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Prince William and Kate Middleton announce their engagement at Clarence House, London, on November 16, 2010. They are both 28.

Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton have made more decisions on their upcoming wedding,” Clarence House said in a statement, which was first released in a series of messages on Twitter.

The royal wedding will take place on Friday, April 29, 2011, at Westminster Abbey.

Kate Middleton will travel by car to the 11 a.m. service passing through some of Britain’s most historic sites – Pall Mall, Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, and Parliament Square. The ceremony will be conducted by the Rev. John Hall and the couple will be married by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

Once the pair are husband and wife, they will travel along the same route that Middleton arrived in, but this time, in a horse-drawn carriage. Prince William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, will host a gathering at Buckingham Palace for guests. Afterward, William’s father, Prince Charles, will organize a private dinner for friends and family.

Source: Google News

Readers, for more on this blog about the royal wedding and the British Royal Family, click here.

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Kate Middleton attends a wedding in London, August 2009. Her Fascinator headpiece matches her lavender and white coat dress.

Kate Middleton looks good in just about anything – including traditional British hats, particularly the Fascinator. Worn at fancy society events, the Fascinator headpiece is an alternative to a full brimmed hat and often includes feathers, flowers, and beads. It’s often placed on the side of the head or at the back.

In May 2006, Kate Middleton wore a feather Fascinator to the wedding of Harry Lopes and Laura Parker Bowles.

Fashion watchers are wondering whether Kate Middleton will bring the Fascinator to America, now that women across the globe are snapping up her fashion picks from coats to dresses to engagement rings. British Designers who appeal to a younger set like ASOS and John Lewis have been starting to stock modern Fascinators in their boutiques.

Princess Beatrice of York wears a butterfly fascinator at Peter Phillips' 2008 wedding to Autumn Kelly at Windsor Castle.

The Fascinator was previously worn by an older set, but it’s lately been popularized by younger British celebrities and royals, particularly Princess Beatrice of York, who sports the most flamboyant hats of all.

Sarah, the Duchess of York, AKA "Fergie," in foreground, followed by the Princesses of York, Eugenie and Beatrice. All wear Fascinator headpieces.

Readers, for more on this blog on Kate Middleton and the British Royal Family, click here.

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Kate Middleton (born Jan. 9, 1982) and Prince William of Great Britain announce their plans to marry (November 16, 2010). Kate's sapphire and diamond engagement ring belonged to the Prince's mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Since the November 16, 2010, announcement of her engagement to Prince William, all eyes have been on the lovely Kate Middleton, Britain’s princess-in-waiting (maybe to be titled “Her Royal Highness Princess Catherine of Wales”) and future queen. Everything from her plans to marry at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011, to her fashion picks is hot, hot news.

At the press conference, Kate looked so smashing in her sapphire blue, gathered-front engagement dress that the outfit became an instant fashion “must have.” It caused a shopping frenzy with women eager to copy Kate’s classic, ladylike, but sexy look. Only two days after she was seen wearing the silk jersey Issa London frock, the dress was sold out in London. It then became available online at Net-a-Porter.com for $535 but quickly sold out.

Within days, Tesco launched a replica version of the dress that was 20 times cheaper than the Issa, selling at £16 ($15.50). The Tesco version – in cotton – featured the same Issa length and waist-flattering, self-tie wrap style but with short sleeves. Within one hour of its availability, the Tesco knockoff design – dubbed “the Kate Middleton dress” – was sold out.

This cotton dress by the Florence + Fred line at Tesco.com emulates the blue Issa London design which Kate Middleton wore to face the press in November 2010 to announce her engagement to Prince William. This knockoff sold out online in one hour, a testimony to the power of Miss Middleton's influential fashion sense.

Peacocks, another British “high street” budget chain retailer, was not about to outdone by the competition.  They released an even cheaper version than Tesco’s – in polyester with three-quarter-length sleeves – that also sold out within hours of hitting the market. Peacocks anticipated the instant sell-out, setting up the ‘Waity Katie’ waiting list dedicated to the dress in order for customers to avoid disappointment. Kate Middleton received the  nickname ‘Waity Katie’  because she knew her fiance nine years before he proposed marriage.

