Both Prince William and Catherine had their secret stag (bachelor) party and hen night (bachelorette party) last week. What is most remarkable is how successfully they managed to elude the press -- all of whom were anxious to find out any snippets of information. As Prince William stated with satisfaction yesterday, "It's quite good news always to outfox the media, but it [the stag] was a military operation, and my brother and I are very proud of how it went."
Rather than the water-sports and an evening pub crawl by boat that was widely reported, it's understood that the guys had a much more low-key weekend at a friend's country estate instead. Although some US tabloid magazines "exclusively" reported that it was held in Norfolk, the latest information from royal editors in the UK revealed that it actually took place at Hartland Abbey, a historic estate in Devon. Similarly, Catherine also eluded the media and celebrated her last weeks as a commoner with a handful of close pals at a private party held at a friend's home.
Wait a minute. What about the supposed "Dirty-Dancing"-themed hen night that a royal columnist at a British tabloid paper had said will take place at the Middleton family home in Bucklebury? That never happened -- even though it could have been "the time of her life." And what about that exclusive by the same tabloid reporter who said that Catherine's party was going to be at trendy Bar Eighty-Six on Fulham Road? Oops -- wrong again. As for the four different club venues that she reported Pippa Middleton had booked for the hen night? Nope -- that never came to fruition either. And no amount of backpedaling and later changing the story that the four venues were booked "just in case the girls decided to go out" will change the fact the information was wrong. Unfortunately, several American weeklies picked up on all these false bachelorette party rumors and then repeated them in their own pages.
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Needless to say, the royal reporter who originally released all these worthless nuggets of information on Catherine's hen night now looks ridiculous, not to mention, proven to be completely and consistently wrong. Even someone purely guessing would have a better track record. So it poses the question: how could someone have gotten everything so wrong? A possible answer is that Pippa and Catherine's friends have succeeded in duping the gullible journalist into believing that she was getting a "scoop," and the reporter foolishly thought that she was privy to what really goes on in their inner circle. As if any of them would actually reveal anything to the press, much less a top-secret stag party or hen night!
It appears that Catherine, her family and friends have taken a page out of William's book when it comes to playing cat and mouse with the press and leaving a trail of red herrings, something that the media-savvy Diana was particularly good at. In fact, William has, in the past, tested the loyalty of his friends by giving them false information, and if that information subsequently finds its way into the papers, then he'll know who he can't trust. That blabbing friend is now frozen out of his inner circle and banished to royal Siberia. So now, more than ever, none of William's or Catherine's fiercely protective circle of family and friends will breathe a word to reporters. Who can blame them? Would you want to have your name crossed off the invitation list for that wedding? So for any royal wedding-related details, a smart reporter knows to look elsewhere for information, because it certainly won't be coming from the couple's friends!
The next secret location everyone wants to uncover is obviously the honeymoon destination. A number of places have been mentioned including Kenya where William proposed, the Scilly Isles off the Cornwall Coast (the "budget" option), Mustique -- long a royal and Middleton family holiday favorite, and Richard Branson's private Necker Island in the Caribbean -- for ensured privacy and security. Of course, William fueled more speculation last month while visiting one of Australia's cyclone-affected regions, by telling the crowd, "I love scuba diving. I have always wanted to dive the barrier reef. I will have to come back -- maybe we'll have a honeymoon in Cairns?"
I chuckled when I heard William's remarks. Knowing his off-the-cuff comments would surely make their way into all the papers (and they have), I highly doubt that William, who is naturally cautious and wary of the press, would just give away his honeymoon location so easily. As lovely as Australia is, and I have been there many times, I wouldn't hold my breath that we'll find William and Catherine sunning themselves in Queensland on their honeymoon. So either William had a momentary case of loose lips (in which case he must surely be kicking himself right now), or more likely, he was purposely leaving yet another false lead for reporters to salivate over.
In any case, wherever the couple spend their honeymoon, it could very well be more than one destination. Royals typically go on extended honeymoons to multiple places. Charles and Diana had a three-month honeymoon starting off at Broadlands -- the Mountbatten family estate in Hampshire (as did the Queen and Prince Philip on their honeymoon), then boarded the royal yacht Britannia for a two-week cruise around Sicily, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and the Greek Isles, and finishing at Balmoral in Scotland. It was at Balmoral that the newlyweds gave the press a photo-call, and when asked how she was enjoying married life so far, Diana delighted everyone by quipping, "I highly recommend it!"
Both William and Catherine love the sun and the sea so I'm betting that they will jet off somewhere warm to soak up the rays for part of their honeymoon. One thing is certain, with William having to return to his job as a RAF search and rescue pilot in Wales, he won't be going on a three-month long honeymoon like his parents did. Instead, his honeymoon will be a week to 10 days -- 10 blissful days where he and Catherine will enjoy their privacy and probably elude the press again!