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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kate Middleton vs Princess Diana: Adjusting To Royal Life

Is This The New People's Princess? How Confident Kate Middleton Compares To "Shy Di"

Kate Middleton will be following in Diana's footsteps when she marries into the Royal Family as The Firm's next potential People's Princess.

But how exactly does she compare to the bashful royal bride who became the world's most photographed woman?

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton entered the public arena in a more assured way than Lady Diana Spencer.

Confident and poised, observers say she has all the appearance of someone who has been groomed for royal duty, possessing a knowing look, secure in her knowledge of William's affections and intentions.

Diana, in contrast, emerged as 'Shy Di'.

She was demure and blushed as she posed for her engagement pictures, her eyes peering out from under her long fringe.

Both came to the nation's attention in see-through outfits - but in markedly different ways.

Eager to please, Diana posed up for the cameras at the kindergarten where she worked in September 1980, five months before her engagement to the Prince of Wales.

But she was oblivious to the fact she was backlit by the sun and that her legs could be seen through her long pale-coloured skirt.

In 2002, Kate strode down a catwalk at a charity fashion show in a transparent dress with black knickers and bra underneath, in front of an audience and future beau William.

When one friend once remarked she was lucky to be with William, Kate reportedly quipped: 'He's lucky to be going out with me.'

In contrast, in the early days of Diana's relationship with Charles, she ventured to say to one of his confidants: 'If I am lucky enough to be the Princess of Wales....'

She was 19 when she became betrothed to Charles. Kate, at 28, is nine years older than Diana was.

Better educated with A Levels and a degree in history of art under her belt, Kate is more worldly wise and on an equal footing with her fiance.

Diana was 13 years younger than the Prince of Wales, but Kate is five months older than William and they have already lived together at St Andrews.

She hails from a far steadier family background than William's mother.

Her parents are still together, sparing her any of the anguish suffered by Diana, whose own split acrimoniously when she was only young.

Her non-aristocratic background differs from the posh Spencer circles of Diana - whose sister married the Queen's private secretary and whose grandmother was a confidant of the Queen Mother.

Charles was under pressure to find a wife and Diana fitted the bill.

The Prince told a friend he was sure he could fall in love with her, but we now know his heart was already taken by Camilla Parker Bowles.

He had been heir to the throne since he was three years old and was well aware it was his duty to secure the monarchy's future.

Lord Mountbatten advised Charles to find a virgin bride and Diana seemed ideal.

Kate and William, in contrast, are not under the same time pressures. William is still only second-in-line to the throne.

However, Kate has not escaped speculation as to her traditional suitability as an untouched royal bride.

The Spectator magazine once commented that she 'may still have her V-plates intact'.

While Kate is a brunette and Diana was blonde, both are tall and willowy and deemed English Roses.

Both were educated at public school where they were popular and sporty, captaining the hockey team and excelling at tennis.

Diana had a warmth and openness which attracted Charles, something Kate is said to possess too.

Their backgrounds were clear of potential tabloid fodder. Diana appeared squeaky clean, as does Kate, although she was known to moon out of the window at boys at boarding school.

Both admired their men from afar.

Diana had a childhood crush on Charles while Kate had a poster of William in her dorm at Marlborough College.

Diana, at her first official royal event with Charles after their engagement in March 1981, was pictured arriving in her car at Goldsmiths Hall wearing a plunging strapless evening gown.

In December 2006, Kate unwittingly flashed a fishnet clad thigh as she got into a car after a night-out with William and Harry.

Kate, like Diana, is keenly aware of her actions in front of the media.

Press who doorstepped Diana in the early days found her friendly, Kate too has politely told photographers she cannot pose for pictures, helpfully giving them just enough time to take a snap.

She has endured intense press attention outside her own home, like Diana did, as speculation gathered pace that she could be the country's next Queen.

Before her own engagement, Diana once broke down in tears at the intrusion, prompting photographers to place a note of apology under her windscreen wiper.

