When your extended wedding guest list includes over two billion people from around the world, there can be no dispute over your celebrity status. And as the world counts down to tune in at all hours of the day and night to watch the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, their star is set to skyrocket.
"You're talking about a stratospherically big event, and it will propel William and Kate into the absolute quadruple A list of celebrity," British journalist and CNN host Piers Morgan told The Huffington Post Thursday. "They will automatically, by tomorrow night, be the two biggest stars on the planet. We will have a new Diana and Charles from when they got married."
Morgan, speaking from London, where he will co-host CNN's Royal Wedding coverage and provide commentary on the actual ceremony, described the scene on the streets of the English capital as balloon-like, growing larger and larger as the week has progressed. By the time the wedding procession starts on Friday, over a million onlookers will be watching on gigantic televisions set up in the city's parks. But the jammed public spaces and record TV audiences are just the beginning for the future monarchs.
Morgan expects a worldwide love affair with William and Kate, with their unique personal circumstances setting up a true royal fairy tale. For William, it was the loss of his mother, Princess Diana, at such a young age.
"William, I think, [is beloved] because of the way he conducted himself since the death of his mother, with such dignity, such courage and such honor," Morgan said of why the country has grown to love the first child of Diana and Prince Charles. "I think that he is a remarkable young man. I've met him a few times, I once had lunch with him and his mother and he was an extraordinary boy, even at 13 then, so I'm a big fan of William's and I think everyone is."
In fact, Morgan surmises that it was that grace under pressure that rescued the monarchy from true danger following Diana's tragic death.
"I think that was the really dangerous time for the monarchy, when a lot of people felt the Royal Family hadn't shown a lot of love and compassion for Diana, they thought that when Diana died, the Queen moved too slowly to speak to the nation and that this was classic stiff upper lip Royal behavior and that Diana was kind of opposite," Morgan remembered. "There was a real rocky period where all the polls began to suggest that a lot of people in Britain wanted a republic and maybe get rid of the monarchy, and then the saviors have been undoubtedly been Princes William and Harry, who have been just extraordinary young men. They were dealt the tragedy of losing their mother, and I think the wedding tomorrow will really put the seal on the recovery of the monarchy."
But while it's in Morgan's estimation that the monarchy is once again popular with the populace, for Middleton, it's her less than royal roots that wins her empathy from the world.
"She's come from a very normal, middle class, working class family who have had to work all their lives for their own money, built their own businesses, so there's nothing special about Kate Middleton in terms of her pedigree or her breeding, if you'd like, which is very much symbolic of the British royal class system," Morgan explained to HuffPost. "So, in that sense, she's a bit of an outsider, but that may well be why William has chosen her, that he's seen too many times that when you marry somebody that comes from exactly the same privileged background as you, it doesn't necessarily work out as people would have hoped."
Of course, with celebrity and goodwill comes an intense fascination and spotlight, so it won't just be gorgeous ceremonies and worldwide adoration for the couple. And they won't always enjoy it.
Morgan remembered standing at a window with Diana, surveying the vast number of photographers waiting at the gates for her to leave, hoping for a shot of a princess shot into fame at age 19 and so often embroiled in some sort of scandal, real or fabricated. On good days, it's glamorous; when it comes in the midst of personal tragedy, there's no place one wouldn't rather be.
Morgan commented in 2003 that he felt that, as part of the media, he was one of many culpable for Diana's death because they couldn't control the paparazzi; Diana died after crashing in a high speed chase with reckless, aggressive photographers. It is, in part, a problem that has only gotten worse.
"What I think is problematic is that there are a lot more rogue paparazzi who don't play under any rules because they don't have to," he said, clearly nervous about the implications. "So I think the mainstream media will definitely behave in a more responsible manner, there are more regulations, but I think it's different with these rogue paparazzi, and I just think there's a lot of attention paid, especially when they go abroad and stuff, you do not want to see the same kind of street chases we saw with Diana, which obviously, many people felt led to her death."
Following that tragic death, Morgan says that the media did give William, their mourning prince, some space to grow up as normally as prince could. He hopes that continues -- and offers a prediction that should be of some relief to Middleton, at least as far as privacy goes.
"Diana, I think, will always remain the biggest media star of them all, and I don't think Kate will ever have to face the kind of relentless attention that Diana got," Morgan offers.
As for their longterm future, and the ascent to the throne? Any calls for Charles to abdicate his right to be king following the death of his mother, Elizabeth, are useless; that's just not how the Royal Family does things. But in the event that tragedy does strike, Morgan is confident that William could answer the call to the crown.
"He has to be ready for that, and he is ready for that. And I think that if he was propelled into it tomorrow, through fate, I think he would do a great job."
As he becomes a married man, his training starts tomorrow. One thing is for sure: the whole world will be watching Britain enter a new era, and two new stars blasting into orbit.
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