Prince William to Marry Kate Middleton

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Michael Dunlea/Pool/Files/Reuters

Prince William and Kate Middleton

The news itself won’t come as a shock to keen or casual followers of the Royal Family but it does provide some relief from the economic uncertainty blighting Great Britain.

Details are scarce but the official statement from Clarence House reveals that, “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.”

(See pictures of Prince William.)

The couple got engaged during a vacation to Kenya in October. William sought the permission of Kate’s father (though it’s hard to imagine his saying no) and the Queen (who also had to be asked in advance, which dates back to an ancient tradition) and other close members of the Prince’s family have been informed. Following the marriage, they’ll live in north Wales, where William will continue to serve with the Royal Air Force. They met in 2002 while studying at St Andrews University in Scotland.

(See a TIME cover story on Prince William.)

If it is a summer wedding, it will spark off quite the year for London, which is getting set to host the 2012 Olympics. William, who is second in line to the throne, will marry in the year which would have marked the 30th anniversary of his parents’ wedding. The country pretty much came to a standstill that day and it wouldn’t be a surprise if we witnessed similar scenes in 2011.

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