Kate Middleton: Princess Diana is inspirational

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LONDON (AP) - Prince William’s fiancee Kate Middleton says his mother, the late Princess Diana, was an inspirational woman and she would have loved to meet her.

In a televised interview, Middleton said she was very nervous about meeting William’s father Prince Charles and his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II. But she said they were both very friendly to her.

Middleton said Tuesday she was initially very shy about meeting William when they were both at college, but they became very close friends early on.

She says they went through good and bad times throughout the eight years they were together and came out stronger.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

LONDON (AP) _ The college romance that seemed to wilt under the pressure of adulthood and the glare of the paparazzi has blossomed at last. Prince William is finally engaged to his longtime girlfriend and will give Britain its biggest royal wedding since Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer almost 30 years ago.

Royal officials announced Tuesday that William will marry Kate Middleton next spring or summer in London, ending years of rumored splits, reconciliations and will-they, won’t-they speculation.

William is second in line to the British throne after Charles, his father. Kate and William’s first child would move ahead of his younger brother Prince Harry to become third in line to the throne.

William proposed during a vacation in Kenya last month, and gave Middleton the engagement ring once worn by his late mother Diana, an oval blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds from the jeweler Garrard.

“This was my way of making sure that my mother didn’t miss out on today,” William said as the couple posed for photographers in the state apartments at St. James’ Palace.

William wore a navy suit, Middleton a simple blue dress.

“Blimey,” he said as the couple faced a torrent of camera flashes.

Middleton acknowledged that being queen was “a daunting prospect,” and declined to say whether the prince had proposed on bended knee.

Clarence House said that while William’s bride-to-be is commonly known as Kate, her official name is Catherine Elizabeth _ the style used by her close family. She will be named Queen Catherine if William, as expected, eventually takes the British throne.

Many in Britain welcomed the royal engagement as a rare piece of good news in a time of economic uncertainty and cutbacks _ a time much like 1981, when millions watched Charles and Diana’s fairy-tale wedding. Their marriage eventually ended in divorce _ but no one was dwelling on that detail Tuesday.

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