William, Kate try to carve out some private time

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LONDON (AP) - Shunning an immediate overseas honeymoon and opting instead for a quiet weekend at a secret British location, Prince William and Kate Middleton made it clear Saturday they want to carve out some space for themselves.

This fight for privacy is crucial if they are to avoid being hounded like William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, whose every move was tailed.

The royal newlyweds started the day by asking the media not to intrude this weekend and to leave them alone when they eventually start their honeymoon. Separately, palace officials also asked the media not to reveal where the couple live near William’s Royal Air Force base in Wales.

He will return to military duty there as a helicopter rescue pilot after the holiday weekend, which ends Monday.

The request for privacy was in stark contrast to their accessibility to the public over the previous two days. On the eve of Friday’s wedding at Westminster Abbey, William greeted crowds on the streets outside his official residence in an impromptu gesture.

The royal couple also dazzled the masses on their wedding day with an open-topped carriage ride from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace and a pair of kisses on a palace balcony. They also emerged from the gates of the palace with the prince at the wheel of his father’s Aston Martin, which had balloons on the back and a “Just Wed” license plate.

William and Middleton, who have the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, now seem determined not to let paparazzi armed with long-lensed cameras make it impossible for them to go about their business without constantly feeling they are being stalked.

The couple, walking hand in hand on the grounds of Buckingham Palace, boarded a helicopter Saturday morning to a secret location, then issued a statement asking to be left alone.

“The couple have asked that their privacy be respected during the coming weekend and during their honeymoon,” according to a message posted on the official royal wedding website.

Previously, officials said William had scheduled two weeks of leave from his military duties amid indications that the honeymoon would begin a day or two after the wedding. But the couple said on the website that they would take an overseas honeymoon at a later date.

The ultimate destination remains a closely-guarded secret, although a number of idyllic locations have been mentioned. German media reports, which were not confirmed, suggested the couple planned to spend a honeymoon at a small private island in the Seychelles.

The reports were based on the comments of a German real estate agent who claimed to have rented the island to the British royals.

Privacy has long been the couple’s main concern while planning their honeymoon. They are thought to have considered private islands in the Caribbean _ although photographers on boats could conceivably get pictures of them cavorting on a beach _ and hideaways in Africa, where William has traveled extensively in the past.

Another option, one they may be using this weekend, is Queen Elizabeth II’s Balmoral Estate in Scotland, which contains vast secluded areas where the couple would be likely left alone.

But the desire for privacy _ something they enjoyed during their university days because the usually voracious British media agreed to give the young prince some space _ may become a dominant theme of their marriage, especially with the worldwide interest generated by their glamorous wedding.

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