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Prince William and Kate Middleton Reveal What Was Behind Their 2007 Split. British Royal Weddings. Princess Diana's Biographer Comments on Engagement. Reactions from the Commonwealth. Online Reaction to Royal Engagement. Neighborhood Facelift Brightens Lives in Rio.

Aired November 16, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: You think this is a lot of attention?

Just wait until the big day arrives.

I'm Max Foster outside Buckingham Palace, where the world's media gathered after the announcement of the most anticipated wedding of the century -- the marriage of Prince William to his long-term girlfriend, Kate Middleton. He's second in line to the throne. She's just an everyday girl. But from London to Abu Dhabi, also to Islamabad, it's a fairy tale wedding that's got the whole world talking.

Going beyond borders on the day's biggest stories, on CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.

Well, the couple have faced years of speculation over whether they would marry. When Prince William finally popped the question, he did so with a very special ring.


PRINCE WILLIAM: 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 -- the fun and excitement at all. So this is my way of keeping her sort of close to it all.


FOSTER: Coming up, Prince William tells us how he proposed and how life will change for his bride-to-be. We'll look at how an English girl with no royal lineage captured the heart of one of the world's most eligible bachelors and examine what the impact the marriage will have on the royal family's image both at home and abroad.

You've been having your say on the Internet. To join in the debate, just head to our Facebook page. The address is

Let's hear more now from the happy couple and what they have to say about their momentous announcement today.


RICHARD QUEST, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: There was no need for words -- their smiles said it all. This most modern of royal couples -- they already live together -- will marry in England next spring or summer.

KATE MIDDLETON, PRINCE WILLIAM'S FIANCE: He's a true romantic in that (INAUDIBLE). We had a wonderful holiday in Africa and (INAUDIBLE) a very (INAUDIBLE) luncheon here. It was very romantic and it's a very, very special (INAUDIBLE).

PRINCE WILLIAM: Well, I don't remember how many years it's been. Forget the memories. I also didn't realize it was a race, otherwise I probably would have been (INAUDIBLE). But also the timing is right now. We're both very, very happy and I'm very glad that I have her.

QUEST: On a day of high emotion, Prince William revealed the ring he had given his bride-to-be was as special as the woman who now wears it.

PRINCE WILLIAM: Well, as you may recognize now, it's my mother's engagement ring, which is very special to me. I take (INAUDIBLE) to me now, as well, I really wanted the two put together, because that is my way of making sure that my mother didn't miss out on today and the excitement and the fact that we're going to spend our whole life together.

K. MIDDLETON: It's quite a -- a daunting prospect but (INAUDIBLE) I'll take it in my stride. You know, William is a great teacher so hopefully he'll be able to -- to help me along the way and I believe (INAUDIBLE).

PRINCE WILLIAM: She's very good at flattery.

QUEST: William's father, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, kept to his schedule out and about. His reaction was a mixture of delight and light-hearted.

PRINCE CHARLES: So, obviously, it's really (INAUDIBLE).

QUEST: Another set of proud parents, the Middletons, spoke of their happiness at today's turn of events.

MICHAEL MIDDLETON, KATE'S FATHER: As you know, Katherine and Prince William have been going out together for quite a number of years, which is great for us, because we got to know William really well. We all think he's wonderful and we're extremely fond of him. They make a lovely couple. They're great fun to be with and we've had a lot of laughs together. We wish them every happiness for the future.

QUEST: As soon as the announcement was made, a long line of people formed an orderly cue to pass on their congratulations. At the head of the line, the British prime minister, David Cameron, who had spoken to the prince moments before.

DAVID CAMERON, BRITAIN PRIME MINISTER: It's incredibly exciting news. And I'm sure that the whole country will want to pass their very best wishes to the happy couple and wish then an incredibly long and happy life together.

I was given the news in a cabinet meeting. I was passed a piece of paper and announced the news in the middle of a cabinet meeting and a great cheer went up and a great banging of the table.

As well as this being a great moment for national celebration, I think we also have to remember that this is two young people who love each other, who have made this announcement, who are looking forward to their wedding and we must give them plenty of space to think about the future and what they're about to do.

But a great day for our country, a great day for the royal family and obviously a great day for Prince William and for Kate.

QUEST: Now, speculation is rife as to where the wedding will take place. It's thought the St. Paul's Cathedral, where Charles and Diana got married, is not in the running. Instead, St. Georges Chapel in Windsor is a hotly contested favorite. That's where Charles and Camilla had their marriage blessed.

The happiness that's so clearly expressed by the couple seems to be mirrored by the British public.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm very happy, yes. Because I think he deserves a nice lady. Now, I think he's a good chap and why not, you know?

Bring it on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There will be a lot of girls crying (INAUDIBLE). But, yes, I think it's brilliant for London.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my god, well, it's going to be another Princess Diana, isn't it?

You know, that ceremony is so flamboyant, lively, interesting and the whole world was captivated by it.

Can you imagine what it's going to be like now with Prince William?

It's going to be extraordinary.

