreen Voice #1: And did he get down on one knee?

    Prince WILLIAM: You'll have to wait and see. That's going to stay a secret, Peter .

    Offscreen Voice #2: Prince William , why did it take you so long to propose?

    Prince WILLIAM: Well, in our society, I don't remember how many years it's been, forget the memory. I also didn't realize it was a race, otherwise, I probably would have been a lot quicker. But also the timing is right now. We're both very, very happy and I'm very glad that I have done it.

    MORALES: In her first interview before the world, a rather nervous Kate talked about becoming part of the royal family .

    Ms. MIDDLETON: It's quite a daunting prospect, but, you know, hopefully, I'll take it in my stride. And William 's a great teacher so he'll be able to help me along the way.

    MORALES: And that fabulous sapphire and diamond ring , it was William 's mother's back in 1981 . Kate 's parents expressed their joy.

    Mr. MICHAEL MIDDLETON (Kate's Father): Carol and I are absolutely delighted by today's announcement and thrilled at the prospect of a wedding sometime next year.

    MORALES: A reaction echoed around the country.

    Unidentified Woman: I heard the news and it was absolutely wonderful.

    CAMILLA, Duchess of Cornwall: I'm just so happy for both of them. They are so happy, and it's wicked.

    Prince CHARLES: Obviously thrilled, thank you very much . Practicing for long enough.

    MORALES: A cheeky reference to the eight years the couple have been dating, And in their first sit-down interview...

    Mr. TOM BRADBY (Royal Correspondent, ITV): Congratulations.

    MORALES: ... William and Kate talked to ITN 's correspondent Tom Bradby about how they were feeling.

    Mr. BRADBY: It has to be said, you both look incredibly happy and relaxed.

    Prince WILLIAM: We are, we are. We're like sort of ducks, sort of very calm on the surface, but little feet going under the water. But, no, it's been really exciting. We've been talking about it for a long time, so for us it's kind of -- it's a real relief and it's really nice to be able to tell everybody.

    Mr. BRADBY: And you knew you were going to do this from day one of the whole day, or you waited until the end?

    Prince WILLIAM: I -- I'd been planning it for a while, but as every guy out there will know, it's -- 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 .

    Ms. MIDDLETON: I really didn't expect it at all. I thought he might have sort maybe thought about it, but, no, it was a total shock when it came and very excited.

    Mr. BRADBY: People are bound to ask, you know, it's a bit of an obvious question, but children, do you want lots of children? Is, you know, see what comes? What's your...

    Prince WILLIAM: I think we'll take it one step at a time . We'll sort of get over the marriage thing first and then maybe look at the kids. But obviously, you know, we want a family. So, you know, we'll have to start thinking about that.

    MORALES: Now of course, the royal wedding planning is already well under way; no date set just yet, but of course as you've heard, there's talk that it could be a spring or summer of 2011 wedding. Prince William has also said to be favoring Westminster Abbey as the location. That's where the queen herself was married and where the funeral for his mother was held. He's also reportedly said he wants this to be a low-key affair. But as you can imagine, that will hardly be the case. Many here already talking about this wedding as being the wedding of the century. More than a billion worldwide are expected

NBC News and news services
updated 11/16/2010 10:22:08 AM ET 2010-11-16T15:22:08

Britain's Prince William will marry his longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton, next spring or summer in London, the royal family announced Tuesday. A spokesman for Prince Charles said Prince William gave Kate Middleton the engagement ring that belonged to his late mother, Princess Diana.

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The ring is an oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds.

The engagement announcement ends years of rumored splits, reconciliations and will-they, won’t-they speculation. It will be the biggest royal wedding since Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer almost 30 years ago.

Video: Prince: ‘Real relief’ to announce engagement (on this page)

Prince Charles' Clarence House office said the heir to the British throne was "delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton." It said the couple got engaged last month during a vacation in Kenya.

The statement also said that William had informed his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and also sought the permission of Middleton's father.

Video: William and Kate ready for their royal close-up (on this page)

Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip "are absolutely delighted for them both," Buckingham Palace said. According to the U.K. newspaper the Sun, soon after the announcement of the engagement, a tweet appeared on the monarchy's recently launched Twitter feed reading: “The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are absolutely delighted at the news of Prince William and Catherine Middleton's engagement.”

