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Video: Pal: ‘Grounded’ Kate will be great princess

  1. Transcript of: Pal: ‘Grounded’ Kate will be great princess

    LAUER: All right, interesting tidbit there, Natalie . Thank you very much . Ken Wharfe was Princess Diana 's chief bodyguard for seven years and handled security for Princes William and Harry . Jessica Hay is a longtime friend of Kate Middleton . Good morning to both of you.

    Mr. WHARFE: Yeah, good morning.

    Ms. JESSICA HAY (Friend of Kate Middleton): Good morning. How are you?

    LAUER: I'm fine, thanks. Jessica , let me start with you. I know you went to school with Kate , you've known her since, I think, you were 13. You played sports together.

    Ms. HAY: Yeah.

    LAUER: First of all, how did she break the news of this engagement to you? How did you find out?

    Ms. HAY: It was via phone, but it was awhile ago, quite awhile ago. But obviously nothing could be said, so I kept my mouth firmly shut.

    LAUER: Yeah, was it hard to keep the secret? I mean, it's one of the biggest secrets in the UK over the past, you know, couple of decades. How hard was it?

    Ms. HAY: I think if you know Kate , you would -- you'd be able to keep a secret that she tell -- if she tells you something personal, you're able to keep it. She's such a supportive person. I couldn't wish for a better friend.

    LAUER: You know -- you know, people really want to know what she's going to be like as a princess and perhaps the future queen of England . Talk to me a little bit about her qualities. You say she's a supportive person. What else do we need to know about Kate that's going to tell us how she'll do in the role of princess, for example?

    Ms. HAY: I think -- I think what'll make her a great princess is that she's very grounded and she cares about people. But more often than not, she will -- she will do what she wants to do. She's very, very independent, she's very headstrong, and I think that will stand her in good stead in the years to come.

    LAUER: We've heard people talk about her as an individual and William as an individual. You're one of the few people who knows a little bit about them as a couple.

    Ms. HAY: Mm-hmm.

    LAUER: Can you describe their dynamic as a couple, both in front of the camera and away from the camera?

    Ms. HAY: Yeah. They're a very, very normal couple. They're the kind of couple that you would see at a restaurant. They're a very, very down-to-earth couple. They absolutely adore each other, they respect each other beyond belief. I can't -- I can't explain how much they suit each other. They're both -- they both just mesh well together.

    LAUER: All right, Ken , let me turn...

    Ms. HAY: So I think it's very important and...

    LAUER: I'm sorry, Jessica . Ken , let me turn to you. And it's almost unimaginable what she is now going to face in terms of public scrutiny. You've been there, you've seen it. Tell me a little of what's in store for Kate Middleton .

    Ms. HAY: Yeah. I think she's...

    Mr. WHARFE: Well, I think despite all that's just been said about, you know, Kate being the perfect woman for William , I mean, undoubtedly the -- what's happening now is the beginning of a huge change in her life simply because of the huge media interest that we saw yesterday. And this'll be ongoing now in the next months ahead of the date of the wedding, etc. And so with that comes the security package because, you know, sadly, inevitably in the world that we now live in, that is exactly what's going to have to happen. And so it will, despite all that's been said, it will change her life dramatically.

    LAUER: You talk about security, and obviously that's to prevent against outside threats. And then there's this idea of the media and the paparazzi. We saw what happened with Princess Diana . Do you think the rules of engagement , Ken , have changed at all? Have lessons been learned after the death of Princess Diana ?

    Mr. WHARFE: I -- certainly, I don't think the rules of engagement have changed because there's such a big story. And let's not forget, in the last 10 years media interest in the British royal family has waned dramatically, simply, you know, following the death of Diana . What you -- what they now believe is this is the sort of almost a rebirth of that. I mean, one thing's for certain, that William , age 28, and Kate the same sort of age, begin a new future now for the royal family , and they will now generate and put out an appeal to that generation that will take the royal family into the 21st century. But with that, you know, comes this huge media interest. So to answer your question, Matt , no, there isn't going to be any load off here.

    And......the last 10 years, the whole world has changed dramatically. So it brings security even greater and nearer to focus upon.

    LAUER: Jessica , I started with you, let me end with you. You say you knew about the engagement before any of us did. So do you also know the wedding date?