QUEST: This Tuesday's announcement puts to an end the months of frenzied speculation about the future of this couple, who met in 2001 when they were both studying at St. Andrew's University in Scotland. A friend from those days told us he was delighted for the couple.

JULES KNIGHT, FRIEND OF THE COUPLE: They've known each other for quite a long time now. And they became very good friends at St. Andrews and I'm actually over the moon that they've become engaged today.

QUEST: Like any normal couple, they've had their ups and downs during their long relationship, even breaking it off for a short time three years ago. Kate Middleton comes from a middle class background and currently helps her parents run their party planning business. She is now in line to become queen one day.

I asked a veteran royal watcher, Richard Fitzwilliam, how he thought the couple would cope with the pressures they are now bound to face.

RICHARD FITZWILLIAM'S, ROYAL EXPERT: I believe that this is the right decision. They're in love with each other. And it's wonderful that this is happening in Britain, because remember, previous royal marriages, they had to be out of a certain class. You were looking at another member of another royal family.

QUEST: So in the months between now and their wedding, William will continue his military career as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. Kate Middleton will learn what it's like to be in the full glare of the media spotlight. How they handle this pressure could prove to be a definitive period in the history of the British monarchy.

Richard Quest, CNN, London.


FOSTER: We heard from William's brother today, as well. Prince Harry released a statement reading: "I am delighted that my brother has popped the question," he said. "It means I get a sister, which I've always wanted."

But today is primarily about two young people who got engaged. They're in love.

Here's what they had to say.


PRINCE WILLIAM: It was about three weeks ago on a 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 -- about marriage for a while, so it wasn't a massively big surprise. But I took her up somewhere nice in -- in Kenya and proposed.

K. MIDDLETON: It was very romantic. There's a true romantic in there.


BRADBY: And you said yes, obviously?

K. MIDDLETON: Of course. Yes. Yes.

BRADBY: And, Kate, you'd been on holiday a while, so did you see this coming?

Was he getting a bit nervous and jumpy?

K. MIDDLETON: No. No, not at all. No, because, you know, we were out with friends and things. And I really didn't expect it at all. I thought he might have just maybe thought about it. But, no. It was a total shock when it came and I'm very excited.

BRADBY: And he produced a ring...


BRADBY: -- there and then?

PRINCE 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 a hold of it, because I knew this thing, if it disappeared, I would be in a lot of trouble. And, yes, because I'd planned it, it sort of -- it went fine as -- you know, you hear a lot of horror stories about proposing and -- and things going horribly wrong. But it went really, really well. And, yes, I was really pleased she said yes.

BRADBY: And it's a family ring?

PRINCE 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 -- the fun and excitement of it all. So this is my way of keeping her sort of close to it all.

BRADBY: You're going to be the envy of many, I would think.

K. MIDDLETON: Well, I just hope I look after it. And it's very...

PRINCE WILLIAM: If she loses it, she's in big trouble.

K. MIDDLETON: It's very, very special.

BRADBY: Now it has to be said, you both look incredibly happy and relaxed.

PRINCE WILLIAM: We are. We are. We're -- we're like sort of ducks. We're sort of very calm on the surface, but with little -- little feet going under the water. But, no, it's been really exciting, because we've - - we've been talking about it for a long time. So for us, it's kind of -- it's a real relief and it's really nice to be able to tell everybody, because, especially the last two or three weeks have been quite difficult, not telling anyone and keeping it to ourselves for -- for reasons we had to. And it's really nice to finally be able to share it with everyone.

BRADBY: And you obviously have kept it a secret.

So when did you -- did you ask Kate's dad?

And what did he say?

And if you -- what did your respective parents say when you told them?

PRINCE WILLIAM: Well, I was -- I was torn between asking Kate's dad first and then the realization that he might actually say no dawned upon me. And so I thought if I ask Kate first, then he can't really say no. So I -- I did it that way round. And I managed to speak to -- to Mike and sort of soon after it happened, really. And then it sort of happened from there.

BRADBY: This is a life, you know, in the public domain to a degree that you can't escape. And you both know that. You're obviously very -- you know -- you know it better than Kate does.


BRADBY: You're obviously very protective of her.

PRINCE WILLIAM: Massively so. And, of course, you know, her and her family, I really want to make sure that they -- 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, is I wanted to give her a chance to see and to back out if she needed to before it all got too much, because, you know, it's -- I'm trying to learn from lessons done in the past. And I just wanted to give her the best chance to -- to settle in and -- and to see what, you know, what happens on the other side.

K. MIDDLETON: And I'm -- I'm also glad that I've -- I've had the time to sort -- to grow and understand myself more, as well. So, hopefully (INAUDIBLE) do a good job.

PRINCE WILLIAM: She's nothing like (INAUDIBLE).



FOSTER: There they are, seen together for the first time on television.

Joining me now is the royal historian, Hugo Vickers.

Thank you so much for joining us.

I mean it's not a surprise that this has happened, but it's exciting, isn't it?

HUGO VICKERS, ROYAL HISTORIAN: It's very exciting. And I think one of the wonderful things is that it -- it seems to have taken everybody, actually, by surprise, the actual announcement, which shows her incredibly discrete...

