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A Bride for William Wales

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A Bride for William Wales


Karla Akins

© Copyright 2013 by Karla Akins

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[Document subtitle]

[Document subtitle]
For Wissa.
You will always be my sweet princess.
How very much privileged I am to have you in my life.
You are very much loved.

England, 1839

Foller the horses, Johnny me laddie,
Foller them through me canny lad, oh!
Foller the horses, Johnny me laddie,
Oh lad lye away me canny lad oh!
--Old Collier’s Rant

Kate’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandparents, James and Jane Harrison

“Whoa there, girl, steady as ye go now, Charlotte. This is the last trip o’ the day. That’s a good girl. C’mon now.” James Harrison patted the pony’s thick neck and coughed. He tried to breathe deeply, but instead of filling his lungs with air, he wheezed and coughed some more. He leaned just a little on the tired Welsh pony straining to pull a wagon of heavy coal. She matched the bandy-legged man’s steps as he gently tugged at her harness and spoke to her with kindness in his voice. The copper-toned beast’s coal-smudged withers twitched as she at batted flies with her tail.
A pick swung from the extended arm of a small blackened figure next to the narrow tracks on which the wagon rolled. Its tip nearly missed James’ foot.
“Hey there now, watch where ye be landin’ that.” John grabbed the grimy youngster by the collar. “How old are ye, lad?”
“Old enough.” The boy wiped his runny nose with the back of his hand and smeared coal dust all along the top of his mouth.
James smiled. “Old enough for what?” He winked and let go of the boy.
“I’m ten years on this earth so far.”
“Where’s your Da?”
“The mine?”
“Aye. Fell down a shaft with his pony.”
John clucked his tongue and shook his head. “Well then, ten years on this earth is old enough when ye got yer family to support, eh?”
The boy pointed down at John’s feet. “It were a rat. I didn’t want the filly to spook. So I killed it.”
John looked at the dead rodent sprawled across the tracks at his feet. “Aye, indeed ye did. Much obliged, lad. What are ye doing up here? Aren’t ye ta be at the other door?”
“I was on me way back down. Me mum took ill and the overman fetched me ’ome.”
“Sorry to hear that. Is she better now?” John fastened a cloth over Charlotte’s eyes to protect the horse’s eyes from the sun when they exited the mine.
“I dunno yet. Me auntie’s with ’er an’ the wee ’uns.” He pointed to the pony. “Wish I could have a cloth over me eyes after comin’ up after me shift. Dark down there all alone with nothin’ but me candle.”
“What’s yer name boy?”
“William, sir, but me mum calls me Billy.”
“Hope your mum is better soon, Billy, give ’er my regards an’ tell ’er she raised a fine lad and rat killer.” John patted Billy on the back and gave Charlotte’s bridle a gentle tug. “C’mon, Charlotte. It’s your last load o’ the day and there’s a mighty fine apple waiting for ye below.”
Charlotte and John finally reached the top entrance of the mine and unhitched their load. As they turned back to the dark underground, a collier approached John and waved him down.
“Wait there, John, man.”
John squinted at the man waving his arms. “Where’s ye horses, Henry?”
“Mable’s over yon. Other one’s lame. Can I trouble ye to bring yer horse to ’er? She’s plumb worn out pullin’ a load all alone today.”
“I dunno. Charlotte here’s not used to bein’ above ground. She could get feisty.”
“The sun’s ’bout down now, John. I’ll even give ye my token for meat at the Tommy store.”
“Ye drive a mighty hard bargain, Henry.” John’s mouth watered at the thought of meat for supper and the look on his family’s faces when he brought it home. Henry whispered in John’s ear. “Ye’d be doin’ it in the service o’ the queen ’erself.”
John’s eyes opened and the whites of them snapped out from his grimy black face. “Queen Victoria? She’s in Durham?”
“Nah, but this load a coal is goin’ ta where she is at Buckingham Palace in London. The collier nearby took ill and they asked me ta get a load from ’ere.”
John grinned and patted his horse’s neck. “Imagine that, Charlotte. The coal ye be pullin’ ta warm the Queen ’erself. Well, I’ll be.”
Henry laughed and slapped John on the back. “Closest we’ll ever get ta seein’ royalty I reckon. Let’s get this coal to my horse, eh?”
Henry reached for Charlotte’s reins but John stopped him. “Charlotte needs me to guide ’er. She’s a one man girl ye know.”
“Aye, I remember now. I still have the scar where she bit me on the shoulder.”
The men laughed and headed toward the wagon. After Henry left, John led the tired pony back to the stables underneath the ground inside the mine shaft. John brushed her down and talked to her as he massaged her legs.
“Just think, Charlotte. The very coal we touched will be in the presence o’ the queen. Almost like we were there ourselves, don’t ye know. Isn’t that somethin’? Isn’t that just somethin’?”
The filly shuddered in relaxation, blew air through her nostrils and nudged John’s hand.
“No more apples tonight, love. I’ll bring ye more in the morrow.” He patted the pony on the rump and covered her with a blanket. “Time for me to get ’ome to the wee ones and Jane. I got other mouths to feed.”
At home, John’s wife, Jane, nursed baby Margaret and stirred the pot over the embers in the hearth. She sighed and looked about the one room cottage hoping to see something to add to the thin stew. “Nothin’ much in the pot tonight but onions and a few turnips. I’d give me firstborn for a bone with a bit of marrow.”
“Mam, ye wouldn’t do that.” Young Jane, the eldest daughter, cut a hard loaf of bread and gave each of her little brothers a slice and sat them on the bench at the rickety hand-hewn table.
“Nah, I probably wouldn’t but yer little sis here is a big eater an’ the more she eats, the more I melt away. There be nothin’ o’ me left soon if we don’t get some meat at the Tommy shop.”
Jane plunked the hard loaf of bread on the table, wrapped it in a tattered cloth and hid it on a high shelf. “That Tommy shop’s a crime the way they inflate prices. The mine owner is a greedy thief.”
“Watch yer tongue now, lass. It puts a wee bit o’food on the table .”
“But it’s not fair, Mam. Da and Thomas work like dogs for hours every day of the week ‘cept Sunday. Da’s legs are all bowed up from working in the small passages of the mine and he can hardly walk. And for thanks, the mine owner gives tokens to use in the Tommy store putting money right back in their pockets.”
“Ye better watch how ye talk, lass. The overman be standin’ at the window listenin’.” Jane pounded on the edge of the pot as if there were something more than water to shake off the spoon.
“When I was at the street pump, I heard her say Miz Higgins’ man, Charlie, was put in the dungeon for breakin’ his bond.”
“Oh, surely not.”
“True.” Jane nodded her head at her mother. “He got caught workin’ for another mine when he’d told the overman he was sick.”
Mother Jane shook her head. “A bond is a bond. Once ye put your mark to it, ye can’t break it. He knows that ye can’t take another job. The mine owner owns you an’ the coal.”
“Yes, but Miz Higgins’ sister died leavin’ ’er with twelve wee ones. Charlie made more money and tokens at that other mine.”
Mother shook her head and sighed. “I got enough troubles of my own to be worrying about than the troubles of Miz Higgins and her sister.” She looked at the meager stew and down at the hungry faces of her children. “Jane, fill the tin tub. Make it extra hot. I feel a damp chill in the air an’ yer father’s late so he musta had to work extra long an’ he’ll be more than tired.”
Jane handed her little brother, Septimus, her crust of bread and took the tin tub off the hook on the wall. She poured the boiling water from the kettle that sat heating over the hearth and let the steam warm her face. She longed to sink into the warm water herself and imagined melting away the cares of the day with the deliciousness of the steamy water.
The door to the little cottage swung open and Jane looked up to see her father’s white teeth shining out from his grimy face.
“Da! You look happy!”
“Aye, my pretty Jane, I am!” He held out a cloth bag and Jane’s mother took it.
She gasped as she looked inside the bag. “Where’d ye get this?”
James handed baby Margaret to his oldest daughter and put his arm around his wife’s waste. He danced her around the floor of the little cottage as the children squealed and clapped their hands.
“Where’d ye get the ham bone, ye crazy man?” Jane giggled and let her husband twirl her around the cottage.
He kissed his wife on the neck with a loud smack and gently shook her by the shoulders. “Tonight the Queen is warm from the coal o’ me mine, and my family will dine like kings.”
“What do you mean, da?”
“The Queen ’erself needed coal from my horse’s haul. Can ye imagine that? It’s almost like we’re in the palace ourselves, don’t ye know?” “Oh, Da! I can imagine it…” Young Jane closed her eyes and pictured a servant warming Queen Victoria’s bed with a pan filled with the very coal her father hauled. Their own beds were never warmed and certainly not with coal. It cost far too much to waste coal on something like a warm bed. To cook, Jane’s siblings looked for sticks in the streets. James hugged the children that gathered around him as his wife added the ham bone to the pot. It was one of the happiest days he’d ever had. “All is right, ye know? All is right with the blessed world.”

