Diana's absence will be felt in Abbey

Updated: 2011-04-28 17:23
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Royal observers say William has made a point of keeping his mother's memory alive as Britain gears up for the biggest royal occasion since the Queen Mother's death in 2002.

Last year, William, 28, presented his 29-year-old fiancee with his mother's dazzling sapphire engagement ring and the couple reportedly visited Diana's grave at Althorp Estate, home of her family in central England, ahead of the big day.

"I'm sure the royals would like everyone to forget Diana ever existed, but this young man is never going to allow that to happen," said Joan Lunden, a U.S. TV host who covered Diana's wedding in 1981 and is part of Fox News' royal wedding team.

"Elton John was an obvious move and the ring, and who knows what else we'll see on Friday that will connect the two.

"While William is concerned Kate is going to become the next Diana, it's another fairy tale - she's the beautiful princess and now we want the happy ending."

An internaional media village has sprung up to provide coverage of the royal wedding and a British minister has said the global television audience could reach two billion people.

"Princess Diana was the biggest celebrity in the world and her son's wedding is an extension of that," said Linda Bell Blue, executive producer for entertainment news show "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider".

"We don't have royalty in America, we are an extension of Britain by our roots," she told Reuters. "This is a glimpse into Diana really that Americans have been missing."

Diana's ill-starred marriage to Prince Charles and the nature of her death have inevitably prompted words of warning about Middleton's future in the intense media glare.

A survey of media coverage has already suggested she could eclipse even Diana in terms of fame and celebrity.

"The only downside (of the wedding) is the sad side," Lunden said. "That thought of 'Gee, I wish Diana was here.'

"You can't help but have the thought that the second she walks out of Westminster Abbey, Kate is going to become the next Princess Diana and I think it's inevitable it's going to happen.

"Speculation about the wedding dress will instantly be replaced by speculation about the first baby."




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