FOSTER: The timing of the announcement.

VICKERS: The timing of the announcement.


VICKERS: How incredibly discrete her family have been, her friends have been. This augers very well for the future. Everybody has protected Kate and we didn't know it was going to happen today and we're all thrilled.

FOSTER: A lot of the world don't know much about Kate Middleton. But she's not new to the royal family, is she?


FOSTER: She's not new to the U.K.?


FOSTER: She's a safe bet, right?

VICKERS: Yes. I think what's really nice is it's been a very sort of calm lead up to this engagement. They've known each other for a long time. They've -- it's been measured, calm. There's been nothing -- no sort of nasty stories, nothing along the way. They've got -- had a chance to get to know each other. They've had time to think it through.

He, who should have had the most wonderful childhood and adolescence, had a lousy time for reasons that you well know and needed to get his self- confidence and he's grown -- his self-confidence has grown with her. And I -- I like everything about it.

FOSTER: And inevitable parallels with Princess Diana, which have been encouraged, really, by the use of the ring, which is a nice touch. Everyone agrees with that.

But you were there watching the story unfold of Princess Diana and Prince Charles.


FOSTER: And you remember the parallel statement back in '81, wasn't it, between those two. It's a completely different vibe this time around, isn't it?

VICKERS: Yes, it is. There was always something rather uncomfortable about that. I know it's easy to say that in retrospect. But they didn't sort of know each other as well. And the interview -- that particular interview is the one in which, of course, he famously said when they went, "Are you in love"...

FOSTER: He was asked, "Are you in love?," and his response was...

VICKERS: Whatever love means.


VICKERS: The awful trick (ph) is he did know what it meant. But, you know, it was -- that was sad. And it wasn't reported at the time at all, which is quite significant. It didn't fit the myth.

But then it was built up into this huge thing and you got the impression that this -- that particular couple, you know, didn't even really see each other very much during the months leading up to the marriage.

And there was a time -- there was an interview with them in the summer house with Angela Rippen (ph). And one point, Prince Charles was asked, you know, you're doing solo egmms. Next week, you'll have a bride with you and a wife at your side. And he looked sort of slightly pained, even. You know, this is completely different.

FOSTER: And today is about Kate and William.


FOSTER: How are they going to transform the British monarchy, because they're going to do that, aren't they, simply by being young and energetic?

VICKERS: Well, I'll answer that question very simply. They'll do it gradually. We don't know exactly how they'll do it. It's not their time to do it yet. But every -- every -- the lovely thing about a hereditary monarchy is that a younger generation comes up, everybody does it in a different way. And they evolve very gradually and very slowly. Of course they'll do it differently from the queen and Prince Philip.

What is actually rather wonderful is that next year, Prince Philip celebrates his 90th birthday. The following year, the queen's diamond jubilee. It's a celebration of the older generation. But at the same time, the younger generation -- and we have, of course, yet another generation...

FOSTER: And we'll be talking about...

VICKERS: -- who are (INAUDIBLE)...

FOSTER: -- it again in this position, no doubt, many times.


FOSTER: Hugo Vickers, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Now, don't go away. We've got more on this royal engagement for you to come, including a look at where it all started, at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. I'll be speaking to the school's former principal in just a moment.

And how much is time spent in Guantanamo Bay worth?

Well, we'll look at the settlement the British government is paying out to resolve a series of lawsuits.

Find out more after the break.



That's great news.

When did that happen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Earlier on. Just a few hours ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Finally they announce it. Well, I think it was expected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, we are happy for him. Congratulations. God bless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just hope it's (INAUDIBLE) now and I really appreciate it and I'm happy for -- for that.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I feel happy for him.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you feel happy for him?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because then he'll have someone to take care of him.


FOSTER: Some reaction there from Abu Dhabi on this long awaited announcement.

We're live from Buckingham Palace, watching a British royal fairy tale unfold. From anticipation to speculation, it has now been confirmed -- Prince William, the second in line to the throne, and his girlfriend, Kate Middleton, are getting married next year.

Here's a look back at how it all began.


FOSTER (voice-over): Prince William learned from a young age that he was a special member of a special family. His first day at school was a national event.

PROF. ROBERT HAZELL, CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERT: When William started his first school at age five, he had a sort of peaked cap down over his eyes. And his mother, you know, said -- said, listen, William, you know, there will be lots of press and photographers in your school. You know, you've got to get a hold of this and learn to live with it like I do.

And he said in this sort of just William fashion, "I don't like tographers."

FOSTER: Photographers later agreed to hold back and stick mainly to public engagements.

William continued his education at the grandest of English private schools, Eaton College, in the shadows of the queen's residence at Windsor.

Down the road, Kate Middleton was growing up well away from the prying eyes of the media. It was a privileged, but not aristocratic upbringing. Her family home is nestled in the quaint village of Bucklebury in England and she started her private education nearby, before moving on to the historic Marlboro College in her early teens.