William’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmother, Queen Victoria
February 10, 1840 The young Queen opened her eyes at half past nine and smiled at the nosegay of orange blossoms sitting on the bedside table. She recognized the thoughtful gift from her mother. Victoria had chosen Orange Blossoms for her wedding day and today she would tell her mother why. Before the Queen could sit up, her beloved dog Dash, bathed her face with good morning kisses. “Good morning, Dash, old boy. Today I marry and I’m afraid you will no longer share my bed.” She gave his tummy a rub and nuzzled his soft ears with her face. “But it’s your own fault, you know. If Albert hadn’t shown such affection toward you, I would have never proposed.” The little King Charles Cavalier Spaniel barked and ran in circles on her bed until Victoria let him down. There came a tap on the door and a woman dressed in a morning gown peeked inside the door. “Good morning, Ma’am.” “Oh, Lehzen, my very dear best friend, it’s you.” Victoria ran toward the door and hugged her best friend as she entered the room followed by a servant with the Queen’s breakfast on a tray. “I have brought you a small gift.” Baroness Lehzen held out a small box tied with a green velvet bow. Victoria put her hand on her heart and looked into the eyes of her dear friend. “How kind of you.”
Lehzen smiled and gave a little curtsey. “Happy wedding day, Your Majesty.” Victoria pulled gently at the velvet ribbon and let it fall away. She lifted the lid to the box and gave a soft gasp at the sight of the delicate filigreed ring nestled in satin. “Oh, it’s darling. I love it. Thank-you.” She hugged and kissed her friend. “You’re welcome.” Lehzen looked at her friend with tears in her eyes. “Now I must go and get dressed and you must eat your breakfast, too.” She hugged Victoria and left her staring at the ring through tears. The Queen nibbled at her breakfast as servants bustled about her making up her bed and bringing in her clothes. She could hear her mother harping in rooms nearby. She sat at her desk and wrote in her journal. Afterwards she dressed in a day gown for receiving visitors and preparing her hair. “Lord Melbourne is here to see you, Ma’am.” Her favorite servant, Isabel, whispered in the Queen’s ear. “Let him in.” Victoria rose from her chair and stood as the Prime Minister strode toward her. His admiration and devotion for the Queen shone through his dark brown eyes and smile. Since her ascension to the throne, he had been her closest political advisor.
He bowed low. “Good morning, Your Majesty. I trust you slept well.”
Victoria nodded. “Yes, thank-you. And what is your business here, Lord Melbourne?”
“I only wish to congratulate you on your wedding day and remind you that all of England watches with admiration as their beloved Queen weds.”
“Thank-you, Lord Melbourne.”
After her audience with the Prime Minister, Victoria’s maids dressed her hair. Victoria’s overbearing mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, stood behind her as they both looked into the mirror and watched the dressers pull her tresses into a delicate bun at the nape of her neck, leaving a relaxed arc of hair on each side of her face.
“Are you going to tell me the importance of the orange blossoms now, Victoria?”
“I’m surprised you don’t already know. Have you read the adventures of the Chinese explorers in the texts in Father’s library?”
Her mother shook her head. She wasn’t as well-read as Victoria and didn’t understand her daughter’s obsession with books.
“I’m quite nervous, Victoria. My mind is hardly on the books in your father’s library.” Victoria sighed and watched in the mirror as the maid settled the headdress made from a wreath of orange blossoms, onto her head. Four other servants lifted the beautiful white gown from its hanger on the armoire and prepared to adorn their Queen.
Victoria was jittery but not too anxious to appreciate the joy of her wedding gown. She closed her eyes and listened to the rustle of the rich white satin, trimmed with orange flower blossoms and lace, as the servants lifted it over her head and settled it around her shoulders.
Her mother guided two other servant girls on how to fasten the Honiton lace veil to the back of the orange blossom wreath and gently drape the front of the veil over the Queen’s face.
“Is that a tear, Mother?” Victoria choked on her words. Her mother, a stern, controlling woman, was not known to show emotion.
“Of course not.” Her mother turned to the window. “Your subjects have filled St. James Park. Let’s not keep them waiting.”
The Queen and her mother rode in an open carriage to St. James’s Palace, and waved to the well-wishers that crowded the park and each side of the road.
“You never told me the reason for the orange blossoms, Victoria.” The Queen’s mother waved with a slightly cupped hand at the admirers in the streets.
“They stand for purity, chastity and innocence. The tradition was brought to Spain by the Crusaders, then to France and England.”
“It began in Jerusalem?”
“No, in China. Then it moved to India and Persia. It has other meanings, too.”
“Such as?”
“It’s a symbol of, well, a symbol that I will have many happy children.”
Victoria blushed and waved more vigorously to the crowd.
After her arrival at St. James Palace, Queen Victoria was hustled into a private chamber to wait her turn while her mother went to the front of the chapel.
“What is taking so long?” Victoria wondered. A half an hour had passed. She could hear the roar of the crowd. Her hands shook at the thought of walking past the 2100 guests.
Finally, the Lord Chamberlain and Deputy Chamberlain returned.
“It is time, Your royal highness.”
Heralds and trumpeters, walked before the Queen, trumpeting her appearance. Other officers of the Earl Marshal and heads of state walked before her. They passed slowly through the Throne Room, the Ante Throne Room, Queen Anne’s Drawing Room, the Guard Chamber, the Armory, the Grand Staircase, and the Colonnade leading to the Chapel.
In the seats on each side of the Queen’s path, were spectators crowded together wearing the latest fashion. Beautiful women accompanied by handsome men. Each room was especially decorated for the occasion and remarkably sumptuous and luxurious.
Behind the Queen were her twelve bridesmaids carrying her train, and ladies and women of the bedchamber along with the maids of honor. Six gentlemen of arms and yeoman brought up the tail. But all of these people had none of Victoria’s attention. Her eyes longed to look into Albert’s and recite her vows. Everyone else faded from view when she spotted her life’s love at the front of the chapel. She didn’t notice the room bulging with a magnificent display of nobility, diamonds and jewels. From that point on in Victoria’s life, nothing mattered but her dear Albert.

