News that Britain's Prince William and his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton could be heading down the aisle before the year is out seem far wide of the mark, according to my sources at Clarence House.
The story, which seems to have originated with a newly launched U.S. gossip web site, has had London abuzz all week. Such a move would be unusual for the Royal Palace, considering the planning that would go into a wedding for the heir to the throne.
It is possible the royal family has done little to discourage the story because it serves to counteract some recent negative media coverage Kate got when she allowed herself to be quoted on her parent's party web site. That post was hastily removed, but not before the media learned of it.
But there are other important factors - social and political - that can demonstrate why this story has no solid foundation.
Here are some:
The Queen is already on a huge economy drive, and has told members of her family to make radical cutbacks in their expenditures.
With the General Election looming, it's highly unlikely that Prime Minister Gordon Brown would have time to consider any details for a royal wedding, not to mention entertain ideas of the added cost to the country.
Disgraced former royal butler Paul Burrell, now back running his small flower shop in the north of England, has been quick to come forth with "insider knowledge" on the forthcoming marriage. Members of the toyal family and its current staff have such disdain for the ex-butler that his name is not even allowed to be mentioned within royal corridors.
Planning for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in the spring of 1012 is now in full swing. Prince William also is very aware of the forthcoming Jubilee and has no desire to take away the attention from his much beloved grandmother.
Prince Charles has reservations, fearing that the tabloids will turn his eldest son into a brand new Diana and Charles, something that, sources say, William has assured him won't be happening.
Kate still needs to endear herself to the British public. With no apparent career or association with high-profile charities, Royal insiders say, she still needs to prove herself to the public.
Her image is very much up in the air, rather like rumors of a planned royal wedding.
By Neil Sean