William and Kate wouldn't meet, though, until both attended the same university, in Scotland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they definitely were sort of a loving couple. You could tell they were very happy together, sitting together. He even moved his chair around to be watching TV just, you know, with an -- an arm around her, giving her a cuddle.

FOSTER: As the relationship grew, so did the public's curiosity -- the trips to nightclubs, the temporary split and, of course, the outfits -- all prized tabloid fodder. The paparazzi, who many blame for the death of William's mother, were quick to notice the parallels between Kate and Diana and comparisons will only increase now, ahead of the next big royal wedding.

But on entering the royal family, Kate will have nearly a decade in age and experience on Diana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as she adds value and does -- that's what Diana did (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's fun, isn't it, Evelyn?

Or do you like it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The country is down with recession and what have you so it must have something cheerful to talk about.


FOSTER: Well, this royal romance famously began while the pair was studying the history of art in Scotland.

With me now is Dr. Brian Lang, a former principal of the University of St. Andrews, which I believe now is also holding the title of Britain's top matchmaking University.

That was a separate survey, wasn't it, I think?

BRIAN LANG, FORMER PRINCIPAL, UNIVERSITY OF ST. ANDREWS: Well, this is, indeed, but you know...

FOSTER: Tell us about -- about the young couple at St. Andrews and, you know, you met them earlier on. You had to speak to security. You had to get to know them very early on. Tell us about how -- what they were like in those very early days.

LANG: Well, of course, they were marvelously normal. (INAUDIBLE) at St. Andrews is that we gave them four years of the most normal life that they'll most likely ever have. They will look back on their time at St. Andrews as, you know, the student prince and his princess-to-be. They went to parties. They went to pubs. They were students.

FOSTER: They were mates, weren't they?

LANG: They were mates. They were friends and they mixed in with everyone else in St. Andrews.

FOSTER: And they shared a combination...

LANG: They shared...

FOSTER: -- is that how they met?

LANG: They shared a combin -- well, they met -- well, St. Andrews is a small town.


LANG: They would have lots of opportunities to meet. They would meet with friends regularly. They would get to know one another gently, not forced together. They would have time to find themselves at their own pace.

FOSTER: How quickly did they find romance after their friendship, would you say?

LANG: Well, you'd have to ask them. But as I say, I think this was a -- was a slow blossoming, carefully plotted for months, I would guess, on both sides.

FOSTER: They protected their privacy very successfully.

The British press respected that to some degree, didn't they?

How did you and the palace manage to keep it quiet for so long?

LANG: Well, the press behaved remarkably well, with one or two exceptions, which I won't mention, but they did, on the whole, behave very well. We did a deal with the press in which they agreed to leave the couple -- to -- to leave William and, in due course, Kate alone and in return for interviews and phone calls (ph) now and again. I would say that the British press -- the U.K. press behaved extremely well. I'm very, very proud of them.

FOSTER: And what impact did it have on the university at that time?

LANG: Well, had you been in term (ph), you probably wouldn't have noticed it. We're a bit like a swarm, I think. There's a lot going on under -- under our -- under -- underwater. Occasionally we'd get a call saying some newspaper had discovered a story about William being found lying in the gutter. It was never true. But all forces would come out to kill the story and we generally did. And that was fine.

But had you been in St. Andrews, you wouldn't have known. First and foremost, St. Andrews are very private people. They're not -- they're not fazed by celebrity. And after all, a great golfing town. They're used to seeing Sean Connery, Michael Douglas walking through town and they will ignore them and let people be. And that's exactly how the behavior was (INAUDIBLE).

FOSTER: Finally, did you see today coming in those early days?

LANG: Oh, yes.

FOSTER: You did?

LANG: I -- I think we all knew that this was a great couple, that they would get together on a very permanent and -- and loving -- and loving basis...

FOSTER: Mr. Brian Lang -- LANG: (INAUDIBLE).

FOSTER: -- thank you very much, indeed, for joining us on the program this evening.

LANG: Thank you.

FOSTER: We'll have much more on the royal engagement ahead, including part two of the interview with Prince William and Kate themselves.

Also, Britain says a deal reached with former Guantanamo detainees is essential for national security. We'll see how the settlement prevents a potentially embarrassing court battle.


FOSTER: "We've paid out the money so we can move on." That statement today from the British Justice secretary here in London, announcing a government settlement with 16 former Guantanamo Bay detainees. They say they were tortured and British agents knew about it.

Atika Shubert has more.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Members of the House of Commons grilled Justice Secretary Ken Clarke about the government's decision to settle reportedly in the millions of pounds. Clarke insisted, however, that the settlement was about saving the taxpayers time and money, nothing more.


KENNETH CLARKE, BRITISH JUSTICE SECRETARY: No admissions of culpability have been made in stealing these cases and nor have any of the claimants withdrawn their allegations. This is a mediated settlement.

The alternative to any payments made would have been protracted and extremely expensive litigation in an uncertain legal environment in which the government could not be certain that it would be able to defend departments and the security and intelligence agencies without compromising national security.

The cost was estimated about approximately 30 million to 50 million pounds over three to five years of litigation.


