Prince William gives Kate Diana's engagement ring

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Prince William gives Kate Diana's engagement ring

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Britain’s Prince William is to marry his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton next spring or summer.

The happy couple appeared before the cameras, the bride-to-be wearing the engagement ring worn by William’s mother – in his words, so that the late Princess Diana “didn’t miss out”.

Prime Minister David Cameron said when his cabinet was told the news, there was a great cheer and banging of the table. He described the engagement as a great moment for national celebration.

“I think we also have to remember that this is two young people who love each other, who have made this announcement, who are looking forward to the wedding, and we must give them plenty of space to think about the future and what they’re about to do,” he said. “But a great day for our country, a great day for the Royal Family and obviously a great day for Prince William and for Kate.”

For the Royal Family, the engagement is a long-awaited boost after the scandals and tragedies of the 1990s. It may also lift morale in Britain in economically austere times.

“I didn’t know. Fantastic!” exclaimed one Londoner outside Buckingham Palace. “I didn’t know they’d got engaged. Wow! It’s all happening, that’s great. Let’s hope they’re more successful than the rest of the family!” she laughed.

The wedding will come exactly 30 years after Diana’s spectacular but ultimately ill-fated marriage to Britain’s heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles.

William went on to meet Kate Middleton at university. They became engaged while on holiday in Kenya last month.