By CATHERINE OSTLER
Backwards glance: It's difficult to avoid haunting comparisons between Kate Middleton (right) and William's mother, Diana, pictured shortly after her engagement to Prince Charles
For so many of us, it is difficult to avoid the haunting comparison. When willowy Kate Middleton goes walkabout wearing an elegant suit and that optimistic smile, it’s the woman who would have been her mother-in-law who springs disconcertingly to mind.
Diana was, of course, the last beautiful young woman to marry an heir to the throne — precipitating a fashion fever and thousands of young girls’ dreams of wearing a puff-ball dress as they were swept off their feet by their prince.
Just like Diana before her marriage, Kate Middleton can start a trend in minutes. This time, it’s royal blue and fitted tweed rather than knickerbockers and pie-crust collars.
Sham: While we all wanted to believe in the fairytale wedding of Charles and Diana, it actually made fools of us all
Like Diana, Kate seems to be a natural at meeting ‘ordinary’ people. She has happily flipped pancakes in Belfast, and christened a lifeboat with champagne in Anglesey.
These appearances have been deemed ‘triumphs’ by Palace aides.
Certainly, with her striking looks and personable manner, Kate is a hit with the public; and yet I sense that Britain is not as gripped by joyous wedding anticipation as the monarchy and the British Establishment might wish.
Equal partnership: Kate has so much more in common with William than Diana ever had with Prince Charles
Full of confidence: Kate is ten years older than Diana was on her wedding day