Nov. 16, 2010 -- Prince William and his fiance Kate Middleton answered questions from UK Press Association:
Tom Bradby: People are obviously very curious about you, so let's start with the obvious. William, where did you propose, when, how. And Kate, what did you say?
Prince William: It was about three weeks ago on holiday in Kenya. We had a little private time away together with some friends 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.
Miss Kate Middleton: It was very romantic (laughs). There's a true romantic in there.
TB: So you said yes, obviously?
Miss Middleton: Of course, yes.
TB: And you knew you were going to do this from day one of the holiday or you waited until the end?
William: I'd been planning it for a while but as every guy out there will know 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. It was beautiful at the time. I just … I had done a little bit of planning to show my romantic side.
TB: Kate, you'd been on holiday a while so did you see this coming, was he getting a bit nervous and jumpy?
Miss Middleton: No, not at all because we were out with friends and things so I really didn't expect it all. I thought he might have maybe thought about it, but no. It was a total shock when it came, and very excited.
TB: And produced a ring there and then?
Miss Middleton: Yes.
TB: there and then?
William: I did, yes. I had been carrying it around with me in my rucksack for about three weeks before that 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.
TB: And it's a family ring?
William: It is a family ring, yes. It's my mother's engagement ring. 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 sort of close to it all.
TB: I guess we better have a look at it. What kind of ring is it, are you an expert on what's …?
William: I'm not an expert on it at all. I've been reliably informed it's a sapphire with some diamonds. I'm sure everyone recognizes it from previous times.
Miss Middleton: It's beautiful.
TB: Kate, you're going to be the envy of many.
Miss Middleton: Well, I just hope I look after it. It's very, very special.
William: If she loses it she's in big trouble.
TB: Now it has to be said, you both look incredibly happy and relaxed.
William: We are. We are. We're like sort of ducks, very calm on the surface with little feet going under the water. But uh no, 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, and keeping it to ourselves for reasons we had to. And it's really nice to finally be able to share it with everyone.
TB: : And you obviously have kept it a secret. So when did you ask Kate's dad and what did he say and what did your respective parents say when you told them?
William: Well, I was torn between asking Kate's dad first and then the realisation that he might actually say 'no' dawned upon me. So I thought if I ask Kate first then he can't really say no. So I did it that way round. And I managed to speak to Mike sort of soon after it happened really and then it sort of happened from there.
TB: Kate, what did your mum say?
Miss Middleton: I think as any mother would be she was absolutely over the moon. And actually we had quite an awkward situation because I knew and I knew that William had asked my father but I didn't know if my mother knew. So I came back from Scotland and my mother made it sort of … didn't make it clear to me whether she knew or not so both of us were there sort of looking at each other and feeling quite awkward about it. But it was amazing to tell her and obviously she was very happy for us.
TB: One of the things that has been clear for a long time is you very evidently have a close-knit family and family's very important to you.
Family is Important to Kate Middleton
Miss Middleton: Yes. It's very important to me you know. And I hope we will be able to have a happy family ourselves. Because it's been …they've been great over the years - helping me with difficult times. We see a lot of each other and they are very, very dear to me.
TB: People are bound to ask you know. It's a bit of an obvious question but, children, do you want lots of children? You, know see what comes? What's your..?
William: I think we'll take it one step at a time. We'll sort of get over the marriage first and then maybe look at the kids. But obviously we want a family so we'll have to start thinking about that.
TB: When did you first set eyes on each other and what did you think?
William: Going back to the start because I think people as I say will be very curious about the totality of your relationship. When did you first set eyes on each other and what did you think?
TB: Kate, what did you think of William. I mean it's clearly not quite the same as meeting your average you know university student, or maybe it was, I don't know. But what was your first impression?
Miss Middleton: Well I actually think I went bright red when I met you and sort of scuttled off, feeling very shy about meeting you. But um, actually William wasn't there for quite a bit of the time initially, he wasn't there for Freshers Week, so it did take a bit of time for us to get to know each other but we did become very close friends from quite early.
TB: There's a story that goes around that you had a picture of him on your wall.
William: There wasn't just one, there was about 20.
Miss Middleton: He wishes. No, I had the Levis guy on my wall, not a picture of William, sorry.
William: It was me in Levis honestly.
TB: So you lived … you ended up sort of in the same flat, was that if you don't mind me asking, was before you were going out or?
