So when the firstborn son of that union, Britain's Prince William, set in motionthe wedding of this century by getting engaged to Catherine Middleton, he did things a little differently. He picked someone older than he is (by six months), who went to the same university he did and whom he'd dated for a long time. Although she is not of royal blood, she stands to become the first English Queen with a university degree, so in one fundamental way, theirs is a union of equals. In that regard, the new couple reflect the changes in the shape and nature of marriage that have been rippling throughout the Western world for the past few decades.The wedding of the 20th century, in 1981, celebrated a marriage that turned out to be a huge bust. It ended as badly as a relationship can: scandal, divorce and, ultimately, death and worldwide weeping.