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Kate and Prince Wiliam

Exactly one year from today (July 27), athletes from around the globe will gather in England’s capital city to compete in the XXX Olympiad a.k.a. the 2012 Summer Olympics. To get into the spirit, have a look at the spectacular medals, which Princess Anne helped unveil earlier this afternoon.

And according to the British gaming and betting company Ladbrokes, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stand an extremely good chance of being picked to light the Olympic torch on the first day. Also on the list are English rower and five-time gold medalist Sir Steve Redgrave, David Beckham, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and prized sprinter Linford Christie.

In other royal-related news:

• The debate continues over the royal wedding’s impact on the British economy. Now, new figures released by Britain’s Office for National Statistics said that the country’s second quarter economic growth had been stalled in part by the extra holiday for Kate and Will’s nuptials. “The royal wedding” reported The Telegraph, “was said to have cost the country £1 billion in lost economic growth.” The Mirror wasn’t buying it, calling the statistic an “astonishing excuse” cooked up by George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, the rough equivalent to the U.S.’s Secretary of the Treasury.

• “Practically all outsiders who have married into the Royal family,” writes Christopher Middleton in The Telegraph, “have ended up floundering in the Windsor soup, complaining of no formal instructions on royal procedure.”

Middleton — no relation — writes a fantastically funny and informative piece about the difficulties faced by commoners when they end up with royal in-laws.

“It has to be the in-law relationship from hell,” Sarah Gristwood, co-author of The Ring and the Crown, told Middleton.

Avoid the courtiers, advises Michael Thornton, author of The Royal Feud, about the animosity between the Queen Mother and the Duchess of Windsor.

“Those courtiers can be lethal,” says Thornton. “I put that down to the Queen having this rather extraordinary diffidence, whereby she doesn’t seem to take immediate, decisive action, thereby leaving the courtiers with more to say and do than when the Queen Mother and King George were in charge.”

Don’t be too nervous about protocol — royals understand that not all outsiders get it right away. But don’t be too familiar, either.

“When Lord Carnegie married Princess Maud, the grand-daughter of Edward VII, in 1923, he made the mistake of addressing Queen Mary as Aunt May,” said royal biographer Hugo Vickers, an adviser on the film The King’s Speech, “and she didn’t speak to him for the next 20 years.”

Apparently, the safest thing to do is just to observe others, and try not to do anything out of the ordinary that would upstage the royals.

Author Gristwood offered what she said was the golden rule in joining the royal family: “If in doubt, do nothing.”

The Mail showed this letter to a graphologist.

• For those who think handwriting experts are charlatans, this latest piece of “news” about Kate Middleton’s penmanship will do little to change their minds. A former chairman of the British Institute for Graphologists looked at one letter that the Duchess wrote over a year ago and told The Daily Mail that Middleton would have made a terrific schoolteacher.

“The flow of Kate’s script with rightward slant and joined letters shows a writer who reaches out towards others,” said graphologist Kate Quigley,

“Her signature is readable and flowing, which denotes the fact that she is up-front and natural in her way of dealing with people,” Quigley explained. “Judging by the characteristics of her writing, Kate would make a great teacher, she has the ability to explain things clearly and sensibly.”

We hear that professors at the Royal College of Science were so shocked by Quigley’s conclusions that they were setting up a series of double-blind experiments to replicate her results.

Zara Phillips is just two days away from exchanging vows with her longtime love, English rugby player Mike Tindall. And she intends on looking her best, too, as she’s been sticking with regular and sometimes grueling exercise routines, The Daily Telegraph reports. The 30-year-old Olympic equestrian has been jogging, swimming laps at Calcot Manor, and, of course, riding horses at her mother’s (Princess Anne) Gatcombe Park estate. Oh, and don’t worry: Phillips has managed to squeeze in some pamper time as well.

• After being put through the ringer over their questionable attire at Prince Wiliam and Kate’s Westminster Abbey ceremony in April, it’s being said that Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie will try to avoid a repeat when attending their cousin Zara’s nuptials on Saturday (July 30). Protective mum Sarah Ferguson has asked former Tatler fashion director Charlie Anderson to give her girls a few wardrobe tips. (via STV)

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By staff