Pippa Middleton And James Matthews Surprise Public With Engagement

Pippa Middleton and James Matthews took off for a vacation this past week, but this wasn’t just any vacation, as we all know by now, because James created an opportunity during the romantic getaway to pop the question. While most of the public may have been unaware of Matthews’ plans for the vacation, Pippa’s family was in the know. Sticking to tradition and showing respect to Middleton’s family, Matthews asked Pippa’s father for permission to propose in advance of the getaway. Even with family permission, the couple tried to keep things under wraps, but, as is usually the case with such monumental life events, news of the engagement quickly leaked out to the public.

James Matthews Proposes And Kate Middleton Says Yes

Still can't believe Pippa is engaged ???? I've waited too long for this! #pippamiddleton

A photo posted by Pippa Middleton (@pippamidleton) on

The Lake District of northwest England was the setting for the proposal, which took place while James and Pippa were enjoying a vacation last week and, upon their return, veteran royal reporter Richard Kay was the first to bring the happy news to the public via Daily Mail. While Kay was as shocked as the public to learn about the engagement, Pippa’s family was happy to hear about it, long before everyone else. They even knew before Kate Middleton’s younger sister, because the parents were asked for their blessing by an eager Matthews.

“Mike and Carole Middleton are very happy,” reported Kay. “They like James and they are sure he will make Pippa very happy.”

Even before the official announcement, followers of Pippa Middleton had begun to suspect something was afoot because the younger Middleton sister was conspicuously covering her ring finger at a recent public event. While at a gala for the British Heart Foundation, Pippa stopped to have her picture taken in a floral L.K. Bennett gown but used her handbag to keep the ring covered.

Matthews has joined the Middleton family on several past vacations, including getaways to Sweden and St. Barts. While visiting Sweden this past September, Pippa and James took part in a 47-mile long swim-run.

An Inside Look At James Matthews Reveals A Down To Earth Public Figure

As Pippa’s new fiancee, she surely knows James better than most of us ever will, but E! News gives the public just a glimpse at what Matthews is like, when he’s not running Eden Rock Capital Management or whisking Ms. Middleton away on a romantic vacations. For starters, Matthews, who shares his first name with Pippa’s youngest brother, likes to stay active and those familiar with Matthews’ lifestyle list skiing as James’ favorite activity. Pippa joined James in the Birkebeiner ski race in Norway, which took the newly engaged couple six hours to complete.

Looking back at James’ upbringing, he shares more ties to the royal family than his new engagement to Ms. Middleton. Matthews attended Eton College, an independent boarding school in Windsor, England, which was also attended by Prince William and Prince Henry. While it may be easy to mistake the institution for a university, Eton College is actually not a college, but a more traditional boarding school.

Such a fine upbringing might suggest that the Matthews family has raised some strictly business-minded boys, but nothing could be further from the truth. While looking no further than Matthews’ interest in skiing and in romancing Pippa on exotic vacations as proof enough, James isn’t the only Matthews drawing the attention of the public. Spencer Matthews, James’ brother, can be seen on television each week on the reality series, Made in Chelsea. The series follows the twenty-something offspring of London’s wealthiest families as they each try to make names for themselves.

“Think Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, but in London,” writes E! News of the series.

The palace has yet to make an official statement on Pippa Middleton’s engagement.

[Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images]