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This Britain

Minor British Institutions: Princess Kate

Hello, Princess. But which one: the beautiful, dutiful and discreet; or the beautiful, wayward and wilful? Kate can look to two marriers-in who provide equally outstanding examples of either: Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, her husband's great grandmother, and Diana Spencer, her ghostly mother-in-law.

It's easy to see which one might haunt her. But, as history shows, predicting the progress of princesses is tricky. The ghostly mother-in-law, after all, looked a tremendous bet on her day in 1981, as far as we knew – which turned out to be not very far.

The new princess is another breath of fresh hair and heirs, and shows every sign of enjoying her duty. But she will have to endure two other ancient Minor British Institutions, Sneering at Parvenus and Jeering at Royalty. (William the Conqueror, for example, had a terrible time over his mother being a tanner's daughter, considered almost as bad as an air hostess.)

So keep that tiara tight and smile, smile, smile.