SHUBERT: Now, at least 16 former detainees are due to receive settlement funds, but exactly how much remains strictly confidential. All of them are either British citizens or British residents that were transferred to Guantanamo Bay Prison via third countries.

British citizen Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo detainee that was later released, described his treatment during his transfer in an interview with CNN earlier this year.


MOAZZAM BEGG, FORMER GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEE: It means having your hands tied behind your back and then simultaneously having them tied to your legs and your ankles and shackled from behind, left on the floor with a bag over my head and kicked and punched and left there for several hours, only to be interrogated again.

And after which they threatened to have me sent to Egypt to be tortured, to face electric shocks, to have my fingers broken, to be sexually abused.


SHUBERT: Now, the British government has always maintained it does not condone torture. But former detainees allege the British government was complicit in their abuse because Britain aided in their transfer and provided information that was later used in interrogation.

One of the strongest cases of this is British resident, Binyam Mohamed, now in line for the settlement. He was arrested in Pakistan in 2002, where he alleges he was interrogated and tortured before being moved to Guantanamo Prison via Afghanistan.

Now, Mohamed also alleges he was interrogated by British Secret Service while in Pakistan, bringing into question just how much the British government knew before he was transferred to Guantanamo.

Later, all charges against Binyam Mohamed were dropped and he was returned to Britain in February of 2009.

Now, another reason for that settlement, the government may not have wanted state secrets to be revealed as public evidence in court. So a settlement will ensure that won't happen. It does pave the way for an independent inquiry, but the evidence in that inquiry will be heard mostly behind closed doors.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


FOSTER: Well, you may remember President Barack Obama promised to shut down Guantanamo within a year of taking office, saying he would return America to the moral high ground in handling terror cases. Well, that deadline has obviously come and gone -- held up by disputes over where the inmates should be transferred.

Some 180 detainees are still being held at Guantanamo's prison camp. That's down, though, from more than 750 inmates at its peak.

They come -- they came from 40 different countries. The vast majority have never been charged with any crime.

Well, coming up it seems it's becoming more common worldwide for royalty to reach outside their ranks when choosing a spouse. In this case of Britain, what might this mean for the monarchy?

That and more ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD.


MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Max Foster in London. Coming up, more from the happy couple. Prince William and Kate Middleton reveal what was behind their highly publicized split back in 2007.

Royal news has never spread faster. We'll take a look at the online reaction.

And then, a departure from engagement special as we head to Brazil for part two of our urban planet series. Stay with us for the neighborhood facelift that's brightening lives in Rio.

All those stories ahead in the show for you, but first, we're going to check on the headlines this hour.

Our top story today, newly-engaged Prince William and Kate Middleton are dishing out details of their engagement. They also unveiled the ring that William used in the proposal. The sapphire and diamond ring belonged to Prince William's late mother, Diana. The couple plans to be married in London next year.

The British government is paying out a settlement to a group of former Guantanamo Bay detainees. The men say British security forces were complicit in their torture. The British justice minister says a settlement is not an admission of liability. The amount of the payment wasn't revealed, but it's reported to be millions of dollars.

In Haiti, UN officials are condemning Monday's riots in two northern cities. The protesters were venting their anger at how the cholera outbreak in the country has been handled. The disease has now killed more than 1,000 people. More than 1600 people have been hospitalized.

Russia is furious over the extradition of alleged international arms dealer Viktor Bout. He was whisked away of a Thailand jail to face terrorism charges in the US. Russia and Bout have been fighting the extradition for two years, since Bout was arrested in Bangkok.

People around the world are talking about big news in Britain today, but the voices you probably want to hear most from belong to the royal couple themselves. Here's part two of the interview with Prince William and Kate, and they start by going back to the very beginning.


KATE MIDDLETON, PRINCE WILLIAM'S FIANCEE: Well, I -- actually, I think when you said -- I actually went bright red when I met you and sort of scuttled off, feeling very shy about meeting you. And, actually, William wasn't there for quite a bit of the time, initially he wasn't there for the first 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 on.

TOM BRADBY, ITV CORRESPONDENT: There's a story that goes the rounds that you had a picture of him on your wall as a child --

PRINCE WILLIAM: There wasn't just one, there was, like, 10, 20.

MIDDLETON: He wishes, no. And I had the Levis guy on my wall, not a picture of William, sorry. Sorry.

PRINCE WILLIAM: It was me in Levis, honestly.

BRADBY: People are bound to ask, you leave university, you've 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.

PRINCE WILLIAM: I think, to be honest, I wouldn't read -- I wouldn't believe everything you believe in the paper. But in that particular instance, we did split up for a bit.

But that was just -- we were both very young, it was at university, and we were sort of both defining ourselves as such and being different characters and stuff. It was very much trying to find our own way when we were growing up. And so, it was just sort of a bit of space and a bit of things like that, and it soon worked out for the better.

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 realized. Or I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you're younger, and I really valued that time for me, as well, although I didn't think it at the time. Looking back on it, I --

BRADBY: As a chance to re-center yourself, is that what you -- ?

