The engagement of Prince William to longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton came as no surprise to inhabitants of Anglesey, the island in North Wales where the second in line to the British throne has lived quietly with his bride-to-be for several months.
On Anglesey, William and Kate are just another set of young lovebirds when they pop into a local pub for a pint. The Anglesey Mail hasn’t run any front-page photos of the couple stocking up on staples for the secluded farmhouse in which they cohabit.
Just another couple — with bodyguards
“They’re just like any other young couple in love — until you realize they’ve got armed bodyguards on the next table,” a bar employee of the White Eagle at Rhoscolyn told the London Daily Mail.
“Prince William usually drinks bitter, perhaps a pint or two, and Kate sticks to white wine and sparkling water. He seems to enjoy our homemade burgers and chips. Kate prefers fish and salads,” the worker said.
Everyone knows that Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales is the “heir presumptive” to the British throne and that one day Catherine Elizabeth Middleton could become Queen Catherine. But until that happens, the locals are content to let the couple just be “Wills and Kate,” and enjoy the privacy and somewhat normal life they crave.
Whether the London-based tabloids will let the couple have their alone-time, however, remains to be seen. If they knew that the couple were spending a lot of time in Anglesey, they didn’t let on over the past months.
But then again, as recently as last weekend, the so-called royal experts were predicting that the couple would get engaged over the year-end holidays; William actually popped the question in Kenya in October, making the engagement one of the best-kept secrets of the new millennium.
The prince and princess-to-be say they want to spend the first few years of their marriage away from all the royal trappings — and publicity — that come with living in one of the royal family’s palaces.
But there is also a practical reason: William has several years left of his commitment to the Royal Air Force, which assigned him to a search-and-rescue helicopter unit based in Anglesey.
Although the couple are expected to continue splitting their time between London and the farmhouse in Anglesey, speculation is rampant that they will eventually settle into a six-bedroom house Prince Charles is having built at Harewood Park in Herefordshire.
But where’s the wedding?
While the royal watchers catch up with the somewhat secret life William and Kate have been leading together of late, the focus on their super-secret engagement is beginning to shift to their still-undisclosed wedding day next year. Kate and her aides were seen leaving Westminster Abbey early Wednesday night, fueling speculation that the wedding could be held there.
Prince William’s staff told People magazine, however, that Kate is merely checking out potential venues. “Miss Middleton paid a private visit to Westminster Abbey to meet key staff there in order to consider it as an option. They will consult further with their families before making a final decision,” the spokesperson said.
Princess Diana’s funeral was held at Westminster Abbey, which is located in central London, in 1997. William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, was married there in 1947. Other potential locations for the wedding include St. Paul’s Cathedral, where William’s parents got married in 1981.
As for the royal honeymoon, speculation ranges from Kenya, where the couple became engaged, to Seychelles, the island country in the Indian Ocean where William reportedly vowed to marry Kate one day after getting back together after a months-long split in 2007.
Living in sin?
If Her Majesty’s royal subjects are aghast at the disclosure that William and Kate have been cohabiting, they haven’t shown it. But then again, it is 2010.
What a difference 74 years makes. In 1936, King Edward VIII stunned England, and much of the world, when he abdicated the throne he held for just 325 days in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.