Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are more popular today than they have been in years.
They weren’t always without their critics, but the way they and their three lovely children led the royal family’s response to the pandemic with so much warmth and enthusiasm made their attachment to public affection as safe as ever.
The photos of George, Charlotte and Louis applauding for the NHS with their parents outside the front door of their Norfolk home will surely remain one of the most captivating memories of the crisis.
Meanwhile, the imaginative way in which Kate and William used technology to connect with people across the country, particularly their passage as online bingo callers, was both touching and impressive.
These days should therefore be peaceful for a couple who had to juggle family life and home schooling, alongside an increase in their official workload after the departure from the royal scene of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex .
But suddenly they are at the center of a posh profile in the company magazine Tatler, which not only touches on the sensitive issue of the alleged break-up between Kate and sister-in-law Meghan, but also raises frankly sassy questions about the apparent appearance of the duchess. slimming “and his family history in the Middleton family.
Kate and Meghan stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the color parade on June 9, 2018
He even manages to attack William’s hitherto untouchable relationship with Princess Diana with a bizarre suggestion that Carole Middleton, who laughs at the social climber, was “the mummy he always wanted”.
Commendably, the royal family rarely reacts to such things, even if they are provocative. There are good reasons for this, not least because if they do it once, they find that they have to do it over and over again – a lesson that William will have learned from Diana, who was constantly repeating stories about herself. .
But yesterday, Kensington Palace took the highly unusual step of publicly and formally distancing itself from the allegations in the article. In a statement, he said, “This story contains a series of inaccuracies and misrepresentations that were not presented at Kensington Palace before it was published. “
Such a strong denunciation was intended in part to prevent the repetition of some of the more fanciful allegations, but it also underscored the Palace’s dismay at what it sees as an unfair examination of the couple’s life and their motivations.
So what was the article that upset them so much?
Many will likely pivot to “tightsgate” as the reason for the confrontation between Meghan and Kate. It’s about the outfits that the bridesmaids were supposed to wear at Meghan and Harry’s wedding two years ago.
Many will likely pivot to “tightsgate” as the reason for the confrontation between Meghan and Kate. It concerns the outfits that the bridesmaids had to wear at the wedding of Meghan and Harry two years ago
The magazine’s profile, Catherine the Great, quotes an anonymous Cambridges friend who claimed that Kate wanted to follow the “protocol” with the bridesmaids, including three-year-old Princess Charlotte wearing tights.
“There was an incident during the rehearsal of the marriage,” said the source. “It was a hot day and apparently there was an argument over whether the bridesmaids should wear tights or not. Kate, following the protocol, felt they should. Meghan didn’t want it. “
Photographs of the ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor suggest that Meghan won the argument, as it appears to show the six bridesmaids with bare legs. It should be noted that photos of Prince William and Kate’s wedding in 2011 show her bridesmaids wearing tights.
Such small domestic conflicts of course disrupt a marriage. And when it comes to tights, well, that’s the royal road. If Kate had intervened as the article suggests, friends say, it would not only be because she knew the tights looked more neat, but also as a mark of respect for the queen. There have certainly been previous reports of disagreements between the two duchesses over wedding day attire, with an assertion that Kate, who hadn’t given birth to Prince Louis long ago, had been brought to tears after meeting with Meghan.
Friends of the Middleton family have always denied the story of tears but also acknowledged that the relationship between the two women was not easy.
However, they do not recognize Tatler’s claim that the Duchess of Cambridge “sought to put Meghan in her place, berating her for speaking imperatively to Kensington Palace staff.”
What is undeniable is that the arrival of Meghan has upset the dynamics of the then close relationship that existed between William, Harry and Kate.
Anger: Tatler’s article infuriated Kensington Palace. Insiders say “pantyhose episode” – as reported by Tatler – is “not entirely accurate”
Harry, remember, treated Kate like a sister and they seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. But when the famous trio became the “Fab Four”, the magic suddenly disappeared.
Friends remember when the two couples did their famous couch interview about their charitable projects, with Kate wincing as former actress Meghan spoke with confidence.
Many believe that it was the moment when a coldness came down between the two women, one determined to do things in her own way, whatever the rules, the other finding her offer of help and being a guide firmly rejected. At the same time, the Duchess’ circle denies a friend’s claim that Kate “never pulled Meghan under her wing and said,” I’m going to show you the ropes. »»
As a close friend of the couple said to me, “Help can only be provided if it is willingly accepted.”
