William, Kate Inching Closer To Altar?

By: CBS
By: CBS

Rumors of a royal wedding in the works are intensifying.

CBS News Correspondent Richard Roth says, if the latest British tabloid story is accurate, it's no longer a question of "if," but "when" Prince William and girlfriend Kate Middleton will walk down the aisle.

They're both 27, and have been together, "more or less," on-again, off-again, for eight years.

Now, the U.K. newspaper News of the World is reporting they've finally come to -- not an engagement, but an "understanding."

The paper says the "understanding" is that the will indeed lead to marriage -- just not right away.

That's headlining the obvious, notes longtime royals watcher Neil Sean, who says, "I think everyone knows that Pince William and Kate Middletopn will be together, eventually married."

And the latest report claims that assumption is now at the heart of a Buckingham Palace strategy for the couple to be married before William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, celebrates the diamond jubilee of her reign, marking sixty years on the throne. That happens in 2012, which means William and Kate have just three years to tie the knot -- time for Kate to learn the royal ropes.

"She has to learn to be able to speak in public," Sean says. "We've never Heard Kate Middleton really speak, and she's a very shy retiring sort of girl, so she will be having media training."

Being shy and retiring, of course, didn't dim the star power of the last princess to dominate the headlines in Britain, William's late mother, Diana. But, says Roth, Diana-mania's what the palace is said to be hoping to avoid repeating.

So, in the time left before an engagement, if there's to be one, the plan's also reported to be aimed at boosting William's celebrity. More foreign tours are on his schedule.

Another report in Britain says William will be spending some time with his father, Prince Charles this month, and teasingly asks, "Will they discuss a wedding announcement? Wait and see!"


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