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A royal wedding -

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Royal commentator Dickie Arbiter, a former press spokesperson for the Queen, joins the program from


TRACY BOWDEN, PRESENTER: Royal commentator Dickie Arbiter is a former press spokesman for the Queen
and we cross to him live now in our London bureau.

Dickie Arbiter, how important is this marriage to the future of the Royal family?

DICKIE ARBITER, ROYAL COMMENTATOR: I believe any - good morning. I believe any marriage is
important to the future of the Royal Family. This one has had a good apprenticeship because they've
known each other for nine years, they've shared the same house at St Andrew's at the university
there. They've been an item for eight years. They fit very well together and they're very confident
with each other, they know each other's foibles, each other's likes and dislikes, so a good
apprenticeship and something that hasn't happened in previous royal marriages.

TRACY BOWDEN: Do you think that given what could be called the mixed success of recent Royal
marriages that the public level of excitement will be somewhat toned down?

DICKIE ARBITER: I don't think so. We've had Kate on the scene, or Katherine, as she is known, for
eight years, so people have kinda got used to the idea that she is William's girlfriend. Well now
she's William's fiancé and next year will be William's wife. So, we're kind of used to it. When
Diana burst onto the scene six months before they announced the engagement, she was relatively new,
we saw very little of her, but we did see a lot of her after she got engaged in February, 1981. But
Kate we have seen on and off for a period of eight years. Their split in 2007 was very, very public
and their coming together was very public, so I don't think there's scepticism amongst the British
public now because they've got used to the idea of Kate being around.

TRACY BOWDEN: You've certainly seen first hand the media frenzy surrounding a royal wedding and the
scrutiny attached to the Royal Family. Do you believe Kate Middleton is prepared?

DICKIE ARBITER: I think she is pretty prepared. She's more prepared than any of the other royal
brides, namely late Diana, Princess of Wales, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Certainly more
prepared than those two ladies were. She's had to run the gauntlet of the paparazzi as a private
individual. Well she won't have to do that anymore because now she is engaged to William, she'll
have royal police protection. So she'll be able to cope with the media. She won't have to run the
gauntlet of the paparazzi and anything that happens in the future in terms of media will be very

TRACY BOWDEN: There are bound to be comparisons between her and Lady Diana and of course there's
been a lot of talk about the decision to give her Prince William's mother's engagement ring. How do
you think she'll cope with that comparison?

DICKIE ARBITER: She probably will cope with it very well. We heard William talking just now that
there shouldn't be a comparison. Kate is a person in her own right and it would be wrong to compare
the two ladies. I think we should let Diana rest in peace now. She died 13 years ago. She'd be very
happy that her son has found happiness. She'd be equally happy that her engagement ring has been
given to Kate. It meant a lot to William to do that and it means a lot to Kate to have it, but I
think we've gotta move on now and Kate has gotta stand up in her own right and we've gotta get rid
of this silly idea of comparing to somebody in the past. Kate is a person in her own right and
we've got to accept that.

TRACY BOWDEN: What type of wedding ceremony do you think it will be? Would a lavish affair be
inappropriate in these tough times?

DICKIE ARBITER: Well, that's the million dollar question, isn't it? It's very difficult to predict
what they want. William is a bit of a control freak. As far as the engagement is concerned, they
got engaged in Kenya last month. He kept it a secret. He kept it such a secret that nobody knew he
was in Kenya in the first place, and announced it in his time, which was yesterday. As far as the
wedding is concerned, yes, we've gotta consider that Britain along with a lot of countries
throughout the world are going through - is going through harsh economic times. We're still in
recession. Government are cutting back on all departments, people are being asked to tighten their
belts, salaries are being frozen. So, to do anything lavish, to go over the top would be wrong, and
I think the Royal Family are very aware of how right they've gotta get it. Yes, there's gotta be a
bit of pomp and ceremony to it. My guess: it'll probably be Westminster Abbey and you cannot do
Westminster Abbey without a bit of pomp and ceremony. But there are levels of pomp and levels of
ceremony. If we go back to 1947 at the time that the present Queen got married to Prince Phillip,
there was pomp and ceremony, but it was fairly low key because we were living in austere times just
after the Second World War. The guards and the soldiers lining the street were in battle dress in
khaki. There was no scarlet. So I think we'll see a splash of colour, but I think the Royal Family
and William in particular will be - will recognise that they have to get it absolutely right, and
getting it right is not splashing out and going over the top.

TRACY BOWDEN: Do you think the British public's view of the monarchy is different to what it was,
say, 30 years ago, that last famous wedding?

DICKIE ARBITER: Well, you know, attitudes change and people's memories slip by very, very quickly.
We all remember that wedding in 1981. It was a fairytale wedding and a fairytale unfortunately that
went sour. We saw these sort of - the open warfare and hostility between the Princess of Wales and
late Diana, Princess of Wales, the public split was very, very public. Diana running the gauntlet
as a singleton was very, very public and her various relationships with various men were public.
And of course, her ultimate death was extremely public. So, you know, the public are very aware of
what goes on. But, memories move on. People don't forget, but they don't harp on it, so the Royal
Family is standing in pretty good stead at the moment and this engagement and forthcoming marriage
can only boost its fortunes even further.

TRACY BOWDEN: Dickie Arbiter, thankyou for speaking to us.

DICKIE ARBITER: You're welcome