Abbey 'likely royal wedding venue'
Westminster Abbey has emerged as the firm favourite to be the venue of Prince William's wedding after being visited by his bride-to-be, Kate Middleton.
The 28-year-old paid a brief visit on Wednesday night to the Abbey, which has hosted the weddings of the Queen and Queen Mother and was where the funeral of William's mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was held.
However, the couple, who are spending their first day apart since announcing their engagement, said they needed more time to make the final decision about where and when they make their vows.
A St James's Palace spokesman said: "Miss Middleton paid a short, private visit to Westminster Abbey in order to be able to consider it as an option. The couple wish for a little more time to be able to consult family members and make a decision for themselves."
Miss Middleton made the visit by herself as William had returned to North Wales to continue his work as an RAF search and rescue pilot.
The couple were said to be "on cloud nine" after discussing marriage plans with royal aides during meetings on Wednesday.
Royal officials will now consult with the Queen, senior royals, Miss Middleton's parents and others before reporting back to the Prince and his fiancee, who will make the final decision.
The full cost of the wedding will not be known until major elements such as a venue are decided, but the spokesman stressed that William and Miss Middleton were conscious of the country's economic situation.
The couple are thought to favour a March date for their big day but some time in the summer may also be picked.
The Prince's engagement announcement has prompted the public to have a flutter on a range of wedding-related bets, with Westminster Abbey emerging as the favourite venue among punters with odds of 8-11.