Exclusive: Prince William Kept Royal Engagement Secret from Staff

Prince William and Kate Middleton pose for photographs in the State Apartments of St. James Palace Nov. 16, 2010, in London. AFP/Getty Images

Prince William and Kate Middleton pose for photographs in the State Apartments of St. James Palace Nov. 16, 2010, in London. (AFP/Getty Images)

LONDON (CBS) Prince William's engagement to Kate Middleton last week didn't just take the word by surprise. A lot of his own advisers didn't know about the announcement until just hours before it was made.

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In fact,there was so much grumbling about the way the price apparently backfooted his staff that the queen has suggested to her grandson that he might want "to make use of the advisers around him."

A source told me that the 28-year-old prince "remains a strong product of his mother, Princess Diana, and refuses to be boxed in at times with royal protocol." The source said the prince plans to be more "hands on" in planning his wedding.

While away with pals in Blackpool to catch a football match this weekend, William told his advisers that he wants "to see a guest list that reflects our friends, beliefs and future."

William also told a pal that he planned to protect his bride-to-be from mass press intrusion that hindered the life of his late mother. "I lived through a lot of that," he reportedly said, "and it was not an easy experience."

Also, the prince was spotted this week in public with reading glasses. While I hear he quite likes the idea of contacts, he is beginning to wear the glasses as a kind of disguise. "You know, I can go around with glasses on and it's very rare that people spot me, really," he said. "I think they disguise me well in a way."

Not for long, William.

  • Neil Sean

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