Prince William Waited a Long Time to Propose to Kate Middleton to Give Her Time to Adjust to Royal Life

Prince William and Kate Middleton dated for years before they wed in 2011. Will reportedly waited such a long time to propose because he wanted to give Kate a chance to "back out" if she decided that royal life wasn't for her.

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  • Before they tied the knot in 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton dated for several years and even lived together for quite some time.
  • Will took his time proposing to Kate, but he had a really sweet reason for doing so.
  • According to royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl, Will wanted to give Kate time to "back out" if royal life wasn't what she really wanted.

Prince William and Kate Middleton dated for years before they eventually tied the knot in 2011. They dated for so long, in fact, that some people wondered if Will would ever get around to proposing to Kate.

As it turns out, Will actually had a really sweet reason for waiting so long to pop the question. According to royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl in her book Kate: The Future Queen, Will didn't want to go through a divorce like his parents and he wanted to give Kate plenty of time to be really, truly, 100 percent sure that royal life was for her before he put a ring on it.

Nicholls writes:

"Divorce had dogged the royal family for too long. From the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936 that had nearly ruined the monarchy to the more recent divorces of Diana and Charles, as well as Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, unhappy marriages threatened to seriously unhinge an otherwise solid establishment. Before William asked Kate to marry him, he wanted to be sure it was what she really wanted. By living together, Kate could decide whether it was, and as William later recalled 'back out' if it wasn't."

According to Nicholl, the time that Will and Kate spent living together before they got engaged was crucial for the couple, who had the chance to give marriage a test run of sorts.

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"William and Kate, however, knew each other's flaws and they worked well as a team," she writes. "Forever scarred by the pain of his parents' divorce, it was essential to William that when he married, it would be for life."

Clearly, Kate decided that she was ready for royal life and she's been a model royal ever since.

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Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.