Kate Middleton will be given round-the-clock police protection  fuelling speculation that boyfriend Prince William will propose.

The 24-year-old will be protected by her own unit from Scotland Yard's Royal Protection squad after a host of embarrassing incidents with the paparazzi.

Armed guards are normally reserved for members of the Royal Family with Prince William, 24, expected to propose in the next few months.

The move has been requested by Prince Charles who is worried about Miss Middleton's security.

Lawyers for Middleton have also raised their fears with Scotland Yard for her safety with the comparisons being made in the press between her and Princess Diana being hounded by photographers.

The female officers will be trained in firearms, advanced driving, kidnap prevention, anti-terror measures, and "bullet-catchers", being prepared to take a bullet.

Last night, a Scotland Yard insider told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: "The order has come down that the 'Kate Squad' is needed sooner rather than later and that training is to be speeded up."

On Friday, ten police officers were called to protect her from papparazzi as she left the trendy Boujis club in London at 3am.

Earlier this week, she was snapped receiving a parking ticket and £100 fine by a warden as she was leaving her Chelsea home for work at fashion shop Jigsaw.

She had failed to notice that the parking permission on a bay where she had parked her blue VW Golf had been suspended for two days.

07/01/2007 13:59:16