UK professor: Duchess Kate ‘constructed as this… maternal, doll-like precious vessel’

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I don’t know if Duchess Kate is still in Mustique. My guess was that she wouldn’t come back to London until she has to. But some sources claims she’s already back in London, awaiting her next public appearance. I think her next scheduled public appearance is… sometime this week, maybe Wednesday or Thursday? Then she and William will attend the BAFTAs on Sunday night. And then next Monday, she’ll be co-hosting (with the Queen) a RADA reception with Benedict Cumberbatch!! This is just an FYI – in the next week, we should have a lot of Duchess Kate pics (yay).

Meanwhile, do you remember the controversy last year with historical novelist/respected writer Hilary Mantel? Mantel gave a speech wherein she discussed “the royal bodies” and the power-playing royal women and how they acquire their power, etc. Mantel offered a blunt and harsh assessment of Kate, saying in part that Kate is “a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung… a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own… [she is as] painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character… She appears precision-made, machine-made.” And on and on. Mantel later backtracked in a really half-assed way, but one Cambridge professor has now stepped up to basically say the same thing:

Television academic Mary Beard has agreed with a novelist whose controversial comments described the Duchess of Cambridge as a “shop window mannequin”.

Last year Man Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel sparked outcry from some quarters, including the Prime Minister, when she detailed the perception of the Duchess, which she said had been built up in the tabloid press.

Prof Beard, the Cambridge University classicist, backed the author’s comments by saying the HRH had been turned into a silent object to be admired.

She told The Times: “I think Hilary Mantel was probably right. She’s been constructed as this admirable, maternal, doll-like precious vessel. Who’s done it? In part she has constructed herself, in part she has taken on a job, which has its up sides and down sides.”

“She is constantly reproduced so there are lots of things in complicity. You could say that’s the deal. We have no clue whether she has made the right or wrong decision. But when I saw her with a grey hair I thought ‘great’.”

The professor has been targeted for not conforming to what is seen as society’s expectations that women wear make-up and heels.

On Nigella Lawson she added: “I imagine she’s imprisoned by her role as the domestic goddess. An awful lot of women feel all the time they’re acting their role.”

[From Cambridge News]

I don’t think Beard’s assessment of Kate is as harsh as Hilary Mantel’s, but Beard seems to have the same gist: the media construction of Kate is as a plastic person, a false construct of femininity, all hair and clothes and no soul. And like Mantel, Beard seems to be putting some of that on us, saying that’s what we demand of our royal women now, that they have to be so broadly inoffensive that they lack anything real or possibly controversial. And yeah… that’s kind of dead-on.

Last thing – and I’m positive we’ll be hearing from Morrissey on this one! – Prince William was photographed on a “wild boar hunt” in Spain a few days ago. Apparently, in between his studies at Cambridge, he managed to go on hunting holiday with Harry and some male friends. It’s kind of awkward timing because William is due to participate in a “high-profile government-hosted conference” about poaching and illegal wildlife trade this week. Classic Wills.

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140 Responses to “UK professor: Duchess Kate ‘constructed as this… maternal, doll-like precious vessel’”

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  1. lisa2 says:

    I didn’t read the entire article; but I said myself that I too think that the presentation of Cate is intentional. I think the Royal family is not going to have another Diana. They will not have that kind of “Queen” to William’s “King”. Diana right or wrong ruined the vision of Charles as King. She was a bigger personality. She took the light. That won’t happen again. Cate will not be that kind of Queen. She has yet to my knowledge took a passionate stand for anything.

    I think she is exactly what they want. And I don’t think William is encouraging her do be anything more than what she is; and that seems to be a stay at home mommy and a future queen to stand next to him not in front of him.

    • ahoyhoy says:

      I agree with everything you said, and I also think she’s exactly what they want. I do think she participates in her own ‘vanilla’ image though, for approval & survival. She knew going in, she’d have to be bland.

    • Ice Maiden says:

      Exactly. Apparently when Charles and Diana used to do their little walkabouts, shaking hands with the common folk and all that royal stuff, there was always an audible sigh from the side of the road assigned to Charles. Everyone wanted ‘Lady Di’ even though she was just the consort, and he the Prince of Wales. I think the royals are determined not to let that happen again, and with Kate they had the perfect consort. Bland, presentable, educated (but not too educated!) pretty (but not too pretty!) and most of all, knows her place and is SO grateful for her position. I don’t think the ‘vanilla’ image is imposed upon her either – I think it’s just who she is. There ain’t a whole lot going on in that well coiffed little head of hers.

      • Seagulls says:

        But who would know? Looking back at the old pictures of her, she looked like she had a real spark of personality. She really, really isn’t allowed to have one now, past bland acceptability. That doesn’t just say what we expect about Royal women, in some ways that says what women are allowed to express at all.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        Obviously none of us know Kate so can’t really know what she’s *really* like.

