Talbot Church: Jealousy stalks Kate 'Barbie' Middleton

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The Independent Online

As Tolstoy might have said, had he numbered "court correspondent" among his many accomplishments, "all happy royal families resemble one another; each unhappy royal family is unhappy in its own way."

While all is going smoothly on the organisational side of the royal wedding, some of the resentments and jealousies which have plagued the House of Windsor in recent years now threaten to cast a pall over the big day.

One source of discord is the trouble-making minor royal Zara Phillips, who has taken to referring to Kate Middleton as "Barbie". In the words of a family friend, "Zara's a feisty, high-achieving girl who doesn't like coming second. She hates the idea that hers is now a 'mini-royal wedding'." Concern has grown that outspoken comments from the royal cousin about "Ken and Barbie" and "Little Miss Bloody Perfect" might find their way into the press.

More surprisingly to many, the Duchess of Cornwall has also had difficulty with the new-found celebrity of Kate Middleton. Feet-on-the-ground Camilla may be less highly-strung than her predecessor, but she has always hoped to be the royal whose straightforward manner connected to the people.

The increasing popularity of "Princess Ordinary" has caused enough of a personal crisis for Camilla to be talking to an emotional adviser once a week. "It is absolutely not therapy," a senior courtier has said. "The Duchess has merely been unpacking a few issues with professional help."

* Prince Charles, meanwhile, has been irritated by reports that there are astrological differences between William, who was born under the emotionally complex sign of Cancer, and Kate, an earthy Capricorn, and that a stormy union will result. Royal insiders recall that it was an astrologer who caused problems in Charles's own first marriage when he told Princess Diana that her marriage would last a lifetime.

These days, the Prince of Wales takes a robust, sceptical attitude to horoscopes, preferring to consult a group of UK-based Tibetan mystics. Their altogether more positive view is that, since William (a Dog) is marrying Kate (a Cockerel) in the Year of the Rabbit, all will be harmonious – just as long as red is not worn at the wedding.