(Reuters) - Britain's Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton are to get married next year, Buckingham Palace said on Tuesday.
Here are a few facts about Middleton.
* The eldest of three children, Catherine Middleton was born on January 9, 1982, into a middle-class, rather than aristocratic, family from Berkshire, west of London.
* Her father Michael worked as a pilot and her mother Carole as an airline stewardess before setting up a mail order business selling party supplies.
* She met Prince William at St Andrews University in Scotland in 2001, where she read history of art. The pair lived together in a house shared with friends.
* They split up in 2007 after William was posted around the country as part of his military training, according to media reports. Since getting back together later that year, there has been persistent talk about a possible engagement.
* Critics in the tabloid press nicknamed Middleton "Waity Katie" after a marriage date failed to materialize and accused her of doing little with her life beyond waiting for William to pop the question.
* Middleton's lawyers complained to Britain's press watchdog in 2007 after photographers and TV film crews mobbed her outside her London flat, drawing comparisons with the media's obsession with William's mother, the late Princess Diana -- who died in a Paris car accident while being pursued by paparazzi.
(Sources: Reuters archive; BBC)
Compiled by Peter Griffiths, editing by Paul Casciato