The world's most famous bridesmaid is now a bride-to-be!
Less than 24 hours after E! News confirmed that Pippa Middleton and James Matthews are engaged, Kate Middleton and Prince William are sharing in their joy. "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are absolutely delighted with the news," a Kensington Palace spokesperson said in a statement. Pippa's father, Michael Middleton, also released a statement Tuesday, saying, "Carole and I are absolutely thrilled with the news. They make a wonderful couple and we wish them every happiness together."
Pippa and James also released their own brief joint statement. "Miss Pippa Middleton and Mr. James Matthews are delighted to announce they became engaged on Sunday, July 17, and plan to marry next year," the pair said.
Engagement speculation began Monday when Pippa appeared at a charity fundraiser for the British Heart Foundation and kept her left hand conspicuously hidden from photographers. On Tuesday the party planner and Vanity Fair contributor was photographed wearing her engagement ring as she left her house; it features a round diamond surrounded by smaller diamonds. "It has a loose look of an art deco inspired piece, but it's likely contemporary made. It was likely to have been made bespoke especially for her from Bond Street," Neil Geddes, a high-end jeweler concierge, told The Daily Mail. "It sits fairly high on her finger allowing as much light to enter the diamond as possible and reflect back giving stunning brilliance and fire."
According to the BBC, James, 40, proposed to Pippa, 32, during a trip to the Lake District of northwest England. The couple began dating in 2012 before subsequently splitting up. Pippa went on to date Nico Jackson for three years. Three months after she and Nico called it quits, however, Pippa rekindled the flame with James in 2015.
Pippa served as her sister's maid of honor at her 2011 wedding, and many royal reporters expect Kate will return the favor next year. Whether Pippa's nephew, Prince George, 2, or niece, Princess Charlotte, 14 months, will be included the wedding party remains to be seen.