Northern Ireland

Royal wedding: NI leaders send best wishes to couple

Prince William and Kate Middleton
Image caption Prince William and Kate Middleton have not confirmed a date for their wedding

Northern Ireland's politicians have sent their congratulations to Prince William and Kate Middleton following the announcement of their engagement.

The couple, both aged 28, are expected to marry in the spring or summer of next year.

First Minister Peter Robinson said he was pleased for the couple and wished them a happy life together.

UUP leader Tom Elliott said he was delighted and would "look forward to celebrating the wedding next year."

Mr Robinson said that he believed people from all backgrounds in Northern Ireland would be watching the nuptials.

"Northern Ireland will be massively supportive of a royal wedding. There is nothing like a royal wedding in terms of getting people interested, especially the women."

When asked whether there was some way that the Assembly would mark the wedding, the first minister joked: "Maybe the deputy first minister (Martin McGuinness) and I could go along to it."

'Joyous'

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister said the wedding would be a "joyous occasion" across the UK.

He added: "I'm sure all people of goodwill in this part of the kingdom will join in wishing our future king and his bride every happiness and a long and happy life together."

Prince William and Kate Middleton both started out on the same history of art course at St Andrews in 2001, although William later switched to geography. For several years, they shared accommodation with friends.

Miss Middleton, who is six months older than William, was credited with persuading the prince to stay on as he struggled to adjust to university life during his first year.

They split briefly in 2007, but more recently Miss Middleton - who has no royal or aristocratic family connections - has been to several official events, heightening speculation of an engagement.

The couple will marry in the year which would have marked the 30th anniversary of the marriage of Prince William's parents, the Prince and Princess of Wales.

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