04.29.11 7:18 PM ET
Pippa Middleton, the Royal Wedding's Other Star
She may not have been wearing the Alexander McQueen gown, but her impact was extraordinary. Twitter went into overdrive, crackling with observations as lewd as they were flattering, as a billion TV viewers took in Prince William’s shapely new sister in law. (“This wedding has mainly been about Pippa Middleton’s amazing arse, hasn’t it?” tweeted British journalist Caitlin Moran.)
But then again, maid of honor Pippa—who hates being called Pippa and has apparently asked that her full name, Philippa, be used at court—has always been capable of making an impression. When out and about on the dance floors of Chelsea, where her friends include the likes of Virgin Airways boss Richard Branson’s daughter Holly, she favors towering black stilettos, brief cocktail dresses, lots of fake tan, and kohl eyeliner. A broad, sexy, and distinctly feline grin is the habitual finishing touch.
Men find her irresistible.
Like her sister, Pippa went to a Scottish university, but chose the more academic Edinburgh over Kate and William’s St. Andrews.
After leaving college, Pippa joined the family firm, working for her parent’s party firm and producing their monthly magazine, The Party Times.
It was at her instructions that disco mirror balls were suspended in Buckingham Palace’s Throne Room for the “post wedding breakfast disco.” Palace grandees were horrified, but Pippa was determined, and what Pippa wants, Pippa gets.
Friends speak of a steely and determined operator beneath the kittenish veneer.
A British photographer who shot Pippa before the announcement of her sister’s engagement tells The Daily Beast: “After the shoot she kept emailing me to get the photos. I would email her back and say, “Yes, sure, how much do you want to pay me for them?” and then she would just email me again, a few days later, asking me to send them as if I had never replied asking her to pay for them. In the end, I gave them to her for nothing. She is clearly used to getting her own way.
“It was a busy shoot, and she was quietly assertive. She was also a good delegator; there were lots of other people doing things at her behest. She has the kind of self-confidence that comes from being surrounded by success. There is not a lot of self-doubt there. Failure is not just not an option, it’s not even a possibility.”
Although there appeared to be buckets of on-screen chemistry between Harry and Pippa, Pippa is very definitely spoken for. She is dating Alex Loudon, a 30-year-old Old Etonian and former England cricketer. Her boyfriend at Edinburgh was Jonathan Patterson, a banking heir whose family owns huge tracts of land in Scotland.
For the past six months, Pippa’s put her own life on hold to support her sister and organize the biggest event of her life. From Saturday, she’ll have her own life back. She also will have become, overnight, one of the most famous young women in the world.
What Pippa does next is anyone’s guess. But one thing seems certain—The Party Times probably needs a new editor.