Subject Material

A Royal Proposal

Published: 06.12.2010, Updated: 04.03.2017
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On 16 November 2010, the news about the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton ended nine years of wild speculation.

Have a look at this riddle from the 15th Century “I gave my love a ring that had no end”.  Does it make sense even today and why does it mention a ring? Discuss.

I gave my love a cherry, that had no stone
I gave my love a chicken, that had no bone
I gave my love a ring, that had no end
I gave my love a baby, with no cryin'

How can there be a cherry, that has no stone
How can there be a chicken, that has no bone
How can there be a ring, that has no end
How can there be a baby, with no cryin'

A cherry when it's bloomin', it has no stone
A chicken when it's hatchin', it has no bone
A ring when it's rollin', it has no end
A baby when it's sleepin, there's no cryin'


Definition of ring: In most cultures a ring denotes many symbolic values; most commonly it is associated with eternity and fidelity. This makes it ideal as a symbol of eternal love. The tradition of wedding and engagement rings probably started in ancient Rome and over the centuries it has become a vital part of courting in most parts of the world.


Task, picture: Do you know who this is? Look at her ring finger. Why has this ring created headlines in the media lately?

DianaDianaOn 16 November 2010, the news about the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton ended nine years of wild speculation. Since it had taken Prince William, the oldest son of Prince Charles and Lady Diana and the second heir in line to the British throne, so long to propose to his long time girl friend, Katie, the tabloids had given her the nickname “Waity Katie.” Katie accepted Prince William’s ring – his mother’s engagement ring, and the media could finally move on to the wedding plans.

Lady Diana – the Fairytale Princess

Lady Diana, Prince William’s mother, was 20 years old when she accepted Prince Charles’s ring in 1981. In spite of a spectacular fairytale wedding in St. Paul’s Cathedral and the ring’s universal symbolic power, the marriage between the two soon started falling apart and formally ended in divorce in 1992. The young bride soon earned an iconic popularity and she was continuously hunted down by the tabloids. The media attention only accelerated after the divorce and it is generally believed that the paparazzi reporters were to blame for the traffic accident that led to her death in Paris in 1997.

The Announcement of the Engagement

Watch the BBC clip below and answer the following questions: The announcement of the engagement (BBC)

  1. Where did Prince William make his proposal?
  2. Why did it take him so long to propose?
  3. How did Katie respond?
  4. Why did Katie find the proposal romantic?
  5. Where did he keep the ring?
  6. Name the gems in the ring.
  7. Why did he choose to give Kate his mother’s ring?

Find out

  1. Do Katie Middleton and Lady Diana have anything in common?
  2. Why do many people think that Katie might be a new fairytale princess?
  3. According to a recent poll, the majority of Britons think that Prince William rather than his father, Prince Charles, should be the next heir to the throne. What do you think?
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