It is often forgotten that, beyond the grandeur of a great royal wedding, beyond the excited adulation of the public, beyond the ill-informed tittle-tattle now appearing in the world's press, there is a young couple, deeply in love and about to embark together on the great adventure of marriage.
Close friends of princess-to-be Kate Middleton have been delighted that, in spite of the pressures of becoming one of the most famous women in the world, her no-nonsense style remains unchanged. When the young couple are together at their Anglesey home, she still likes to cook Wills his favourite meal (shepherd's pie) and to make sure that, after a day on duty with the RAF, his bath is run so that he can "hop in" as soon as he comes home.
The feet-on-the-ground royal fiancée has been increasingly determined to be called Kate, not Catherine. "She has never really liked the name Catherine, although her mother insisted she should be called that when she went to Marlborough," a confidant reveals.
The Kate-or-Catherine question has become a flashpoint in dealings with the palace. Prince Charles is known to have a profound dislike for what he calls "ghastly TV weather-girl names", and is thought to dislike "Kate" almost as much "Di". It was on his instructions that equerries have been briefing their pet royal correspondents that the royal bride should be known as "Catherine".
All in vain. Kate is telling friends she will take the name by which ordinary people know and love her. A true people's princess for the 21st century is revealing that she has that all-important common touch.
* Meanwhile, the widely-publicised confirmation in to the Church of England was not without its light-hearted moments. The ceremony was conducted by Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, who held several "counselling" meetings with the young couple over the past month. "Some of the matters he raised are pretty much old hat to Wills and Kate – they've been living together for some time," a family friend reveals. "Now and then Kate would say 'OK, Richard, you can skip that bit'. It became something of a running joke."
Did Kate murmur the same line during her confirmation ceremony? Insiders will only reveal that it was "unusually larky" for a solemn occasion.Reuse content