William, Kate praised for being serious
London - The dress is packed away, the
partying guests have left Buckingham Palace and Prince William returns to
military duty next week instead of taking a honeymoon with Kate Middleton.
The newlyweds were praised on Sunday for
being aware their wedding was a luxury for austerity Britain and the best way
to harness the goodwill of the people, who organised street parties, waved
flags and lined London streets to catch a glimpse of them, was to get serious.
After a perfectly executed wedding, they
made it clear their future married life will not be one long party. The
decision was called a "welcome modern message" in a News of the World
"From a public relations point of
view, postponing the honeymoon is a brilliant move," publicist Max
Clifford said. "What it says is we have working royals, who are putting
back into society, doing their duty and serving."
The crowds who gathered outside Buckingham
Palace on Friday to watch the newlyweds kiss on a balcony were good-natured.
But London has also seen large protests
recently against the Conservative-led government's austerity plans, which aim
to cut 310 000 government jobs and raise university tuition fees.
Some of the anger at the plans have been
directed at the royals - Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were shaken up
when their Rolls-Royce was attacked in December when a student protest turned
In this climate, Buckingham Palace has been
mindful of the need to not appear too extravagant, while maintaining the
pageantry and pomp that is always demanded of them.
So, the royal family all turned out in
designer clothes and striking hats, but the less important royals were taken to
and from the ceremony in buses. Their main wedding cake was a show-stopping
multitiered fruit cake with dozens of handcrafted sugar flowers, but Prince
William also insisted on another cake made of chocolate biscuits.
Although the guest list was long, and
included many diplomats and religious figures, the couple did not turn the
event into a show business event by inviting prominent film stars and pop stars
who didn't have a personal connection to the royals.
Elton John was there, but other major
British figures like Paul McCartney, Judi Dench and Helen Mirren were left off
the list. That gave the wedding a more serious look.
The entire wedding has helped update the
public image of the monarchy. In the early days of their courtship, William and
Middleton were often photographed coming out of fashionable London nightclubs,
leading some commentators to suggest they were more interested in partying than
becoming responsible adults.
Middleton's lack of a proper career - she
once worked as an accessories buyer for a major chain store and then helped her
parents' party business - added to the public impression of a slightly flighty
young woman who did nothing but wait for William to propose.
The wedding and William's decision to
return to work as a helicopter search and rescue pilot for the Royal Air Force
has transformed them. William is now seen as a young man with a strong sense of
"The extravagance, the divorces, the
remoteness, the treatment of (Princess) Diana and the reaction to her death
have all damaged the royal family in the eyes of the public," said Mark
Austin, a commentator for the Sunday Mirror newspaper. "But in
down-to-earth William and nice, middle-class Kate, maybe the monarchy has
chanced upon a marriage that can help it reinvent itself."