A tweet from Prince Charles said: “The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton.”

Prince William's younger brother also chimed in. "I am delighted that my brother popped the question," said Prince Harry in a statement. "It means I get a sister, which I have always wanted."

Technolog: Queen tweets royal delight for engaged couple

Kate Middleton's father Michael Middleton read a statement on behalf of both parents outside of their home near the Berkshire village of Bucklebury, saying that they were "thrilled at the prospect of a wedding sometime next year."

Newsweek: Kate will be Britain’s first thoroughly modern princess

Prime Minister David Cameron was delighted, too, wishing the couple "great joy in their life together." He said he announced the news during a Cabinet meeting, and it was greeted by cheers and "a great banging of the table."

The couple were to give their first joint interview later Tuesday. Middleton has rarely, if ever, spoken about William in public. (One rare slip came during William’s graduation from Sandhurst in December 2006: "I love the uniform. It's so, so sexy," she said.)

'National celebration'
The news was not a surprise. Kate and William's engagement was the safest bet in Britain, considered so certain that bookies had stopped taking bets on a 2011 wedding. The date avoids London's Summer Olympics and the queen's Diamond Jubilee, both being held in 2012.

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Visions of a royal wedding were stoked by the visit several weeks ago of Kate's parents — Michael and Carole Middleton — to Balmoral, Queen Elizabeth II's 50,000-acre estate in Scotland. It marked the first time the Middletons had been invited to such an intimate royal gathering.

Britain's royal watchers said the invitation to Balmoral was a way of welcoming the middle-class Middletons into the very highest realm of British society. Middleton’s parents worked for British Airways before founding Party Pieces, a successful party-supply business.
Slideshow: The lives of princes (on this page)

"We thought it was going to happen; now that it has, it's an opportunity for a welcome national celebration," said Patrick Jephson, former secretary to Princess Diana.

Wedding venue
Recent speculation about the site of the event has focused on Westminster Abbey, where the funeral for the prince's mother, Princess Diana, was held in 1997. But the palace remained mum on details. "Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course," the statement said.

Video: Prince William, Kate Middleton engaged! (on this page) For pomp itself, the ceremony is likely to fall between the extraordinary spectacle of Charles and Diana's 1981 wedding in St. Paul's Cathedral and Charles' subdued second marriage to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at Windsor Guildhall in 2005.

Clarence House said after the wedding, the couple will live in North Wales, where William is based with the RAF.

Story: Inner circle stayed mum on engagement news

Middleton will now be protected by Scotland Yard, and William recently requested a female bodyguard for her, royal expert and News of the World correspondent Robert Jobson said on TODAY.

Image: Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton pose for a photograph in St. James's Palace in central London
Paul Hackett  /  Reuters
This closeup taken at the Nov. 16 press conference announcing the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton shows that the engagement ring is that of William's mother, Princess Diana (inset).

Jobson also speculated that the pair will be given new titles before their wedding. William will likely be known as the Duke of Cambridge and she will be known as the Duchess of Cambridge, he said.

Couple's courtship
William, who is second in line to the throne after Charles, once told an interviewer he wouldn't marry "until I'm at least 28 or maybe 30." He turned 28 in June.

Story: Royal romance: From college to wedding bells

Middleton, also 28, met William at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. They shared a student house in the seaside university town, where William initially studied art history before switching to geography.

Video: Can Kate Middleton handle spotlight? (on this page)

In 2002, William paid 200 pounds to sit in the front row at a charity fashion show where Middleton was modeling in a daring outfit — they are thought to have started dating the following year.

She attended Marlborough College, an elite private school, where she played tennis and field hockey before studying art history at St. Andrews.

Video: Royal watcher: It’s a Westminster wedding (on this page) Once the couple's relationship became public with a joint photo on a Swiss skiing holiday in 2004, Middleton became a media darling — especially after both graduated, ending a media agreement to leave William alone while he was at university. With her confident good looks and long brown hair, Middleton became one of the most photographed women in Britain.

The brunette fashion buyer was photographed attending public events, going to work, even getting a parking ticket — a level of attention that evoked the romance of William's parents, Charles and Diana.