Her mother, Frances Shand Kydd, wrote to The Times to complain about 'harassment'.

Kate is already of tougher sorts. Former newspaper editor Piers Morgan wrote: 'I've rarely seen anyone enjoy the attentions of a camera lens quite like Prince William's squeeze.'

Indeed, Kate does possess a confidence when on show. She was seemingly unfazed as she entered the Sandhurst parade ground for William's graduation flanked by his private secretary as everyone but the Queen and the Prince of Wales was already seated.

But her intention to keep the media at bay is clear. Before her engagement Diana invited a newspaper journalist into her flat for a chat and a cup of tea.

Kate is well aware it would be a risky move. She has kept quiet so far and, knowing William's distrust of the press, will continue to do so unless at official events or photocalls.

She already has her own lawyer - who also represents the Prince of Wales - and he swiftly set about writing to newspaper editors to protest at her harassment and pursued media outlets if he believed her privacy had been breached.

Diana became skilled at using the media for her own agenda, from her interview on Panorama, to the moment she turned up in a striking black cocktail dress on the night Charles admitted infidelity on television.

The cameras were still clicking years later as she lay dying inside a mangled Mercedes in an underpass in Paris.

As Kate prepares to enter the Royal Family, the public will be asking whether she is able to take up Diana's mantle as their favourite Princess.

Keeping her mouth shut and with a lawyer in tow, Kate is already acting on the hindsight that Diana's legacy left behind.

Royal wedding next year: Katie's Eight-Year Wait Is Over As she And Prince William Finally Announce They ARE Engaged And Will Marry In 2011

Prince William and Kate Middleton are engaged and will marry next year, Clarence House announced today.

William, 28, proposed during a holiday in Kenya last month after asking Kate's father for his daughter's hand following a marathon eight-year courtship.

Kate, also 28, had been dubbed 'Waity Katy' amid criticism she was hanging on for a proposal and did not have a proper job but now her wait is finally over.

The couple will appear in public later today, when the Princess-in-waiting is expected to show off her engagement ring. Their first ever interview will be broadcast tonight.

David Cameron said William is 'extremely excited' and 'thrilled' as he appeared outside No10 to welcome the news this lunchtime.

Their marriage will be the biggest royal event since the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in 1981.

It is hoped the ceremony will give a huge boost to the nation and the economy as crippling public sector spending cuts hit home.

Bookies have made August 13th the early favourite for the wedding date and it is likely to take place at Westminster Abbey.

It is claimed personnel at the Abbey have already been contacted about a royal wedding in the second week of August, although St Paul's and Windsor Castle are other potential venues.

The Queen and the Queen Mother were both married in the Abbey but it also carries painful memories of William's mother's funeral in 1997.

Charles and Diana's fairytale ceremony was at St Paul's which has also been the recent location for major royal celebrations such as the Queen's 80th birthday.

In a full statement, Clarence House said: 'The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton.

'The wedding will take place in the Spring or Summer of 2011, in London. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course.

'Prince William and Miss Middleton became engaged in October during a private holiday in Kenya.

'Prince William has informed The Queen and other close members of his family. Prince William has also sought the permission of Miss Middleton's father.

'Following the marriage, the couple will live in North Wales, where Prince William will continue to serve with the Royal Air Force.'

The engagement was also officially announced simultaneously on Facebook and Twitter, coming days after the Queen signed up to the social networking site.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: 'Both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are absolutely delighted for them both.'

Prince Charles, in Dorset, said he was 'thrilled' and joked that the couple had been 'practicing long enough'.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, on her way into a central London theatre this afternoon, said: 'It's brilliant, isn't it? It's absolutely wonderful.'

Michael and Carole Middleton appeared outside their home in Berkshire shortly before 4pm to speak about their daughter's relationship in public for the very first time.

Mr Middleton said: 'Carole and I are absolutely delighted by today's announcement and thrilled at the prospect of a wedding some time next year.

