01/23/2012

Island paradise is on full royal alert

Mustique beach

The novelty of having some royals as your next door neighbours can quickly wear off.

That’s what guests at the Caribbean playground of the super-rich -- Mustique -- have been finding out as the Middleton clan engages in some R&R in a $24,000-a-week villa, complete with a butler, maids and a chef.

Carole and Michael Middleton have brought their kids -- Kate, Pippa and James -- along to enjoy a family vacation. Except that when one of them is the Duchess of Cambridge, well, there’s some extra baggage with that.

Aurora villaLike a couple of protection officers. And some stricter privacy rules for other guests on the tiny island. As son-in-law Prince William joins the party this week, this 10-day vacation becomes an endurance test for privacy.

The Daily Mail reports that the royal presence has necessitated some changes in security. For one, guests can’t use the usual fancy golf carts to get around, for fear they’ll be trying to get in position for snapshots of the Duchess. Special vehicles will be provided if you want to go to one of the two hotels to dine. And don’t be surprised if you’re stopped in your tracks by security patrolling the beaches.

MiddletonsIn other words, keep your distance. Not so easy on an island that’s less than six kilomtres square and has about 110 private villas in addition to the hotels and several small villages.

“This isn’t exactly the way one expects to be treated when you pay very good money to visit the most exclusive island in the Caribbean,” one of the millionaire guests told the Mail.

Of course, the Royal Family can lay some claim to popularizing this little bit of paradise. In her heyday, the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, was known to party hardy on Mustique beaches. The same for Prince Andrew. The Queen and Philip have made several visits. This isn't the first time for Kate or William, either, but obviously their circumstances have changed quite a bit since their last visit. And word is that Princess Eugenie, daughter of Andrew, is currently enjoying the tropical delights as well, with boyfriend Jack Brooksbank.

The island has become a celebrity hangout, sporting a guest list that has included everyone from Mick Jagger to Bill Gates.

The island offers the ultimate in privacy. And when it comes to the royals (not to mention Pippa) even privacy from the other guests.

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