William: No we moved in together as friends because we were living together, we lived with a couple of others as well, and it just sort of blossomed from there really. We just saw more of each other, and you know hung out a bit more and did stuff. So um yeah.
Miss Middleton: You liked the cooking.
William: Well your cooking is alright. (Kate laughs) It's gotten better.
TB: Does William ever cook or indeed do anything useful around the house?
William: Define useful, Tom. (Laughing)
TB: Let's not go there.
Miss Middleton: No he does actually. He did cook for me quite a bit at university, 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.
TB: So being honest is that a skill that's declining over time or improving?
William: I would say I'm getting better at cooking. Kate would say I'm getting a lot worse.
Miss Middleton: I don't give him enough chance to practice.
William: No, that is true. I get quite lazy about cooking because when I come back from work it is the last thing I want to do, really is spend loads of time cooking. When I was trying to impress Kate I was trying to cook these amazing fancy dinners and what would happen was I would burn something, something would overspill, something would catch on fire and she would be sitting in the background trying to help, and basically taking control of the whole situation, so I was quite glad she was there at the time.
TB: Slightly awkward for the other flatmates?
William: No, to be honest they were used to it, watching things catching fire, they found it very amusing.
TB: But I mean having the two of you going out in the flat, or did they just not bat an eye lid?
William: I think at first they were a bit surprised that it had happened, then they realized it was really nice and it was good fun and we got on really well, they were good friends of ours as well so we had a good giggle with them as well.
TB: Now I suppose a lot of people are going to wonder, the first meeting with the families, again, not necessarily your average meeting. Kate what was your first impression of the family?
Miss Middleton: Well I was quite nervous about meeting William's father, but he was very, very welcoming, very friendly, so yea it couldn't have gone easier really for me.
TB: Meeting the grandmother, the Queen, again not like your average meeting with a grandmother, were you nervous about that too?
Miss Middleton: I first met her at Peter and Autumn's wedding and again it was amongst a lot of other guests and she was very friendly and no it was fine.
William: She was very welcoming, she knew it was a big day and everything was going on with Peter and Autumn, she wanted to meet Kate for a while, so it was very nice for her to come over and say hello and have a little chat.
TB: You clearly are tremendously fond of each other's families and I'm guessing that is going to be a big part of your life going forward. Both your lives.
William: It definitely will, as you know, Kate's family, Kate's got a very, very close family. And I get on really well with them and I'm very lucky that they've been so supportive. Mike and Carole have been really sort of loving and caring and really fun and have been really welcoming towards me so I've felt really a part of the family and I hope that Kate's felt the same with my family.
TB: People are bound to ask, you leave university, you have been going out a bit and you split up, famously, all over the papers, what was all that about, people are bound to want to know.
William: Well I think to be honest, I wouldn't believe everything you read in the paper but in that particular instance we did split up for a bit. But that was just, we both were very young, it was at university, we were sort of both finding ourselves as such and being different characters and stuff, it was very much trying to find our own way and we were growing up, and so it was just sort of a bit of space and a bit of things like that and it worked out for the better.
Miss Middleton: And I think I at the time wasn't very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person, you find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn't realised, or I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you are younger and I really valued that time for me as well although I didn't think it at the time. Looking back on it.
TB: It was a chance to re-centre yourself.
Miss Middleton: Yes, definitely, yea. I wasn't all bad. (Laughing)
William: Phew! We're over that one.
TB: Did you kind of always have at the back of your minds that you wanted to marry each other. Did that come slowly? Did you suddenly decide a couple of weeks ago, I mean people have assumed you were going to be married for a long time. How did you both come to it in your heads?
William: Well from my point of view I you know …when I first met Kate I knew there was something very special about her. I knew there was possibly something that I wanted to explore there. We ended up being friends for a while and that just sort of was a good foundation. Because I do generally believe now that being friends with one another is a massive advantage. And It just went from there. And over the years, I knew things were getting better and better and we went through a few stumbling blocks as every relationship does, but we really picked ourselves up and carried on and you know. From were you had the odd problem when you are first getting to know each other, it has all gone and it is just really easy being with each other, it is really fun and I'm extremely funny and she loves that so it's been good.(Laughing)
TB: Kate, you were obviously upset when you split up but all your friends talk about there being a very substantial love that has built up over a period of time you know that's part friendship and obviously more than that.