Kate Middleton
“What if I don’t make any friends?” Kate sat on the edge of her bed and watched her mother refold a sweater and put it in the suitcase. “What a thing to say, Kate. You are the smartest, nicest girl I know. No one can resist you.” Carole Middleton, Kate’s mother, sat on the bed beside her daughter. “But you didn’t go to boarding school. Why must I?” Kate sulked and looked out the window of her upstairs bedroom. “Because, I want more for you than what I had, Katie. Your Father and I have worked hard to be where we are today and one of the reasons we’ve done so is in order for our children to have the opportunities we were never afforded.” She patted her daughter’s hand and clicked the suitcase shut. Kate’s father’s pleasant voice rang out as he climbed the stairs to Kate’s room. “Time to go ladies. We mustn’t be late. We don’t want to keep the house mistress waiting.” He entered Kate’s room and picked up two suitcases while her mother picked up a smaller bag and Kate carried her favorite books, including Anne of Green Gables in a backpack. Kate’s stomach felt like it was full of stones. She had boarded at a school before, but this year enjoyed being able to come home in the evenings after her studies all day at Downe House school. She would miss telling her parents goodnight every evening before bed. Kate wasn’t a complainer, and kept her thoughts to herself. “You look lovely in your new uniform, Katie, love.” Kate’s father practically ran with the weight of the suitcase pulling him down the stairs. “Isn’t it adorable? I love the colors in the tartan skirt and I think this blazer is much more becoming than the one she wore at Downe House. But I’m going to have to order a whole new set of uniforms in a few weeks because she refuses to stop growing.” Her mother winked at her lanky daughter. She envied her daughter’s coltish limbs. “It’s that length that makes her such a great swimmer.” Father grinned as he handed the last of the suitcases to the chauffer. Inside the coach, Carole beamed. “I wish your Grandmother could see you today on your way to one of the most prestigious schools in England. She would be quite pleased, you know. There’s a reason Aunt Alice calls her ‘Lady Dorothy’ or ‘the Duchess.’ She’s always pushing the family to be better.” “Grandmother does sometimes put on airs, but it’s part of her charm.” Kate’s father smiled. “I must admit, she does. But look at how far we’ve come because of it?”
Kate’s mother and father chattered on while Kate looked quietly out the window. She hoped she could fit in at this school. Her last school hadn’t turned out well. What if the girls here bullied her as they had at Downe House? She had never fit in there. As a day student and not a boarder, her gentle, quiet manner and gangly appearance was a target for the aggressive girls.
Her mind drifted, remembering the painful hurt she felt when she would sit at a table in the lunch room only to have all the girls at that table get up and leave. Or when her books would be knocked from her hands, or her other belongings would go missing.
Kate shook off the memories and looked down at her stomach, trying to make it look larger. No matter how she tried, she just couldn’t get her tummy to protrude. She fluffed out her blouse to hide her skinny frame and scratched at the eczema on her arms. It was always worse when she was under stress.
“Try not to itch, Kate, it’s not becoming,” Carole scolded.
Kate nodded, folded her hands and looked out the coach window. Finally, they drove past the porter’s lodge and through the arched entrance to the all-girl house. Waiting at the door were the house mistress and other staff. As the Middleton’s emerged, they were almost immediately dismissed and kissed their daughter on the cheek.
“You will be fine, dear. Just be yourself and be strong.” Kate’s father squeezed her shoulder and waited for her mother to say goodbye.
“I am very proud of you. I know you will do well here, love.”
“Thanks, Mummy.” Kate and Carole kissed each other on each cheek and before Kate could look back at the car leaving the school yard, her house mistress ushered her quickly to her room.
For the first few months Kate hid herself in her room, studying and being homesick. She dreaded the dinner hour when boys would rate the girls from 1-10 on their napkins and hold up the numbers at the end of the dining hall. Kate’s ratings were always ones and twos. It was mortifying.
Kate lived to hear her mother’s voice each weekend.
“I’m not fitting in here, Mum. Everyone’s parents are either Dukes or Earls or Barons. I’m just a girl from Buckleberry whose legs are too long.”
“But Katie, darling, you haven’t been at the school long enough to know anyone. Give it time, love. Give yourself a chance.” Her mother’s frustrated voice troubled Katie. She didn’t want to complain, but she was extremely homesick and unhappy.
Eventually, Kate discovered something she excelled in: sports. Her long limbs and strong frame gave her an advantage over the other girls. She played hockey, tennis, netball, ran cross-country and beat the boys at high jump.
“Award for most valuable player in field hockey: Catherine Middleton.” The awards ceremony kept Kate busy walking on and off the stage.
“And the Tennis Award goes to: Catherine Middleton.”
“For beating the boy’s record in high jump: Catherine Middleton!”
“The winner of this year’s clay pigeon shooting tournament: Catherine Middleton!”
With each year, Kate became more skilled at sports. But her success never tarnished her character. She remained kind, and always welcomed the new girls with generosity and grace. Kate didn’t play the games other mean girls played.
“Kate, c’mon, let’s sneak out to the woods and have a beer with the rest of them.”
“I’d rather not.” Kate smiled.
“Oh, Princess Kate. Never brave enough to be bad.”
Her friends teased her playfully, not realizing they were teasing the future Queen of England. They spent hours gossiping about boys, but Kate’s morals kept her from doing the things with boys other girls did. When other girls slipped off to the woods to be with their boyfriends, Kate refused.
By the end of Kate’s last year at Marlborough, she became a prefect, was voted “Person Most Likely To Be Loved By Everybody” by her classmates, and received high enough grades to choose the college of her choice.