        However, it is a fact that, despite her expensive education and excellent connections, she is a 31 year old women who has NEVER had a serious job of any sort. She seemed quite content to make it her ‘job’ to wait nearly a decade for Wills to pop the question. Other royal girlfriends have worked – even Diana, though she was a decade younger than Kate when she married, and came from a social class where women weren’t really expected to have careers, had a job, of sorts. The fact that Kate never felt the need to get a job, or even pursue a hobby or interest, does indicate to me that there’s just not that much to her. Sometimes, what you see really is what you get.

      • My2Pence says:

        @ Seagulls. Maxima of the Netherlands has an enormous amount of spark and personality, and she is mostly embraced by her adopted country. I don’t think royal spouses are required to be devoid of personality (a la Kate Middleton), they’re supposed to be devoid of (publicly-stated) political opinions.

      • bluhare says:

        I decided I really like Maxima, 2Pence. She and the King met with Francois Hollande this week. She looked great and Hollande said she looked like a movie star. So Maxima quipped “Nice to hear from an expert.” Zing!!

      • LAK says:

        What seems to be lost in translation is that every royal interprets the job as they assume it works. There are restrictions, but not as more or less than people keep talking about.

        Leaving aside tax payer money/head of state thing, Kate is expected to have a sense of duty. Is that our expectation or the example shown by the Queen.

        Nothing much was expected of Diana especially because of her age and education, and she rose and created her own version of what a royal should be (personal issues aside). And we spoilt now because we expect every royal woman to have that sense of duty.

        The clothing within the confines of protocol, again it’s Kate’s own interpretation of what a royal should dress like.

        The Queen Mother felt that she should always be dressed to the nines despite the war and rationing. That was *her* interpretation of what a royal should be.

        Ditto all the royal women from HM down to Kate.

        With regards personality, I don’t think any of us are in doubt about the personalities of the various royal women. Kate presents a bland personality because that’s what she is.

        There is no gossip, rumour, or even official tale of what she is behind the scenes that differs from what we see.

      • LAK says:

        Goodness my post is illiterate. Apologies for all the mistakes *blushing and hanging head in shame*

      • LAK says:

        Bluhare: zing!! :)

        That French affair is so devilishly entertaining. Like the Murdoch affair. What the hell is a ‘first girlfriend’ anyway??!!

      • bluhare says:

        LAK, no kidding!! I think Valerie got a bit ahead of herself, though, if she thinks she’s going to make it as a global humanitarian.

      • Suze says:

        @bluhare – Gah! I hadn’t heard that quote. Ha!

        I *love* Maxima. A brilliant, brilliant woman in many respects and very good for her adopted country. A hot mess most of the time style wise but who the heck cares when you get those brains as part of the package?

        Wax and Max are running around the Olympics supporting the Dutch team so keep an eye out for them.

      • My2Pence says:

        re: Maxima, I know, she’s raised the bar. 5 languages and counting. You can see photos of the Dutch royals – along with some others at the Olympics – here:

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2555179/Princess-Anne-Princess-Charlene-Albert-Monaco-Dutch-Royals-wrap-warm-Sochi-2014-Winter-Olympics.html

        Wax and Max rode bikes through the Olympic village to go see the Dutch team, orange (or House of Orange) scarves flying.

      • Suze says:

        Those are great, My2Pence! Thanks! Wax/Max are quite the team.

        And a photo of Char and Prince Chunky actually looking affectionate – bonus.

      • Dominique says:

        I’ve never had the sense that anyone in the BRF has been blessed with much intelligence. Few have gone to university and there is no way that the schools they attended have not “helped” them along the way sheerly out of the self-interest in hosting high profile alumni. Which is not to say they aren’t or can’t be perfectly lovely individuals. Diana, of course, very big-hearted; Harry also, a sweet, charming, not so bright lad; Wills can be funny at times yet hardly seems a Mensa candidate and also seems the least naturally ‘nice’. Among all the cousins and extended family members, some are generous, some work hard, some are self-effacing, many are gracious and kind when performing their duties or encountering the public, but none stand out as highly intelligent, am I wrong? Against this backdrop, Kate fits in very well. A little self-involved maybe, but Will gets that, and otherwise, she seems to have a consistently pleasant, friendly demeanour, no IQ required.

      • Suze says:

        @Dominique – You’re right of course. If you dropped a Max in the British royal family she would terrify everyone.

      • bluhare says:

        You guys it was Mathilde who said the zinger to Hollande. I was reading about Maxima and got them confused. Sorry!

    • My2Pence says:

      (Arrgh. A multi-paragraph post was eaten. Trying again:)

      I don’t think Kate Middleton is exactly what the royal family wants. She is far far less than the ideal. She is known for hair and clothes, but not for her work because she just doesn’t do much at all and never has. Many people complain online about the Middleton family, who are much more in the public eye than any other married-in in-laws. I’d bet the royals would prefer in-laws — commoner or otherwise — who choose a lower profile, and don’t have a press-happy dodgy uncle and questionable funding

      She had 10 years to prepare for this and clearly didn’t, which merely underlines her laziness. If any royal spouse should have been able to hit the ground running it would have been her. She isn’t what they needed or wanted, she is merely what they have to work with.

