PRINCE William and his fiancee Kate Middleton are to visit Blackburn and Darwen in the weeks before their Easter wedding.

Preparations are underway at a number of venues in the borough, and top-level meetings are being carried out over routes and security.

The visit will be one of the last engagements carried out before the couple marry in Westminster Abbey on April 29.

Clarence House declined to comment, while the exact date and locations the couple will visit have not been revealed.

But the Lancashire Telegraph understands the pair will visit in the weeks before their wedding.

One of the purposes will be to meet young people.

They will go to both towns in the borough.

It has not yet been revealed exactly why they are coming to the area, although the pair are thought to be embarking on a number of visits around the country ahead of their big day.

Blackburn MP Jack Straw said it was ‘flattering’ the pair had decided to visit.

He said: “It’s great news for the whole area and it’s very flattering that they are coming to the borough just before their wedding.

“I hope everybody will be boosted by the news.”

Council leader Kate Hollern joked: “It’ll be Kate meets Kate! It’s quite a coup for us.

“We are really pleased they have chosen Blackburn with Darwen and we will give them a good traditional welcome to the area.

“It is wonderful news that the young Royal couple can come and see what the North West is about.”

Prince William visited Blackburn in May 2008 in his role as president of the FA.

He went to St Aidan’s School in Mill Hill, and played a game with pupils. Miss Middleton has stepped up her public appearances since news of the engagement was announced in November.

The couple made their first visit to Northern Ireland earlier this week when they had a go at tossing pancakes on Shrove Tuesday in Belfast.

In February, they returned to St Andrew’s University in Scotland where they first met and fell in love.