LONDON, Apr 26 – Kate Middleton will avoid the problems experienced by Princess Diana when she marries into a royal family that has changed greatly in 30 years, leading royal author Andrew Morton says.
Morton laid bare the deep unhappiness in Diana\’s marriage to Prince Charles with his 1992 book "Diana: Her True Story", which he later revealed had been written from tapes that the princess had recorded.
He sees little danger that once Kate marries at Westminster Abbey on Friday, she will experience the loveless marriage and the cold shoulder from the royals that Diana suffered once her relationship with Charles soured.
"Kate is so much older than Diana was when she married, she is 29, the equivalent age to Prince William, she is a more mature individual and she has the support of her family and her friends which is critical because the palace can swallow you up," Morton said.
Most importantly, he added, "Kate is marrying a guy who loves her".
"When Diana walked down the aisle at St Paul\’s Cathedral she was watching out for a lady in a grey pillarbox hat and a grey coat – Camilla Parker-Bowles.
"She hoped that by the time she reached the end of that three and a half minute walk down the aisle, that relationship would be over. She was proved sadly wrong," Morton told AFP in an interview at his London home.
Charles married Camilla in 2005, eight years after Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed died in a car crash in Paris and 35 years since the prince had first met the woman who is the real love of his life.
His father is clearly more starchy and traditional than William – 20-year-old Diana called him "Sir" right up to her wedding day in 1981 – but Morton believes Charles is not typical of today\’s royal household.
"The world has moved on, the royal family has moved on to a degree. Even the Queen is on Facebook. The old generation has literally died.
"The new generation, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, Zara Phillips, are the coming people.
"So I think that Kate is going to find it a lot easier in this new generation of younger royals."
In "William and Catherine, Their Lives, Their Wedding", Morton turns his attention to the new royal couple in a "feelgood" book which he will only complete on the day of the wedding before it is rushed into print.
He says he has managed to interview friends of Kate from school and university, breaking the protective silence which has fallen over the couple\’s close circle.
Kate has a "slow burn" personality which will "gradually emerge", he says.
"She is a steady person, very much a conformist, with a good sense of humour, but I would predict you are going to see a more creative side to her emerge as the years go by.
"There is a lot more to Kate than meets the eye. She has been stuck with the Waity Katy tag, the idea that she was hanging around waiting for Prince Charming to come along and give her the ring."
Sniping at her lack of a career pointed to resentment that "she was not kicking through the glass ceiling, she was waiting for the glass slipper".
"So to that degree Kate has to prove herself. At this time in her life (at Kate\’s age now) Diana was dealing with AIDS patients, she was visiting hospitals, she was doing an awful lot with her life," Morton said.
"I think Kate\’s challenge is to prove herself beyond wearing a nice frock."
But first things first. "If Kate is not pregnant in the next nine months, she\’ll be defying 200 years of royal tradition," he said.
Morton will be at Buckingham Palace on Friday, harvesting every detail of Kate and William\’s kiss on the balcony – but the author whose revelations about Diana shook the royal family will be looking in from the outside.
"For some bizarre reason, my invitation was lost in the post," he said with a mischievous smile.
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