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Prince William and his long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton are engaged to be wed, a spokesman for the monarchy announced. William, second in line to the throne behind his father, honored his late mother by giving Middleton the engagement ring that Prince Charles once gave to Princess Diana. The couple, both 28, met during their student days at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland over eight years ago and will reportedly wed next spring or summer.
A date has been set for the wedding of the century.
Great Britain's Prince William will marry Kate Middleton on Friday, April 29, 2011, a week after Easter, at Westminster Abbey, the Royal Family announced from St. James's Palace. The word came a week after the couple went public with their engagement. The family also took the occasion to put to rest complaints from Brits that taxpayers might underwrite the spectacle.
"The royal family will pay for the wedding, following the precedence set by the marriages of the prince and princess of Wales in 1981 and Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1947," Prince Charles' spokeswoman said.
The 1,000-year-old Westminster Abbey holds more than 2,000 people and was the scene of Queen Elizabeth II's wedding in 1947, as well as the nuptials of her daughter Princess Ann, and son Prince Andrew. Prince Charles and Lady Diana were wed at St. Paul's Cathedral in 1981.
Westminster Abbey has been known as the "Coronation Church" since 1066, so named because it is where kings and queens are crowned when they take the throne.
Westminster Abbey also hosted Princess Diana's funeral in 1997.
The couple met at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. They shared a student house in the seaside university town, where William initially studied art history before switching to geography. The have been publicly linked since 2004, and Middleton has been dubbed "Waity Katie" as years passed without a commitment from the Prince.
Prince William proposed to Middleton during a vacation in Kenya in October, giving her the engagement ring that belonged to his late mother, Princess Diana.