September 2001 Kate stood on the top of the sea wall of the St. Andrews pier and peered out at the North Sea and over at the ruins of St. Andrews Castle. She breathed deeply of the salt air and hugged herself. She was finally at the University of her choosing, the oldest of the British Isles. The one she had worked hard to qualify for during her days at Marlborough. No longer the shy, backward young girl, she was ready to tackle whatever life brought her. Back at her dorm, St. Salvator’s Hall, she organized her room before settling down to study. Her accommodations were private, but sparsely decorated and small. There was a wooden bed, a tiny basin and a small desk. She didn’t mind in the least. From her window she could view the weathered ruins of an eleventh century cathedral tower. St. Salvator’s Hall stood in the heart of the old university buildings and Kate could look down and see the very spot where Patrick Hamilton was burned at the stake.
She was whispering a prayer of thanks for her good fortune when several girls barged into her room. “He’s here! He’s here!” “What on earth? Who’s here?” “Prince William. Who else?” Kate giggled. “You’ve seen him?” “Yes! He is staying right here in Sally Hall!” The girls squealed, using the nickname for their dorm building.
Kate shook her head. “The poor fellow. He’ll never get a moment’s rest, will he?”
“Not if we have anything to do with it,” Maggie Elkins quipped.
“Kate won’t be bothered.” Jane rolled her eyes but winked at Kate.
“Why not?” The girls flopped onto Kate’s bed.
Kate threw up her hands. “Oh, okay, please, make yourself at home. I was just going to study.” She giggled.
“We were in Florence all term last year and Kate not only never kissed an Italian – she refused to get drunk. She nursed one glass of wine all night. What a waste. The men flocked to her and she broke all their hearts.” Maggie pretended to stab herself in the heart and die on the bed.
“It’s just as well.” Arabella inspected her nails.
“Why is that?” Melissa, rolled up on her elbows.
“Kate’s a commoner. She doesn’t stand a chance with the Prince. The rest of us, however, are of royal blood. And I have first dibs!” Arabella sprang for the door and the others pushed each other out of the way, fighting to be the first through the opening.
“Oh no you don’t! I saw him first!” Arabella bolted down the hall.
“Don’t pay attention to her.” Melissa smiled at Kate.
“Not to worry. I don’t let those sorts of things waste space in my head. Besides, the last time an English sovereign married a commoner it nearly caused a coup. I hardly think I want to be responsible for bringing down the House of Windsor.”
Melissa laughed. “That could never happen. You’re too impeccably behaved.” Melissa suddenly looked serious.
“What? What is it?” Kate, always intuitive and empathetic noticed the change immediately.
“You know, you’d actually make a good Queen. I’d put in a word, but well, that would ruin my chances, now wouldn’t it?” Melissa ran down the hall to catch the others.
Kate sighed. She hadn’t come to St. Andrews like the other girls had, only to meet a Prince. She had come to study Art history.
“Thank goodness I needn’t worry over that distraction. Commoner indeed.”
Kate felt tired and decided to go downstairs for a cup of coffee before settling in to her studies. She rounded a corner and bounded down the stairs, head down, watching her feet and bumped into a fellow student coming up the stairs.
“Oh! Excuse me. I’m so sorry. I was deep in thought and I…”
Amused blue eyes grinned at her from the step above.
“That’s quite alright.”
Those blue eyes.
“Oh! It’s you! I mean, hello, nice to meet you. I’m Kate.”
Kate turned three shades of pink and ran down the stairs.
“Nice to meet you…”
The Prince watched her disappear.
Kate’s friends wouldn’t stop passing notes during the first session of the required first year Art History class:
“He’s so much cuter in person! Those eyes!” She wadded up the secret messages and glanced at her class notes before catching a glimpse of the prince surrounded on all sides by gawking girls. How does he stand it? Shy by nature, Kate was all too thankful she could remain invisible – just another student among hundreds. It was because she wasn’t from nobility that she felt the need to work harder to prove her mettle. She needed this degree. Her parents had worked too hard for her to fail. On the way out of class, William fell into step beside Kate, accidentally bumping her with his book bag. “Oh, I beg your pardon, please forgive me, I’m rather clumsy.” The Prince gently touched Kate on the shoulder. “That’s quite alright.” Kate smiled. “I don’t believe we’ve met?” William returned the smile. “Uhm, yes, briefly. I believe I ran into you once on the stairs at Sallie hall.” “Oh well, we’re even then.” The prince grinned.
Kate tried not to stare at his crystal blue eyes and had to agree with the other girls that they were beautiful. “My name’s Catherine, but friends call me Kate.” The couple continued to walk down the cobblestone walk back toward their dorm. “Good to meet you. My name’s William but, my friends just call me Your Majesty.” William smirked. “Oh, well, hello, Your Majesty.” Kate blushed. “No, no, I’m kidding. My friends call me Wills. Sometimes, obviously, I’m not very good at humor. Rather clumsy at it actually. And apparently today I’m clumsy in more ways than one.” “How do you stand it?” Kate asked. “Excuse me?” “The gawking. I think it’s dreadful. I don’t know how you bear it.” “You get used to it.” William shrugged. He looked at her and she raised an eyebrow. “Okay, so you don’t get used to it, but you try to ignore it as best you can. Although, studying is getting to be a chore. I’m not finding anywhere I can be alone to concentrate.” “I can’t imagine. Surely there must be something we can do to find a quiet place.” “We?” William grinned. “Oh…I mean…I don’t mean to be presumptuous…I’m just, well, I’m rather a fixer. I like to help people. Prince or not…sorry.” “Please, don’t be sorry. I think it’s charming. I’m touched that you empathize with my plight. I think for now the best thing for me to do is lock myself up in my room unless I’m in class.” “I know the feeling. It’s how I started out at