LONDON — Now that she’s engaged to a royal, Kate Middleton faces a rocky road — one pockmarked with paparazzi.


This story first appeared in the November 17, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I don’t think anyone could be prepared for what’s going to happen now,” said Judy Wade, a longtime royal reporter and the author of three books on Princess Diana. “Kate thinks she’s prepared, but from now on, when she goes out in public, there will be chaotic madness. Remember that Diana was one tough cookie, and look at the toll the life took on her.”

Middleton, who will be 29 in January — and the oldest bride to marry a future king — appears to have the mettle. The eldest of three, she comes from a stable home and has stuck with the prince through a protracted courtship, standing tall when the two broke up in April 2007, and weathering the avalanche of nasty comments in the British press about her family.

But now a whole different drama awaits. It’s one thing to retain a dignified silence in the face of vicious newspaper stories; it’s another to have to deal with photographers who are ready to pounce around the clock.

“It’s open season on Kate Middleton,” Andrew Neil, the journalist and former Lord Rector of the University of St. Andrews during Middleton’s and Prince William’s time there, told the BBC on Tuesday.

Steve Wood, the royal photographer for the Daily Express newspaper for nearly 40 years, said the paparazzi are becoming increasingly sneaky. “This used to be a gentleman’s game, but it’s not anymore. Some of the agencies are now employing former marines and former soldiers to do the work of photographers,” he said.

“And they’ll be fighting for any photo of Kate — even one of the back of her head. And there will be a frenzy until the wedding. Her family will be followed, and it will be an eye-opening experience for them,” he added.

“And just wait until Kate and William go skiing in February. Then it won’t only be the British photographers, it’ll be the French and Italian ones, too,” he warned.


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