    Ms. HAY: I could not give that kind of information out. But it will be sometime next year. That's all I'm going to say.

    LAUER: Not even for me, Jessica ?

    Ms. HAY: But it'll be a very, very happy occasion. Sorry?

    LAUER: Not even for me?

    Ms. HAY: Don't try and charm me now. No, there's absolutely -- it'll be definitely sometime next year.

    LAUER: Jessica Hay and Ken Wharfe , thank you both very much. I appreciate your time.

NBC News and news services
updated 11/16/2010 2:49:28 PM ET 2010-11-16T19:49:28

Prince William and Kate Middleton opened up their engagement, sharing details of the proposal in an interview with British TV network ITN a few hours after the news was announced.

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“We had a little private time away together with some friends,” Prince William told ITN’s Tom Bradby Tuesday, “and I just decided that it was the right time, really. We had been talking about marriage for a while so it wasn't a massively big surprise. I took her up somewhere nice in Kenya and I proposed.”

With his fiancee by his side, the prince talked candidly about popping the question.

“I'd been planning it for a while, but as any guy out there will know, it takes a certain amount of motivation to get yourself going,” he said. “It just felt really right out in Africa. It was beautiful at the time. I had done a little bit of planning to show my romantic side."

The planning paid off.

“It was very romantic,” said Kate Middleton, laughing, “there’s a true romantic in there.”

Technolog: Queen tweets royal delight for engaged couple

The announcement came after months of fevered speculation. To clear up a few of the rumors, the interview with ITN's Bradby was their first joint interview. Prior to Tuesday, Kate Middleton’s words to the press regarding her relationship with Prince William have been few and far between.

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The couple sat down with Bradby in a lavishly decorated state room in London’s St. James Palace. Kate was dressed in an eye-catching blue dress from the Issa fashion label founded by Brazilian designer Daniella Issa Helayel. The designer is known to be one of Kate’s favorites.  The prince sported a dark suit by Savile Row tailors Gieves & Hawkes, who have dressed members of the royal family for more than 200 years.  When the cameras started rolling, the couple spoke of their proposal on record for the first time.

Story: Inner circle stayed mum on engagement news

The prince proposed to Middleton with the engagement ring that belonged to his mother, Princess Diana. “I had been carrying it around with me in my rucksack for about three weeks before that,” he said, “and I literally would not let it go, everywhere I went I was keeping hold of it because I knew this thing, if it disappeared I would be in a lot of trouble and because I'd planned it, it went fine. You hear a lot of horror stories about proposing and things going horribly wrong — it went really, really well and I was really pleased she said yes.

“It's my mother's engagement ring,” continued William, “so I thought it was quite nice because obviously she's not going to be around to share any of the fun and excitement of it all — this was my way of keeping her close to it all.” Bradby asked Kate if she expected the ring to make her the envy of many. “I just hope I look after it,” said the bride to be. “It’s very, very special.”

Video: Prince William, Kate Middleton engaged! (on this page)

When informed that the couple looked happy and relaxed, the prince concurred. “We are,” he said. “We’re like sort of ducks, very calm on the surface, with little feet going under the water. It’s been really exciting because we’ve been talking about it for a long time, so for us, it’s a real relief. And it’s really nice to be able to tell everybody. Especially for the last two or three weeks, it’s been quite difficult not telling anyone, keeping it to ourselves for reasons we had to.”

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

Having met originally while at St. Andrews University, the couple has known each other for some time. Based on their long history together, Bradby asked if the prince ever cooked or did “anything useful around the house.” “He did cook for me quite a bit at university,” answered Kate, “and he would always come with a bit of angst and a bit of anger if something had gone wrong, and I would have to wander in and save something that was going.” “I would say I’m getting better at cooking,” added William, “Kate would say I’m getting a lot worse.”

“I don’t give him enough chance to practice,” laughed Middleton.

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Bradby asked Middleton about her first impressions of the royal family. “I was quite nervous about meeting William's father, but he was very, very welcoming, very friendly, it couldn't have gone easier really for me.”

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

Timeline: A history of British royal weddings

Take a look back at the gorgeous and famous British royal weddings in the last 80 years.


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