Royal Wedding: Will Kate Middleton Always Live In Diana's Shadow?

Kate Middleton

Princess Di and Kate Middleton: What do you do when your mother-in-law is a saint?

Of course, Diana's shadow won't just affect Kate's wedding, but her marriage to William. The well-bred commoner is not only marrying a prince, but a man who lost his mother at a young age.

"To lose a mother at a young age is to idealize her. And that is a challenge to any partner, let alone when your mother is someone internationally idealized already," psychologist and YourTango Expert Dr. Adam Sheck says. "From William's perspective, the loss of his mother may have created a deep abandonment wound. This can play out in many ways in the marriage, from being clingy to staying distant for protection, to unconsciously pushing Kate away to fulfill the 'prophecy' that women leave. Good counseling and clear, conscious communication within the relationship are ways to minimize this, as the two bond and form their own, unique partnership."

YourTango Expert Melodie Tucker points out that in addition to having lost his mother, William also lacked ideal relationship models in his parents: "William is a child of divorce, with parents that weren't necessarily good relationship role models." (Diana was also a child of divorce, though Kate Middleton is not.) Given these factors, "Kate and William are starting out well by choosing to go through premarital counseling," she says. Should Premarital Counseling Be A Marriage Requirement?

Spira suggest the couple establish rituals to remember Diana together, so Kate can be an active participant in honoring Diana's legacy.

"The best part is, the two appear to be madly in love and Prince William's focus is on Kate as the number one woman in his life," Spira says. "No one will replace Princess Diana. To compete with a mother-in-law who is both revered and deceased will put a huge stress on Kate Middleton, or any woman for that matter. I think she'll rise to the occasion."