Better Kate than never

Will they, won’t they, what if they… Yes, they did! Finally! We don’t know who was more relieved when Prince William, the second in line to Britain’s throne proposed to his long-time girl friend, last month.

By Sudha Menon

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Published: Sat 27 Nov 2010, 9:24 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:52 AM

The average Briton seemed happy to hear the good news but we suspect it was Kate Middleton, the spunky 28-year-old who survived her boyfriend’s sustained refusal to bite the bait and, in the bargain ended up being termed Waitie Katie, who was waiting the most to exhale.

Now that the deed is done and the royal family has announced a summer/spring 2011 wedding, it is time to wish the couple a happy married life. Both of them deserve it, after the rather long and much watched courtship which saw a temporary setback 3 years ago, when the two split, for undisclosed reasons. But all is well that ends well and the diamond and sapphire ring on Kate’s ring finger is proof enough of William’s good intentions.

I was still in school when William’s father, Prince Charles, then a dapper good looker at 32, got married 20-year –old Diana, a happy, spirited school school teacher who swept away an entire nation with her smile. I remember sitting glued to the television screen that evening, taking in every detail of the wedding ceremony, including the couple’s ride in an open carriage, to receive the blessings of ecstatic Britons. That was in the middle of difficult times for them and the high-watt glamour of the fairy tale wedding and the winsome bride distracted them from their financial concerns.

Thirty years after that wedding there is still a sense of nostalgia about that wedding even if it is now tinged with a slight sadness about how it went wrong but last week’s announcement of the couple’s first born, seems to have brought some joy into what what was otherwise set to be a gloomy winter.

Suddenly, everybody has something to look forward to including the economy which will see a boost from the billions of pounds expected to be spent by foreign tourists who are sure to rush in to have a look at the first serious royal wedding in three decades. Retailers have already flooded the market with souvenirs, gifts, mementos to celebrate the engagement and the wedding. Prime Minister echoed the general sentiment of the British people, wilting under the shadow of a huge cut in public spending when he said, “It is a piece of unadulterated good news that everyone can celebrate.”

The run-up to the wedding has already commenced. Prince William was away this weekend at a bachelor’s party while his to-be bride spent time with her entrepreneur –parents. In the days to come Kate Middleton, daughter of wealthy, self-made millionaires, will have to contend with media and societal babble about the fact that she is, after all, a commoner.

The tabloid media is already hinting about the fact that she might be expected to play a silent role in the marriage, unlike that of her late mother-in-law, who completely overshadowed her husband, the future king of England.

But those are issues that will come much later. The biggest concern in the public mind just now is simple but crucial - who will design the future queen’s wedding gown!

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