Royal wedding: Prince William to marry Kate Middleton
Prince William, second in line to the throne, is to marry Kate Middleton next year.
The royal engagement was announced in a brief statement released by Clarence House.
This is the statement in full:
"The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton.
"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 and Miss Middleton became engaged in October during a private holiday in Kenya. 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."
The couple announced their engagement two months ago.
Kate Middleton will become one in a long line of commoners to marry into the Royal Family.
The former student who captured William's heart lacks blue blood, is neither a Lady, an Hon. nor a Princess, nor has a double-barrelled name.
There is no requirement that members of the Royal Family pick a royal or aristocratic spouse.
In fact, there has been a distinct lack of Princes or Princesses marrying those high up the line of succession for some time.
One of the last was the Duke of Edinburgh, formerly Prince Philip of Greece and a descendant of Queen Victoria, who married the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, in 1947.
The Countess of Wessex, born plain Sophie Rhys-Jones, like Kate Middleton, hails from middle-class background.
A public relations girl who once worked for Capital Radio, she wed the Earl of Wessex in 1999, earning herself a coveted HRH.
Her father was a former car salesman and she was brought up in a Kent village near Tunbridge Wells.
Problems arose when Sophie tried to combine her life as a royal with her professional career.
She was caught in a Fake Sheikh sting and accused of trying to use her status to promote her business.
Sophie and Edward later stepped down from their individual careers to become full-time royals.
Even the Queen Mother was seen as an unusual addition to royal circles.
In 1923, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon became the first commoner to marry close to the throne since the seventeenth century.
She had a title, but was not a Princess, although as daughter of Lord Glamis, later 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, she was descended from the Royal House of Scotland.
The Duchess of York, born Sarah Ferguson, has always happily referred to herself as a commoner.
Lady Diana Spencer was not a Princess either, but she had a title and was also descended five times from Stuart King Charles II.
Her marriage was viewed as something of a compromise. She was not royal, but came from a noble family.
Both Diana and Fergie's relationships with Princes floundered and ended in divorce.
The Princess Royal married handsome commoner Mark Phillips, a former equerry to the Queen, in 1973, but they later split.
Princess Margaret wanted to marry commoner Group Captain Peter Townsend, but she was not allowed because he was divorced.
Later she wed photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was then elevated to Lord Snowdon. They later divorced.
The Duchess of Cornwall, born Camilla Shand, had no title but had intimate royal connections - one of her ancestors was a King's mistress.
She was born the oldest child of Major Bruce Shand, a former Vice Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex and master of the Southdown Hunt, and the Hon Rosalind Cubitt, daughter of Lord Ashcombe.
The Duchess of Kent, although from an upper class background, was untitled like Kate Middleton when she married the Duke of Kent.
Her nuptials in 1961 were known as the White Rose wedding.
Born Katharine Worsley, she was the first untitled woman to marry into the Royal Family for more than a century.
She was widely acclaimed for her dress sense and she was nominated "world's best dressed woman" on several occasions.
In recent years, she has withdrawn for public life and is reported to have been treated for depression.
She now prefers to be known as plain Mrs Kent and works as a music teacher.
The trend for marrying non-royals has been adopted across Europe and even further afield.
Spain's heir-to-the-throne Prince Felipe married divorced TV journalist Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, while Norway's Crown Prince Haakon married single mother Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby.
Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik married Australian estate agent Mary Donaldson, who he met in a bar during the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
In 2005, Japan's Princess Sayako married civil servant Yoshiki Kuroda.