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At last, the breathless speculation is over. Prince William and his longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton, are getting married, it was announced this morning. They'll wed in London in the spring or summer of 2011.

The couple, both 28, became engaged last month during a vacation in Africa.  "I took her out somewhere nice in Kenya, and I proposed," said William in the couple's first joint TV interview, which aired today.

William gave Kate his mother's engagement ring, an oval blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds from the jeweler Garrard.

"It was my way of making sure that my mother didn't miss out on today," he said. William's mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a 1997 car crash.

William said he'd been carrying the gem around with him in his rucksack for three weeks while on vacation, nervously checking to make sure it was still there.

"I'd been planning it for a while," he said. "But as every guy out there will know, it takes a little bit of motivation to get going. Kate added that because the couple were on a trip with friends, she didn't see it coming.

"It was very romantic," said the bride-to-be, who will become Queen Catherine if William eventually takes the throne. "There's a true romantic in there."

The prematurely balding prince said he'd been "torn between asking Kate's dad first, and the realization that if I did that, he might say no!"

As for kids, William said: "We want a family, so we'll have to start thinking about that."

For the first time, Kate shared her impressions of William's family, saying that Prince Charles had been "very welcoming and very friendly" when she first met him, and that the queen too was "very friendly."

The couple met as university students at St. Andrews in Scotland. While living together as roommates in a group house, they forged a friendship, which eventually blossomed into love. In 2002, William paid 200 pounds for a front-row seat at a fashion show where Kate was modeling a daring outfit — though it wasn't until 2004 that their romance became public.

There's already speculation over where the wedding will be held, and what Kate — who will be the first commoner to marry an heir presumptive to the throne in 350 years — will wear. Westminster Abbey is the bookies' favorite, with St. Paul's Cathedral a close second. Kate's favorite designer is said to be Daniella Issa Helayel from Brazil, but the British Fashion Council already has publicly urged her to choose a homegrown designer.

Kate's parents founded, and continue to run, a successful mail-order party-planning business, based in the affluent area of southern England where she grew up. She has worked as a buyer for a fashion chain, and now is employed by her parents' business.

Congratulations for the couple have been pouring in all day. Prime Minister David Cameron said: "It's great to have a bit of unadulterated good news," and even admitted that he slept on the sidewalk in downtown London in order to get a glimpse of the 1981 wedding of William's parents, Prince Charles and then-Lady Diana -- a union that ended in divorce and acrimony. Labor leader Ed Milliband said: "The whole country will be wishing them every happiness."

As for Prince Charles, the immediate heir to the throne, he admitted to being "thrilled" but added a characteristic curmudgeonly note: "They have been practising long enough."

"We all think he's wonderful, we're extremely fond of him,"  Michael Middleton, Kate's father, said. "They make a lovely couple."

But not everyone shares the optimistic mood. Princess Diana's former private secretary told a reporter: "If she was my sister, I'd tell her to get a good pre-nup."

A while back, some of the world's famous gown designers created stunning designs especially for the future Princess To-Be, and each gown was inspired by Kate's personal style. Check them out HERE!


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