William and Kate: The Royal Pieces Are in Place

Prince William and Kate Middleton pose for photographs in the State Apartments of St. James Palace Nov. 16, 2010, in London.
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She had been called Waity Katie, but Catherine Elizabeth Middleton now, according to Tuesday's palace announcement -- is waiting no more. CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports finally, a marriage that had been wildly rumored for years is official.

The engagement was sealed with the same sapphire and diamond ring William's father had given his mother. His way, William said, of bringing Princess Diana close to the joyous event.

William had popped the question three weeks ago on a romantic vacation in Kenya.

Prompting the question for a couple who have been together for at least eight years -- why the wait?

"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 see what, you know what happens on the other side," William said Tuesday.

Middleton added, "And I'm, I'm also glad that I've had the time to sort of to grow and understand myself more."

PICTURES: Kate Middleton

William's father took a pragmatic view of a relationship that's been going on so long.

"Obviously thrilled, thank you very much," Prince Charles told reporters. "They've been practicing for long enough."

William and Kate had been an item -- with one brief split up -- since they shared an apartment with others while at college at St. Andrews in Scotland.

She had caught his eye, it's said, at a student charity fashion show. He'd bought a front row seat. They graduated in the same class but were always careful not to be photographed together.

As William went through his military training, Middleton was his special guest as he graduated. But the chattering classes were not always Kate's biggest fans. She wasn't royal; she wasn't even aristocratic.

Her parents were in the toy business. Her mother had even been a flight attendant.

What Kate had was staying power. And the prince's eye.

In marrying a woman whom he knows well, who is his own age and who has already been in the media spotlight, William is avoiding at least some of the pitfalls that helped doom his father's first marriage. But comparisons between Diana and Kate are inevitable: The camera loved Diana, and it likes Kate too; Diana loved fashion, so does Kate; Diana was hounded by the paparazzi, and Kate's had her share of that as well.

In the chess game of royal succession, this modern marriage settles a future that looked shaky not too long ago:

Behind Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip stand Charles and Camilla. And next in line behind them will be William and Kate. If the function of the royals is to provide continuity, the pieces are now all in place.

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Two Royal Weddings in One Season
Which Royal Title for Kate?
Timing of Wedding is Crucial
Middleton Gets Princess Diana's Ring
A Look Back at Charles and Diana's Wedding
Engaged Couple Make Public Debut
Prince Harry First to Congratulate his Brother
Royal Engagement Announced on Twitter
Middleton: Princess Diana is Inspirational
Engagement Sets off Media Frenzy
Kate Middleton Has Ties to Famous Americans

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Kate Middleton
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Remembering Diana
Kate Middleton's American Relatives