It should also be noted that the couple do not accept, as Tatler claims, that the sudden departure of Harry and Meghan prevented them from being direct parents and “effectively threw their three children under a bus”.
A friend from Middleton said, “The fact is that locking in means that they are spending more time with children than ever.”
But by the time Meghan got pregnant with her son Archie, there was talk of a break, not only among the smart friends of royal couples, but also in royal circles.
What was said was that William had previously questioned the haste with which his younger brother wanted to marry Meghan. Of course, William went out with Kate for eight years before giving her an engagement ring.
Harry, meanwhile, made his decision almost immediately after being introduced to the star of the American legal drama Suits – a woman three years older – at a dinner in London.
For William, advising caution was just common sense. But Harry, still sensitive, would have interpreted the words of his brother, as well as those of other members of his entourage, as an implicit criticism of his choice of wife. To some extent, that explains her – and her – sensitivity to the approach of their marriage.
According to insiders, “the pantyhose episode” – as reported by Tatler – is “not entirely fair.”
But what upset the Cambridges, and deeply upset them, was the statement that Kate somehow feels the rights increase that has come to her.
The article quotes a friend, still unnamed, who reportedly said, “Kate is furious at the increased workload. Sure, she smiles and dresses appropriately, but she doesn’t want that. She feels exhausted and trapped.
“She works as hard as a CEO, who must be moved all the time, without the benefits of borders and many vacations. “
Kate, Meghan and Pippa Middleton in the Royal Box on Center Court Wimbledon Tennis Championships, July 13, 2019
Aides refuses to be drawn into this point, but I understand that this statement that she is hardworking is totally rejected and that the couple is angry at what they perceive as a false and misleading image. A figure says that the duchess “does more, because she asked to do more”.
A close friend said to me, “Yes, she juggles a lot with three young children at home while contributing when she can to the national effort, but she is very aware that there are many, many more people under many more pressure than she does. . ‘
They particularly reject the idea that this makes the Duchess disconnected from the difficulties faced by many households.
The Tatler Profile was written by Anna Pasternak, the author who made a name for himself in 1994 with the book Princess In Love, a fictionalized account of the Princess Diana affair with cavalry officer James Hewitt.
Her snooty references to her own family are particularly hurtful for Kate. He describes the aspirations of greatness of his mother Carole, Hyacinth Bucket, who is rumored to put people back like Kate doesn’t.
Quoting a craftsman who had worked at Anmer Hall, the country home of William and Kate, he said that Ms. Middleton was “the most difficult client” with whom he had ever worked. ”
Harry, Meghan and their baby Archie during their royal tour of South Africa in 2019
“She was extremely demanding, meticulous and challenged everything,” reports the magazine.
But this is just the start. Mocking the polished interior of the Norfolk house to which Carole stamped, the article says, “Far from being a typical Arista home with worn carpets and dog hair everywhere, like, let’s say , Windsor and Balmoral, it is, according to a visitor, “like a sparkling five-star hotel with plumped cushions and burning candles”. “Another would be cited with disdain:” It’s very Buckinghamshire “.
Meanwhile, a friend of television presenter Donna Air, who was dating Kate’s brother James Middleton, is said to have described Carole as “a terrible snob.”
Even Kate’s sister Pippa is no stranger to sneering comments. She “speaks like the queen,” said one of her relatives.
The underlying message in all of this is that the Middletons are pushy or, as Tatler says about Carole, “not quite our class, honey”.
How much will Kate find out? The answer, I guess, lies in the Palace’s rapid refutation.
Tatler is read by the Duchess’ friends and hangs out in the lounges of the country houses she visits with William.
References to William’s relationship with his family will also be painful. A “big country” is reported to have said: “I have heard that Prince William is obsessed with Carole. It’s the mummy he’s always wanted. “
This, say friends, is absurd. And this is not the only reference to the Princess of Wales. The article also says: “Outwardly, it seems that with years of pressure on the public, Kate has become dangerously thin, just as – some point out – Princess Diana. “
But the princess suffered from an eating disorder that was for a moment a central and damaging feature of her life.
For Kate, it is perhaps the most uncomfortable barbel of all.