Kate Middleton has been urged to sign a pre-nuptial agreement before marrying Prince William.
The couple’s engagement was announced today, but Princess Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson said: “If she was my sister, I’d tell her to get a good pre-nup.”
And Charles Arthur of The Guardian tweeted: “Hope Kate Middleton has her prenup sewn up”.
Divorce expert Isabel Thornton told the Daily Mail: “In a more typical scenario, where two 28 year olds are soon to be married and a substantial disparity of wealth exists, one set of parents would undoubtedly be marching their offspring to see the lawyers as soon as possible.
“However, whether the Royals will do the same remains to be seen. With the risk of setting a precedent in mind, I am sure careful consideration will be paid to the issue before any final decision is made, particularly given the Anglican belief in the sanctity of marriage.”
A recent decision by the Supreme Court has strengthened the legal validity of pre-nuptials, but they are not legally binding in all circumstances.
Diana’s private secretary Patrick Jephson said: “There will be a tidal wave of sentimental slush, but I believe what I’m saying. You’ve got be practical. If she was my sister, I’d tell her to get a good pre-nup.”
He continued: “It’s such a public thing. If they don’t get this one right, what’s going to happen to the whole institution in the long run?”
However, he said: “If you get it right, it’s the best job in the world. It can be fantastic. They should set off with the firm intention of making it the happiest job in the world.”
Writing in the Daily Mail last month, commentator Bel Mooney bemoaned pre-nups, asking, “isn’t it the case that a prenuptial agreement exists only because one or both parties presume — or even expect — that the marriage will fail at some point?
“It’s a negative approach to life that reduces the most sacred of human vows to a commodity, subject to barter and price increases like everything else in the marketplace”, she said.
Last year the Conservatives said they wanted to make pre-nups binding.
Tory MP and the then shadow justice minister Henry Bellingham told the BBC that the Tories wanted to bring in “a fairly wide ranging divorce law reform bill”.
He added, “I’m very keen that part of it will include ‘pre-nups’ and make them enforceable in law, subject to very strict safeguards”.
Although there was no family law bill announced in the last Queen’s speech, the coalition Government wants to increase the use of mediation for divorcing couples. Mediation is not a reconciliation programme, rather it greases the tracks to divorce.
Divorce would be the first thing children would ban if they ruled the world, according to a 2008 poll of 1,600 children.