'As you know Catherine and Prince William have been going out together for quite a number of years which has been great for us because we have got to know William very well.

'We all think he is wonderful and we are extremely fond of him. They make a lovely couple, they are great fun to be with, and we've had a lot of laughs together. We wish them every happiness for the Future.

Earl Spencer, William's uncle and the brother of Diana, said: 'It's wonderful news. Very exciting. My family are all thrilled for them both.'

Mr Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband also said they were 'delighted' for the couple.

The Prime Minister was told of the engagement during the Cabinet meeting this morning and relayed it to ministers.

He emerged from No10 just before 1pm to express his joy at the announcement and revealed he had just spoken to the Prince.

'I spoke to Prince William a few moments ago and passed on my congratulations. He was obviously extremely excited about the news and thrilled about what lies in store. It was wonderful to have that word with him and pass on my best wishes,' he said.

Mr Cameron added: 'This is incredibly exciting news and I am sure the whole country will want to pass on their congratulations.'

Recounting how he was handed a note with the news during the Cabinet meeting, he said: 'There was a great cheer that went up and a banging on the table.'

He said: 'It's great to have a piece of unadulterated good news that everyone can celebrate and be happy for them. I am sure it will be something when the country will come together. I remember when William's mother got married, I slept on the Mall that night and joined in the celebrations. I'm sure lots of people will want to celebrate in lots of different ways.'

He added: 'As well as this being a great moment for national celebration, I think we also have to remember that this is two young people who love each other who have made this announcement, who are looking forward to their wedding, and we must give them plenty of space to think about the future and what they are about to do.'

Kate's security detail will now be instantly upgraded to give her round-the-clock protection, befitting a Princess in waiting.

Earlier this month, the Daily Mail exclusively revealed how her parents were guests at a private shooting party on the Queen's Scottish estate.

The move was seen as highly symbolic and an indication that the middle-class Middleton family were now firmly being welcomed into the royal fold.

It is now clear that Kate and William were already engaged at the time of the visit to Birkhall, Prince Charles' private residence on the Balmoral estate.

The invitation to Mr Middleton, a former airline despatcher, and ex-air hostess Carole shows William was keen to start off on the right foot with his future in-laws.

Kate and William first met at St Andrews University where they were both studying history of art and lived close to each other in the halls of residence during their first year.

It was at a charity fashion show in March 2002, when Kate modelled a sheer black lace dress, that she was said to have first turned the Prince's head.

They moved in together with friends in 2002 but are not thought to have become a proper item until around Christmas 2003.

Their romance was exposed on a skiing holiday in Klosters in 2004 but William famously proclaimed: 'I don't want to get married until I'm at least 28 or maybe 30' - setting the stage for a very long wait.

They split up in April 2007 as William became increasingly involved in his career in the Armed Forces but were secretly united within weeks.

In the past few months, the pair have been 'road-testing' married life on Anglesey, in Wales, where William works as a search-and-rescue pilot - although officially Kate is still living at her parents.

There was a significant shift last month when they appeared in public together for a friend's wedding.

They notably walked into the ceremony in Gloucestershire side by side when usually they would take pains to avoid being pictured together.

The last time Kate was seen before that had been in July and it is thought she had been kept in the background ahead of the engagement announcement.

Travel chiefs are already saying the wedding will be a massive boost to UK tourism ahead of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics in 2012.

VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford said: 'The wedding next year will mean that once again the eyes of the world will be turned to our nation.

'We will have a wonderful opportunity to showcase all that is best about the country - its heritage and its history and what being English is all about.'

With their engagement only just announced, divorce lawyers are already circling to warn that Kate should sign a pre-nuptial agreement before walking down the aisle.

A recent decision by the Supreme Court has strengthened the validity of pre-nups and effectively made them binding in English law.

Top divorce expert Isabel Thornton said today: 'In a more typical scenario, where two 28 year olds are soon to be married and a substantial disparity of wealth exists, one set of parents would undoubtedly be marching their offspring to see the lawyers as soon as possible.

