article

11.16.10

The Next Generation

Britain's Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton, his girlfriend of eight years, last month in Kenya, the Palace announced this morning. They’ll wed next spring or summer in London. View photos.

Britain's Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton, his girlfriend of eight years, last month in Kenya, the couple announced Tuesday morning. They’ll wed next spring or summer in London. Plus, view photos below and full coverage.

Get ready for a wedding the likes of which we haven't seen since his parents married 30 years ago: Britain's Prince William has announced his engagement to longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton. The couple, both of whom are 28, became engaged in October while on vacation in Kenya, and the wedding will take place in the spring or summer of next year. William and Middleton met in 2001 while studying together at the University of St. Andrews. After the wedding, the couple will continue living in their home in North Wales.

 “ The timing is right now. We are both very, very happy,” William announced at a press conference Tuesday. Middleton said that joining the royal family was a “daunting prospect,” adding “Hopefully I’ll take it in my stride.” ( Watch video of their announcement.)

Other details:

• Prince William presented Middleton with his mother's blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring.

• William's father, Charles, said he was, "thrilled, obviously, thank you. They have been practicing long enough."

• The official statement from Buckingham Palace Tuesday read: "The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton. The wedding will take place in the Spring or Summer of 2011, in London. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course."

• The pair got engaged at Lewa Downs Wildlife Conservancy near Mount Kenya—which happens to be owned the by the family of Jecca Craig, who William once dated.

• The first interview with the couple, with ITN, was broadcasted at 11:45 EST; a public appearance for photographs followed soon after.

• Westminster Abbey was told to prepare for the second week of August 2011.

• Prime Minister David Cameron said there was " banging on the table" at 10 Downing Street when the news was announced.

• The ring will likely be made from a nugget of Welsh gold.

• Kate's middle-class family was invited to the queen's Scottish estate last month.

• The wedding could have the biggest TV audience " in history."

Prince Harry's reaction: "I am delighted that my brother has popped the question! It means I get a sister, which I have always wanted."

Read Tina Brown's report from June on why they postponed the announcement.

Gallery: View Photos of Kate Middleton and Prince William's Ups and Downs

HOW THEY MET: William started socializing with Middleton, voted the prettiest girl at Sally’s, one of St. Andrew’s eleven residence halls, but quickly became smitten with Carley Massy-Birch, whose derriere was voted the best in the school, according to Katie Nicholl in William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls. Nicholl writes: “Unlike the hordes of made-up pashmina-clad undergraduates who devoted their time to stalking William, Carley was happy to stay in and cook for him, and their romance was so beneath the radar, it was only reported years after they had both graduated.”

But then William saw Kate at the annual Don’t Walk charity fashion show, dressed in black underwear and a see-through dress, and whispered to his friend Fergus, “Kate’s hot!” He made his move later that night, leaning into kiss her, but she pulled away. “She didn’t want to give off the wrong impression or make it too easy for Will,” someone who was at the party told Nicholl. Within a year, the press was speculating about marriage.

Read more about William and Kate's love story.

Gallery: Photos of William and Kate in Public

brown-prince-william-kate-gallery-launch

Gallery: Kate Middleton, Princess in the Making

princess-diana-kate-middleton-gal-launch
Kate Middleton may be a commoner, but her style resembles Princess Diana's, at times astonishingly so. (Getty Images)