Peacocks' polyester version of the Kate Middleton Issa dress, costing just £14.

It wasn’t just Kate’s dress that caused a fashion sensation. Jewelers around the world have been inundated with requests for replicas of her sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring. It is the same ring that Prince William’s father Prince Charles gave William’s mother, Lady Diana, in 1981, when they became engaged. After Diana’s death, the ring was passed down to Prince Harry, Diana’s second son and William’s younger brother. Harry decided to give William their mother’s ring to give to Kate as her engagement ring.

Kate Middleton's engagement ring

Jewelers were caught off guard by the sheer volume of customer requests for replicas of the engagement ring:

‘Our website crashed, phones are ringing like crazy,’ said Michael Arnstein, CEO of the Natural Sapphire Co. ‘We just hope we can handle the demand.'”

 

Princess Diana's engagement ring, now being worn by Kate Middleton. Prince Charles proposed to Lady Diana without a ring. After accepting Charles's proposal, Diana chose her own ring from a selection at Garrard Jewelers. Set on a gold band, this 18 carat oval cluster ring features a sapphire surrounded by 16 small diamonds.

Stores and websites are flooded with fake sapphire rings for sale. Below is a photo of one store’s offering:

 

Readers, for more of my posts on Kate Middleton and the British Royal family, click here.

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Prince William of Great Britain and Catherine Middleton announce their engagement on November 16, 2010, in a side room at Clarence House, London.

This is the site of Prince William's October 20 proposal to Kate Middleton: at one of Kenya's stark Rutundu Log Cabins near Lake Rutundu on Africa's second highest peak. With no electricity, the couple, both 28, celebrated their engagement by a roaring fire and a bottle of bubbly. In an interview, the prince revealed that he had been carrying around the heirloom engagement ring in his knapsack for three weeks, all the time worried he might lose the irreplaceable relic that belonged to his late mother, Princess Diana.

The interior of the rustic Kenyan cabin where William proposed to Kate on Oct. 20, 2010.

Kate Middleton attended the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she received an Art History Degree and met her future husband, Prince William, heir to the British throne. The university claims to be "Britain's top match-making university," asserting that 10 percent of its students met the person with whom they would eventually settle down.

“Kate’s Obstacle Course” by Tina Brown:

“The future princess not only fulfilled Prince William’s requirements, she persuaded the Queen her future granddaughter-in-law is nothing like Diana. Now all the royals have to do is make the wedding of the year look thrifty.

“No one has put in harder training to become a royal bride than the glossy-haired Kate Middleton. The eight-year wait has been fraught with tests she had to pass.

“First, discretion. Prince William’s smiling hostility toward the press is his non-negotiable core value. I am told he is so protective of his privacy he has been known to plant false tips with friends he distrusts and watch the media to see if they play out. William went ballistic at Christmas last year, when he suspected Kate might have been aware the tabloid snapper Niraj Tanna was lurking near a tennis court where she was playing on the Duchy of Cornwall estate, and that she graced the interloper with a camera-ready smile. Even her family has kept mum with no unruly relatives going rogue. The only telltale sign of possible impending nuptials has been Carole Middleton’s sudden suspicious determination to shed poundage on a prawn and cottage cheese diet.

“Second, virtue. The delicate issue of premarital experience has been managed by Kate with quiet dexterity. Her one known boyfriend before William at university, 22-year-old gifted cricketer Rupert Finch, never talked. Thirty years ago, Prince Charles had to go as young as 19 to find, in Lady Diana Spencer, something almost extinct in post-feminist times, a girl with a history and no past. But Diana’s shy virginity concealed a time bomb: her wounded, insatiable need for love.

A month after announcing their engagment, Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles attend a 1981 dinner at Goldsmith Hall. Diana was 19.

“There is nothing wounded about Kate. She’s from wholesome middle-class stock. She’s great ballast for William who, beneath his royal aplomb, is wounded too. She’s mastered the art of being what seems a contradiction in terms—appropriately edgy; the odd flash of midriff or nocturnal thigh in a too-short skirt for a nightclub excursion sexy but solid; middlebrow, not elitist. The only controversial thing she has ever done is wear sequined hot-pants and take a spill with her legs in the air at a Day-Glo Midnight Roller Disco charity event in South London, for which she did about two years’ penance.

