British press joyous over wedding of 'the new romantics'
Britain's newspapers toasted the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton Wednesday, pausing only to reflect on the absence of the heir's late mother, Diana.
The press focussed on the poignancy of the prince's decision to propose with his mother's sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring which came into his possession after her death in a Paris car crash in 1997.
"With this ring ..Di wed," splashed the Mirror on its front page, adding the gesture was "a sparkling moment of royal history -- and a touching tribute from a son to his beloved mother."
The Times captured the spirit of the second-in-line to the throne's decision, calling the couple "the new romantics".
The Daily Mail said the priceless family heirloom was "fit for his mother... and his love."
Tuesday's official announcement of the couple's intention to wed in 2011 was pounced on by the nation's papers as light relief from the dispiriting economic stories that have become the routine in recent months.
The wedding would be "a wedding that will lift the spirits" of a Britain "in the doldrums," said The Daily Telegraph.
London's Evening Standard claimed the ceremony would "make Britain the centre of the international news, a piece of the kind of pageantry that this nation does so indisputably well."
Most papers also welcomed the arrival of a "commoner" into the fold, believing it would help the royal family reconnect with the public, after the blow to its standing it suffered following the death of Diana.
"William and Kate will give us a monarchy fit for the 21st century," said a souvenir edition of the tabloid the Sun.
"Not long ago it would have seemed impossible that a former air hostess's daughter could one day be queen of England," it said.
"Today, it is reality and it demonstrates Britain is getting over class-ridden snobbishness."
The Times, part of the same newspaper group, agreed.
"It is at moments such as this that the monarchy renews itself and redefines itself for our age," said The Times.
"Kate Middleton is a commoner but she has shown uncommon dignity and courage in her decision."
Not all of the nation's papers were caught up in the euphoria however.
Two left-of-centre newspapers, The Guardian and The Independent, were less enthusiastic about the upcoming nuptials.
"A royal wedding in the age of austerity", ran The Guardian's headline.
One columnist berated the media coverage, reporting the decision has "his, rather than their decision", before concluding that "even the most hardbitten republican will be wishing them well."
The Independent, meanwhile, was the only paper not to carry the wedding as its lead story.
Its only front-page mention was an extract from columnist Julie Burchill, who wrote that Middleton was "marrying beneath her."
© 2010 AFP