MIDDLETON: Yes, exactly, yes.

BRADBY: You're 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.

MIDDLETON: Well, obviously, I would love to have met her. And she's, obviously, she's an inspirational woman to look up to. Yes, I do.


BRADBY: Do you --

PRINCE WILLIAM: Like Kate said, it's about carving your own future. No one's going to try and -- no one's trying to fill my mother's shoes, and what she did is fantastic. It's about making your own future, your own destiny, and Kate will do a very good job of that.


FOSTER: Well, we've seen some incredibly lavish weddings in Prince William's own family, of course, including his parents' fairy tale ceremony, or so it seemed, a few decades ago. But can we expect William and Kate to carry on that tradition in these tough economic times?


FOSTER (voice-over): The wedding of Prince William's parents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana, captivated a global television audience of a billion people in 1981. Crowds lined the streets of London, and the day was declared a national holiday.

From the dress and tiara to the carriage and the cake, the planners of a royal wedding really do have their work cut out. But behind the scenes, there's even more to planning a royal wedding than meets the eye.

ROBERT HAZELL, CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERT: This is a royal marriage, and it requires consent, under the Royal Marriages Act, of the sovereign. So the queen formally has to give her consent to their getting married. And because this is a matter of state, because it affects the line of succession, then the queen cannot give her consent except with the advice of the government of the day.

FOSTER (voice-over): There have been refusals before. In the 1950s, Queen Elizabeth II was was forced to invite her own sister, Princess Margaret, to call off her planned engagement to a senior royal aid. Group Captain Peter Townsend's previous divorce was frowned upon.

Queen Elizabeth II was herself married in 1947 against a backdrop of post-war austerity. Yet amid rationing and national hardship, the bridal gown, made by 350 dressmakers over seven weeks, was covered in pearls and crystals.

For the first time in British history, the wedding of an heir to the throne was captured on camera. The ceremony was watched by an entire nation, and royal wedding fever was born.

Some commentators say the British public is less enthusiastic now about the royal family now than they were 60 or even 30 years ago, and the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William will also take place in tough economic times.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Knowing the British public, they'll probably want a big, big wedding, and yes. They probably shouldn't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it will put a smile on everybody's faces. Yes, there's an economic crisis, but love is a beautiful thing, so why wouldn't we want to see it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As individuals, if they decide to get married, I'm all for it, that's fine, that's their decision. No, I don't think it should be done at the state's expense. I don't think it should be expensive anyhow.

FOSTER (voice-over): But there's also a sense of pride that Britain does such an event better, they think, than anyone else.


FOSTER: Well, marriages between royalty and commoners have become, well, more common in recent years. Some examples around the globe for you, Sweden's crown princess Victoria married her longtime boyfriend in June, Daniel Westling, personal trainer and gym owner, became Prince Daniel, Duke of Vastergotland.

Before she married King Abdullah of Jordan, Queen Rania was a commoner. The daughter of Palestinian parents, she's now one of the world's most recognized monarchs, known for her charitable work.

And Spain's crown prince Felipe married Letizia Ortiz, a former TV journalist in 2004. The future queen is divorced, the daughter of a nurse who is also divorced, and the granddaughter of a taxi driver.

And many remember when Hollywood star Grace Kelly became Princess Grace after she married Prince Rainier of Monaco back in 1956.

Now, we've got some perspective on the engagement of William and Kate, meanwhile, from biographer Andrew Morton. You may remember, he wrote a book on William's mother called "Diana, Her True Story." I talked with him earlier, and began by asking, is this a big moment for the British monarchy?


ANDREW MORTON, BIOGRAPHER: Yes, I think this is a -- the handing over of the baton from one generation to the next, because all eyes will now not be on Charles and Camilla, but on William and Kate. And this is a first, as it were, entry into the public arena. And from now on, they'll be judged by their parents and by the British public.

FOSTER: How did they preform in that crucial first interview? Did they live up to expectations? Is this a future king and queen for you?

MORTON: Well, it is --

FOSTER: Inevitably, but --

MORTON: Well, whatever I think, they're going to be king and queen.


MORTON: The great thing is, William never said, "Love, whatever that means."

FOSTER: Which is what Prince Charles said about Diana at that interview.

MORTON: They seemed very relaxed, very much in love. Kate was deferential towards William, and there were shades of the Diana days. Kate was extremely nervous. In fact, during the Tom Bradby interview, she dried at one point, when she was asked about Diana. She said she was inspirational, that she'd loved to have met her, then she kind of couldn't think of anything more to say. And then, they had to start the whole thing again.

And I think that for Kate, whatever -- whether she wants to be compared or not, she will be inevitably compared to Diana for the next few years. It's all very well,we talked about the people's princess, which is what Diana is remembered as. But when she first started, when she had her, as it were, royal learner plates on, she was very nervous. She said something like 600 words in public in the first ten years of her royal life.

So, Kate is older, she's obviously more mature. And, hopefully, she will take to the royal world far more easily than Diana did.