September 2008: Kate Middleton arrives at the Day-Glo Midnight Roller Disco Charity event in South London in disco sequins, tiny shorts, and ready to roller skate.

Kate Middleton falls on the floor in a most unladylike sprawl. It was rumored that the Queen thought Kate was a show-off.

Kate Middleton has been embroiled in more than one sexy fashion faux pas. A case in point: the 2002 charity fashion event for St. Andrew's College at which she modeled this see-through "frock." Both Kate and Prince William were students at St. Andrew's at the time, and "Wills" was in the audience that night. Although he had met Kate before the $325-a-plate event, when he saw her on the catwalk, he was smitten.

“In the couple’s wedding interview, you could see the outline of their successful dynamic. William said he tried to impress Kate with his cooking, but the food would start burning, and ‘Kate would come to the rescue and take charge.’

“Third, patience. It’s taken close to a decade to reel William in. Kate has had to endure the ridicule of being Waity Katie even among the royals themselves. ‘They have been practicing long enough,’ Prince Charles said heartily at Poundbury, his model village in Devon, where he was when the news broke.

‘It’s brilliant news. It has taken them a very long time,’ commented Queen Elizabeth, who, in her business-like way had tried to get this over and done with last June before the impending calendar crush of Philip‘s 90th, her Diamond Jubilee, and the 2012 Olympics.

“In order not to fuel rumors as the perpetual princess in waiting, Kate rarely emerged with William in public of late unless it was one of those innumerable country weddings of all their mutual friends. What could she possibly have been doing all those years of trying to look busy? As she put it in the engagement interview, ‘working really hard’ at the family business that sells children’s toys and paraphernalia based in Ashampstead, near their home in Berkshire. Now that she’s engaged to be married to the second in line to the throne, her life is about to get more boring still. The palace machine will take over. The portcullis will come down.

Prince William is a RAF search-and-rescue helicopter pilot.

“William is a RAF search-and-rescue helicopter pilot at RAF Valley on the island of Anglesey, and the happy couple will live in a remote farmhouse in North Wales, where there is 33 inches of rain a year. There she can tend to the urgent priority of royal wife, the speedy manufacture of the heir and the spare.

“But that’s “appropriate” too. In the dire mood of the upcoming austerity cuts, England needs the joy of a royal wedding as badly as it did 30 years ago, when we watched enthralled as Charles and Di tied the knot. But she needs it on a budget. The fact that Kate’s a “commoner” is suddenly a PR boon for the royals. With an Old Etonian prime minister and a savage round of economic cutbacks, a pedigreed royal bride would be a hard message to sell to a grumpy press and parliament. Now all the royals have to do is make the wedding of the year look thrifty—perhaps the Guards’ Chapel, where William and Harry held a service to mark the 10th anniversary of their mother’s death, instead of Westminster Abbey?—and preferably green.

“Now that she’s engaged to be married to the second in line to the throne, her life is about to get more boring still.

“Most important still, Kate’s perseverance and resilience has persuaded the queen that her future granddaughter-in-law is nothing at all like Her, like Diana, the golden-haired Rebecca of the Royal House of Windsor. When William chose to bestow on Kate his mother’s 18-carat oval blue sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring, it was not only a token of love but a thrilling gesture of confident daring.

Kate Middleton's engagement ring belonged to Princess Diana

“After Diana’s death in 1997, the 15-year-old prince told his father he wanted the ring for his future engagement. He said Tuesday the ring represented a time his parents were happy. Now, after all the years the royal establishment have spent trying to erase that magical disruption known as Diana, England’s future king showed the world in the strongest, most personal way he knew how that he was determined to bring his mother back.”

Source: The Daily Beast

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Diana, Princess of Wales

The late Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997), once remarked that, in marrying Prince Charles and having two sons with him, she had genetically given the British Royal family “chins.” She felt that she had a very prominent chin and that the Royal Windsors were lacking in this facial feature. Her sons, Princes William (b. 1982) and Henry (b. 1984), known as “the Heir and the Spare,” are in line for the British throne.

