Prince William: Britain's modern prince

Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:47am EST
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By Peter Griffiths

LONDON (Reuters) - Prince William, the second-in-line to the British throne, whose good looks mirror those of his late mother Princess Diana, is to end his spell as one of the world's most eligible bachelors.

The elder son of Prince Charles and Diana, William, 28, will marry his long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton next year after an on-off courtship that first blossomed at university.

Like his mother, William and his younger brother Harry have been the subject of intense global media scrutiny that has led to several complaints to Britain's press watchdog and pleas for greater privacy.

Many cited intolerable media intrusion as a key factor behind William and Middleton's brief split in 2007. They had shared a house together as students at Scotland's St Andrews University where they began studying in 2001.

Middleton, the self-assured and elegant daughter of middle-class entrepreneurs, had already been hailed as the perfect 21st century princess for a monarchy beset by a series of scandals.

But there have been persistent doubts about whether their relationship would last under the glare of the media spotlight.

WORKING PRINCE William had always said he was in no hurry to walk down the aisle and would wait until he was 28 or 30. He turned 28 in June.

"It's been pretty clear that he has been mad about her for a long time and she about him," said royal commentator Penny Junor. "I think the body language has said it all: they are clearly very much in love and it's very sweet."   Continued...