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Prince William Learns Leadership, Austerity

This story was filed by entertainment contributor Neil Sean in London.

Britain's Prince William has been getting lessons from dad on how to be a king.

William is the future of the Royal family. His father, immediate heir to the throne Prince Charles recognizes this. Father and son have agreed that Prince William will never supersede his elder, whom he describes as his "best friend," but they have both been getting to grips with the job at hand & their destiny.

"Prince Charles has a wealth of experience in matters of Royal protocol and the state," a source close to the family tells me. "He has been a tower of strength in passing on to William all his wisdom and knowledge of life in the royal spotlight."

Through long walks together at Highgrove, father and son have drawn very close and had infinite discussion about just what the future holds for William. Charles has been more than happy to answer William's questions and offer advice on becoming the future head of state.

Photos: Prince William in Focus
Photos: Princely Endeavors

Speaking to my source, William described his father as "vastly underrated in all the good work he does. I am so proud of him and I know with his help I can be a great king one day."

A Select Affair

And every king needs a queen. Every few days a lazy tabloid editor conjures up the proscribed date for "the wedding of the decade" to see William wed Kate Middleton. As for the timing, my sources say it's highly unlikely to take place this year.

While many would love to see the princess-to-be and her prince saunter down the aisle in fairytale Princess Diana fashion, that may not be in the cards.

Photos: Prince William in Australia
Photos: Kate Middleton

Grandma, Her Majesty the Queen, has weighed in. She's told royal aides that, "an expensive, over the top wedding would not be appreciated by her subjects at such difficult times," noting the recession Britain is just beginning to struggle out of.

William agrees, and while the country and much of the world may rejoice at the news of royal nuptials, the decision has been made that a not-quite-so-grand event is appropriate for the times.

Kate has hinted that she, too, would be entirely "happy with a more select affair."

Insiders note that, while the world media is sure to be at the event, the royal family would prefer to keep coverage along the lines of what Prince Charles and Camilla allowed at their wedding; "less of the circus" than Charles encountered the first time around with Diana.

William considers himself engaged already, but he tells my sources he'd even like that announcement to be kept as "low key" as possible. "He is very keen not to mirror image his father and dear late mother - you will see a different style of wedding when it finally is made official."

In the meantime, Kate is getting fed up with the British newspapers' drone of criticism that she basically does nothing all day. Prince William is also annoyed by the remarks about his beloved and insists Kate be allowed to live her life as she chooses.

"It's not his fault, but he is angry about this from certain aspects of the media," a royal aid tells me. "She is not, as yet, part of the royal family and thus does not cost the state any extra income - why should she not be allowed to live her life as she so wishes?"

Another irritant for Kate is the fact that she can't work in a public place as she knows it would be a constant battle with the media, who would chase her daily for pictures. For that reason William is more than happy that she learns about royal life from the relative safety of life behind palace doors.

Prince Harry's New Toy

As the young couple grapples with the pressures of public life and future leadership, William's younger brother Prince Harry is causing dear old mom and dad more grief.

He's not done anything embarrassing, this time, but he does have Prince Charles worried sick with the purchase of a brand new, $17,000 Ducati superbike.

It's a dream come true for the sports-mad Prince, and he can't wait to get out on the open road with it.

They know he's a good driver, but both his father Charles and step mother Camilla tried to talk him out of the purchase.

"They both support Prince Harry in everything, but like any good parents they worry about him on the road," an insider tells me. "While thanks to his Army training he is an excellent driver, they do hope that his latest hobby remains just a passing phase."
By Neil Sean