Thirty years after the fairy-tale nuptials with the unhappy ending, Britain will finally have another big royal wedding: its dashing helicopter-pilot prince — second in line to the throne — will marry the lovely commoner who may someday become queen.
Prince William and Kate Middleton bubbled with joy Tuesday evening in their first public appearance since the palace announced their engagement after more than eight years of dating. Their wedding will be next spring or summer.
In a poignant symbol for William, his betrothed wore the sapphire and diamond engagement ring that belonged to his late mother, Diana.
"I thought it was quite nice because obviously she's not going to be around to share any of the fun and excitement of it all. This was my way of keeping her close to it all," William said.
While the romance of the two 28-year-olds is the stuff that dreams are made of, it is no exaggeration to say that the future of the Windsor dynasty depends to no small degree on the success of their union.
"We're massively excited," William said in the televised interview that marked the first time they have spoken publicly about the trials and tribulations of their love affair, which dates back to their days as university freshmen. "We're hugely excited. We're looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together."
The interview reminded many of a similar TV appearance by William's parents, Prince Charles and Diana, shortly after they became engaged.
At that time, Diana seemed frightened of the limelight and withdrawn; by contrast, Middleton seemed at ease in front of the cameras. She said she wished she had met Diana, who died in a car crash in 1997.
"I would love to have met her. She's an inspirational woman," Middleton said as William looked on.
Royal officials said that while Middleton is commonly known as Kate, her official name is Catherine Elizabeth. She will be named Queen Catherine if William, as expected, eventually takes the throne.
William proposed during a vacation in Kenya last month and gave Middleton the oval blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds from the jeweler Garrard that Charles had given his mother.