The wedding dresses worn by Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and the wedding dress chosen by Princess Diana, couldn't have been more different.
Diana chose a meringue style, while Kate chose classic lines, similar to that worn by Princess Kelly, the commoner film-star when she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco, in 1956.
The Kelly family had to provide Prince Rainier with US$2,000,000, as a dowry, yet if Prince Rainier had not come up with an heir, the tiny kingdom of Monaco would have reverted to French rule.
A very shy, but from the aristocracy, Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles, 1st in line to the English throne, on July 29th 1981. She quickly rose in popularity to become the ‘People's Princess’ in spite of her private heartache which ended in a heartrending and very public divorce in August 1996.
Kate Middleton, now known as Princess Catherine, may have a tall order to follow in the footsteps of the ‘People's Princess’ Maybe she will find a confidant and friend in the Duchess of Wessex. Sophie Ryhs Jones married Prince Edward, Charles younger brother, in June 1999. Princess Sophie appears to be one commoner who has been able to successfully adapt to becoming part of royalty, which is no easy task.
Princess Catherine bears the same name as five other tragic Queen Catherines, who found that being married to royalty was no picnic.
- Catherine of Valois reigned beside her husband, Henry V, for only two years before his death in 1422. Their son Henry VI rose to the throne when he was just nine months old. She was buried at Westminster Abby in 1437.
- Their marriage lasted 24 years when Catherine of Aargon married Henry VIII in 1509. However, it was wrecked by stillbirths and the premature deaths of their sons. Henry was so frantic to have the marriage annulled that when the Pope adamantly refused to grant his consent, the king rejected Rome and founded the Church of England.
- Catherine Howard, who became Henry VIII's fifth wife in 1542, was beheaded after just two years of marriage, on the grounds of treason. She was accused of adultery.
- Catherine Parr was wed to Henry VIII in 1543 and reigned as queen until his death in 1547. Regrettably she never provided the much sought after son and heir and barely saw her husband because he was always away fighting another battle.
- The Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza, married Charles II in 1662, but was looked upon as a Catholic foreigner and was unpopular with the public. The couple had no surviving children and she was given the cold shoulder by her adulterous husband, who fathered several illegitimate children by mistresses, including the beguiling Nell Gwyn.
The fervent hope is that when Prince William ascends the British throne, the new Queen Catherine will have a much happier and more successful journey than her predecessors.