Britain's Prince William To Marry Kate Middleton : The Two-Way Royal officials say the prince and Kate Middleton got engaged last month during a vacation in Kenya. They are due to marry next spring or summer in London.
NPR logo Prince William To Marry Longtime Girlfriend Kate Middleton

Prince William To Marry Longtime Girlfriend Kate Middleton

Update at 2:30 p.m. EST:

Kate Middleton, fiancée of Britain's Prince William, shows off her engagement ring as they pose for photographers during a photocall to mark their engagement, in the State Rooms of St James s Palace, central London on November 16, 2010.   BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images/Getty hide caption

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BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images/Getty

Prince William and his fiancée posed for pictures today in St. James palace. William said he gave Kate the same engagement ring his father gave his mother. "It was my way of making sure my mother didn't miss out on today, and the excitement and the fact that we're going to spend the rest of our lives together,'' he said. Kate did say that eventually becoming queen of England is a "daunting prospect."

Prince William and Kate Middleton leaving the wedding of their friends Harry Mead and Rosie Bradford in October. The two will be married next year. Chris Ison/EMPPL PA Wire hide caption

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Chris Ison/EMPPL PA Wire

Original Post:

Well, it seems to have hit Facebook first, as far as I can tell:

The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton.

And then a fuller version at the BBC continues:

"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 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."

He popped the question last month during a vacation in Kenya. It's nice to see the second in line to the throne marry for love rather than dynastic reasons at least. William and Kate (it is a nice custom of just referring to the British Royalty by their first names, no?) met at university more than 8 years ago. They shared a house with friends. She convinced him to stay in school.

Kate Middleton is not nobility. Her parents are self-made millionaires, running a mail-order party and toy company.

The very idea of a royal wedding causes a furor in England. In 2006, when it was rumored that Kate and William were going to be engaged, at least one store started creating souvenirs before it was proved false.

At this moment, somewhere in the bowels of London, I am sure, the souvenir factories are spinning up as I type.

The tabloids already have splash pages up, but this seems to have taken everyone a touch off guard so far this morning. As of this moment 1,681 people "like" the news on Facebook. I'm guessing six digits by the time I get off work.