The Royal Family will pay for the wedding, William’s father, Prince Charles, said in an e-mailed statement issued by his office in London today. The government will fund “any wider security or transport related costs,” Prime Minister David Cameron said.
“The wedding of Kate and William will be a happy and momentous occasion,” Cameron said in a statement released by his office. “We want to mark the day as one of national celebration. A public holiday will ensure the most people possible will have a chance to celebrate on the day.”
The engagement was announced on Nov. 16, ending years of speculation about whether William would marry his long-term girlfriend. William, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and son of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, has been dating Middleton since 2003. The couple, both 28, met while they were both studying at St. Andrews University in Scotland.
As the wedding day falls on the Friday immediately after the Easter weekend and before May Day, the U.K. will have two four-day weekends in succession.
In Scotland, the decision whether to observe a holiday to mark the wedding is a matter for the devolved government, led by the pro-independence Scottish National Party. The marriage will come six days before Scottish parliamentary elections.
The Scottish Cabinet meets today and will decide on the issue “as quickly as possible,” First Minister Alex Salmond said in a statement.
The current queen and William’s great-grandmother, another Elizabeth, the wife of George VI, were married at Westminster Abbey. It was also where Diana’s funeral was held in 1997. Charles and Diana broke with tradition when they chose to marry at St. Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London in 1981.
The abbey, formally known as the Collegiate Church of St. Peter, has been the coronation church since 1066. The church stands beside the Houses of Parliament and is the burial place of 17 monarchs.
In a pooled television interview after the engagement was announced, William said he had waited before proposing to Middleton, the daughter of self-made millionaires, “to give her a chance to back out if she wanted to.”
The wedding may add 620 million pounds ($1 billion) to the U.K. economy, according to Verdict Research, a retail analysis unit of Datamonitor Plc.
Companies are already vying to profit from the announcement. Marvelpress Ltd. in Sheffield received an order for “thousands and thousands” of commemorative engagement mugs for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Asda supermarket chain. Tesco Plc, Britain’s largest retailer, will sell a replica of the designer dress worn by Middleton when the engagement was announced.
Middleton is now in line to become the first commoner to be queen in modern times. Royal consorts have traditionally come from the ranks of Britain’s aristocracy or other European royal houses.
“It’s quite a daunting prospect but hopefully I’ll take it in my stride,” she said as the couple posed for photographs after the engagement was made public.
William proposed to Middleton with Princess Diana’s engagement ring, a sapphire surrounded by diamonds, while the couple were on holiday in Kenya last month.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Fraher at email@example.com