'However, whether the Royals will do the same remains to be seen. With the risk of setting a precedent in mind, I am sure careful consideration will be paid to the issue before any final decision is made, particularly given the Anglican belief in the sanctity of marriage.'

Diana's private secretary Patrick Jephson added: 'There will be a tidal wave of sentimental slush, but I believe what I'm saying. You've got be practical. If she was my sister, I'd tell her to get a good pre-nup.'

Mr Jephson urged Kate to carve a definite role for herself and refuse to be 'a wife, a pretty face' and warned: 'Kate's not just going into a marriage, she's going into a business.'

'She has to agree on her position especially in relation to her future husband William. She needs to know what's expected of her. Is it going to be a joint operation?'

On her prospects of a happier life as a royal than Diana, he said: 'She is much older than Diana was. She's got more experience. She knows William better.'

He referred to the night before the Princess's wedding when she was told: 'You can't back out, your face is on the tea towels' saying Kate should 'screw the tea towels'.

'If you've got serious reservations, don't go through with it. It's such a public thing. If they don't get this one right, what's going to happen to the whole institution in the long run?'

However, he added: 'If you get it right, it's the best job in the world. It can be fantastic. They should set off with the firm intention of making it the happiest job in the world.'

Prince William Engaged To Kate Middleton

Britain's Prince William is engaged to Kate Middleton, the British royal family announced Tuesday, ending years of speculation about whether and when the prince would propose to his longtime girlfriend.

The prince and Middleton, both 28, have been dating since 2003. Rumors have been rife for years that they have been close to marriage.

"We're obviously thrilled," said William's father, Prince Charles, as he toured Poundbury with Atlanta, Georgia, Mayor Kasim Reed. "They've been practicing long enough."

The wedding will take place in London in the spring or summer of 2011, said a statement from Clarence House, William's home near Buckingham Palace. It said further details would be announced "in due course."

"Prince William and Miss Middleton became engaged in October during a private holiday in Kenya," the statement said. "Prince William has informed the queen and other close members of his family. Prince William has also sought the permission of Miss Middleton's father.

"Following the marriage, the couple will live in north Wales, where Prince William will continue to serve with the Royal Air Force."

Buckingham Palace released a statement shortly afterwards, saying Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, are "absolutely delighted for them both."

Clarence House refused to say what Middleton will be called after she gets married, saying any styles and titles are at the discretion of the queen.

William is second line to the British throne after his father, Prince Charles. Queen Elizabeth is William's grandmother.

He met Middleton in 2002 when both were students at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. They started dating a year later.

Prince William studied geography and Middleton studied history of art before both graduated in 2005. William was originally on the same art program but changed to geography; Middleton was widely credited with persuading him to change course rather than drop out.

They first appeared as a couple on a skiing trip in Switzerland while still at the university.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he spoke to Prince William after the news was announced and passed on his congratulations.

"He was extremely excited about the news and thrilled about what lies in store," Cameron said.

"It's great to have a piece of unadulterated good news that everyone can celebrate," he added. "I'm sure it will be something where the country will come together. ... It's two young people who love each other who've made this decision, and it's a fantastically important and exciting moment for them, too."

Middleton grew up in Bucklebury, England, a small village about 45 miles west of central London. Her parents are millionaire entrepreneurs who run Party Pieces, an online children's party supplies business.

After university, Middleton worked in London as an accessories buyer for the British clothing chain Jigsaw but left the company in late 2007. Media reports said she was interested in opening a photography gallery.

News reports since August have said she is working with her parents' business.

Prince William has a military career and is active in several charities. In September, he graduated from a military search-and-rescue training course and was posted to RAF Valley, the station on the island of Anglesey in north Wales.

He is known as Flight Lieutenant Wales within the RAF.

