So Prince William Windsor, the second in line to the British throne is going to marry his long-term girlfriend, Kate Middleton, the fun-loving daughter of self-made toy merchandising millionaires. They certainly seem like a happy couple and they are undoubtedly a lucky one too.
It is great being young and in love and it would be only a cynic who could not celebrate the news of any couple deciding that they want to live happily every after. It is also great that they think marriage is the way for them to demonstrate their love to the world.
Many people thought that too when William’s father, Prince Charles married his innocent teenage bride, the ill-fated Diana Spencer. On the occasion of their engagement Charles made his chilling comment “whatever love is” and placed a big sapphire and diamond engagement ring onto Diana’s finger. It was the same ring that Kate Middleton wore yesterday when she took Diana’s place as the great new hope in Britain’s much troubled Royal Family.
I don’t know if Diana wore it after her marriage had ended in bitter recrimination or if it was on her finger when she lay dying in that Parisian traffic tunnel but I hope that it doesn’t still carry any of that confused woman’s sadnesses or disappointments.
Unlike Diana, Kate has no blue or even aristocratic blood flowing through her veins but she seems more suited than her future late mother-in-law for the tough life of being a member of the Windsor tribe.
She is no stranger to huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ – she is happy wrapped up against the Balmoral wind in her furs and she is just as at ease lounging around on luxury yachts – with or without press photographers on hand.
Maybe more than anything else though, her most important difference from Diana is that her man, the amiable but dim Prince William, seems to be genuinely in love with her. If she can cope with the stresses and strains of being incredibly rich, privileged and famous then I don’t think any of us need feel too sorry for her. Two nice, unquestioning, if pampered people might be all that the nation needs to head up a modern monarchy – better, by far, I suspect, if the alternative is having a dictator as president. On the other hand, Britain might just have grown up a bit more by the time, long in the future I hope, when and if it is William’s turn to have that big crown on his head.
Putting all that to one side, I wish William and Kate happiness and celebrate their obvious love for each other. Their divorce, perish the thought, would probably scupper things once and for all for the accident-prone House of Windsor.