Prince William and Kate Middleton will marry April 29 in Westminster Abbey, the historic London church where the funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales, was held.

Royal officials said Tuesday the couple chose the date because they wanted a spring wedding. It's also the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena, whose name Middleton shares — though that is a coincidence.

"The bells of Westminster Abbey chimed out in celebration of the announcement at noon today," said Ann MacMillan, the CBC's London bureau chief.

William's private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, said the couple chose the 1,000-year-old abbey in central London because despite its size — it holds 2,200 people — it has a sense of intimacy.

"Even at the altar, it seems like a parish church," he said.


William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, and her mother both married at the abbey, where British kings and queens are also crowned.

"Kate Middleton was spotted coming out of the abbey last week," MacMillan said. "We're told she wanted to get a feel for the place — and that the couple were impressed by what they described as its staggering beauty."

William and Middleton decided against celebrating their nuptials at St. Paul's Cathedral, where William's parents married in 1981.

The Royal Family and the Middletons will cover the costs of the nuptials, apart from security, Buckingham Palace said. There have been grumbles about the propriety of holding a lavish royal bash amid economic austerity.

"All parties involved in the wedding, not least Prince William and Miss Middleton, want to ensure that a balance is struck between an enjoyable day and the current economic situation," Lowther-Pinkerton said.

He said the guest list had not been finalized, but that "we will have a full church."

William and Middleton were playing "a very active role" in planning the day, Lower-Pinkerton said.

"We know that the world will be watching on the 29th of April, and the couple are very, very keen indeed that the spectacle should be a classic example of what Britain does best," he said.

"The couple are completely over the moon," Lowther-Pinkerton added. "They are on Cloud 9."

British Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that the wedding day would be a public holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland's government was also expected to announce a public holiday.

"The wedding of Kate and William will be a happy and momentous occasion. 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," Cameron said in a statement.

With files from CBC News