Kate could take on mantle as next people’s princess

KATE MIDDLETON will be following in Diana’s footsteps when she marries into the Royal Family as The Firm’s next potential People’s Princess.

But how does she compare to the bashful royal bride who became the world’s most photographed woman?

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton entered the public arena in a more assured way than Lady Diana Spencer.

Confident and poised, observers say she has all the appearance of someone who has been groomed for royal duty, possessing a knowing look, secure in her knowledge of William’s affections and intentions.

Diana, in contrast, emerged as “Shy Di”. She was demure and blushed as she posed for her engagement pictures, her eyes peering out from under her long fringe.

Both came to the nation’s attention in see-through outfits — but in markedly different ways.

Eager to please, Diana posed up for the cameras at the kindergarten where she worked in September 1980, five months before her engagement to the Prince of Wales. But she was oblivious to the fact she was backlit by the sun and that her legs could be seen through her long, pale-coloured skirt.

In 2002, Kate strode down a catwalk at a charity fashion show in a transparent dress with black knickers and bra underneath, in front of an audience and future beau William.

When one friend once remarked she was lucky to be with William, Kate reportedly quipped: “He’s lucky to be going out with me.”

In contrast, in the early days of Diana’s relationship with Charles, Diana ventured to say to one of his confidants: “If I am lucky enough to be the Princess of Wales....”

She was 19 when she became betrothed to Charles. Kate, at 28, is nine years older and wiser.

Better educated with A Levels and a degree in history of art under her belt, Kate is more worldly wise and on an equal footing with her fiancé.

Diana was 13 years younger than Charles, but Kate is five months older than William and they have already lived together at St Andrews.

Her parents are still together, sparing her the anguish suffered by Diana, whose own split acrimoniously when she was only young.

Charles was under pressure to find a wife and Diana fitted the bill. The Prince told a friend he was sure he could fall in love with her, but we now know his heart was already taken by Camilla Parker Bowles.

Lord Mountbatten advised Charles to find a virgin bride and Diana seemed ideal.

Kate has not escaped speculation as to her traditional suitability as an untouched royal bride.

The Spectator magazine once commented that she “may still have her V-plates intact”.

While Kate is a brunette and Diana was blonde, both are tall and willowy and deemed English Roses.

Both were educated at public school, where they were popular and sporty, captaining the hockey team and excelling at tennis.

Diana had a warmth and openness which attracted Charles, something Kate is said to possess too.

Their backgrounds were clear of potential tabloid fodder.

Diana appeared squeaky clean, as does Kate — although known to moon out of the window at boys at boarding school.

Diana had a childhood crush on Charles while Kate had a poster of William in her dorm at Marlborough College.

Kate, like Diana, is keenly aware of her actions in front of the media.

Before her own engagement, Diana once broke down in tears at the press intrusion, prompting photographers to place a note of apology under her windscreen wiper.

Her mother, Frances Shand Kydd, wrote to The Times to complain about “harassment”.

Kate does possess a confidence when on show. She was seemingly unfazed as she entered the Sandhurst parade ground for William’s graduation flanked by his private secretary as everyone but the Queen and the Prince of Wales was already seated.

She has her own lawyer — who also represents the Prince of Wales.

Keeping her mouth shut and with a lawyer in tow, Kate is already acting on the hindsight that Diana’s legacy left behind.

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