It’s official: After months and maybe years of speculation, Wills is finally making an honest woman of Kate. The royal engagement was announced on Twitter today on the Clarence House Twitter feed and read:
The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton – www.princeofwales.gov.uk
(Visit that link to read the full statement.)
Prince William and Kate Middleton have been dating since 2001 after meeting at university and actually split up at one point in 2007, so today’s news means royal watchers everywhere can breath a sigh of relief. Finally, Britain’s future monarch has his queen.
Today it was revealed the happy couple became engaged three weeks ago while on holiday in Kenya and William has given Kate his mother’s engagement ring, an oval blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds. A spring or summer wedding is being planned for 2011 after which Catherine’s official title will become Her Royal Highness Princess William of Wales (but we’ll call her Princess Catherine shall we?)
Kate’s birth name is Catherine Elizabeth Middleton (that’s right, with a C, not a K) which means she will become the sixth Queen Catherine of England. Three Queen Catherines were married to Henry VIII alone: Catherine of Aragon, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr. The first Catherine was Catherine of Valois, wife of Henry V and the last was Catherine of Braganza, married to King Charles II.
Each Catherine met an unhappy, if not disastrous fate, as in the case of Catherine Howard. Ouch! Such barbaric punishments are no longer practiced in England thankfully so things are already looking up for our newest Catherine. Her biggest obstacle, I’m afraid, will be managing the press and preserving some semblance of privacy. She would do a good job to follow William’s lead, who has had to learn some very tough lessons about life in front of the cameras.
Several times a week I listen to LBC, as I did today and naturally the topic of conversation was the royal engagement. Very quickly the calls went from expressions of joy and excitement to grumbling and moaning about the cost of the wedding. Considering the current economic climate, many callers felt it would be inconsiderate for the royal family to splash out on a lavish wedding, after all, the British public is flipping the bill. Others felt this happy occasion is just what Britons need to lift their spirits after two years of nothing but grim news. Then there’s the inevitable boost to the economy as royal watchers flood London to watch the happy event.
Where do you fall on this issue? Do you think the ceremony should be the traditional royal wedding, with all the bells and whistles or a more austere affair? Boris Johnson chimed in today with his opinion, asking the happy couple to consider city hall as a cost effective alternative to a royal ceremony. What do you think? Rubbish?
I feel you only get married once (or so we hope) and William and Kate deserve the usual fanfare. The appeal of the British Monarchy infuses a lot of money into the British economy from tourism and memorabilia, so a royal wedding may turn out to be a much needed shot in the arm for a suffering economy. Take your medicine where you can get it I say.
So what should it be for William and Kate? Fish and chips or champagne and caviar?
Their first official interview here.
Watch the happy couple face the cameras today: