A WALES OF AN ACT

The onlookers gathered at Liverpool's Anglican cathedral May 30 could hardly believe their eyes. Not only did Prince Charles and Princess Diana turn up together to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, the warring Waleses seemed to have called a truce to their own battles. They smiled. They chatted. And Charles didn't seem to mind when Diana got a bit silly. As the wind whipped at her hat and skirt, Diana enlisted the aid of a local official. "You've got to help me," she giggled. "Stand close and stop my skirt blowing up."

But appearances can deceive. Just two hours earlier, the pair scarcely exchanged a word when they met on the royal yacht Britannia—after a month apart. The day's pleasantries were put in perspective when a navy veteran said, "It's so nice to see you together again," and a cynical Charles shot back, "It's all done with mirrors."

A FAMILY AFFAIR?

Rumors of a reconciliation between the estranged Yorks were all the rage in London last week, but the outlook is doubtful. Yes, Fergie did bundle up daughters Bea, 4, and Eugenie, 3, and fly to Scotland to meet Prince Andrew at the royal family's Balmoral estate. But in truth, the highland fling is only the latest of several friendly family gatherings. In March, the Yorks led the girls on a pony ride at Windsor Castle; in April, they joined forces to celebrate the Queen's 67th birthday.

Most agree that Andrew still cares for Fergie, but few suggest those feelings are reciprocal. While Andrew still calls Fergie his "wonderful wife." she tends to refer to him simply as "my best friend."

A YEN FOR ROMANCE

Half a world away, the Japanese are following their own royal love story—and hoping for a happier ending. On the morning of June 9, Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito, 33, is to wed Masako Owada, 29, the Harvard-and Oxford-educated commoner who is giving up a promising career in the foreign ministry to become his princess.

Though the wedding day has been designated a national holiday and Japanese television plans live coverage, the Shinto ceremony will be conducted in private. Since the engagement last Dec. 12, Owada has been studying the intricacies of the imperial family's rituals and etiquette. She has also learned something about the media's obsession with royalty: TV news crews have begun tailing her Yorkshire terrier, Chocolate, on daily walks. Just out: Happy Chocolate, $28 stuffed toy.