On the day of the Royal Wedding, memories of odd doings during the groom's toddler days with his fabled mother:
In the 1980s, a women's magazine editor was duty-bound to run cover stories about super-celebrity "Di." I did, including one showing her holding up Prince William, with a line reading "Princess Diana Faces the 'Terrible Twos' and Baby No. 2," based on a suspicion that the royal timetable called for a backup prince sooner than later.
The day the issue came out, the Palace announced her second pregnancy, and besieged by phone calls from reporters about how we knew, I responded with exquisite bad taste, "Inside information."
Soon afterward, we did get "inside information" from Buckingham Palace. Astonishingly, to refute rumors about Princess Diana's marriage and her mothering, the Queen's Press Secretary and his associate gave an exclusive interview to a McCalls reporter.
At the time, their choice of an American magazine seemed strange, perhaps influenced by the fact that the interviewer was a beautiful young woman, but in hindsight, it must have been more complicated than that--the start of Palace intrigue against Princess Diana.
This suspicion is confirmed by the fact that they brought up rumors we had never heard before, and their denials were laced with confirmation that there was some truth to them.
Princess Di has anorexia: "The Prince was concerned, everyone was concerned because the Princess did lose an enormous amount of weight following the birth of Prince William," but she was only trying to get back into shape for her public schedule.
Diana is a "shopaholic" who spends $4,000 a week on clothes: "The Princess does have a very distinguished wardrobe, and I think everyone would agree she's a leader of fashion."
Diana has a hot temper and expresses it with screaming or hostile silence: "There have been a lot of ups and downs," the Queen's Press Secretary admitted. "Of course, they have their disagreements, but they work them out in private."
Not always. "Everybody has seen her when she really has had enough of the cameras. You saw it on the slopes a year ago." What reporters saw and overheard was Charles pleading, "Please. Diana, please. Don't be stupid."
Prince William is a little terror, and Diana has no control over him: "Wills," they explained, is in the "terrible twos when children break things and throw everything in reach on the floor, but he's just a normal little boy. He was running up and down the halls of the offices here yesterday, while the Princess was swimming."
As the saying goes, with friends like that, you don't need enemies. When the story came out, there was a howl of pain from the British press, which had been making headlines from every rumor that the Princess had a hangnail. But the Palace issued no denials.
In later years, all this would seem tame when Fleet Street bloundhounds sniffed out tapes of cell phone calls by Charles and Diana with unplatonic friends, and the couple moved toward a formal separation.
As the world celebrates the glamour of a Westminster Abbey ceremony and all that, these memories are a reminder, along with populist grumblings, that there can be a seamier reality behind all that.
But, after William and Kate take their vows, this old Anglophile will be watching a rerun of the cheerful 1951 musical, "Royal Wedding," with footage of Queen Elizabeth's nuptials in the background. Featured in the cast were Winston Churchill's daughter Sarah and Peter Lawford, who would later marry into American royalty by wedding JFK's sister.
That ended in divorce, too, but today, it's only the romantic spectacle that counts.