LONDON — Are you ready for your close-up now, Kate?
When Prince William popped the question, he made fiancee Kate Middleton one of the most-photographed, most-pursued women in the world.
Since the announcement of the couple's engagement, Middleton — dubbed "the Cinderella of Bucklebury" by Italy's La Stampa newspaper — has adorned front pages and websites around the world, photographed showing off her ring and checking out a possible wedding venue, Westminster Abbey.
William is determined she will not suffer the hounding experienced by his mother, Princess Diana. But protecting her may be difficult in the face of insatiable media interest.
"She's the main event now," said Max Clifford, Britain's best-known celebrity publicist — and that means Middleton will have to watch her every step.
"She shouldn't be roller-skating in hot pants," Clifford said, referring to a much-reprinted 2008 photo of Middleton looking unsteady on wheels at a charity disco event. "She's got to eat, breathe, drink and sleep 'What's good for the royals, what would be bad for the royals?'"
She may be marrying a future king, but many British people say they don't envy Middleton.
"I feel bad for the poor girl," said Kayla Healey, 25, a social worker from Brighton in southern England. "She's been able to stay out of the limelight pretty much the entire time and now she is going to be absolutely bombarded."
At least she has a good guide in William. The 28-year-old grew up in the public eye, a handsome royal pinup, and seems to have coped well. William appears comfortable in front of the cameras — unlike his father, Prince Charles, who is often stiff and pointedly ignores the gaggle of royal reporters who cover his engagements.