Talbot Church: The marketing of 'Princess Ordinary'

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The Independent Online

Has she lost her curves? Is there a danger of her becoming a weight obsessive? Could her decision to go on the tough Dukan diet cause negative mood swings before the wedding?

International news coverage of Kate Middleton's nutrition choices have caused great satisfaction at the leading advertising agency that has been advising the Royal Family on the branding of the princess-to-be.

"Research shows that the first six months of a new royal's visibility are crucial," reveals a creative director close to the Palace. "The challenge with Kate was always to make her differentiated and relevant in the public eye."

It was the advertising team that coined Prince William's nickname for his fiancée, "Princess Ordinary", and orchestrated press speculation about her dieting regime. Kate's support of an anti-bullying charity, rumoured to have been inspired by her own unhappy schooldays, was also part of what was called "Operation Likeable".

A senior courtier has confirmed that the Royal Family receives occasional advice concerning its public image. "The key to being a successful princess is to be caring and human," he told me. "Apparently dieting stories really appeal to women." Princess Diana is thought have taken her own vulnerability too far, while the zany ex-royal Fergie was simply unconvincing.

By contrast, Kate (who, incidentally, has never been on a diet in her life) manages to establish what advertising consultants have called "a perfect synergy between strength and sympathy". She is, they say, a natural.

* Tensions are reported to be rising at the BBC over its royal wedding coverage. The Corporation considers itself to be Britain's broadcaster by royal appointment and hopes the ceremony will reposition it for the future.

Yet, extraordinarily, uncertainties remain about the question of presenter. David Dimbleby, whose father Richard commented on the Coronation, had hoped to be involved but the fiercely ambitious Huw Edwards is resisting any idea of sharing the role.

"Huw has been swotting up for ages on the names of royal children and foreign dignitaries," says a BBC insider. "He is a devoted monarchist, and has met Prince Charles on several occasions."

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