For the purposes of balance, I have sought out the negatives. He can certainly be stubborn at times, but even this seems only the reverse side of his determination to beat back a system that he feels overwhelmed his mother. He is loyal. He forms close friendships with people who seem, for the most part, to be pretty solid. He would like to a have a conventional life conducted far from the madding crowd, but certainly doesn't want the historical, not to mention global, opprobrium that would result from a rejection of his destiny.
I do not know Kate well, but my wife, Claudia, who worked with her briefly when she was at Jigsaw, says pretty similar things of her. She always said she thought the royal family was lucky to have her and felt sad that Kate wasn't able - or didn't feel able - to pursue many of the career interests that attracted her.
Claudia always thought she was pretty smart.
And as for all the snobby bitching about the Middletons that got written up from time to time? I never knew whether to laugh or cry when I read those. Her mother chews gum at Sandhurst? Ooh, er. It is difficult to think of anything that the Queen, let alone her grandson, could care less about. But there you are.
Maybe someone did get offended. There are some very sad people around.
I certainly don't know William and Kate well enough to have a handle on what makes their relationship tick. My guess - based on no more than a hunch - is that Kate was probably the first person apart from Harry that William ever really talked to about his parents' divorce, his mother's death and all the hideous public scrutiny of his teenage years. They seem to have a deep friendship, founded on loyalty and mutual respect (not to mention physical attraction). At one point, William seemed quite an angry young man, smooth and amusing on the surface but intense and sometimes anxious underneath. I'd hazard she is a calming influence.
As I look at them in the church on April 29, I will have at the forefront of my mind the fact that this is a young couple locking themselves into a system that will provide them with some very substantial challenges. I am not going to go as far to portray them as victims, since it is a pretty gilded cage and at least they will never have to worry about paying the mortgage. But they are rare among their peers in having so little choice over so much of what they do. I suppose that is what makes their journey so interesting. They are an ordinary couple facing an extraordinary life.
Amidst all the splendour, the friends, the families, the dignitaries and the assorted others, my wife and I will have a very simple wish, which is that they find the domestic happiness and tranquillity they so keenly seek. They're good people. And they deserve it.
Tom Bradby , political editor of Britain's ITN, is Special to The Globe and Mail
ROYAL WEDDING DEVELOPMENTS
* Kate Middleton's "living avenue" began to take shape inside Westminster Abbey with Tuesday's arrival of six potted English field maples and two hornbeams that will line the aisle leading to the altar. Whatever the weather, it promises to be a perfect English country garden inside as the six-metre trees will create a canopy under which guests will walk on the way to their seats. AP/AFP
* A self-confessed "super fan" of Prince William's mother, the late Princess Diana, was the first to arrive at the abbey late Monday to ensure a front-row spot. John Loughrey, 56, was equipped with only a sleeping bag and two bags at the start of his four-day wait. His T-shirt read "Diana Would Be Proud." AP
* A Boston woman who shares the same name as Kate Middleton says she was recently booted off Facebook and accused of running a fake account. But the 32-year-old bicycle enthusiast says Kate Middleton is her name and convinced Facebook to reinstate her account. AP
* The country's bookmakers, meanwhile, hope to make a mint. Wedding-themed wagers include: How long will Kate make William wait at the aisle? What colour will the Queen wear to the wedding? And will Prince Harry be sober enough to deliver the best man's speech? AP
* U.S. online media outlets have generated more coverage of the royal wedding than their British counterparts. The Nielsen Company says the United States has had the highest share of news coverage by traditional online news sources of the wedding when compared with corresponding coverage in Britain. AP
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