London, June 23 : Prince William is planning to pop the question to his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton this Christmas, it has been revealed.
The revelation comes amid rumours that the announcement of a royal wedding is about to happen.
According to source, it is only a matter of time before the young royal proposes, paving the way for a wedding next year.
An engagement for the 26-year-old is planned once the Prince completes his year of military secondments, designed to teach him the inner workings of the Armed Forces he will one day head.
Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, said that she believed an announcement would be made 'maybe this Christmas, for a wedding next year'.
"An engagement will happen in a moment and there is a possibility of Christmas or, if not, February," the Daily Express quoted her, as saying.
"But as the pressure mounts on Kate, something will have to happen. Her profile is being raised and this is how they are dealing with girlfriends now. They are being included more so that they know the ropes. Next year will be a far more stable one for William but a wedding will all depend on the Royal Family's diaries.
"It is not very romantic but it will have to be fitted alongside other possible royal engagements," she added.
Courtiers are already said to be earmarking St Paul's Cathedral or Westminster Abbey as the wedding venue.
Kate has seen a significant shift in her status within the Royal Family, as she has been involved in more and more public engagements.
Although William is on record as saying he will not marry until he is 'at least 28 or maybe 30', it seems unlikely he will make Kate wait much longer, after six years together.
A source said: "It is a case of 'when' not 'if'. William knows he has to propose to Kate. Their relationship is lengthy by royal standards.
"Her more high-profile appearances are a clear sign that it is now only a matter of time," the source added.