Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton “has warmed our nation’s heart”, Governor-General Quentin Bryce says, as both the PM and NSW Premier sent the couple their congratulations.

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The second in line for the throne announced his engagement on Tuesday after a long courtship with Middleton.

“Your Royal Highness, on behalf of all Australians, Michael and I send our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to you and Miss Catherine Middleton upon the announcement of your engagement to marry next year,” Ms Bryce said on Wednesday in a message to the Prince.

“I am sure that Australians look forward with anticipation and excitement to hearing of your wedding preparations as they unfold.

“It is a unifying time of much joy and celebration.”

Ms Bryce said Australians had “thoroughly” enjoyed William’s visit to Australia earlier this year.

“Our time with you in Sydney was memorable and thoroughly enjoyable,” she said.

“Your genuine fondness for Australia and Australians shone through in all your interactions, and I know that these feelings are very much reciprocated.

“Naturally, we will take immense pleasure in welcoming you both on the occasion of your first visit to Australia together some time in the future.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the newly engaged couple have the nation’s best wishes.

Ms Gillard said in a statement it was a “happy time” for the royal couple, who will be married next year.

“The Prince is well known for his charity work and for his ongoing service in the British Royal Air Force,” she said.

“Prince William left a strong impression on many Australians during his visit at the beginning of the year.

“Ms Middleton will no doubt strengthen this remarkable reputation and she has the nation’s best wishes and support.”

Meanwhile, NSW Premier Kristina Keneally says she is happy about the royal engagement despite being a supporter of

Australia becoming a republic.

Ms Keneally said she had the pleasure of meeting Prince William during his trip to Sydney in January this year.

“On behalf of the families of NSW, I congratulate Prince William and Kate Middleton on their engagement and wish them all the best for the future,” she said.

“Everyone knows we Keneallys support a republic, but I had a nice smile when I heard the news.

“They are a lovely couple and would make a wonderful future king and queen.”