It seems like a week cannot go by without someone speculating/betting/predicting/announcing the imminent engagement of Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton. For royal insiders and watchers alike, it seems to be a popular pastime. With the top four royals still alive, Camilla recovering from surgery, Mary and Maxima pregnant, and Harry going to Iraq, we're starved for some news. Any news.
Now we have someone who says he's 'in the know'. Photographer Arthur Edwards claims that William himself told him that he plans to marry Kate. When and where are incidental to keeping the flame alive. But predictions come and go. Most recently there were rumours it would happen on Valentine's Day. When February 14th came and went without nary a proposal, no problem. It gives us more time to speculate about next Valentine's Day.
After all, everyone loves a royal engagement. Spring is coming, and love is in the air. When the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) married Prince Philip in 1947, the wedding gave a touch of much needed glamour after the war. Charles and Diana's 1981 engagement distracted from recession, high unemployment and chronic rioting. Prince Andrew's wedding in 1986 and Prince Edward's in 1999 were minor bright spots while waiting for Prince William to come of age.
An engagement for William, while not necessarily lifting the spirit of the nation or distracting from challenging economic times, would be...uh....cool. After all, it's been almost two years since the last wedding. Souvenir makers, dress designers, newspaper reporters, authors, photographers, stamp makers, and the Republicans wait to offer their wares. Do we ever really hear from the Republican's otherwise?
Newspapers would look for angles. Does she have a former nanny? She must have something new to add. Noted psychics will predict if the marriage will last. Astrologers chart whether William and Kate are astrologically compatable. Then there are the former paramours. Unlike Diana, she probably hasn't 'kept herself tidy for what lay ahead', but nowadays (and realistically) bridal virtue isn't a pre-requisite. Yet, it's still newsworthy to find out whether her heart was broken or whether she callously cast aside men on her path to glory.
Yes, we would get all sorts of tidbits about Kate. Some Starbucks barista would tell us about what type of coffee Kate likes to drink. Would it be a non-fat latte? If not, she needs to switch so she can fit into 'the dress'. We would hear from more of Kate's classmates and teachers. Ancestry would be traced. Cute baby pictures produced. The family would demand privacy. People would be misquoted.....
But, until and engagement is announced, that's another Kate Middleton story.
© Marilyn Braun 2007
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