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April 13, 2003

Could This Woman Be The Next Queen?

kate middleton

Kate Middleton

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"Is Kate Middleton the new Diana? Thank goodness, no!" says Sebastian Shakespeare, a society journalist. "She's not aristocratic, and she's had a normal life. Don't forget, Diana had two children by the time she was Kate's age. Diana married at 20, when Charles was 32. Kate is the same age as William. Besides, I don't think a Kate-Wills wedding, if it happens, would be as much of a media event as it was 25 years ago. The only similarity between them is that the young Diana used to keep pictures of Prince Charles in her cubicle at West Heath School, just as Kate is said to have kept a picture of Prince William on her study wall at Marlborough College. Both of them were obviously attracted by the idea of a fairy-tale prince. Kate is a middle-class girl who got lucky."Perhaps-but it isn't a stretch to think of her as princess material. "She is modest, she is shyly elegant, and as she becomes more sophisticated and clued up about fashion, she will look more glamorous," says Geordie Greig, editor of Tatler. "She is the epitome of an effortlessly stylish English rose-she has qualities you can't create or manufacture. In many ways that makes her a Diana II, but the lessons of Diana have not been lost on her. You don't court the media, and you're tough when you need to be."
When asked by a reporter from The Sun about marriage a few years ago, William said, "I don't want to get married until I'm at least 28, or maybe 30." For the queen's part, with three of her four children divorced, she clearly doesn't want her grandchildren to rush into relationships. And yet Kate has been given permission to move her belongings into Clarence House, even though she still keeps a separate apartment in Chelsea.
"The press is having a feeding frenzy right now," says Greig. "The nation longs for a fairy-tale renewal of the royal narrative, and Kate Middleton carries the unconscious burden of that national expectation. Everyone wants a happy ending for the future king."
And the future queen? Would the occasional paparazzi-free outing be too much to ask?

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