Prince William and Kate Middleton: well prepared for the limelight?
A shared agenda and their plans for their first years of married life may give Prince William and Kate Middleton an advantage in coping with the demands of public life after the wedding.
In Pictures Prince William through the years
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Marrying the heir to Britain's throne brings with it great privileges of wealth and influence. But a punishing schedule of royal engagements coupled with intense media scrutiny creates a huge burden too, as Princess Diana found to her cost.
Prince William is acutely aware that the pressures of royal life can simply overwhelm those who are unprepared. The signs are that Ms. Middleton's immersion into this world will run smoothly, however. Observers are confident that her maturity and level-headedness will enable her to manage after the wedding, as will the couple's stated plans to lead a low-key life initially. And tougher media rules to keep the paparazzi at bay may help fortify the couple’s foundation – even though, given the glamour and charm they exude, the world’s spotlight will be firmly fixed on them.
Diana famously described that she felt like “a lamb to the slaughter” on her wedding day, so ill-equipped did she consider herself for the demands of public life. William himself witnessed at a young age the distress of his mother, whose fame attracted daily harassment from the press.
Consequently, he has talked about “learning lessons from the past” and signaled that he and his future wife intend to carry out far fewer official engagements in their first two years of marriage than usual. The strategy allows them to grow into their marriage, and gives Middleton time to adjust to royal life.
Already better prepared
In fact, she is already better prepared for the pressures of public and media scrutiny than was Diana. Having dated William for eight years (with a short break), Middleton has already been exposed to the kind of life that awaits her.
“I wanted to give her a chance to see in and to back out if she needed to before it all got too much,” William has said of their lengthy courtship. “I just wanted to give her the best chance to settle in.”
By contrast, Diana’s courtship lasted less than a year before Charles proposed and she was thrust into the public glare. Diana was then only 19. Middleton, at 29, is more assured and self-possessed. She has already surprised palace aides with her confident public appearances.
The rules of media engagement have changed, too – at least, they are supposed to have. Diana’s death, in a car crash that occurred while the paparazzi were in hot pursuit, prompted changes to the Editors’ Code of Practice in Britain, which banned information or pictures obtained through "harassment or persistent pursuit."