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Prince William and Kate: Happily ever after?

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After months of speculation and rumour, the wait is over: Prince William is officially engaged to be married to Kate Middleton.

William, 28, popped the question during a holiday in Kenya last month after asking Middleton's father for his daughter's hand in marriage.

The pair, who have been an on-and-off couple for eight years, will marry next spring or summer in London, Prince Charles' Clarence House office said in a statement.

The couple met as students at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, just over eight years ago.

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

A statement from Clarence House read: "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."

'Waity Katie'

Speaking at a press conference today, Middleton, dubbed 'Waity Katy' by the British press (she's been waiting, waiting and waiting for lover boy to pop the question), said that joining the Royal Family was a "daunting prospect" but added: "Hopefully I'll take it in my stride."

Of William popping the question, she added, "We had spoken about our future."

"It just seemed a natural step for both of us."

Wedding date

While no date has been revealed, insiders speculate that August 2011 is the early favourite for the wedding ceremony and it is likely to take place at Westminster Abbey.

Britain's Daily Mail reports "personnel at the Abbey have already been contacted about a royal wedding in the second week of August".

The website also claims that Windsor Castle is another potential venue.

But Prince William's ceremony won't be at St Paul's Cathedral, where his parents got hitched in 1981, according to another news source.

"That's been ruled out by William himself," a royal aide tells Usmagazine.com.

The ring

When William popped the question, he didn't do it with just any old ring - he did it with a piece of history. His late mother Princess Diana's engagement ring.

"It is very special to me," William said of the 18-carat sapphire and diamond ring during a photo call at St James' Palace in London.

"It was my way to make sure my mother did not miss out on today and the excitement that we are going to spend the rest of our lives together."

He added of the engagement: "The timing is right now, we are both very, very happy."

As for the wedding ring, if Middleton follows tradition, she'll opt for a wedding band made from Welsh gold. The Queen Mother started the trend in 1923, and Welsh gold has been used for royal brides ever since, the Daily Mail reports.

The dress

William's engagement also sparks the big question: Who will design Middleton's dress?

Designers are already speculating on who will get the honour.

"[She] would be a bit experimental and just go for something quite fashion-forward with an element of tradition," wedding planner Mark Niemierko tells website AisleDash.

"I don't think it would be the big massive long train like Diana. I think that it had its time and place."

And according to Britain's Telegraph, bookmakers are already offering odds on the dress Middleton will wear.

Middleton is 3/1 to wear a dress by her favourite designer Daniella Issa Helayel.

Tongue firmly in cheek, one bookmaker is also "offering 10,000/1 on the unlikely possibility that the bride wears jewellery from Elizabeth Duke before heading off to Magaluf or Butlins on honeymoon".

Katie Nicholl, royal correspondent for the Mail on Sunday, offers her take on Middelton's likely dress choice to Usmagazine.com, saying, "It will be her job to look fabulous and be the perfect royal bride."

Nicholl speculates that Middleton will "definitely consider her favourite label, Brazilian brand Issa, though she might be pressured to select a British designer".

Peta Hunt, fashion director at You & Your Wedding magazine, thinks Middleton will opt for something traditional, but with a modern twist.

"I think it will be hand embroidered and I think with lace," she said.

"I would say a fishtail, not in a sex goddess way, but straighter at the front. I think she plays down everything."

Royal pad

For the last six months, William and Middleton, have lived together in a rented cottage in Anglesey, North Wales where the Prince is serving as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot.

And yes, my wee ears certainly pricked up when I heard this news. Oh, the homelands!

Their rented cottage, close to RAF Valley, has given the pair some privacy as speculation ran rampant about their relationship in the tabloids.

Locals around the island, off the coast of North Wales, "have become accustomed to seeing the pair going about their business, and have warmly welcomed the news that the couple will return to start their married lives," according to reports.

Selwyn Williams, chairman of the Isle of Anglesey County Council, said: "We would like to congratulate the prince and Kate Middleton on their engagement.

"This is wonderful news and we are of course delighted that they have decided to live here in North Wales following their wedding.

"It's fantastic that they are enjoying the beauty, heritage and culture of Anglesey and that they want to be part of it."

He's right on the money with the beauty part. Gorgeous spot for them to get into the married groove together. And they'll be left in peace. Papa-what? No lens lizards there. Well, maybe Dafydd down the road with his Polaroid...

"It's also very good news for the island in terms of raising our profile as a tourist destination. I hope that we become a must-visit destination as many more recognise all we have to offer visitors," Williams added.

And once they're married, the happy couple will also have a crash pad at Clarence House - where Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry also have suites.

After William finishes his RAF stint, the pair will reportedly move into an eco-friendly house built by Charles at Harewood Park in Herefordshire.

Well, all that remains to be said is:

llongyfarchiadau mawr i ti William a dy gariad 'Waity Katy'!

* Translation available on request. Consider it your homework.

See you later in the week, scandalmongers!

Blogger Bites Back

* Read more celebrity news and gossip from Myrddin Gwynedd here.

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