They may be sporting the same gorgeous sapphire and diamond ring in their wedding photos, but is that where the similarities end between Kate Middleton and former Princess of Wales, Diana, the late mother of her betrothed? Both have been considered paragons of style and class (neither evoking scandal early on, although Diana eventually divorced and Kate still has plenty of time to get splashed on the pages of tabloids). And each came from “common” family backgrounds (no blue bloods here, although the time when such things mattered has long since passed). But all of these observations are only skin deep; how do Prince William’s mother and his bride-to-be measure up as people?
Let’s talk about the pre-wedding interviews. In the case of Diana, who was 19 at the time of her engagement, we see a girl who is rather shy and unsure of herself, not at all the charming and confident woman she would later become. She is almost constantly touching Charles, not in a romantic way, but rather as if for reassurance. Kate, on the other hand, displays no hesitation when answering questions, and although she leans towards William throughout the interview (a bit of body language that speaks to their intimacy as a couple), she doesn’t seem to seek his approval before addressing the interviewer. Admittedly, she has the element of maturity on her side at her current age of 29.
In terms of longevity, Diana married Charles after knowing him only a year, while Kate and William have been doing this dance for six years. Are Diana and Charles’ progeny and his intended bride a bit more prepared to enter into wedded bliss? Probably, but only time will tell. But there’s one other thing that unites both the former and the future Princess of Wales: philanthropy. Throughout her tenure as a princess, Diana used her fame to raise money for causes as diverse as homelessness, leprosy, cancer research, children, AIDS patients, and the English National Ballot. Even in death, her crusade continues with the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, which has raised millions of dollars for youth groups.
And Kate is on the same path, reportedly working with the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which helps seriously ill children. So it appears that an engagement ring and a title aren’t the only thing these two have in common. If Kate turns out like Diana, the world can look forward to a lot more charity.