Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton pose for the media at St. James's Palace in London yesterday.
Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton pose for the media at St. James's Palace in London yesterday.

Prince William to wed longtime love early next year

The eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, gave his girlfriend, Kate Middleton, his mother's engagement ring.

LONDON // Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, is to marry his university sweetheart Kate Middleton next year.

The prince, eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, will tie the knot with the young woman he calls "Babykins" in spring or early summer - exactly 30 years after his parents were married.

He has given his fiancee the blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring that Diana was given by Prince Charles. "It's my mother's engagement ring so of course it's very special to me," William said. "It was my way of making sure that my mother didn't miss out on today."

Ms Middleton described the prospect of joining the British royal family as "daunting, but hopefully I'll take it my stride".

The prince admitted that he had waited a long time to propose marriage. "I don't remember how many years it's been, forgetful memory," he said.

Prince Charles said he was "thrilled" at the news. "They have been practising long enough," he said at his country home in the west of England.

After the wedding, the couple, who are both 28, are expected to live in north Wales, where William is serving as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot in the Royal Air Force.

David Cameron, the British prime minister, said it was “incredibly exciting news”. Jubilation erupted in 10 Downing Street after the news broke, he said.

“I was passed a piece of paper and announced the news in the middle of the cabinet meeting, and there was a great cheer that went up and a great banging of the table.” Mr Cameron added: “As well as this being a great moment for national celebration, I think we also have to remember that this is people who love each other, who’ve made this announcement, who are looking forward to their wedding.

“We must give them plenty of space to think about the future and what they’re about to do.
“But it is a great day for our country, a great day for the royal family and obviously a great day for Prince William and for Kate.”

The couple began dating seven years ago, when they shared a house with two friends while studying at St Andrews University in Scotland. They became engaged in October while on holiday in Kenya.

The announcement of the marriage came yesterday in a statement from Clarence House, Prince Charles’s official residence: “The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton. 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.”

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

Miss Middleton is a far cry from the European royals whom the British tabloids speculated a decade ago might make a suitable match as a “queen in waiting” for the prince. Her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, are self-made millionaires who run a mail-order business selling toys and party goods, and live in a modern, five-bedroom house in Berkshire.

Privately educated, she met the prince when the two began studying the history of art at university, although William later switched to geography. They started dating seriously around Christmas, 2003.

The course of their romance was not always smooth and they split up briefly in 2007 amid strains brought on by the prince’s military commitments. Within weeks, however, they were re-united.

She and the prince share a love of sport and the outdoor life. Both are accomplished skiers and Miss Middleton has recently been brushing up her skills as a marksman, joining royal hunting parties on grouse and pheasant shoots.

However, given the British royal yamily’s love of horses, one thing going against her is that she is, apparently, allergic to the animals.

Margaret Holder, an author and documentary-maker on the British royals, said she believed the marriage would give Prince William the warm family life he wanted.

“What he’s finding with the Middleton family is what he didn’t have as a child, and I think that’s very good for him,” she told the BBC.

“I think this is going to be a very, very good and successful marriage. And I think this will take the monarchy through well into the 21st century. I think Kate is very modern – she’s very relevant.”



Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National