I want to take the occasion to wish His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales and his Kate the best on their upcoming union. Prince William is not Prince of Wales — his father still holds that distinction. He is a Prince of the Blood as Francophone people see things and a Prince is a Prince certainly. The story is not yet finished in all respects –although he would always be Sir William Knight of the Garter and is also an offficer with a commissioned rank before the family name of Wales, he is not Prince “of anything”. He is rather William of Wales who happens to be Prince William. His dad can be stled Prince Charles of Wales but is able to move all the parts around to connet with the others in his identity and his son cannot. Thus in terms of snobbery (as I sit here in my running shorts watching tv alone I still dare to lecture as the superior snob to most) William is an odd creature. He is fully royal — a Prince of the Blood in the House of Windsor is well up near the top of that club which though vastly much less than one mil of all people is bigger than most people think. He is without reference to royal claims a member of the chivalry being a Knight of the Garter. Without needing to consider his royal or chivalrous claims he is a member of the gentry (in the sense which does not exclude higher ranks) or is a social gentleman as a holder of an officer’s commission. However, because he is not yet Prince “of” anything and does not seem to hold any titles from the aristocratic ranks such as Baron, Viscount, Marquess, Earl or Duke he is barely an aristocrat. Someone like me who has nothing much to lose in this big bad world can say he is royal, chivalrous and genteel in rank but not Aristocratic or Noble in the exclusive sense. His father was Prince of Wales and such a royal title is also aristocratic because of the “of-ness” but did not need such a title to be an aristocrat as he was (and is also still) Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay which are plumb aristocratic titles of the best type. I do not own Burke’s Peerage and I may be missing a title but I think not. Perhaps his grandmother will give him a noble title as a wedding present.
Will’s mother who was often reported by the imbecile American media as “not a royal but a commoner” was actually Lady Diana Spencer the daughter then and now the sister and daughter of an Earl. The major television networks in this country drew the distinction royal and common which is like saying people are either truckers or pedestrians and leaving out all those who drive something smaller. She was by no means a royal but was vastly closer to being one than to being a commoner. Miss Catherine Middleton is a true commoner who belongs to that very nebulous social category of the genteel . The USA is decayed into complete idiocy on almost all matters and so the thirty years is time for all the crap about the original reporting to be forgotten.
The wedding will involve two very different ranks in the bridal couple than were the ranks of Williams parents unless his grandmother should die before he weds and he should move up to the next rank. Catherine and William have been known to be sexually involved. That is not a scandal to royal tradition. Royal tradition is very old and diverse but it is true that bridal virginity has been expected in some pockets and at some times. Since Henry VIII it got to be of greater importance in England and then the United Kingdom. So they are marrying mostly for love as members of the elite from the same polity with her rising up to meet his rank. That is entirely respectable royal tradition although it is important in the overall picture to preserve a preference for noble and royal blood in consorts.
I think that one aspect of the Diana and Charles story that would be painful for William and Harry and others to express is that it was in many ways an unmitigated disaster. The boy princes were the greatest mitigating factors. Diana was a great lady and a great princess but that is not enough to count as much of an offset to all that was wrong with the marriage. William and Catherine will try to find a better way forward and I think that they shall. In no way is their marriage a replica of his parents union.