Brief split
William was determined that Middleton would not suffer the same media hounding endured by his mother, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997. He appealed through his office for the media to leave her alone.

In 2007 Middleton filed a harassment complaint against a newspaper. She accepted an apology and admission of error from the Daily Mirror.

It was widely thought the couple would soon announce their engagement. The retail chain Woolworths even commissioned mugs, plates and other Wills-and-Kate memorabilia.

Slideshow: A royal couple’s long courtship (on this page)

But only weeks later in 2007, media reported — and Clarence House did not deny — that the couple had broken up. Newspapers pored over the apparent end of the relationship in long stories sourced to anonymous "friends." William's army training kept them apart, said some. The media pressure was too much for her, said others. Still others murmured that senior courtiers felt Middleton's middle-class background wasn't royal material.

Soon, however, the same newspapers were reporting that the pair had rekindled their romance. They were photographed leaving a London nightclub together, and Middleton was snapped on a stag hunting expedition at the royal family's Balmoral estate alongside Prince Charles.

Related on BLTWY: Engagement rings of the elite

When William graduated from his first flying course in the spring of 2008, Middleton applauded from the sidelines — although his training was not without incident. The Ministry of Defense confirmed that William had landed a helicopter on Middleton's parents' lawn during a training flight and flew a Chinook to a friend's stag party on the Isle of Wight.

William later served a two-month deployment with the Royal Navy before training to become a Sea King search and rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force. He recently completed that training.

It has been widely reported that for the last six months, the pair have lived together on the Welsh island of Anglesey, close to the RAF base where the prince is based. William is also a frequent visitor to the Middleton family house in the affluent village of Bucklebury, 50 miles west of London.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photos: A royal couple's long courtship

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  1. William and Kate

    On April 29, 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton were married, eight years after they first met at university. The prince popped the question five months earlier to his longtime girlfriend during a vacation to Kenya. Take a look at their top moments.

    Official wedding photo The online version of the royal wedding's official program includes a never-before-seen portrait of the couple, shot by Mario Testino. Testino also shot their official engagement pics. (Mario Testino / Art Partner) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A pre-wedding outing

    Kate Middleton, or the Duchess of Cambridge as she is known after the wedding, waves as she walks with Prince William in Darwen, England, on April 11, less than three weeks until the royal wedding. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Royal couple mania!

    Excited fans line up to see Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton arrive at the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy in Darwen, England, on April 11. The prince was in the town to officially open the school. (Lindsey Parnaby / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Weather or not

    Heavy rain didn't prevent Kate Middleton and Prince William from thrilling the crowd that gathered to see them as they arrive at the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy in northern England on April 11. (Phil Noble / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A perfect flip

    Prince William looks on as Kate Middleton tosses a pancake during a visit to City Hall on March 8, 2011, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Indigo / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Wedding blooms

    Britain's Prince William and his fiancee, Kate Middleton, speak to wedding florist Rachel Gibson during a visit to the Greenmount Agriculture & Food College, in Antrim, Northern Ireland, on March 8, 2011. (Paul Faith / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Remembering Christchurch

    Prince William looks on as his fiancée Kate Middleton signs the book of condolence in memory of those who lost their lives in the Christchurch earthquake at the New Zealand High Commission in London. (David Parker / WPA Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Romantic homecoming

    Prince William and Kate Middleton returned to the university where they met and fell in love on Feb. 25 with an official visit to St. Andrews on the east coast of Scotland. (Danny Lawson / WPA Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Pouring some bubbly

    Prince William and his blushing bride-to-be Kate Middleton performed a bit of royal duty, making a rare public appearance in Anglesey, Wales to christen Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station’s brand new lifeboat, the "Hereford Endeavour" on Feb. 24, 2011. (Phil Noble / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Official engagement portraits

    The couple pose in their official engagement portraits, taken by photographer Mario Testino in the Cornwall Room at St James's Palace in London on Nov. 25, 2010. (Mario Testino / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Engaged at last

    William and Kate pose for the media at St. James's Palace in London on Nov. 16, after they announced their engagement. The couple are to wed April 29, 2011. (Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Diana's ring