FOSTER: The household needs to be reinvigorated, doesn't it? In the way that Diana brought attention to the royal --

MORTON: Yes. Look, what -- we're living in the middle of a depression, there's going to be a nice royal wedding, people can discuss the dress, the guest list, the cakes, the plates, the thimbles, the flags. And it's a great precursor, quite frankly, to the 2012 Olympics. And also it will give the security forces a chance to do a dry run for that.

FOSTER: But good news for the royal family.

MORTON: Great news for the royal family. The royal family are, essentially, births, marriages, and deaths writ large. And that's -- as a family, we like to follow them. And a marriage -- people always like a marriage. And, of course, the next speculation will be when are they going to start having children? Is she pregnant? How's he coping?

FOSTER: Well, the dress first.

MORTON: We've got the dress. I'm presuming that Prince Harry will be best man or supporter. And so will Peter Philips, Princess Anne's son. There's a lot for us all to talk about, now, because he's now -- he's now made a choice, finally. After all these months of speculation.


FOSTER: Andrew Morton, there, looking ahead. Well, we'll have plenty more on this royal engagement for you. Stay with us for a look at how you've been reacting to this story. We take you to the streets of Pakistan and Canada to find out what residents of some Commonwealth countries have to say about it. This is their monarchy, too. Don't go away.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think media should just stay back, let them spend their good life. And they should not disturb them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that no media coverage should be given to them, because it's their personal life, and we should stay away from their personal life. That's the best we can say.


FOSTER: Let them be. That reaction from royal fans on the streets of Islamabad in Pakistan. We're live in London at Buckingham Palace, where one of the world's most eligible bachelors has finally been taken off the market.

News of Britain's royal engagement is certainly making headlines around the world. Let's take a look at what people have been saying in Canada, which is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Our Paula Newton joins us from Ottawa. Prince William's a popular guy there.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: He is, very much so. But everyone here -- the talk is of Queen Kate. It is fairly positive. This morning when we woke up, we already were getting live aerial shots of Buckingham Palace, everyone awaiting the first photo call and that first interview.

And, generally, the reaction has been quite positive. But what's interesting here is that we talk about the Commonwealth. This is, as many monarchists have said here in Canada, this really is the event of their generation. These two people will determine how the Commonwealth goes forward, in terms of being a true symbol of what the realm, as they call it, means.

Now, I want you to hear from some people here in the capital, and what they thought of the engagement. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that's awesome. I think that it's a step forward, probably, for the next generation. The fact that a royal can marry someone who's not been selected for him specifically. And hopefully, it will change the future of the royals, too. They're kind of a figurehead now, and hopefully, that goes forward. As long as they're happy.

NEWTON: Do you think Canada will be watching carefully when they get married?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, they're the cutest thing ever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Canadians care about this, and I think that they're excited just to see something that's positive that's happening in the world. A little bit of good news rather than some bad news. So, I think Canadians will be watching and celebrating along with the royal family and all of Britain.


NEWTON: And that's what's been going on right now. Wall to wall coverage. Every time I turn on a monitor, that is what's on. Interesting here, the prime minister, Stephen Harper, already hinted that Canada is awaiting its first royal visit from this couple.

And it's been interesting that a lot of people, even though Prince William decided to give his mother's ring to Kate, right off the bat, many people saying they were relieved that there were very few comparisons between Prince Charles and, of course, Princess Diana through all this. Max?

FOSTER: Paula, I'm wondering on your perspective on the Commonwealth and how this plays into that, because in Australia, a big republican movement there, lots of people wanting to get rid of the royal family. Do you think the fact that a new young couple is going to be heading it will change things in terms of the power of the monarchy across the Commonwealth?

NEWTON: It won't change things for people who are dead set against it. And I know that there are fairly strong movements, for example, in Australia, another movement in New Zealand. Not so much here in Canada. But I think if this young couple manages to revive the monarchy and almost reinvent it.

This couple -- and you and I have discussed this before -- the way they've conducted themselves in the last few years already shows this. This is a different couple. They definitely have the common touch. They feel like ordinary people. And, perhaps, they can make that monarchy, that symbol more relevant to people in the Commonwealth. And if that happens, I think a lot of this discussion may be a little bit more muted. I won't say that it will go away, but definitely more muted.

The one thing you always get here is, "What is it costing when we have these royal visits?" It's that kind of talk that you want to be able to tone down if you're Buckingham Palace and, certainly, no better ambassadors right now, at this moment, than Kate and Will.

FOSTER: Indeed. Paula Newton, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from Ottawa.

Within seconds of the Clarence House announcement, on Facebook, I might add, social media was abuzz with news of the royal engagement. Ralitsa Vassileva takes a look at what you've been saying about it on Twitter.


RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The royal engagement is generating tons of reaction on social media. Take a look at the trends map. This monitors where people are tweeting from, and the royal wedding, clearly a hot topic. You see here in the United States, the United Kingdom, some of the former British colonies, in Africa, and Asia and Australia as well.

And here are a few sample tweets we want to share with you. From Sydney, Australia, Joan MacDougal posts, "I remember the big day for Charles and Di. I really hope Wills and Kate have a more peaceful and loving journey. Aw, can't wait."