Marlborough. It’s not easy making friends that way.” William nodded. “But I think it would look bad if the future King of England failed his first term. I don’t believe I have any other choice.” By the end of the first term, William felt discouraged. He’d found a good friend in Kate who shared his frustrations. “Those awful American girls, constantly chasing after me and hanging on. It’s annoying. I can hardly concentrate.” It was the end of a long day, and the term was coming to a close. Kate pulled on William’s arm and pointed to the sky. “Do you see all those stars up there?” William looked up. “Of course. Beautiful night, isn’t it?” “It is.” Kate walked silently beside William. “Shh. Do you hear that?” “Hear what?” “No cameras. No traffic. Just William, free of paparazzi and crowds here at St. Andrews. Do you really want to give this up? Where else can you go that allows you this kind of freedom? And whenever will you get it again? Those stars up there – they’re not going to tell anyone who you are or where you are. They’re just going to shine on you.” William sat on a bench and Kate settled in beside him. “You’re a good chum, Kate. You’ve helped me through my classes, and I owe you a debt of gratitude. But I just don’t think I can hack it another semester. The courses are just..I don’t know.” “Maybe it’s not the courses, maybe it’s the major. What if you changed your major? Change it to something you’re truly passionate about. If you weren’t going to be the King of England, what would you be?” Prince William thought for a moment. “You sound a bit like my mother. She spoke often about passion. But I never thought about it because my course is written.” “How so? Because one day you will be king? And what will you do in the meantime? Twiddle your thumbs? Look how long your father has waited.” Prince William nodded, leaned forward and rested his chin on his hands. “I would fly.” “What?” “If I could be anything in the world, I’d be a pilot. I would fly. That’s my passion. You can’t major in flying here.” “No, but what about Geography? Wouldn’t that have something to do with being King and flying?” William broke out into a smile. “You’ve given me a lot to think about, Kate.” “I just don’t want to see them win.” “Who do you mean?” “Those American girls. If you quit, they win. They control you. Do you really want to be controlled by a bunch of silly girls?”
Before the next term, Prince William rented a flat off-campus and invited his friends, Fergus, Olivia and Kate, to move in with him. They each had their own room but shared household duties. Even the Prince took a turn at cleaning and cooking. “William? Are you alright in there?” Kate stood outside the kitchen door, afraid to go in. Olivia waved her hand. “I’m not going in there. I helped him last time. It’s your turn.” She went to her bedroom and shut the door. Kate tiptoed into the kitchen to find William burning the sausage for the pasta dish he was preparing. “Wills! You’re going to burn the place down! The fire is way too hot.” “Oh! I forgot all about it. I was over here making the salad and…” He grabbed the skillet and ran it under water in the sink. “That’s a good way to get burned.” Wills stuck his fist under the spout. “I just found that out.” Kate laughed. “Do you want some help?” “If you want to eat, yes.” William grinned. The students had little time for anything but their studies and school activities. William was voted St. Andrews water polo captain and was busy with practices and studies. Kate kept busy with her college societies and studies and cheering for William in all the sports he enjoyed: horse polo, water polo, rugby and others. Soon, the public was noticing how comfortable they seemed together, chatting like old friends, and the media zoomed in. “There’s speculation about every single girl I’m with and it’s irritating.” William slammed the paper on the table and nearly toppled his bowl of sugared corn flakes – his favorite. “It’s okay, Wills. I understand. I’m not upset. It’s not your fault.” Kate patted his hand and sat beside him at the table to enjoy a yogurt. “It’s a complete pain for any girl I’m friends with. They get thrown into the limelight and then their parents get harassed. It’s unfair. I don’t like it at all. I can’t ask any girl out that I want because it puts them in an awkward position. It’s why my mother died and I just can’t bear it. Kate sat silent. It wasn’t the first time the prince had brought up the subject of the paparazzi and his beloved mother, Princess Dianna. It was a still a big chip on his shoulder. He could never forget that it was the greed of the tabloids that had caused the accident in Paris that led to his mother’s death. “It’s still really painful for you, isn’t it?” Kate said softly. William nodded. “It never goes away, really. The hurt. It’s always there and there’s not a single day I don’t miss her.” He picked up the paper and looked at the picture of him and Kate enjoying a conversation. “It’s why I can never really be in a relationship. I can’t put anyone through that. So I avoid asking anyone out as much as I can.”
Sitting in the kitchen as they were, sharing feelings, it dawned on Kate that she didn’t like the idea of Wills asking out another girl. As much as she’d tried to guard her heart, she was drawn to him in a most unexpected way. It wasn’t only William who Kate was fond of, but she liked Prince Charles as well. He spoke passionately about nature and conservation – matters Kate was interested in. And Charles was impressed with Kate’s sportiness and her shooting skill. “Where did you learn to shoot so well, Kate?” Charles fell into step beside her as they walked on the grounds at Balmoral Castle. “I grew up spending my summers on farms. And of course, I practiced at Marlborough. It was among my favorite sports.” Charles nodded. He liked this plucky girl. “I’d like you to join us when we going skiing in March, Kate. I think you’d enjoy it.” “I love to ski.” Kate grinned at William. His father’s admiration wasn’t lost on the Prince. He found himself drawn more and more to Kate. She was his chum, and someone he could trust. But lately, he was seeing her with different eyes. He decided that very soon, he would ask for a kiss.

