What has long been a royal whisper – that Prince William is prepping to pop the question to Kate Middleton – is now a roar so loud that the Palace is seeking to quell it, reports CNN and, as can be imagined, nearly every newspaper in the U.K.
"We don't comment on speculation," CNN was told by William's official residence, Clarence House, while Britain's Telegraph reported that a spokesman for St. James's Palace declined to comment, and quoted a source as saying that any suggestion of Buckingham Palace's preparing for November nuptials was "wide of the mark."
But even so, America's Today show also joined the royal wedding bandwagon, zeroing in on journalist Tina Brown's Daily Beast report of Tuesday, in which she cites June 3 and 4 as being "mysteriously blocked out" on the Palace calendar, possibly for the announcement of an engagement – with the Prince, 27, and Middleton, 28, then tying the knot in November.
And, while the royal family's engagements are generally not publicized this far in advance, a source was happy to tell PEOPLE on Wednesday that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be making an official visit to Plymouth, southwest England, on one of those days, June 3.
Diaries (of what Americans call calendars) of leading royals, mainly Prince William, have not been cleared in order to provide the opportunity to announce an engagement, a royal source says. The prince, who turns 28 in June, will be on a training course in Wales for his career as a search and rescue helicopter pilot on the days that were put up as the likely timing of the engagement “announcement.” William is currently doing some training at a base in Cornwall, but soon will relocate back to RAF Valley, in North Wales.
While on the subject, the Beast also shoots down any idea of St. Paul's Cathedral serving as the setting for the wedding, so as not to have Middleton vie with the memory of Princess Diana's bridal splendor. Also likely to be nixed: St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, where Charles and Camilla got hitched in 2005.
Reporting by SIMON PERRY