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William's Girlfriend "Despises" Nickname

Prince William's longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton, is celebrating another birthday, her 27th, without a ring on her finger.

And that, reports CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar, is another reminder of a portrayal of her in British tabloids that she'd just as soon forget.

Out on the town Thursday night, Princes William and Harry launched a new charity, part of an increasing slate of royal duties the pair are taking on.

William, who's also preparing for 18 months training with the Royal Air Force as a rescue helicopter pilot, was minus the beard he'd been wearing. It was, MacVicar observes, a "rather patchy affair," anyway.

The prince and Middleton spent the new year together at the royal retreat of Birkhall, his father's home on the Queen's estate of Balmoral.

It wasn't their usual glamorous skiing vacation with a crowd of friends, sparking new rumors that the pair may be closer to an engagement.

"They're very much in love," says royals watcher Neil Sean. "They're very tactile, they're very good together, he makes her laugh, she makes him laugh, and I think also, dare I say, that she kind of slightly rules the roost!"

Over the last year, the couple have lowered their public profile, notes MacVicar -- less time in nightclubs, where photographers wait, more time quietly with friends.

But with Middleton's latest birthday, the lack of a formal announcement about the future of the relationship has left her with a tabloid nickname she's not too crazy about -- "Waity Katy."

What, exactly, is she waiting for?!

"Well, I suppose she's waiting for The Proposal," says Katie Nicholl, showbiz editor of the Mail on Sunday, "the moment that will happen when she will be a princess in waiting. Kate has always been a model of what a royal princess should be: patient, loyal; when the prince has needed his time, she's given it to him. She's been exemplary. But 'Waity Katy' has stuck, and it's a nickname that she absolutely despises."

Middleton has been criticized for her failure to get a REAL job, MacVicar points out, and has been portrayed as hanging around, waiting for her prince to pop the question.

And, given HIS schedule for the next year and more, with months of intense training on RAF bases, she may have longer to wait, MacVicar concluded.