Royal bride Middleton is no Diana, experts say

Thu Apr 7, 2011 1:11pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Few men would feel comfortable hearing their future wife compared to their mother. But that is what Prince William would face week in, week out, had he the time and inclination to wade through the royal press cuttings.

Commentators have been quick to compare and contrast royal fiancee Kate Middleton with William's late mother Princess Diana, whose style, charity and scandalous divorce from Prince Charles made her arguably the world's most famous woman.

Yet the differences far outweigh the similarities, experts and PR gurus say, which could bode well for the young couple's long-term happiness as well as Middleton's relationship with the Queen and her royal brood.

"As a PR person, which is what I have been for 45 years, I would say Princess Diana was a one-off," said Max Clifford, one of Britain's most prominent image makers.

"She (Diana) became just about the biggest star in the world. She became far more popular all over the world than the royal family. I think Kate's going to be far more controlled, she's going to be far more part of William."

Diana was just 19 when she was betrothed to William's father Charles in 1981. He was a 32-year-old veteran and she a timid newcomer to the "goldfish bowl" life of a leading royal whose fashion sense was more "Sloane Ranger" than sophisticated chic.

But as her relationship with Charles and the royal family soured, her confidence, sense of style and stature as a charity figurehead grew, making her a favorite with the public.


<p>The wind blows as Kate Middleton attends a ceremony in north Wales February 24, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez</p>