The First Anniversary of the Royal Engagement

A royal writer recalls the special day.

By , Columnist

It was just before 11am (UK time) on November 16th 2010 when my mobile rang. It was BBC Radio. They told me that they were about to release a statement that Prince William and Kate Middleton had announced their engagement. Oh, and would I comment right now, on air … live!

I was genuinely thrilled for the young couple, especially for William whose whole life I had chronicled for years in articles and documentaries. I was glad that he had been allowed to choose a wife for himself and had not been forced to marry into the aristocracy or foreign royalty.

The long courtship with Kate had moved through stages: from university colleagues to friends to confidants to lovers, and finally to a lifelong commitment. After the tragedy of losing his mother so young, he had found someone in whom he could place his total trust.

I was secretly glad that they waited until mid-November, as one of my programmes William and Kate: A Royal Love Story had had its world premiere on The Learning Channel on November 7th, and if the couple had made an announcement before that date, there would have been some hasty changes made to the show.

On engagement day I did seven radio interviews and I linked up from my local television studio to the main six pm BBC News. For this I was miked up, and listened in to the News with an earpiece in a small, soundproof room. There was a television monitor showing me, and a bright green light above it - that was actually the camera.

PRINCE-WILLIAM-KATE-MIDDLETON-OFFICIAL-ENGAGEMENT-.jpgFrom time to time, I could hear the News being broadcast, but I couldn’t see the programme. A production assistant rushed in and handed me a piece of paper with the words ’She’s got Diana’s ring' written down. I had about two seconds before reacting and speaking live to the nation.

I managed to recall how William had asked to keep Diana’s ring when he and Harry left Kensington Palace after Diana’s death, so it was a real love token for Kate. I also talked about how much trauma William had undergone during the early years of his love affair with Kate: the awfulness of the Paul Burrell trial, then the former butler selling his memoirs, and later on, the heartache of the long overdue inquest into Diana’s death.

Kate was at his side throughout all this and proved her compassion and her loyalty over and over again.

In the past year we have seen what a wonderful bride Kate has made and how she and William have become the stars of a revitalised monarchy.

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Margaret Holder has been writing about the Royal Family in newspapers and magazines for thirty years. She also broadcasts frequently on the BBC, both radio and television. She reckons she has now written more royal documentaries than anyone else in the world. Some are still being shown on channels in…

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