When Did Prince William and Kate Middleton Tell the Royal Family They Were Engaged?

We’re taking a look back at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s relationship, specifically their engagement.

How they met

Prince William and Kate Middleton famously met when they were both at St. Andrew’s University during their freshman year of college.

Middleton pretended to be William’s girlfriend a month into their freshman year. In Kate: The Future Queen, Katie Nicholl, a royal expert and biographer interviews Middleton’s former classmate, Laura Warshauer. The two talk about Middleton helping William out of an awkward situation at a party.

“Kate and I were eating brownies. Kate was never a big drinker, she didn’t need alcohol to give her confidence. Will was getting really hit on by this girl at the party, and it was getting quite uncomfortable because he couldn’t shake her off,” Warshauer told Nicholls.

“He was being really polite, but this girl just didn’t get the hint. All of a sudden, Kate came up behind him and put her arms around him. He said, ‘Oh, sorry, but I’ve got a girlfriend,’ and he and Kate went off giggling. He mouthed, ‘Thanks so much,’ to her in a really exaggerated way, but Kate was the only girl in the room who could have done that. And that was just a month after we started university.”

This may have been a sign of things to come for the now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The beginning of their relationship

Middleton and William didn’t become romantically involved until a while later during the second half of their freshman year of college.

Kate Middleton and Prince William
Kate Middleton and Prince William | The Middleton Family/Clarence House via GettyImages

William reportedly saw Middleton walk in a university fashion show and realized he had feelings for her. They later shared a kiss at a party which kicked off their relationship.


The couple has broken up twice over the course of their relationship. Once in 2004 and then again in 2007.

The 2004 break-up has been attributed to doubts about the future of their relationship and the second about a series of bad events leading up to William being photographed getting cozy with another girl.

The proposal

It makes sense that William would want to propose to the love of his life in a place he loves. And one place the prince loves is Africa. Prince William told CNN why Africa means so much to him, according to Marie Claire.

“I regularly daydream. Africa is definitely one of the places I go to. It does completely settle me down. [Kate] understands what it means to me being in Africa, and my love of conservation,’ he said.

William also told the news outlet about his proposal preparations. “I didn’t really plan it that far in advance. I just knew I wanted it to feel comfortable where I did it,” he said.

Kate Middleton and Prince William
Prince William and Kate Middleton | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

William proposed to Middleton in a log cabin at the foot of Mount Kenya, according to The Telegraph. Their accommodations are known to be extremely private, making it the perfect place for William to pop the question.

William proposed with his mother’s engagement ring, the late Princess Diana, as a “way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement.”

When they told the royal family

Prince William and Kate Middleton got engaged in a rustic cabin nestled at the base of a mountain. Needless to say, ways of communicating with their families were limited. For that reason, the royal family learned of their engagement shortly before they went public with the announcement in November 2010.

Kate Middleton and Prince William
Kate Middleton and Prince William, | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, didn’t find out the couple was engaged to be married until three (three!) hours before they made the announcement to the world. Talk about cutting it close. We can assume the rest of the royal family found out around the same time as the queen.