Deciding how long to wait before getting engaged is entirely subjective, but many would agree that Prince William waited a good long while before popping the question to Kate Middleton. As it turns out, however, he may have had a good reason!
While surveys have suggested that 4.9 years is the average amount of time couples date before tying the knot and experts cite one to three years as a reasonable amount of time, the Duke of Cambridge waited a full seven years to ask his beloved to marry him.
Though the pair began dating in 2003, the royal, 36, didn't make his move until the couple embarked on a trip to Kenya, Africa, with friends in October 2010. "It just felt really right," he said in a post-engagement interview at the time.
A new book from The Mail on Sunday correspondent Katie Nicholl titled Kate: The Future Queen may explain why: “Before William asked Kate to marry him, he wanted to be sure it was what she really wanted,” she wrote per Marie Claire.
Rather than asking for her hand right away, William asked Kate, 37, to move in with him at a farmhouse in North Wales in June 2010. “By living together, Kate could decide whether it was, and as William later recalled 'back out' if it wasn't,” Nicholl mused.
According to Nicholl, William was well-aware of the pain divorce had long caused his famous family members—including his own parents, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. "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,” the royal expert wrote.
William wanted his own marriage to be different. "William and Kate, however, knew each other's flaws and they worked well as a team," Nicholl mused. "Forever scarred by the pain of his parents' divorce, it was essential to William that when he married, it would be for life."
His plan seems to have paid off: The couple celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary on April 29, 2019, and share children Princess George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince Louis, 1.