Kate's next move: training for the title of Princess

(Indigo/Getty Images)(Indigo/Getty Images)Kate Middleton is living every little girl's dream. Dashing prince? Check. Royal wedding plans? Check. Possibility of being named Princess? Yup.

Now comes the work. For the next several months leading up to her wedding, Middleton will have to prove to the royal family, the British traditionalists and the public at large, she's a national treasure.

"It's quite a daunting prospect but hopefully I'll take it in stride," Middleton told the press after her long-time boyfriend Prince William (know him?) proposed with his mother, Diana's, engagement ring.

Daunting is nice way of putting the task at hand. "It will be a baptism by fire," says Mark Ellwood, a British journalist and royal watcher.

Kate's eight-year courtship to the Prince, which started in college, has prepared her for basic rites of royalty, but her new title will bring more responsibilities.

One gift of her marriage will be letters HRH. With those officially attached to her name, people must to curtsy before her. "She'll probably be working with a Palace protocol expert who will train her to handle that level of etiquette and what to do when people are bowing to you everywhere you go," suggest Ellwood.

But that's only the beginning. Entering a royal family is like joining the FBI. "I'm sure the Royal Palace will be calling in all their university photos," says Ellwood. Despite her solid track record for minimal scandal, any trace of non-royal activity in her past can mar the image of the entire Monarchy.

"I bet her mother will be put into lock-down," says Ellwood. Mother of the bride, Carole Middleton is already a figure of ridicule in a country with a complicated relationship with class. The former flight attendant got a lot of flack for using "commoner" terminology and for chewing gum at one of William's official events. "I bet she'll be assigned civil servants to get her up to snuff. I wouldn't be surprised if she disappears for a while and comes back with slightly less glaring highlights and no gum."

Needless to say, the mother of the bride will hold little weight on matters of the wedding. But then again, neither will Kate. The traditions of bell-ringers, hymns, food preparations, invitations and the majestic chariot entrance are likely handled by Palace officials. This kind of high-profile event boosts the nation's tourism industry (commemorative souvenirs are no doubt underway) and offers some good P.R. for local merchants. For Diana's 1981 wedding, the five tiered cake, the Welsch gold wedding band and even the dress, made of silk from worms of the English Countryside, were touted as home-grown.

While Kate, a former fashion buyer, is likely to choose her own dress, it will have to be of traditional British design. "She'll look at Burberry or a house like that for her dress," suggests Ellwood. Others U.K. designer names being batted around include Christopher Bailey and Bruce Oldfield, according to The Guardian.

But decisions need to be made fast. "There's the London Olympics in 2012, so they have to wed before then and any other royal European weddings will have to put on hold, so it's moving around a lot of chess pieces," says Ellwood. Right now the rumors (and bookies betting on the date) suggest an August wedding.

Before then, her job will entail traveling around, meeting dignitaries and royal connections, and winning over the public at large. Yesterday, she sat down with William for her first official interview with press. (Watch the interview below.) She was poised, but clearly nervous. "Spin doctors are probably prepping Kate for official press conferences," says Ellwood. "People will be curious to see if she can step up and become an icon."

Ellwood doesn't foresee Kate becoming the next Lady Di. "Di had great presence," says Ellwood. "Kate's a pretty girl but designers haven't been racing to put clothes on her."

That's just fine with the Royal family. "Her first and only job after she weds is getting pregnant," says Ellwood. "She has to have two kids: an heir and a spare. One to inherit the throne and a backup."

It's not exactly "happily every after," but after eight years in the fold, Kate's no stranger to rigidity of the family traditions. "Diana did not know what she was getting into," says Ellwood. "Kate knows all about it. If anyone can handle the pressures of becoming a royal, it's her."

Watch Kate and Will's first interview about their engagement.