Kate is pregnant! (and other dubious royal rumours)
There are two worlds in the Royal Family -- fact and fiction. We generally get healthy doses of both, though neither is necessarily labelled.
With 2011 being a year in which royals were especially exposed to their own version of True Lies, it seemed appropriate to take a step back as the year closes and at least give the biggest rumours their due.
Some the headlines were outrageous, some were simply premature, some we're outright false (we think). Here's some of the best (or worst, depending on your point of view):
Kate is pregnant!
How many times did we see this one? Chances are, of course, Kate will be pregnant at some point, so someone will be able to claim they said it first. The talk started almost immediately after the wedding with reports ranging from "she's already pregnant" to "Doc says Kate can't have kids." There was a never-ending search for tell-tale clues, reaching a zenith when she visited a UNICEF warehouse (photo) with William with her hand over her stomach and refused to eat some nutty paste. Oddly enough, when the U.S. press started turning up the heat on pregnancy rumours, the British press ignored it completely. As scoop-hungry as they are, on this one they are now seemingly letting nature takes its course.
Harry and Pippa in love!
Had to see this coming ... the best man and the bridesmaid, both single, side by side on the balcony while their kin kissed. The 'When Harry Met Pippa' romance never took root, of course, and seemed to subside quickly as they went back to their respective mates. Then they both split with their mates and the talk started all over again. Watch this rumour simmer for many more months.
Monaco's runaway bride!
We're still not sure we have all the facts on the great Monaco mystery. Charlene Wittstock and Prince Albert II were married in one heck of a lavish ceremony covering two days. Then reports started to emerge from France that the marriage was a sham, that Wittstock had tried to flee to her native South Africa before the wedding and had to be physically stopped. Then there was talk that Albert had to bribe her to stay, all for the aim of producing a royal heir. The newlyweds hit back with threats of lawsuits and some well-timed public appearances. It's almost six months into the marriage and if this couple is faking the happy-couple act, they're doing a pretty good job.
Kate is anorexic!
Before the royal wedding, everyone seemed to be patting Kate on the back for turning her body into one sleek specimen for a perfect bride. The high-protein, low-fat Durkan diet, which Kate's mother Carole was also on, found favour for a while. Just as quickly, after the wedding the talk turned to how Kate had lost too much weight and was becoming a poster girl for anorexic websites. It's true that the 5-foot-10 Kate is thin -- a lot thinner than in her school days -- but it's also quite evident that she is quite fit. She looked none the worse for wear during a hectic Canadian tour and most recently she has shown off some impressive muscle tone in a strapless gown (above right).
William has eyes for Pippa!
Sisters Kate and Pippa seem to be sharing a knowing smile in this picture ... perhaps they knew that they were in a tug of war for William's affections. Perhaps the prince did marry the wrong Middleton. Perhaps the National Enquirer is right and William indeed is secretly in love with Pippa. Why else, you may ask, was William so quick to console Pippa over her broken romance with Alex Loudon? Why the invite to Sandringham for Christmas if not for the opportunity of meeting her under the mistletoe? Okay, lets get real ... this story was a heckuva stretch, even for the Enquirer. Might've sold some papers though. A few extra copies for the Duke of Gullible, please.
Mike Tindall a cheater!
We have to admit, things did not look good for Mike Tindall. The rough-tough rugby player lived up to all the hard-drinking stereotypes as we whooped it up in a few New Zealand bars between matches at the World Cup of Rugby. With a blonde accomplice. Not his wife. On tape. That's okay for some folks, but he's not any folk. He's married to the Queen's granddaughter, Zara Phillips. In fact, married just seven weeks. Excuses were quickly dispatched, to little avail. Zara rushed to New Zealand. Tindall's mother-in-law, Princess Anne, was ready to burst with anger. Was this just a the proverbial tip of the iceberg? Will this be the royals' version of a short-and-sour Kardashian marriage?
Well, fear not. It appears that the truth was a little more boring. And whatever the transgressions, Zara seems to have forgiven hubby, at least for public consumption. He was even welcome at Sandringham to celebrate Christmas with the rest of the Royal Family. Needless to say, he's learned a lesson or two about life as a royal (and how to spot closed-circuit TVs).
Camilla and Kate in all-out war!
The classic in-law baiting started even before the royal wedding, with stories of Camilla -- Kate's future mother-in-law -- trying desperately to undermine the new interloper. There were stories about how the Duchess and soon-to-be Duchess were sniping over the wedding dress, the guest list, even the commemorative coins of the couple. Camilla was quickly caricatured as the meddling, jealous type, with Kate demanding William stand up to her. No telling how much was true, but in recent months the publicity tide has turned in Camilla's favour, with stories of her lending a understanding shoulder for Kate as she gets used to life as a royal. It's a far more sympathetic picture than first imagined. And probably a little closer to the truth.