Royal engagement joy for Bucklebury

Kate Middleton
Image caption Miss Middleton went to St Andrew's School in Pangbourne

The news that Prince William and Kate Middleton are to marry next year has been greeted with delight in her home village in Berkshire.

Twenty-eight-year-old Miss Middleton was born at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and raised in a modern five-bedroom detached house in the parish of Bucklebury.

Her parents Michael and Carole Middleton run a mail-order business selling toys and games for children's parties from a converted barn close to the home.

The eldest of three children, Miss Middleton also went to St Andrew's School in Pangbourne between 1989 and 1995.

The school's head master Dr David Livingstone said everyone there was "delighted" to hear about the engagement.

"We wish them every happiness," he said.

The school said Miss Middleton had enjoyed all aspects of life at St Andrew's before leaving to join firstly Downe House boarding school and then Marlborough College in Wiltshire.

Set in the Berkshire countryside, Bucklebury is located about five miles north-east of Newbury and has a population about 2,000 people.

The village boasts a butcher's shop, pub, doctor's surgery and tea shop while Upper Bucklebury includes a primary school.

Rarely in the news, the village made local headlines in 2007 when part of it was flooded during severe weather which hit much of Berkshire.

Image caption Bucklebury saw flooding in 2007 when much of Berkshire was hit by severe weather

But councillor Graham Pask, who represents Bucklebury on West Berkshire council, said the engagement was the biggest thing to happen to the village in years.

He added: "Bucklebury doesn't need to be put on the map but I'm sure it will now.

"I am always pleased to see any young couple that decide to take the plunge and I wish them the very best of luck.

"It is delightful and lovely for the village."

The Reverend Jules Gadsby, priest in charge of the parishes of Bucklebury, Bradfield and Stanford Dingley, said: "Everybody is thrilled and delighted.

"It will be great that the Bucklebury name will now become associated with such a happy occasion.

Landed Chinook

"I'm sure the village will see more visitors and locals will be absolutely delighted to welcome them."

Simon Kelly, landlord of The Bladebone Inn, said the village was sure to hold its own celebrations on the day of the wedding next year.

He said: "People are usually quite reserved about the topic but on this occasion everybody is happy to talk about it and celebrate the occasion."

Image caption Prince William landed a Chinook in the village in 2008 during an attachment to the RAF

Controversy was also sparked in 2008 when the prince landed a Chinook helicopter in a field belonging to Miss Middleton's family in the village.

The News of the World said the then 25-year-old touched down during a 100-mile, two-hour training exercise.

Officials at the Ministry of Defence said the trip had been fully authorised as part of the prince's attachment to the RAF.

Mr Pask added: "We have had occasions when photographers have been camped outside the family home which is not something we like to see, but the village has become used to the attention.

"I just hope the family will get some privacy."

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