Prince William Engaged to His Girlfriend Kate Middleton

prince-william-engaged-to-his-girlfriend-kate-middletonBritain’s Prince William and his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton are engaged. The Royal wedding will take place in spring or summer 2011, Clarence House confirmed this morning, putting an end to years of speculation.

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“Waity Katie” must wait no more. A mere eight years since the couple met, Britain’s Prince William is officially engaged to Kate Middleton, royal officials said today.

The royal family announces that “The son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana will wed Kate Middleton next year.”

“The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton,” according to the statement from Clarence House.

Prince Charles’ Clarence House office said the heir to the British throne is “delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton.” The couple became engaged in secret last month while on holiday in Kenya.

Los Angeles Times reports,

Prince William is engaged to longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton, Britain’s royal family announced Tuesday.

The 28-year-old heir to the throne and his fiancee will marry next year, royal aides said. Announcement of the engagement had been rumored for weeks, as palace watchers looked ahead on the royal calendar and speculated that a marriage would have to take place sometime in 2011, sandwiched between other official royal activities.

Announcing the engagement now gives Buckingham Palace time to prepare for the most highly anticipated royal event since the lavish wedding of William’s parents, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, in 1981.

The marriage will end bachelorhood for William and the hopes of young women around the world who have followed his every move and been charmed by his good looks and affable manner.

The prince and Middleton, who is also 28, met as students at University of St. Andrews near Edinburgh, Scotland. Their relationship has been minutely dissected in the British tabloids, which have gleefully picked on Middleton’s middle-class background.

With no royal or aristocratic pedigree, Middleton will be the first commoner to marry an heir to the throne in centuries. Her parents are entrepreneurs who became millionaires from a mail-order party-supplies business, which has prompted some ridicule in a society where snobbishness can still be a prized trait.

Middleton’s mother, Carole, has been especially sneered at as a social climber who once worked as a flight attendant and who was caught on camera chewing gum during William’s graduation ceremony from military academy.

The couple have reportedly split up at various times over the years, but their closeness in recent times has led to speculation that marriage was imminent. Middleton’s parents were recently invited for a shooting party at the royal residence in Scotland, which was taken as a sign that a blending of the two families was in the offing.

William is second in line to the British throne, after Prince Charles. His low-key style and resemblance to his mother have made him a popular figure for a family battered by tragedy and scandal.

The prince’s aides said the pair became engaged while on vacation in Kenya last month. The wedding is expected to take place sometime in the spring or summer of next year. Royal watchers said that Westminster Abbey, where William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, was married, is a likely venue.

After their wedding, the couple will live in northern Wales, where William will continue to serve in Britain’s air force.

Congratulations quickly began pouring in. British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was passed a note with news of the engagement during a Cabinet meeting and that, when he informed his colleagues, a cheer went up around the table.

Cameron later spoke with the prince by telephone – though whether he thanked William for providing some good news at a time when the British government is imposing a sweeping austerity plan is not known.