Two official photographs of Prince William together with Kate Middleton have been released to mark the couple's engagement.

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The two portraits – one formal, the other informal – were taken by celebrity photographer Mario Testino just days after their engagement was announced. Testino, a favourite with Royals including the late Diana, Princess of Wales, has described how happy he found the couple to be.

 "I am very happy to have been asked to cover this historic moment that the whole world was waiting for," he said. "They are in their prime and brimming with happiness – I have never felt so much joy as when I see them together." 

 William asked Mario Testino to take these photographs because he loved the way he was able to bring out the exuberance and warmth of Diana in the photos he took just weeks before she died.

…two sides of future King and Queen…

The photographs – both taken at St James' Palace – show the two sides of the soon-to-wed future King and Queen. The formal shot, taken against a backdrop of paintings of former monarchs in the Palace's Council Chamber, sees the couple in a half-embrace. 

The Prince's fiancee rests her hand on her husband-to-be's arm, showing off her engagement ring, which once belonged to William's mother, Diana. The sapphire is given maximum exposure in the relaxed pose too, taken in the Palace's Cornwall room.  

Clearly at ease, heads touching, a casually dressed Prince William envelopes his future bride in his arms – while her hand rests on his chest. It is a photo which will become one of the iconic images of the 21 century, chosen from several sent to Clarence house by the famous photographer.

…ability…

 Royal writer and photographer Ian Lloyd believes the couple chose Mario Testino because of his ability to make his subjects come alive, as he did with Diana. 

"William asked Mario Testino to take these photographs because he loved the way he was able to bring out the exuberance and warmth of Diana in the photos he took just weeks before she died," Mr Lloyd explained.

  "And you can see he's managed to bring that out in the Prince and his financee too." 

In both photos Kate is wearing items bought from high street stores: A white dress from Reiss and a cream blouse from Whistles. Just as her blue dress sold old within days of wearing it on the day their engagement was announced, observers expect little different from her latest choices. But the item people really want to know about is the dress she'll be wearing on April 29th.