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UK’s Prince William engaged to longtime girlfriend

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LONDON (AP) - Prince William and girlfriend Kate Middleton are engaged and will marry next spring or summer in London _ a royal wedding that Britons have been eagerly awaiting for years.

The announcement Tuesday by royal officials ends an on-again, off-again romance that began after the two met more than eight years ago as students at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Prince Charles' Clarence House office said the heir to the British throne is "delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton." It said they got engaged last month during a vacation in Kenya.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was delighted by the news, and sent the couple his best.

The prince, who is second in line to the throne, once told an interviewer he wouldn't marry "until I'm at least 28 or maybe 30." He turned 28 in June and recently completed training a Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot.

The royal family is said to approve of Middleton, the daughter of self-made millionaires. Her father worked for an airline and her mother was a flight attendant before they started a mail-order business specializing in children's parties, run from their farm in southern England.

Middleton works for the family business.

Commentators have been anticipating a summer 2011 wedding, a date that avoids both the Olympics and Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, both due to be held in 2012. Bookmakers stopped taking bets on a 2011 wedding months ago, saying all signs were pointing to a marriage next year.

Earlier this month the Middletons joined members of the royal family for a shooting holiday at the Balmoral estate in Scotland _ another milestone on Kate's road to acceptance by the family's inner circle.

The venue for the wedding was not announced.

"Prince William has informed the queen and other close members of his family," the Clarence House statement said. "Prince William has also sought the permission of Miss Middleton's father."

It said after the wedding, the couple will "live in north Wales, where Prince William will continue to serve with the Royal Air Force."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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