Every 30 years or so, the most romanticized monarchy in the world, the United Kingdom, holds a royal wedding that is dubbed ‘the wedding of the century.’ The last such wedding was in July of 1981 when Prince Charles married Diana Frances Spencer, but yesterday Prince Charles announced that his eldest son Prince William is officially engaged to his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton. The two, according to Charles, will be wed in the spring or summer of 2011, making their wedding the latest and greatest wedding of the century.
This announcement is confirmation of a marriage that has long been speculated upon, with rumors being amped up in the last few months due to the Middleton family’s invitation to spend the holidays with the British royal family, which was said to be a sure sign that an engagement between William and Kate was imminent.
Comparisons between the two unions were inevitable, but rather than come up lacking, the young couple seems to have been given better odds of success, thanks to a couple departures from royal tradition.
Just like his father before him, William is the heir to the throne, and therefore required to marry. However, unlike his parents, who barely knew each other at the time of their engagement, and whose marriage has notoriously been portrayed over the ensuing years as a tortured union, William and Kate have been taking their time. So much so, that some British tabloids had begun to call Middleton ‘Waity Katy’ as a jab at her patience with the young Prince.
Kate and William met eight years ago while they were both students at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and have unofficially been living together for over a year while Prince William has been serving in the Royal Air Force. But the relationship has not been without its setbacks. The couple briefly separated in 2007 amid rumors that Middleton’s family was found lacking by the royal family.
Unlike Diana’s, whose father was an Earl, Middleton’s family has no ties to the aristocracy; her father is a former airline pilot and her mother a former flight attendant who together now run a mail order company. The rumors have always been denied and the couple reconciled, with Middleton present at many royal events since.
“Prince William has informed the queen and other close members of his family,” the statement by Prince Charles said. “Prince William has also sought the permission of Miss Middleton’s father.”
Middleton has been seen wearing an engagement ring in the last week, although no details have been divulged, which William reportedly gave Middleton while the two were on Safari in South Africa this past October.
Rumors of the engagement and upcoming wedding are sparse so far, but speculation is running rampant already, from the dress, to the ceremony, and even who Prince Harry, William’s younger brother, will bring as his date. And despite its outcome, their parents wedding, which was labeled as a fairytale wedding, was watched by 750 million people worldwide, and 60,000 people lined the streets of London to see the procession, created big shoes to fill.
But the whole world has watched and waited with barely concealed anticipation as Prince William and Kate Middleton formed a bond with each other and the country over almost a decade, and is waiting for their happy ending. So it’s safe to assume that this wedding will indeed be ‘The Wedding of the Century.’