UK royals riding high in media a year after wedding

Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:08pm EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - One year after some two billion people around the world tuned into watch Britain's Prince William marry Kate Middleton, the global media remain captivated with the lives of the now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The wedding fervor, which saw a million Britons cram the streets of London on April 29, 2011 to catch a glimpse of the future king and queen, has inevitably faded with the memory of the fairytale dresses, uniforms and horse-drawn carriages.

But royal watchers and many members of the public believe the couple have boosted the monarchy's popularity and offer an escape for a nation beset by recession, unemployment and financial insecurity.

Even if, as naysayers argue, the duke and duchess are merely celebrities whose wealth and style are out of reach of all but a few, their popularity reaches far beyond Britain.

Media outlets in Britain, the United States, Canada and beyond remain enamored with Catherine and second-in-line-to-the-throne Prince William.

"I think it's been a complete triumph for them," Claudia Joseph, a biographer of Catherine, said of their first year of married life.

Where the couple, and their PR team, have been particularly successful, commentators say, is in projecting the image of a relatively ordinary pair, albeit it one that has access to palaces, castles, glitzy red carpets and the odd butler or two.

While William has been working as a rescue helicopter pilot in north Wales, they have stayed in a rented home on the island of Anglesey, a move that has helped them build the "couple-next-door" idea.   Continued...

Britain's Prince William and his bride Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, pose for an official photograph, with their bridesmaids and pageboys, on the day of their wedding, in the throne room at Buckingham Palace, in central London April 29, 2011. REUTERS/Hugo Burnand/Clarence House/Handout