Prince William to marry Kate Middleton next year

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Prince William revealed tonight that he proposed using the engagement ring of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, to make sure she "didn't miss out on the excitement".

William and his long-term girlfriend, Kate Middleton, got engaged on holiday in Kenya last month and will marry next year.

Miss Middleton, showing off the distinctive blue sapphire engagement ring alongside her husband-to-be tonight, told reporters that joining the Royal Family was a "daunting prospect".

But she added: "Hopefully I'll take it in my stride."

Prince William said of their engagement: "The timing is right now, we are both very, very happy."

Explaining why he decided to give Diana's ring to Miss Middleton, William said: "It was my way of making sure my mother didn't miss out on today and the excitement, and the fact that we're going to spend the rest of our lives together."

Asked about the proposal, Miss Middleton said: "It was very romantic, and it was very personal."

Asked if he got down on one knee to propose, William replied: "That's going to stay a secret."

The couple, both 28, ended months of speculation by announcing their engagement this morning, nine years after they met as art history students at St Andrew's University.

The Royal wedding will take place in London in the spring or summer of 2011, Clarence House said.

After getting married the couple will live in north Wales, where the Prince is serving as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot.

Senior Royals and politicians offered their congratulations, although the Queen and the Prince of Wales both commented on William's tardiness in proposing.

The Queen told a guest at a Windsor Castle reception for leaders of British overseas territories: "It is brilliant news. It has taken them a very long time."

Charles said he was thrilled about his son's engagement, joking: "They have been practising long enough."

His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, who is William's stepmother, told a well-wisher the news was "absolutely wonderful".

Speaking outside their home in Bucklebury, Berkshire, Miss Middleton's parents Michael and Carole said they were "absolutely delighted".

Prime Minister David Cameron described it as "a great day for our country" and said the Prince was "thrilled" when he rang him to offer his congratulations.

Revealing that he slept on the Mall on the night of the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana, Mr Cameron predicted that the Royal wedding would unite Britain.

He said: "It is incredibly exciting news and I'm sure that the whole country will want to pass their very best wishes to the happy couple, and wish them an incredibly long and happy life together."

Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, said: "It's wonderful news. Very exciting. My family are all thrilled for them both."

Clarence House formally announced the long-awaited development in a statement issued just after 11am today.

It said: "The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton.

"The wedding will take place in the spring or summer of 2011, in London. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course.

"Prince William and Miss Middleton became engaged in October during a private holiday in Kenya.

"Prince William has informed The Queen and other close members of his family. Prince William has also sought the permission of Miss Middleton's father.

"Following the marriage, the couple will live in north Wales, where Prince William will continue to serve with the Royal Air Force."

Miss Middleton, who comes from a wealthy middle class background, was born a commoner but is now in line to become Queen.

She was dubbed "Waity Katey" for her patience in biding her time before the Prince popped the question.

William was frequently asked by members of the public when he would get married, but his stock response was "wait and see".

Miss Middleton was credited with persuading the Prince to continue his studies at St Andrew's when he considered quitting as he struggled to adjust to university life during his first year.

They moved into a shared house with two other friends in 2002 for their second year, and were rumoured to have become an item around Christmas 2003.

The couple briefly split up in April 2007, reportedly because of the strain caused by the Prince's military career, but they were secretly back together within weeks.

Miss Middleton's millionaire parents run a mail-order business called Party Pieces which sells toys and party paraphernalia.

She was privately educated at £15,000-a-year Marlborough College, where she was a keen netball and hockey player, and has two younger siblings, Pippa and James.

Miss Middleton, who works for her parents' company, has kept a low profile for the past year and has only been seen at William's side at weddings or on holiday.

The announcement of the engagement will lead to speculation about when she will take on formal Royal duties.

The Prince, who visited Afghanistan at the weekend to mark Remembrance Sunday with serving British troops, is currently based at RAF Valley on the island of Anglesey in north Wales.

For the past six months Miss Middleton has spent part of the week living with William in a rented cottage on Anglesey.

There was speculation today that there will be an extra bank holiday next year to mark the marriage.

Bookmaker Paddy Power has made Saturday August 13 2011 the 3/1 favourite for the date of the Royal wedding.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before