It’s very Nineties, this story of attractive, educated young people sharing a house and falling in love. Friends and lovers, lovers and friends, students and interns. It’s as much a staple of the middle-class youth experience in the West as gap year. The lucky end of middle-class, granted, but still widely identified with, and—as screen fiction—universally watched.
The on-off story of Prince William and Kate Middleton, set against delicious, isolated St Andrews and Anglesey, is very Richard Curtis. His friends, her friends, their friends, in all their twenty-something configurations. His nights out, their nights in, snow and roaring log fires. The absolute certainty that the prince has seen Miss Middleton in her nightie.
All this is a long way from the weirdness of previous royal matings, and from the Euro-royal style, whereby the princesses’ PT-instructor boyfriends get promoted to princes overnight and then dragged into that Hello! magazine Ruritanian fantasy of massed sash-wearing. If the couple’s back-story allows the rom-com audience to identify with them (and what a shrewd deal with the press it was that allowed the affair to develop in private), they’ve started well. But since, apparently, one in ten St Andrews students marry each other, there’s something we need to know: what happened to the other pair in that house?
The royal wedding Westminster Abbey, London, April 29th, and live on a news channel near you.