Queen of Soul Aretha to wed "forever friend" Willie Wilkerson

Queen of Soul Aretha to wed

Congratulations are in order for the Queen of Soul: she’s getting married.

Aretha Franklin, 69, has announced her engagement to long-term companion William ‘Willie’ Wilkerson, whom she once described as her ‘forever friend’.

The music legend, who has been married twice before and has four children, revealed plans to tie the knot over the summer with the former fire fighter from Detroit.

“We’re looking at June or July for our date,” she said, before joking: “and no, I’m not pregnant, LOL!”.

The superstar wants to follow the ceremony, which is apparently to take place in Florida, with a reception on a private yacht.

As for the all-important dress, Aretha is considering top designers Vera Wang, Valentino and Donna Karan.

She recently said she is feeling “fabulous” again following a serious health issue in 2010.