And over to Nairobi, Kenya, where Miano Dennis says, "Prince William and Kate Middleton got engaged in Kenya last month? How did we miss this?" So, they sneaked up on you.

And Gillian Nelis in Dublin, Ireland tweets, "Strangely excited about royal wedding. Memories of watching Charles and Di with my granny in 1981."

On the British monarch Facebook page, thousands and thousands of people are posting their comments from all over the world. Aya Takemoto in Tokyo writes, "Congratulations. Please come and visit Japan as husband and wife. We all will be excited to host you two."

And Jonathan Cid in the United States posts the following. "Congratulations to His Royal Highness Prince William and Ms. Kate Middleton on their engagement."

Over to Helsinki, Finland, Helena Seppnen writes, "Looking forward to the wedding and waiting for the invitation."

Janet Ristic says, "A honeymoon in South Africa, please."

And Tanya Hoffman in Germany, two words. "Na endlich." Which means, "finally." Back to you.


FOSTER: Has to be the hottest invitation, doesn't it, in the world right now, to that royal wedding next year. We're live outside Buckingham Palace in central London on the day Prince William and his girlfriend got engaged. We're back in 60 seconds, when we're going to switch gears a bit. We're heading to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the next installment in our urban planet series. Up next, meet the two Dutch artists who've given one city neighborhood a colorful makeover.


FOSTER: Half of the world's population lives in cities, and that number is set to skyrocket in the coming decade. Right now, in Kobe, Japan, the World Health Organization is holding a global forum on urbanization and health. So, all this week, CNN is looking at what's being done to create better lives for city dwellers all around the world.

Today, we're heading to Rio de Janeiro, where two Dutch artists are brightening up one local neighborhood that's seen some pretty dark times.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They cling to the hills of Rio de Janeiro. Favelas, fair brick homes, crammed one on top of another, resented and feared by the rest of the city. The residents here have transformed their community into a living, breathing canvass. With the help of two Dutch artists and a pioneering paint firm, the heart of Santa Marta slum is now a kaleidoscope of color.

Ed Jimal (ph) says he's proud of his work. "It gives the community life," he says. "People who come to the favelas today say, 'wow, how pretty.' It doesn't have that image of an ugly favela."

Dre Urhahn came to Brazil five years ago to shoot hip hop videos in Rio's favelas with his friend, Jeroen Koolhaas. They lived in Vila Cruzeiro, one of the city's most violent slums, and shot this video during one of the almost daily shootouts between narcos and police.

DRE URHAHN, ARTIST: Suddenly had this clear vision that it would be great to actually transform their living environment, together with them, into something artistic that would instill pride in their lives.

DARLINGTON (voice-over): First came a boy flying a kite. Then, they covered a cement hillside with fish and caught the attention of local media.

URHAHN: If you are able to get a positive message about this place into the newspaper, then your project is a success. And we did, so that was very inspiring.

DARLINGTON (voice-over): While crime hasn't abated, the project put Vila Cruzeiro on the map for something other than drug trafficking. Next, they put Santa Marta on the drawing board. A slum tamed by police.

DARLINGTON (on camera): Even in model favelas like Santa Marta, around almost every corner you'll find makeshift homes, open sewage running right under your front door. Really the kind of poverty the people in these communities are trying to so hard to put behind them.

DARLINGTON (voice-over): Brazil's Coral paint company offered to help with raw materials and training for locals. Tigre (ph), or Big Tiger, was a drug dealer before he got involved with the project. "It was a great opportunity," he says. "It gave me a different outlook on life, showing me that an honest job can be a good thing."

They created a massive artwork covering 34 buildings. If donations come in, a whole favela could be next. A monument created by the people who live in it for the entirely city. Shasta Darlington, CNN, Rio de Janeiro.


FOSTER: Stick with CONNECT THE WORLD all this week for our urban planning series. Tonight, we're live, though, from Buckingham Palace in central London on a day the future king of England -- who's set to be the future king of England, at least, popped the questions to his girlfriend, Kate Middleton. We'll be right back.


FOSTER: You've been expressing your thoughts about the royal engagement on our Facebook page, Witold writes, "When royals start to marry commoners, there's no more place for monarchy." A controversial view.

Kelly is from America and says, "I don't get the whole 'commoner' thing. If they love each other, they should get married whatever her background."

And Brian comments on all the media coverage today, saying "Who knows what the media will be like on the wedding day?" True enough.

Adam is similarly unimpressed and writes, "Really couldn't care less. At least it keeps 'X Factor' off the papers for a few days." A talent show in the UK, in case you don't know.

We love hearing from you and all of your opinions. Do get your voice heard on CNN. Head to our Facebook page,

Love them or not, the British royals\ attract enormous attention around the world, love them or hate them, and the engagement of Prince William was always certain to be a recipe for a media frenzy, of course. In tonight's Parting Shots, we want to leave you with some of the images that, for years to come, will help mark this very historic day. I'm Max Foster. That's your world, connected.