By Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, November 16, 2010; 8:40 AM
LONDON - Prince William is to marry his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton next year in London, Britain's royal family announced Tuesday.
The announcement by Prince Charles's Clarence House office came in the form of a formal statement and a posting to the social networking site Twitter, in keeping with the British monarchy's recent efforts to embrace 21st-century technology.
William - the eldest son of Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales - is heir to the throne that Queen Elizabeth II has occupied for 57 years. Both he and Middleton are 28. They met more than eight years ago while both were students at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
The future groom, a search-and-rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force, and his new wife will live in north Wales, where William will continue to serve with the air force, sources said.
The wedding will be in the spring or summer of 2011, with further details expected soon.
The couple got engaged last month while on vacation in Kenya. They have already informed the queen and other members of the royal family, as well as Middleton's father, officials said.
Rumors that they would marry have swirled for years, and reached fever pitch in June when tabloids and other media breathlessly reported that an engagement was imminent and nuptials were expected in November.
Last week, the crescendo began building once more, with Us Weekly reporting that the couple made a secret pact to marry while on vacation in the Seychelles three years ago, and predicting that the engagement would be announced in 2011. While Tuesday's statement from Prince Charles did not address the Seychelles scenario, it rendered the latter part of that prediction false.
Middleton, a striking brunette from Berkshire, England, is the daughter of an airline pilot and a flight attendant.
When she recently attended a wedding with William, royal-watchers reported breathlessly, she wore a dress custom-designed by designer Daniella Issa Helayel, who also designs wedding dresses.
That tidbit was seen as further proof that wedding bells would also sound for the young couple in the very near future.