British royal wedding for 2011

TONY EASTLEY: Britain’s economy might be in a tight spot and its people facing some of the strictest belt tightening in living memory, but news of a royal wedding has proven to be a welcome and happy distraction.

Britain’s Prince William, the second-in-line to the throne, will marry his long-term girlfriend, Kate Middleton, next year.

After nine years of courting, the couple announced they will marry in spring or summer.

Prince William says he gave Ms Middleton his mother’s engagement ring so she can be with them in spirit.

London correspondent Rachael Brown reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: The soon to be Princess Catherine has been given the engagement ring of Princes Diana.

PRINCE WILLIAM: Obviously she’s not going to be around to share any of the fun and excitement of all this. This is my way of keeping her sort of close to it all.

KATE MIDDLETON: I just hope I look after it…

PRINCE WILLIAM: If she loses it she’s in very big trouble.

KATE MIDDLETON: It’s very, very special.

RACHAEL BROWN: The two got engaged during their October holiday at a wild game reserve in Kenya. Now Kate Middleton can finally share their secret.

She met Prince William during their university days in Scotland and recalls her meeting with her future in-law, the Queen.

KATE MIDDLETON: She was very friendly, and no it was was, yeah it was fine.

PRINCE WILLIAM: She was very welcoming …


PRINCE WILLIAM: … and she knew it was, you know, it was a big day and everything was going going on, Peter and all were there and she wanted to meet Kate.

RACHAEL BROWN: Kate Middleton says she wishes she had have been able to meet Princess Diana.

KATE MIDDLETON: She’s an inspirational woman to look up to. Obviously on the, to this day and going forward and things.

RACHAEL BROWN: Prince William says the two women shouldn’t be compared.

PRINCE WILLIAM: It’s about carving your own future. No one’s going to try and, you know, no one’s trying to fill my mother’s shoes.

RACHAEL BROWN: His father Prince Charles says he’s delighted with the announcement.

PRINCE CHARLES: Obviously thrilled, thank you very much.

RACHAEL BROWN: And there was a more contemporary reaction from his wife Camilla Parker Bowles.

CAMILLA PARKER-BOWLES: It’s wicked, brilliant.

RACHAEL BROWN: The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, says the news was a cheery interruption.

DAVID CAMERON: I was passed a piece of paper and announced the news in the middle of a Cabinet meeting and there was a great cheer went up and a great banging of the table.

RACHAEL BROWN: Bookies have their money on an August wedding. It was initially tipped for 2012, but that would’ve overshadowed the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Prince may share her wedding venue though, Westminster Abbey, but it would be a bittersweet choice, that’s where he farewelled his mother, Princess Diana, when he was 15-years-old.

Princess Diana was the bashful royal bride at 19, never comfortable in the media glare. But at 28, Kate Middleton is seen as more self assured, from a stable, middle-class, and comparatively boring family.

The editor of Majesty Magazine, Ingrid Seward.

INGRID SEWARD: That’s exactly what the Windsor line needs is a bit of ordinary blood pumped into it.

RACHAEL BROWN: Jules Knight went to university with the couple, and explains why they share such a strong bond.

JULES KNIGHT: Like lots of good strong couples they had a friendship before they had a romance, and they were in the same hall together at St Andrews University; Sally’s.

RACHAEL BROWN: What is it about a royal wedding that captivates the British attention?

JULES KNIGHT: Well I think, you know, there’s been a pretty hard recession and things have been a bit depressing around here and the weather’s got a bit colder, so good news is always very welcome. And I think in the UK we do that whole pageantry very well, we like a good show, and so we’re all excited about the actual day itself.

RACHAEL BROWN: As are many English fans of the Royal family who have gathered outside the palace.

FEMALE BRITISH CITIZEN: There’s going to be so much hype about the dress, the guest list, everything. So it’s just going to get, everyone’s going to want to know the inside information of what’s going on. So it’s exciting times.

RACHAEL BROWN: And it’s only day one.

This is Rachael Brown in London, reporting for AM.

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