    This close-up shows that the engagement ring Prince William gave Kate Middleton was the one that had belonged to his mother, Princess Diana. The ring is an oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds. (Paul Hackett / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Royal couple

    Months of speculation about William and Kate's engagement grew more intense when the couple attended Harry Meade and Rosie Bradford's wedding at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul on Oct. 23, 2010, in Northleach near Cheltenham, England. (Indigo via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Chic chapeau

    In an eye-catching hat, Kate Middleton attends the wedding of Nicholas van Cutsem and Alice at The Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks on Aug. 14, 2009, in London. Middleton had been named to Vanity Fair's international best-dressed list in July 2008. (Indigo via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Wedding guests

    Prince William and Kate Middleton attend the wedding of friend Chiara Hunt in Salzburg, Austria, on Sept. 6, 2008. Two years and two months later, it was announced that the prince and his longtime girlfriend had finally become engaged. (Ikon Pictures via Rex USA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A jolly good time

    Prince Harry, Prince William's girlfriend Kate Middleton, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall laugh together as they watch the Order of the Garter procession at Windsor Castle on June 16, 2008. (Tim Graham / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Together again

    Prince William and Kate Middleton at a Royal Air Force graduation ceremony held at RAF Cranwell, England on April 11, 2008. Middleton's accompanying the prince as he was awarded his RAF wings was a clear indication that the couple had reconciled after a widely reported split a year earlier. (Michael Dunlea / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. A day at the races

    Kate Middleton attends a horse race at the Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire, western England, in this March 16, 2007, photograph. (Eddie Keogh / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. On the slopes

    Prince William and Kate Middleton were spotted skiing in Klosters, Switzerland, on March 19, 2008, one of a number of public appearances together that showed that they had reconciled after a reported April 2007 breakup. (Rex USA) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. They're off!

    Prince William and Kate Middleton on the first day of the Cheltenham Race Festival in Gloucestershire, on March 13, 2007. One month later, the media reported that Middleton and the prince had broken up. (Stephen Lock / Rex USA) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Separate seats

    Prince Harry (front left) and Prince William (on Harry's left) are clearly enjoying a performance at the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium in London on July 1, 2007. So is Kate Middleton (upper right corner). At the time, rumor had it that William and Kate had reconciled after their split in April 2007, but they sat separately, insisting that they were "just good friends." (Leon Neal / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Sports fans

    Prince William and Kate Middleton attend a rugby match in London in this Feb. 10, 2007, photo. (Richard Heathcote / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Paparazzi prey

    Photographers snap pictures of Kate Middleton as she leaves her Chelsea home on Jan. 9, 2007, her 25th birthday. The growing media attention that she attracted at this time prompted warnings to the press from Prince Charles, Prince William and Middleton's lawyers. As a result, two newspaper groups decided to cease publishing paparazzi photos of Middleton. (Solo via ZUMA Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Lady in red

    Kate Middleton arrives at the Sovereign's Parade at The Royal Military Academy in Camberley, west of London, on Dec. 15, 2006. (Ben Gurr / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Guest of honor

    Kate Middleton is seen at the wedding of Laura Parker Bowles and Harry Lopes at St Cyriac's Church, Lacock on May 6, 2006, in Wiltshire, England. (Tim Graham / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Model behavior

    Kate Middleton models on the catwalk at a student fashion show attended by Prince William on March 26, 2002, in St. Andrews, Scotland. The prince reportedly paid 200 pounds to sit in the first row and watch Middleton model a sheer dress over a black bandeau and bikini bottoms. (M Neilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Heads on a platter

    In November 2006, British retailer Woolworths showed a china plate representing Prince William and Kate Middleton as a commemorative gift for their wedding. Four years later the prediction finally came true when the royal family announced that the couple were engaged. (Woolworths via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Mario Testino / Art Partner
    Above: Slideshow (27) A royal couple’s long courtship
  2. Image: Storms And Strong Winds Batter UK Coastal Areas
    Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images
    Slideshow (51) The lives of princes
  3. Image:
    Jayne Fincher/Getty; Davidson/O'Neill/Rex via InStyle.com
    Slideshow (13) Kate Middleton’s princess style

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