How to catch a prince
Kate followed all the royal rules to win over her man, writes Lorna Hogg
No more Waity Katy. Catherine's investment of eight years has paid off. Her name is already on those wedding souvenirs. She has shown devotion to her Prince, as well as patience, determination and stamina.
All are ideal qualities for joining any royal family -- and many girls would like to. Queen Rania of Jordan has provided a new role model on the world stage. Princesses are now cool.
Firstly, however, you must capture your Prince.
Kate played it by the royal rules . . .
Rule 1 Catch his eye in style
As freshers at University of St Andrews, Kate was seen as a pretty, sweet, but unassuming girl. Then she strutted her stuff in a see-through dress at a university charity fashion show. The effect certainly helped Prince William, seated in the front row, to see her in a different light.
Rule 2 Be different from the rest
From the start, Kate was a well-adjusted, well-mannered middle-class girl, with close family ties. No drinking or drugs here. Instead, a low-maintenance girl, fun, and caring and helpful to William during his bout of homesickness at university.
Rule 3 Friendship is key
William said that their relationship grew from friendship, and that he is glad that they have that basis. Kate displayed supportiveness, the loyalty he expects from his circle and complete trustworthiness by her silence during their break-up.
Rule 4 Dress for success
From 2006 onwards, Kate's curly haired casual style gave way to glossy good grooming and understated modern classics. More recently, Kate has slipped into couture Issa gowns, from Daniella Issa Helayel -- perfect for a princess.
Rule 5 Never complain, never explain
Play it cool, self-contained and discreet. Kate didn't respond to press criticism of her WAG lifestyle and lack of job.
Silence greeted those who dubbed her and sister Pippa as The Wisteria Sisters, (highly decorative, terribly fragrant and with a ferocious ability to climb.)
Rule 6 Make sure you have plenty of support from family and friends
Kate remains close to her family, who endured years of watchfulness of over what they said and did, fearful of ruining her future chances. Kate has also taken on William's friends, many of whom she continued to see during their short break-up.
Rule 7 Turn a break-up into a break-over, with a chance for some reinvention
When the couple had a split in 2007, a new-look Kate, partying in short, sexy dresses, quickly set out to 'live life to the max'. That put an end to the 'boring' verdict of fashionistas. However, there was no drunken falling out of clubs, or her clothes. It all showed, of course, with style and dignity, just what William was missing.
It also made clear that she could match Diana in that vital skill -- use of the cameras to make a point.
Rule 8 Develop a sense of humour
This is vital to keep things in perspective.
Rule 9 Learn from the inevitable mistakes
Adverse press comments about too much time in the spotlight led Kate to take a time-out of the public eye. Photographs of her sprawled laughing and undignified on the dance floor at a charity roller disco were not ideal for a future Princess. Remedy? Less partying, and more time at home with the family.
Rule 10 Never assume status
When Kate flew out to see William on a holiday, an upgrade to business class was offered, and politely refused, as Kate settled into economy for the trip.
Rule 11 Your job has to fit in with his
This can be the deal-breaker for many modern women. You're flying off to seal a deal, but he has some free time for a skiing break, or holiday in Mauritius. Conflict of interest from the start.
This was especially hard for Kate, who endured criticism as work-shy. She opted to join her family firm. It was a wise choice, as she will now marry the job as well as the man, and move to the Royal Family Firm.
Rule 12 Play a waiting game
Over the past eight years, Kate has attended 11 weddings in her circle. She admitted to a 'wobble' when faced with William's announcement of seven years in the RAF. It must also have been depressing to hear his cheery occasional announcements on camera that he had no marriage plans.
In fairness, he has admitted that the waiting was partly designed to let Kate 'road test' her future lifestyle.
Well, the L plates are off, and she has finally passed that first test. Equally important for all concerned, it seems that the Royals have also passed theirs -- to learn from past mistakes.