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Think Kate is just like Princess Diana? You're wrong

News Corp Australia

REPORTS likening Prince William's wife Catherine to his mother, the late Princess Diana, are wrong, according to the author of the most famous book ever written about Diana, Andrew Morton.

Mr Morton, who penned the seminal Diana: Her True Story in 1992 and lifted the lid on her husband Prince Charles' affection for his mistress Camilla Parker Bowles, her bulimia and her suicide attempts, said Catherine was a very different person to Diana.

"Poor old Kate has always been compared with Diana,'' he said.

"She's very different. Her and Prince William act much more as a team (than Charles and Diana), and she married into the royal family a decade older than Diana did.

"She's effectively lived with William for seven or eight years and she was introduced very gently into the royal family, unlike Diana who was thrown in the deep end and expected to swim.''

Mr Morton is revising his book, 25 years after it was published, to mark the upcoming 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's tragic death in a car accident in Paris.

The timing co-incides with a five-day visit to Germany and Poland this month carried out by Prince William and Catherine, along with their children Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2, which drew rave reviews and saw Catherine compared to Princess Diana, who always drew massive crowds when she travelled abroad.

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, showed the same warmth and ease with crowds as Princess Diana had, and proved herself a good sport by drinking local beer, competing in a rowing race, and gingerly drinking a glass of strong liquor pressed upon her in Poland.

Her stunning looks and fashionable style also earned comparisons with Diana, who was only a year older than Catherine when she died at the age of 36 in a high-speed crash in Paris alongside her boyfriend, Dodi el-Fayed, and their driver Henri Paul.

Princess Diana reacts to comments by her dancing partner, ex Premier of New South Wales, Neville Wran as the crowd cheers her on at The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Dinner Dance in Sydney Australia, Thursday, October 31, 1996.
Princess Diana reacts to comments by her dancing partner, ex Premier of New South Wales, Neville Wran as the crowd cheers her on at The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Dinner Dance in Sydney Australia, Thursday, October 31, 1996. AP Photo - Bob Pearce - Pool

Mr Morton said Catherine was a very different personality to Diana, who was introduced to royal life at 19 and proved unable to handle the spotlight and the isolation. She was also seen by Prince Charles as competition, rather than as part of a team, as William and Catherine have built.

"She is not taking on difficult, dramatic issues on her own,'' Mr Morton said of Catherine.

"The mental health charities she's done have been with William and Harry.''

Photo of Kate and William by Kirsty Wigglesworth. Photo of Diana and Charles by John Redman.
Photo of Kate and William by Kirsty Wigglesworth. Photo of Diana and Charles by John Redman. AAP

Diana had pushed the boundaries much further, hugging and touching patients with HIV-AIDS in the 1980s, and demanding an end to landmines in countries such as Bosnia, Angola and Cambodia.

Mr Morton said that with Catherine, "there's not the sense of drama going on that there was with Diana.''

Even her fashion choices were safer, opting for "glossy, middle of the road glamour.''

 

"I'm sure she's sick of it,'' he said of the comparisons between the two women.

"She's very much a Middleton in that she's all about family.

"Catherine comes from a happy background - she has a competitive sister - but she has parents who are very supportive. That's one of the things that really drew William to Kate.''

The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry - Kensington Palace via AP

Catherine is close to her parents Carole and Michael Middleton and sister Pippa, whereas Diana had an unstable and unhappy childhood, with her mother Frances Shand Kydd leaving the family home after divorcing her father, Earl Spencer, when Diana was very young.

Mr Morton said the royal family's the new approach to allowing Catherine to settle into royal life was a result of the changes Diana forced after staking out her position through his book and her Panorama interview.

"These are the lessons the royal family learned,'' he said.