Queen Elizabeth II is shown wearing a lime green suit in this 1960s era photo with husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and their four children, l to r: Andrew, Edward, Charles, and Anne.

Tragically, Diana didn’t live to see her boys grown into tall, strapping fellows setting new records not for chins but for height. This genetic trait was likely passed down to them through Diana’s Spencer family and their grandfather Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who was 6′ at his prime. Princess Diana, at 5’10” & 3/4″, was almost 2  inches taller than her former husband.


At 6’3″, Prince William of Wales, second in line for the British throne, is set to become the tallest monarch in history. His brother, Prince Henry of Wales (known as Prince Harry), is right up there with him, measuring in at 6’2″.

The Great Seal of Edward I who served as the British monarch from 1272-1307

The record for the tallest British monarch has been held by Edward I, 6’2″, known as “Longshanks” for his long legs. An expert horseman, he took the throne in 1272.

More modernly, though, the British monarchs have erred on the short side. Queen Elizabeth II, who took the throne in 1953, is only 5’4″. Her great grandmother Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837-1901, was even more petite. She was only 5 feet tall and very stocky. At her death in 1901, Queen Victoria boasted a 50″ waist.

Queen Victoria was quite stout. With her afternoon "cuppa" tea, she fancied a sponge cake slathered with jam and whipped cream. This classic (high-calorie) British cake is known as the "Victoria Sponge."

Should Prince William decide to marry his long-time girlfriend, the 5’10” Kate Middleton, their children likely would be taller than the average royal.

Kate Middleton (black hat) is shown with Prince Harry of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (white hat), at the June 16, 2008 installation of Kate's boyfriend Prince William of Wales in the Order of the Garter.

Here’s how the current royals and their significant others measure up:

Men ———————————– Ladies
Prince William (6ft 3in) ——– Kate Middleton (5ft 10in)
Prince Harry (6th 2in) ——— Chelsy Davy (5ft 8in)
Prince Philip = (5ft 11in) ——– The Queen (5ft 4in)
Prince Charles = (5ft 9in) ——- Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall (5ft 8in), Diana (5ft, 10 & 3/4 in)

Source: Article Daily Mail

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British royal Prince William of Wales and his girlfriend Kate Middleton at the 2009 Audi Polo Match

Is Prince William of Wales finally going to propose to his girlfriend of nine years, Kate Middleton? Tina Brown, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast, says so. She predicts the engagement will be announced by Buckingham Palace on June 3 or 4 of this year.

Kate Middleton – known as “Waity Katie”  in the British press – has dated Prince William since they met in 2001 at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland. They have been together almost continuously, even living together. (1)

Woolworth's High Street Store in Great Britain anticipated a 2007 royal wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William of Wales. They were so sure a ceremony was imminent that they unveiled designs for mugs, thimbles, mouse mats, and even sweets bearing a picture of the Prince and his sweetheart in 2006. Unfortunately, Kate and William broke up shortly after this announcement and Woolworth's was forced to scrap this line of merchandise. It is unlikely the product line will be revived as William no longer resembles the 2006 photo. He no longer sports a boyish look as his hairline has receded considerably since then.

Tina Brown’s column has caused a surge in speculation, Brown, the famous ex-Vanity Fair and ex-New Yorker editor and best-selling biographer of William’s mother, Princess Diana, is known to have excellent sources in Buckingham Palace, although the Palace has denied her prediction. Nevertheless, British tabloids like The Daily Mail went nuts thinking about a royal wedding in the future with headlines like,

“She’ll Wear Diana’s Tiara!”

Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997), wears her Cambridge Love Knot Tiara

Americans got feverishly excited, too. People magazine put William and Kate on the cover last month under the headline, “The Next Princess!” Inside, was a report that William was overheard calling Kate’s father “Dad” while they were all on a ski holiday in the French Alps in March 2010. (2)

(2) “A Date for William & Kate?” USA TODAY, May 13, 2010.

Readers: You might also enjoy “Princess Diana’s Wedding Tiara.”  For more posts on the British Royal Monarchy, scroll down the right sidebar to “Categories”/”Royalty.”

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