They are living a modern fairy tale. Prince William and Kate Middleton—the future King and Queen of England—captured the world's attention when they held the wedding of the year at Buckingham Palace, in London, England, on April 29. Two billion people worldwide watched the festivities, which were broadcast on television and online.
The happy couple met in 2002 while attending college at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland. Nine years later, they weren’t afraid to break with royal tradition while celebrating their long-awaited marriage. They asked wedding guests to donate to the Royal Wedding Charity Fund instead of giving a gift. They raised approximately $1,653,274. The funds will be distributed among 26 charities chosen by the couple.
Granted the titles Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the two have devoted the remainder of 2011 to work and charity. After a brief honeymoon, Prince William returned to work as a pilot for the Royal Air Force. He also resumed charity work for the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, which he founded with his brother in 2009. The Foundation funds charitable causes that support disadvantaged young people, sustainable development and the welfare of the country’s service people. The Prince has also taken up causes that support education, youth sports and the homeless.
Princess Catherine has taken an active role in the foundation and other charity work, too. So far, the Duchess of Cambridge has handled her role with grace, while breaking new boundaries. She is set to be the first commoner to become Queen of England, and the British monarchy's first college-educated Queen. Princess Catherine’s fashion influence—her outfits and their imitations sell out quickly after she’s seen in them—is quickly making her a global style icon, too.
For their ongoing charity work and worldwide influence, Prince William and Princess Catherine are nominees for TFK’s 2011 Person of the Year.