Two official photographs to mark Prince William's engagement to Kate Middleton were released today.

The portraits, one formal and the other more casual, were taken by Mario Testino, the celebrated fashion and celebrity photographer, who created some of the the most enduring images of Diana, Princess of Wales.

In the pictures William and Kate, both 28, look very much in love holding each other in the setting of St James' Palace built by Henry VIII in the 16th century.

Testino has described how he found the couple "brimming with happiness" during the photoshoot.

He said: "I am very happy to have been asked to cover this historic moment that the whole world was waiting for.

"They are in their prime and brimming with happiness. I have never felt so much joy as when I see them together."

In the formal image the couple are standing close together with Kate resting her left arm on her fiancé's and both are smiling towards the camera.

The prince's fiancee is wearing a stunning white Reiss dress, Links earrings and her engagement ring that once belonged to William's mother Diana.

The prince is dressed in a smart outfit by Turnbull and Asser - dark suit, blue tie and a white shirt.

They are standing in the Palace's Council Chamber with its plush red carpet, green coloured furnishings and walls hung with paintings of some of William's ancestors.

Three portraits can be seen - William III and Mary II both by Sir Godfrey Kneller and Karl William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, by Johann Georg Ziesensis.

The Council Chamber was originally designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1703 as part of his re-design of the Palace's state apartments for Queen Anne.

The informal image shows the couple smiling and embracing, with William wrapping his arms around Kate while she puts her left hand on his chest as their heads touch.

The couple stand close to a window in the Palace's small Cornwall room used for official and private events.

Kate is wearing jeans and a white Whistles blouse while her fiance also in jeans, has on a white Turnbull and Asser shirt, and a brown Brunello Cucinelli jumper supplied by Testino.

The photoshoot was held on November 25 more than a week after the engagement announcement which revealed to the world the prince would marry his long-term love.

Kate and William chose the two images to be released out of the set of pictures taken by the Peruvian born photographer.

The images were sent to Clarence House were they studied them before making their final decision.

William, Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales have all turned to Testino for portrait pictures to commemorate milestones.

The second-in-line to the throne's 21st birthday in 2003 was marked by the photographer who captured Harry's 20th birthday image in 2004, which showed the royal brothers joking with their father.

Charles was photographed by Testino in 2001 and again five years later to mark his first wedding anniversary to the Duchess of Cornwall.

A Clarence House Spokesperson said: "Prince William has worked with Mario Testino on many occasions before, and so the couple decided that he was the right choice for such an important portrait."

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