Pippa Middleton's wedding plans to fiancé James Matthews is well and truly underway as it is rumoured that the bride-to-be is set to follow in her sister Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge's footsteps with a spring ceremony.

A friend of the 33-year-old – who became an internet sensation for her shapely figure during the royal wedding on 29 April 2011 as Kate's maid of honour – claimed, in People magazine, that the big day is scheduled for May 2017.

They also told the publication: "Of course she is super excited and already planning everything," before adding that she and 41-year-old fiancé Matthews "have a lot in common – he's charming and old-fashioned. Everyone thinks he's quite the catch."

Matthews manages a hedge fund and is the chief executive of Eden Rock Capital Management Group, which has offices in London. He got down on one knee to Middleton during a romantic getaway in the Lake District on 17 July. The wealthy businessman designed the exquisite Victorian-style ring that is believed to be from Robinson Pelham – the boutique jeweller who designed the earrings worn by the Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day.

The friend added: "He would never have bought something off-the-peg for her, it had to be very special."

The art-deco engagement ring – which features a three-carat Asscher-cut diamond at its centre – is thought to be worth more than £200,000. The Chelsea-based jeweller will not comment on private commissions, but Middleton was spotted at their boutique in the days following her engagement announcement.

Pippa Middleton
Pippa Middleton and James Matthews attend day nine of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, London Karwai Tang/ WireImage/ Getty Images

Along with the spring date and Kate-inspired jewels, Middleton is said to be after a costly designer wedding gown much like her sister's. We reported earlier this year that the sporty younger sister is set to walk down the aisle in a £10,000 designer dress. The duchess, 34, wore a bespoke Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen lace long-sleeved gown to her wedding to Prince William in 2011, so it will be interesting to see whether Middleton chooses a high-end designer too.

Middleton is said to have been touring high society bridal boutiques including Suzanne Neville's Knightsbridge shop – where dresses cost £10,000 on average.

The socialite and author hasn't only made headlines for her forthcoming nuptials this year. Middleton's iPhone was also hacked and The Sun reported it had been approached by a hacker who claimed to have 3,000 images from Middleton's iCloud account and demanded £50,000 for them. The hacker was arrested in September 2016.

Pippa Middleton engaged
Pippa Middleton is engaged to James Matthews Reuters