Middleton lives with her fiance at a house in Anglesey, giving them some privacy from the press and paparazzi, said Eve Pollard, a former editor of the Sunday Mirror newspaper.

The choice of 2011 as the year for the wedding makes sense, she said, because the Olympic Games take place in London in 2012, the same year the queen plans to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years on the throne.

"Next year was always marked in as the year," Pollard said.

Nicholas Davies, the author of "William: The Rebel Prince," said he thinks William was pressured to come through with the engagement.

"I do believe this came down from the queen and Prince Philip, who is still a very strong character despite his venerable age," Davies told CNN. "They would have said, 'This has gone on long enough. The press knows you're getting married. It's about time you came out and made it known.'"

As for when in 2011 the couple will marry, Clarence House refused to speculate. Bookmakers Paddy Power on Tuesday were offering three-to-one odds on August 13, 2011, being the wedding date, and four-to-one odds on August 6.

It said Saturday, July 30, was less likely, at 10-to-one odds, because it falls just a day after the 30th anniversary of the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

The location for the wedding was also being kept secret, though Richard Fitzwilliams, a public relations consultant and royal commentator, told CNN he expects it to happen at Westminster Abbey, probably in July.

William and Middleton broke up in April 2007 despite widespread speculation even then that they were close to marriage. The split was said to be amicable, with the couple determined to remain friends, and the two appeared together in the royal box at Wembley Stadium that July for the Concert for Diana, a charity event to remember William's mother 10 years after her death.

The pair were seen together several more times that summer and were dating again by the end of the year.

Middleton's family is seen as upper-middle class. Such a background bodes well for her future role at the side of the future king, according to Lady Colin Campbell, who wrote a biography of Princess Diana.

"The problem with recent royal brides who were aristocratic is that they thought they were doing the royal family a favor by marrying them," she told CNN, "while the middle-class girls like Sophie Wessex, the countess of Wessex (married to Prince Charles' brother, Edward), and Kate Middleton understand that to be royal requires some sacrifice, and they do not suffer from folie de grandeur (delusion of greatness) the way aristocratic girls evidently do nowadays."

Davies, however, said he feels the opposite about Middleton, who he said lacks the "charisma" shown by William's mother.

"Remember that this young lady has no royal connections whatsoever, and that can be a danger," he said.

Middleton has already met Queen Elizabeth at royal events including the wedding of William's cousin, Peter Phillips, and Autumn Kelly in 2008.

"I think the queen's understood that it's very important for William to make a happy marriage," Pollard told CNN. "He watched his parents be unhappy, and the fact that they (William and Middleton) have stayed together for so long and they have been together for so long rather proves that they get on very well."

CNN's Richard Quest, a business correspondent who has covered the royal family, said the nuptials will likely take the tough global economic times into account and not be too frivolous.

"I think they'll want to create an occasion that is suitable for the times, but at the same time, they will want to be cognizant of the difficulties the country is facing," Quest said.

From BA All The Way To Balmoral, The Awkward Rise Of The Middletons

The invitation of Kate Middleton's parents to be part of a private shooting party on the Queen's Scottish estate earlier this month - as revealed by the Daily Mail - was clearly a significant step.

But now it has emerged their daughter was already engaged when they spent the weekend with her and the Prince at Birkhall, Prince Charles’s private residence on the Balmoral estate.

It appears William was keen to spend some time with his future in-laws before all the chaos of a Royal wedding began and to give the whole family time to absorb the news before going public.

The couple have met the Royal Family on several occasions, including William’s Sandhurst graduation, and are rumoured to have been invited to stay at Highgrove with Prince Charles more than three years ago. But this is thought to be their first visit to Balmoral.

Clarence House insiders had insisted at the time that there were still no public plans for an engagement or wedding as they battled to keep the truth under wraps.

For them to be invited to Birkhall - lovingly redecorated for Charles by the Duchess of Cornwall - says everything about their daughter’s long haul towards becoming Princess of Wales.