November 16, 2010 Light bulbs flashed, blinding Kate and William as they walked into the state room at St. James’s Palace. All cameras zoomed in on Kate’s left hand, where a beautiful sapphire ring framed in diamonds, sparkled in the glint of the camera. Immediately recognizable, the bauble was the same ring Prince Charles gave to Princess Diana when they became engaged.
Nine years had passed since Kate and William met at St. Andrews. They began their love affair in 2004, and split up for seven weeks in 2007. William found he couldn’t live without his Kate. Flashbulbs went off, and the couple could only see dark shadows holding up cameras. A journalist asked: “William, why did it take you so long to propose?” William smiled and looked at Kate. “I didn’t realize it was a race or else I would have done it quicker.” “Tell us about the ring.” “As you may recognize, it’s my mother’s engagement ring, so of course it’s very special to me. And Kate is very special to me now and it’s only right to put the two of them together. It’s my way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement of the fact that we’re going to spend our entire lives together.” Later in an interview William and Kate shared more about the proposal. “It was back three weeks ago on holiday in Kenya. We had a little private time away together with some friends and I just decided it was the right time, really. We’d been talking about marriage for awhile, so it wasn’t massively a big surprise. I took her out somewhere nice in Kenya and proposed. “I’d been planning it for awhile, but as every guy out there knows, it takes a certain amount of motivation to get yourself going so I was planning it and it just felt really right in Africa…” “I’d been carrying the ring around in my ruck sack for about three weeks before that and I literally would not let it go wherever I went I’d been keeping ahold of it because I knew if this thing disappeared I’d been in a lot of trouble. Because I planned it, the proposal went fine. You hear a lot of horror stories about proposing and things going horribly wrong but it went really, really well and I was very pleased she said yes.”

