June 20, 2005 12:00 PM

Nobody said dating the heir to the British throne was easy. While Prince William acted as an usher at the June 4 wedding of old friend Hugh van Cutsem, his girlfriend, Kate Middleton, made something of a public debut—walking confidently among the paparazzi outside a church in rural Oxfordshire. “Everyone swarmed her,” says an onlooker. “She turned a quiet country wedding into a major international event with her presence,” says one lensman. Middleton took it all in stride, demurely smiling as the flashbulbs popped around her. After the reception, Middleton, 23, and William, 22, strolled together down a quiet country lane, before snuggling on a bus and retiring with other guests to the local King’s Head Inn. All of which leads royal watchers to wonder if another wedding looms after their upcoming graduation from the University of St. Andrews. After all, braving photographers “is one of the tests every would-be royal bride has to face,” says royals author Judy Wade.”And she passed.”

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