For the first time in 350 years, a future king of England is marrying a woman with no title or pedigree. Thank God for that. If ever a royal man needed a shot of bourgeois marital contentment, it’s Prince William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor, who was raised in the parental storm of Charles and Diana. British journalist Allison Pearson, bestselling author of the novels I Don’t Know How She Does It and I Think I Love You, shows how Kate Middleton’s wise, patient eight-year slog as an official girlfriend was powered along by the aspirations of two generations of formidable women, her mother and her grandmother. The 29-year-old Middleton is sporty, smart, shinily well groomed. She’s so unaffectedly well mannered that she’s now seen as perfect casting for a royal way of life that has to radically change once the queen and Prince Philip—and Charles and Camilla—have left the national stage.
A marriage that consolidates tradition and history takes place in a world aflame with turbulence and violence. NEWSWEEK’s intrepid foreign correspondent Christopher Dickey reports how French President Nicolas Sarkozy made his play for Leader of the Free World only after talking to the celebrated philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who, by satellite phone from the front lines in Benghazi, made a passionate case for intervention. But political panache may not save Sarkozy if, as now looks surprisingly possible, the European Union falls to pieces. NEWSWEEK columnist Niall Ferguson points his finger at the Teutonic culprits.