The Marriage
His Royal Highness
Prince William of Wales, K.G.
Miss Catherine Middleton
29th April 2011
11:00 am Kate looked out the window at the sky. It appeared cloudy and cool but at least it wasn’t raining. As Kate’s attendants readied her to ride with her father to Westminster Abbey, Bentleys, Jags, and Rolls Royce coaches rolled up to the red carpet, spilling out esteemed and honored guests. Only 1900 invitations had gone out from the palace, but Kate had included her hometown butcher, mailman, and grocer who always kept William’s favorite ice cream in stock. Guests arrived hours early at scheduled times because an enormous amount of logistics and time were needed to seat nearly 2000 people. At their seats waited a 27-page programme with the order of service, pictures of the couple and a welcome from the couple inside the front page:

“We are so delighted that you are able to join us in celebrating what we hope will be one of the happiest days of our lives. The affection shown to us by many people during our engagement has been incredibly moving, and has touched us both deeply. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone most sincerely for their kindness.
Signed, William, Catherine” Fashionable ladies wearing beautiful dresses, jewels, fascinators and hats, took the arms of their male escorts dressed in morning suits with tails. One lady’s hat in particular stole the show: Princess Beatrice’s. Jutting out from her forehead stood a tall oval, topped with a stiff, molded, stylized bow that looked like a large picture frame. Many of the tabloids criticized her, saying that she only wore “the ugly hat” because her mother, Sarah Ferguson, divorced from her father, Prince Andrew, wasn’t invited to the wedding. Later, the hat sold for $113,000 on ebay and the proceeds given to charity. The church bells rang and the crowd went wild as Prince William and Prince Harry arrived dressed in military uniform. Prince Harry wore a Blues and Royals' officer's uniform in dismounted review order, with a forage cap. In 1996, Prince William earned the rank of Admiral of the Royal Navy, and looked dashing in his red Royal Navy Number One Dress uniform with a blue sash, which represented his membership in the Order of the Garter. An eight-pointed star with an enameled red cross of St. George hung on the left side of his jacket under a row of medals. Inscribed on the medal was the motto: “HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE” (Evil be to him that thinks evil).
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded by Edward III in 1348, is the senior British Order of Chivalry. Knights of the Garter are chosen personally by the Queen to honor those who have held public office, or who have contributed in a particular way to national life, or who have served the Sovereign personally. He also wore The Order of the Garter Thistle Star on the left chest below the Garter Star as well as the Neck Order (a symbol of purification when becoming a knight), The Order of Merit (a badge with “For Merit” in gold lettering and his medals which included The Queen’s Service Order, Coronation Medal, Silver Jubilee Medal, Golden Jubilee Medal, Canadian Forces Decoration, Royal Air Force wings on his shoulder, New Zealand Commemorative Medal and a Royal Naval Sword Sling.
The Aiguillettes (ornamental braiding) were worn on the right shoulder to symbolize that he is an Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to The Queen.
The Princes made their way to their waiting places and a fanfare played as Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip entered and took their seats.
Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for arrived, and a glowing-with-happiness Kate emerged from a shiny black Rolls Royce and stepped elegantly onto the red carpet as crowds cheered and the sun emerged from behind the clouds. It was a dramatic moment and Kate’s simple but elegant gown was breathtaking. Crowds gasped at its understated beauty and she smiled from underneath her silk tulle veil, trimmed in lace embroidery. The wind gently blew the veil about her face, creating a perfect, movie-like moment. The bride could smile at the wind because the veil was held in place by Queen Elizabeth’s delicate “Halo” tiara, made by Cartier in 1936. Sixteen graduated scrolls set with 739 brilliant diamonds and 149 baton diamonds glittered almost as brightly as Kate’s eyes.
Kate wanted an understated, modest dress and one that echoed the history of art of which she had studied at St. Andrews. The Royal School of Needlework artisans washed their hands every thirty minutes when handling the dress and changed their needles every three hours before sewing the Cluny and Leavers lace appliqués to the skirt, train and veil.
The theme of the dress was “flowers” and was accomplished further with appliquéd lace flowers over the bodice and sleeves. The skirt and train and the fluted skirt incorporated the National emblems of the United Kingdom—roses, thistles, shamrocks and daffodils.
Catherine’s little sister, Philippa – also known as Pippa—was her Maid of Honor and attended to her train. Breaking with tradition, she also wore white and looked stunning in her white gown. She wore her dark brown hair pulled back with sprigs of lily of the valley.
Kate held a bouquet of symbolism as well: lily-of-the-valley (representing return to happiness), Sweet William (gallantry, and the name of her prince charming), hyacinth (constancy of love), ivy (fidelity, marriage and friendship) and myrtle (marriage and love). Myrtle from a bush planted by Queen Victoria in 1845 at Osborne House and a sprig from a bush grown from the myrtle used in Her Majesty The Queen’s wedding bouquet in 1947 were included in Kate’s bouquet.
As an estimated three billion people watched via television and Internet, Kate’s father took her hand and they entered through the Abbey’s great west door. Kate turned to wave at the crowds, beaming. As she walked down the aisle, followed by Pippa, holding the hands of flower girls, followed by junior bride’s maids and pages, choir boys sang:
“I was glad when they said unto me: Wet will go unto the house of the Lord.
Our feet shall stand in thy gates: O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is builded as a city: that is at unity in itself.
O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: that they shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls: and plenteous within thy palaces.”
Psalm 122:1-3, 6-7 It was a long walk down the aisle of the Abbey, and Kate walked slowly. There was no hurry. She had long waited for this day. Now the world could wait along with her prince as the congregation sang:
“Guide me O thou great Redeemer, pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak but thou art mighty; hold me with thou power hand:
Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more…

