New-mum Kate out of sight, media turn to Sweden's Princess Madeleine
With new-mum Kate out of the limelight, media turn to Sweden's newly-wed Princess Madeleine
Forget Kate. Now that the Duchess of Cambridge is about to enter the largely private state of doting motherhood (the word out of London is that the birth of her and Prince William's first child is expected this weekend), the royals-obsessed European press needs someone else to focus on.
And it seems to have found her in the newly married Princess Madeleine of Sweden.
Madeleine, 30, the youngest child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia (and fourth in line to the Swedish throne after her sister, Crown Princess Victoria; her brother, Carl Philip; and her niece, Princess Estelle), married the British-born New York banker Christopher O'Neill on June 8 in a ceremony in Stockholm that drew many of Europe's royalty and was lavishly covered by celebrity publications like OK! and Hello.
But even before the marriage, Madeleine had attracted the paparazzi, with something of a wild-child youth and an earlier engagement to a Swedish lawyer that was abruptly called off when he was reportedly caught cheating with a university student.
Soon after, she met O'Neill in New York and gradually began reshaping her image, starting with her work with the World Childhood Foundation, an organisation her mother founded in 1999.
Fashionistas took notice of her earlier this summer, when it was revealed that her pleated silk organza wedding dress was designed by Valentino Garavani, and again last week, when she attended the Valentino couture show in Paris, sitting in a prime front-row spot next to Garavani as they watched the collection designed by his successors, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli.
"She is modern, fun, full of energy and enthusiasm," Garavani said of the princess in June, "and she is so beautiful."
Although few members of the American press in attendance seemed to know who the strikingly attractive young woman in the form-fitting black lace dress was, the local paparazzi swarmed around her, all but ignoring some of the other bold-face names in the front row, like Olivia Palermo, Nicky Hilton and Baz Luhrmann.
The show came right after the couple's honeymoon in the Seychelles - a spot William and Kate also chose for their honeymoon - giving the princess a tan to almost rival the one sported by the permanently bronzed Garavani.
But it was not all sunshine on that trip, especially when paparazzi shots of the couple - he shirtless and her in a two-piece bathing suit, strolling along the beach - appeared on the cover of a Swedish publication, prompting Madeleine to take to her Facebook account to denounce the invasion of privacy.
"Sadly, the Swedish tabloid press have taken it upon themselves to destroy our privacy and place private photographs of us in their publications today," she wrote. "The one thing we wish is that, if only for these few days, our privacy can now be respected."
As Kate can probably tell her, those days are over.