Kate’s stand-in role for William at his cousin’s wedding
Posted by African Press International on May 16, 2008
Stand in: Kate Middleton will attend the wedding in William’s place.
Kate Middleton will attend Saturday’s royal wedding alone while Prince William sees a former girlfriend’s brother marry in Africa. Miss Middleton will represent the Prince at the marriage of Peter Phillips.�
The fact she is doing so at a ceremony where the Queen and most of the senior royals are guests is the clearest signal yet that an engagement may come sooner rather than later.
It is also an indication of Miss Middleton’s intimacy with the Royal Family.
Her relaxed attitude demonstrates the extent to which the couple have patched up their relationship since their brief split last spring.
The wedding of the Queen’s grandson, Peter Phillips, to Canadian-born Autumn Kelly in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, is likely to attract the biggest royal turnout for years.
Prince Harry is using the occasion as an opportunity to introduce his girlfriend Chelsy Davy to his grandmother.�
William, however, will be in Kenya to see childhood sweetheart Jecca Craig’s brother Batian wed in an exotic Maasai-themed ceremony.��
Clarence House declined to comment yesterday on the Prince’s trip but a senior royal source revealed: “Prince William is going to be out of the country this weekend on a long standing prior engagement.�
“It’s an unfortunate clash but he spoke to his cousin Peter and he is fine with the situation. His girlfriend will be going in his absence.”
While some have accused William of snubbing his cousin’s wedding, friends say he was asked last year by Miss Craig’s brother to be the guest-of-honour at his marriage, long before the date was set for Mr Phillips’s big day.
“It was a difficult decision as Peter and William are very close but the two talked it through,” said a friend of the Prince.
“William felt he had to go to Kenya because the Craigs asked him first and it was the fairest thing to do. That’s why William was so keen to go to Peter’s stag party last month.”
He and Miss Middleton hit on the solution to solve the diary clash.�
Away: Prince William will be in Kenya to see childhood sweetheart Jecca Craig’s brother Batian wed
“It’s a classic royal manoeuvre and just what William’s mother Diana used to do with Prince Charles,” said a royal aide.
The plan underlines the strength of the couple’s relationship. Many friends believe the pair are already unofficially engaged – though none will say so on record – and that the next royal wedding they attend together could be their own.�
William flew out to Lewa Downs, a wildlife conservancy run by Jecca’s parents, Ian and Jane, in the foothills of Mount Kenya, last weekend.�
Eight years ago he spent several weeks working on the estate as part of his gap year where he is said to have enjoyed a teenage romance with Miss Craig – who bears an uncanny likeness to Kate.�
There was even a suggestion that the pair enjoyed a “pretend” engagement, although this has been denied by Clarence House and Miss Craig has since had several long-term boyfriends.�
The pair have, however, remained close, with William travelling out to Kenya almost every year since to visit her family, who have been praised for their work protecting rare rhino.
The Prince regards the Craigs as something of a second family.
Not only is he passionate about the couple’s conservation efforts, but he relishes the freedom of living on their isolated 45,000-acre estate.
William will take part in an outdoor ceremony which will continue into Sunday morning when brightly dressed Maasai elders will pour milk over Batian and his bride, British-born Melissa Duveen and offer prayers for long life and happiness.�
When he returns to England next week William will start preparing for a three-month attachment with the Royal Navy.
Love match: Autumn Kelly with her fiance, the Queen’s favourite grandson, Peter Philips
AFRICAN PRESS INTERNATIONAL – API