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April 13, 2003

Could This Woman Be The Next Queen?

When you're Prince William and you have your pick of any woman in the world, whom do you choose?

kate middleton in black hat and bright red coat

Kate Middleton

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A pretty English girl walks down a London street, shielding her eyes from photographers hoping to snap her with her boyfriend, the prince. She is young and well-mannered and smiles politely as they pursue her, yet already her face is taking on a hunted look. Does this remind you of anyone? Behind every picture of Kate Middleton, Prince William's girlfriend, struggling through the press after a night out at a club or gazing determinedly downward as she heads to work, lies the ghostly image of Diana, hounded by paparazzi until the end. The movie The Queen probably would not have been a hit if love and lust in the House of Windsor weren't such a source of global titillation. And when the roman-ces go wrong, as in the case of Charles and Diana, they have the power to sway the course of the British monarchy.
Yet there are signs that if Kate one day becomes the Queen of England, she won't end up like her would-be mother-in-law. Asked about her good luck in dating Prince William, she gamely quipped, "He's lucky to be going out with me!" When Prince William revealed seven years ago that he intended to study the history of art at St. Andrews in Scotland, applications promptly rose dramatically, along with the hopes of mothers far and wide that their daughter might be the one to bring the heir to the throne home for tea. But Kate spoiled the fun: By her second year she was sharing a house with the prince and two friends, and when William paid £200 ($394) for a VIP seat at a university charity fashion show to see Kate modeling a black bandeau and bikini bottoms, the two became an item.

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