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Archbishop Nichols congratulates Prince William and Kate

Prince William and Kate Middleton at a wedding earlier this year (Photo: PA)

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has welcomed the news that Prince William and his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton are to marry next year.

Archbishop Nichols, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: “I was delighted to hear the news of the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

“My congratulations to both of them and I wish them every happiness in their married life together. I assure them of our prayers and best wishes,” the archbishop said.

Clarence House announced plans this morning for a royal wedding next year, either in the spring or summer.

Prince William proposed to Miss Middleton when they were on holiday in Kenya last month.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are said to be “absolutely delighted” by news of the engagement, while the Prince of Wales said he was “thrilled”.

David Cameron, who was given the news during a Cabinet meeting, said the announcement was met with “a great cheer” by his ministers as well as a “great banging of tables”.

He said it was “a great day for our country, a great day for the royal family and obviously a great day for Prince William and for Kate”.

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace said the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, had expressed his “delight” at the news.