UK's Pippa Middleton engaged to hedge funder James Matthews

LONDON (AP) — The Duchess of Cambridge's younger sister Pippa Middleton and hedge fund manager James Matthews announced their engagement Tuesday, setting the stage for a celebrated society wedding in the coming year.

The couple confirmed rumors in a statement to Britain's Press Association, saying they planned to marry in 2017. The statement came as Middleton appeared in photographs with a diamond engagement ring on her left hand as she left her London home.

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Matthews got down on one knee while they were visiting the picturesque Lake District and proposed to the 32-year-old Middleton on Sunday. British media said they have been dating less than a year.

Her elder sister, the former Kate Middleton, and Prince William said they were "absolutely delighted," by the news, Kensington Palace said.

"They make a wonderful couple and we wish them every happiness together," said her father, Michael Middleton.

Middleton played a prominent role in the 2011 royal wedding of her older sister Kate and Prince William at Westminster Abbey in London, a wedding seen live by a worldwide television audience.

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