Open now the crystal fountain whence the healing stream doth flow; let the fiery cloudy pillar lead me all my journey through: strong Deliverer, be thou my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan, bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of Death and hell’s Destruction, land me safe on Canaan’s side: song of praises
I will ever give to thee.
--William Williams (1717-1791)

The abbey was decorated tastefully with potted maple trees and fresh flowers, giving the abbey a warm and intimate feeling. Azaleas, rhododendron, euphorbia, beech, wisteria and lilac added a delicate touch of elegance to the enormous chapel, giving the massive structure the atmosphere of a lovely English garden.
Kate’s dress was timeless and fit in perfectly with the nearly thousand-year-old church. The gown was a dress for all ages – Renaissance, Victorian, the 1950s and the present. Kate’s keen eye for historical art and impeccable, classical taste, created an atmosphere that one was truly experiencing an important part of history taking place: a remarkable young woman was marrying into the royal family. Prince Harry stole a look behind him at the altar, and turned to William.
“Wait until you see her.” He blushed and stifled a laugh.
When she arrived at William’s side, he smiled and spoke to her. “You look beautiful.” Following a welcome and charge from the Lord Bishop of London, also known as the Dean of Westminster, The Arch Bishop of Canterbury led the couple in their vows. There was a tense moment when it appeared that the ring was too small, but with feisty determination and a giggle from the bride, the Prince worked it onto Kate’s hand.
With great joy the congregation sang as the couple took their seats at the side of the platform:
Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven, to earth come down; fix in us thy humble dwelling; all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesu thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art; visit us with thy salvation; enter every trembling heart.

Come, Almighty to deliver, let us all thy life receive; suddenly return and never, nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing, serve thee as thy hosts above, pray and praise thee without ceasing, glory in thy perfect love.

Finish, then, thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee; changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place, till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.
--Charles Wesley, (1707-1788) Kate and William shared smiling glances at one another during the hymn, and Kate looked out at the congregation is if to soak it all in for memory’s sake. Following the hymn, her brother took the lesson podium and read a scripture from the New Revised Standard Version of the bible, risking criticism from King James Version traditionalists. Prince Charles himself is a Patron of the King James Bible Trust, and a passionate advocate for the poetry of the 400-year-old authorized version.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour…Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer… Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
--Romans 12:1,2,9-18, NRSV Following the reading, the choir sang a hymn commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The music boys’ crystal-clear voices rang so joyously pure, even those watching by television or Internet at home, couldn’t help but feel as if the roof of the Abbey would explode and heaven itself would fall into the cathedral, reminiscent of the scripture: “And His glory filled the temple.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury gave a short, but moving address and ended it with a prayer the couple had written themselves: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.
Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.
In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.
William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.
And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.
A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.
It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.
You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.
We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely a power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.
Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:
‘Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,
Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.’
As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.
As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.
I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen, that way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:
‘God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.’”

The service continued with more prayers, more scripture and a rousing rendition of the British National Anthem: “God Save the Queen,” followed by more singing while Kate and William moved to the Shrine of St. Edward the Confessor to sign the marriage register. Finally they emerged, a fanfare played, and the London Chamber Orchestra played as Prince William escorted his new bride back down the aisle and out to the cheering crowds on the streets. They boarded an open carriage that took them to Buckingham Palace as the crowds lined the streets and cheered. “Are you happy?” Kate asked William. “Yes, very happy.” He smiled and helped her settle into the carriage. Once at the palace the couple emerged on the balcony overlooking the crowds standing outside the gates of Buckingham Palace for the traditional kiss. At first, the kiss was too short for cameras to get a good picture so they gave the paparazzi a second opportunity for history’s sake. They lingered a little longer before Kate shyly pulled away. Three Second World War aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flew over the balcony in a congratulatory salute to the newlyweds and in honor of William’s service in the Royal Air Force. Kate and William couldn’t stop smiling and as they left the balcony, Kate took another glance over her shoulder and back at the crowd. After formalities, Prince William drove his new bride out of the gates at Buckingham Palace in his father’s blue Aston Martin Volante. Kate giggled and waved and William grinned ear to ear. The car was decorated with balloons and ribbons and on the back was a license plate placed by Prince Harry that read:

June 30-July 8, 2011 After only two months of marriage, the royal couple set out on their first official tour as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. During the relentless ten-day itinerary, the Duke and Duchess won the hearts of all the Canadians they met. The stops included: Ottawa, Ontario, Montréal, Quebec City, Quebec, Charlottetown and Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories , Slave Lake, Alberta and Calgary, Alberta. The Duchess never put a foot wrong, and showed great attention and interest to all she met. Her understated, tasteful fashion sense, and her sensitivity to the culture and nationalism, won hearts. The way she bent down to speak to children, and hugged those who were sick, reminded many of her mother-in-law, Princess Diana. The entire world has their eyes on Kate, the great-great-great-great granddaughter of humble coal miners. But Kate seems to have a deep respect for her position, for the royal family, and for the responsibility that has been given her. She is a woman young women everywhere can look to and admire. She’s athletic, strong, of high moral character, intelligent, wise, and every bit a feminine lady. When she becomes queen, she will be the first college-educated queen in the monarchy’s history. Many in the world felt that Kate was lucky to grow up to marry a prince. But as the world gets to know her, they realize that Kate is not the most fortunate of the pair. William is the one who is more blessed. And England and the world are, too.

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Proverbs 31:10

The scripture reading is from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Anglicized Edition copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

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