If the past eight years have at times been tough for Kate (the paparazzi, a brief separation, the soubriquet ‘Waity Katie’), they have been even harder for her parents.

There have been years of omerta during which Carole Middleton has had to suffer in silence the insults and sneers from braying royal sycophants who cannot understand how William has fallen in love with a middle-class girl whose parents are 'in trade'.

Unlike other putative parents-in-law, Carole and Michael could not indulge in the pleasure of talking to friends and acquaintances about their daughter’s boyfriend and they certainly could not wonder out loud why it was taking him so long to propose.

True, Mrs Middleton made a monster faux pas by allowing herself to be seen chewing gum when she attended William’s passing out parade from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in 2006. But it was nicotine gum.

Critics even put it about that when she was presented to the Queen at the passing out parade, she uttered the decidedly non-U greeting ‘Pleased to meet you’ (when she might have said ‘How do you do?’)

In fact, at that time the two women did not meet.

At least the oleaginous royal hangers-on have stopped sniggering behind their hands ‘Doors to manual’ when the Middleton women are around, a cheap shot at Carole’s former career.

And now, pictured with her husband at Balmoral joining in the country pursuits which are such a crucial element of Royal Family life, she can at last be said to have outlived envious gossip that she was a 'pushy' mother and ambitious social climber who sent her beautiful daughter to St Andrews University just because Prince William was going there.

The envy will not stop here, of course. It cannot be denied that the Middletons have profited hugely from their links to the Royal Family.

Kate’s younger siblings, James and Pippa, have used their reflected fame to publicise themselves and their businesses, which are related to the online firm, Party Pieces, founded by their parents.

James featured in a gushing profile across the glossy pages of Hello! magazine last year and later Pippa appeared in the Sunday Times’s Style magazine.

She invited the paper to meet her in a village pub to talk about the online magazine and catalogue she is launching to flog Party Pieces’ goods.

Carole was also there, apparently on the Dukan Diet (some days, it emerged, lunching on nothing more than prawns and cottage cheese). Could the diet be in anticipation of a wedding, perhaps?

True, they have been to Highgrove, once. But staying at Birkhall is different. It is a very intimate royal residence where houseguests are thrown very much together en famille.

Perhaps because of those early jibes, William has become close to Kate’s parents - and very protective of them.

He has holidayed with them in Mustique and sometimes watches television with supper on his lap when staying overnight at their home in the Berkshire commuter village of Bucklebury.

In recent months the prince, who is based at RAF Valley in Anglesey where he is an air-sea rescue helicopter pilot, has been joined by Kate at weekends in his rented white-walled farmhouse.

Locals have spotted the couple dashing about on the prince’s Ducati motorbike, dropping into pubs such as the White Eagle at Rhoscolyn. They have also been shopping at the local Tesco in Holyhead.

In the farmhouse they look after themselves. There are no domestic staff and they do their own cooking. But they are never completely alone because William’s protection officers are always around.

Despite all the envy and insults they have faced so far, the portents for Carole and Michael Middleton are surprisingly good. For William is determined to usher in a new era of inclusion, as far as royal in-laws are concerned.

The late mother of Captain Mark Phillips - Princess Anne’s first husband - complained bitterly that she and her husband were ‘virtually ignored and never invited to anything’ by the royals once their son had married the Queen’s only daughter.

The same happened to the Spencers, even though Princess Diana’s father had been a former equerry to the Queen and lived on the Sandringham estate.

And while the Duchess of York’s father, Major Ron Ferguson, was a popular figure until his death in 2003, he never became close to the Queen even when his daughter’s marriage to Prince Andrew was going well.

William is very aware that his future parents-in-law are stepping into unfamiliar territory.

For them it is worse, much worse, than for any other royal in-laws of recent times - because their daughter will one day be Queen. Hence their gentle introduction into his family’s love of country pursuits.

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Sources: CNN, Daily Mail, InStyle Mag., MSNBC, Youtube, Google Maps

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