Miss Middleton: Well I think if you really go out with someone for quite a long time you do get to know each other very, very well, you go through the good times, you go through the bad times. You know both personally, but also within a relationship as well. And you know I think if you can come out of that stronger and learn as I said things about yourself, it certainly, it's been a good how many years?
William: Uh, well a lot of time.
TB: He did take his time, it must be said. Did you ever want him to come on...
Miss Middleton: Well we've had our conversations, but I think it was....
William: We've talked about today for a while, we've talked about this happening so Kate wasn't in the dark at all when we were planning it for at least a year if not longer, it was just finding the right time and that's what most people say about couples, it's all about timing. And I had my military career and I really wanted to concentrate on my flying and I couldn't have done this if I was still doing my training, so I've got that out of the way and Kate's in a good place in terms of work and were she wants to be and stuff and we both just decided now was a really good time.
TB: You are obviously going to enter this family, the most famous royal family in the world. William's mother was this massive iconic figure. The most famous figure of our age, is that worrying? Is that intimidating? Do you think about that a lot both of you, you particularly Kate, obviously?
Miss Middleton: Obviously I would have loved to have met her and she's obviously she's an inspirational woman to look up to. Obviously on this day and you know going forward and things, you know it is a wonderful family, the members who I've met have achieved a lot and you know very inspirational and so, yes, I do.
William: There's no pressure though. There's no pressure, like Kate said it is about carving your own future. No one is going to try to fill my mother's shoes, what she did was fantastic. It's about making your own future and your own destiny and Kate will do a very good job of that.
TB: This is a life in the public domain to a degree that you can't escape, you both know that. You (William) obviously know it better than Kate does, you are obviously very protective of her.
William: Massively so. Of course. Her and her family, I really want to make sure they have the best sort of guidance and chance to see what life has been like or what life is like in the family, and that's kind of almost why I have been waiting this long, As I wanted to give her a chance to see in and to back out if she needed to before it all got too much. Because I'm not trying to learn from lessons done in the past and I just wanted to give her the best chance to settle in and to see what happens on the other side.
Miss Middleton: I'm also glad that I've had the time to sort of grow and understand myself more as well so hopefully do good job.
TB: Part of the reason it has taken you so long is you've both spent a long time contemplating the future, being calm about it, pondering it, thinking about it, is that right?
William: It is. We've talked about it lots. So it's always been something we've had a good chat about and you know like I said both of us have come to the decision pretty much together, I just chose when to do it and how to do it and obviously being a real romantic I did it extremely well. (Laughing)
TB: Kate, just coming to a close people have you know put some, placed some criticisms of you about your work and so on, does that hurt? How do you respond to people who say those things?
Miss Middleton: Well I think I know I've been working very hard for the family business, and sometimes those days are long days and you know I think if I know I'm working hard and I'm pulling my weight both work and playing hard at the same time, you know I think everyone who I work with can see I am there pulling my weight and that's really what matters to me.
TB: You know your family as you've said that you are very close, does it hurt about what's said or do you let it run off your collective backs on the grounds that's just what you have go to live with?
Miss Middleton: Well again I think, if you … the people around home are very supportive to us and you know those are the people who really matter to us, our close friends and family and I think if sort of they feel you are doing the right thing you can only be sort of true to yourself and you sort of have to ignore a lot of what's said, obviously take it on board, but you know you have to be yourself really and that's how I have stuck by it really.
TB: It's a massive thing you are going into now, you know obviously marriage is a big thing for everyone, but it's in such a public way, excited? A little bit terrified?
William: Massively excited, quite happy when the interview's over, (laughter) but no we are hugely excited and we are looking forward to spending the rest of our times, the rest of our lives together and seeing what the future holds.
TB: Kate, for you. You've had a long time to sort of contemplate this moment.
William: Let's not over rig the long part. (Laughter)
Miss Middleton: It's obviously nerve-wracking, Because I don't know what I'm sort of … I don't know the ropes, William is obviously used to it, but no I'm willing to learn quickly and work hard.
William: She'll do really well. Very well.
TB: There are a lot of opportunities obviously within the family, a huge ability to change people's lives for the better, I guess that's something you must have contemplated as well.
Miss Middleton: Yes, well I really hope I can make a difference, even in the smallest way. I am looking forward to helping as much as I can.
TB: Well thank you very much for talking to us. You look as I said at the start, very relaxed, very happy. Good luck.
William: Thank you.
Miss Middleton: Thank you.