Prince William to marry Kate Middleton next year

PRINCE William has given his mother’s engagement ring to girlfriend Kate Middleton ahead of their wedding next year, it emerged tonight.

Clarence House announced the couple’s engagement in a statement this morning.

Miss Middleton said tonight that joining the Royal Family was a “daunting prospect” but added: “Hopefully I’ll take it in my stride.’’

Her husband-to-be said: “The timing is right now, we are both very, very happy.’’

Prince William added that giving Kate his mother’s engagement ring was “my way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement”.

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Princess Diana chose the ring from a selection offered to her by jewellers Garrard in February 1981.

The ring, an oval blue sapphire surrounded by a cluster of 14 small diamonds, cost �28,000 at the time.

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In this morning’s statement Clarence House 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.”

William and Miss Middleton, both 28, became engaged while on holiday in Kenya last month.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “Both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are absolutely delighted for them both.”

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron said: “He is delighted with the good news. He sends the couple his very best.’’

’Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam also sent their best wishes.

“I am thrilled to hear the fantastic news of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement,’’ Mr Clegg said.

“Miriam and I would like to send our very best wishes to the happy couple ahead of their big day.’’

And Labour leader Ed Miliband added: “I’m delighted for Prince William and Kate Middleton and send them my very best for their wedding.

“The whole country will be wishing them every happiness.”

Saturday, August 13 is the early betting favourite as the day the couple will tie the knot.

- Send your goodwill messages to the couple by leaving a comment below.

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