"We think [Prince William] is wonderful and we're extremely fond of him," says Kate's father, Michael Middleton

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Royal-watchers around the world are giddy over Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s engagement – but one family is especially tickled.

“I would just like to say that Carole and I are absolutely delighted by today’s announcement and thrilled by the prospect of a wedding sometime next year,” Kate Middleton’s father Michael Middleton said Tuesday.

Middleton, who gave William his permission to ask for Kate’s hand in marriage, says the couple’s long courtship is an advantage because he’s already very comfortable with his soon-to-be royal son-in-law.

“As you know Catherine and Prince William have been going out for quite a number of years, which is great for us because we have got to know William very well. We think he’s wonderful and we’re extremely fond of him.”

And like every father of the bride, Middleton hopes his daughter has found her prince charming.

“They make a lovely couple. They’re great fun to be with and we’ve had a lot of laughs together,” he says. “We wish them every happiness for the future.”

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