Britain's Prince William has finally asked his longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton, to marry him.
Royal officials announced on Tuesday that William and Kate -- a commoner -- became engaged last month during a trip to Kenya, when the prince presented Kate with his mother Diana's sapphire and diamond engagement ring.
"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.
The couple's wedding will take place next spring or summer in London, ending years of rumored splits, reconciliations and will-they, won't-they speculation.
The pair met in college more than eight years ago and will be married exactly 30 years after the royal wedding of William's parents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.
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.
Prince William is second in line to the throne. Should he and Kate have a child, their first child will be third in line to the throne before William's brother Prince Harry.
William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and her husband Prince Philip "are absolutely delighted for them both," Buckingham Palace said. Prince Charles said he was "absolutely thrilled," and his wife, Camilla, duchess of Cornwall, said her stepson's engagement was "the most brilliant news."
Middleton is 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 house in southern England.
She attended Marlborough College, an elite private school, where she played tennis and field hockey, before studying art history at St. Andrews. After graduating in 2005, Middleton worked as a buyer for the fashion chain Jigsaw. She is now employed by her family's party-planning business.
The couple plans to live in north Wales, where Prince William will continue his service in the Royal Air Force, a statement from Buckingham Palace said.