Midland giftware firms have already started work to cash in on Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement with buyers set to flood stores.

Souvenir-makers will be rubbing their hands with glee, mindful that the Prince of Wales and Diana’s wedding memorabilia from 1981 remain highly sought by collectors.

Stoke-on-Trent company Aynsley China said it immediately began manufacturing a line of fine bone china pieces after the announcement, with the first expected to arrive in stores early in the new year.

Sales director John Wallis said: “We have had the designs prepared for some time but were just waiting for an announcement. We’ll be making items to commemorate both the engagement and the wedding.

“We find that royal weddings are always very popular with collectors all over the world.”

Royal Crown Derby also said it had been preparing for an announcement and had designed items from small trays to a hand-painted peacock with flowers relating to the country and special occasions.

It is waiting for a wedding date but some items are ready to be produced without one.

Sales and marketing director Simon Willis said: “It’s very significant because it’s something that will make people buy. Obviously spending has been down and we need something like this to make people feel they can go out and buy something to mark a special occasion.”

However Woolworths did not let the absence of an announcement stop it from releasing commemorative souvenirs for William and Kate in 2006.

The chain store was so convinced of the couple’s permanence that it commissioned a range of more than 20 items including mugs, plates and a special edition mobile phone. The couple briefly split shortly afterwards.