      They have a great deal of work to do to TRY to bring her up to even a basic level. She does not dress appropriately, hence all the Marilyn moments, and despite spending $150,000 of taxpayer money on clothing. She cannot make basic small talk (“Can you test the smell by smelling it?”). She continues to act inappropriately in public (hair twirling at the cenotaph, grinning and laughing her way through the NZ memorial signing). She cannot act engaged in the people she meets; her own cousin is on record saying something like KM has always struggled to find other people interesting and be engaged in what is happening around her (????). She and her husband are just plain lazy.

      Sophie of Wessex is also from a commoner background, without the Middleton money. She does what they need: dresses appropriately, shows up, acts engaged in her work.

      As someone else pointed out, Sophie worked for a living supporting herself (not living in a ritzy apartment purchased by her family). She had her own PR company, even after she married, until she shut it down after being caught in a trap from a tabloid. She understands the PR of her role, which is what Middleton desperately needs to understand as well.

      • bluhare says:

        What amazes me is that Kate looked so capable before she got engaged.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        I also think the Royals are probably a bit disappointed with Kate. I’d say they’re surprised at the complete lack of enthusiasm she has shown for the role she waited 10 years to bag, and the total lack of even feigned interest she shows in other people. They wanted someone bland, but not THIS bland!

        That said, in the scheme of things, being lazy and frivolous is nowhere near as bad – from the royals’ point of view – as being willful, mentally unstable and scandalous, which is what Diana was. Kate has had a scandal-free (the French patio incident aside, and she was more pitied than frowned upon for that) 3 years in ‘office’ and produced a healthy son. So, all things considered, I’d say the royals are fairly satisfied with William’s choice, even if they wish she’d at least make a pretence of working every now and then.

      • Maureen says:

        We’ll see how it all goes when William is older and ready for a mistress. Because they all do it.

      • FLORC says:

        Maureen
        William was a known wanderer in his relationships and likely cheated on Kate throughout their years pre wedding. I’m quite sure he’s enjoying his side pieces. I think generally a “mistress” is 1 woman with an assigned role to be a distraction for the prince.

        And agree with everyone. Kate had a spark and personality. She didn’t have to become a shell of her former self. Only to marry William.

    • hmmm says:

      @bluehare

      “What amazes me is that Kate looked so capable before she got engaged.”

      Capable of what? Just wondering.

      • bluhare says:

        LOL!!

        I’m not sure; it’s just that when she was single and being papped she looked so much more purposeful than she does now.

      • Miffy says:

        Feigning interest and not twirling her hair like an extra from Clueless. High standards indeed.

    • Suze says:

      May I say that I love your wording “she took the light”? Such a perfect, spot-on analysis of Diana/Charles in four words.

    • Anne says:

      I don’t believe a person with “personality” can be forced to become something she is not. Only a person devoid of personality can be fabricated into a product.
      If Kate did have a personality as you are indicating, then how did she express it? Could you give concrete examples? Present Kate has an empty expression on her face which says she does not know why she is where she is.

    • MooHoo says:

      i wonder if because kate spent so long “preparing” for this role – since possibly her 17th year – that any spontaneity, spark, character, individuality, has been erased over time. Or she has had to watch her Ps and Qs so much over the years, that she really has been reduced to this shell-like doll. I think it is a tough job.

  2. vylette says:

    Will is like a petulant child. Who will di exactly what he wishes. We should stop expecting anything worthwhile from him and his wife

  3. ray says:

    i very much hope we hear for morrissey on that one, i could listen to him speak and read his words all day.

    • Hazel says:

      You know, I’ve met quite a few wildlife biologists through work & quite a number of them are hunters. I found that odd–aren’t they supposed to be concerned about preserving wildlife, etc.,? Yet, not all species are endangered & human beings have been hunters since the beginning. Of course, getting your yearly deer tag & going to one of these estates maintained specifically for killing as many critters as you can is a whole other thing!

      • Hillshmill says:

        Agreed. I’m an environmental scientist and studied biology in college. Hunting an animal that may be invasive and/or destructive to the inherently natural environment (like wild boar can be) is a completely different situation than poaching endangered species.

      • Seagulls says:

        When I was little I just thought hunting was the most despicable activity. I still don’t understand the desire to kill, but if you’re ethically hunting for something common, and especially invasive, I don’t particularly care,

        Canned hunts, though? Or poaching? Argh.

      • Original N says:

        I should preface my statement by the fact I am a vegetarian so I find it hard to remain objective about hunting as a sport. That said, I suppose my issue with regard to the hunt discussed above is that part of the reason these types of hunts are ‘needed’ (the ones to cull herds) is attributable to the fact humans killed off the natural predators that would have taken care of this. An example from here in the States: from what I understand, when wolves were released into Yellowstone as part of a restoration project and some ventured out of the park, they were killed by hunters and this was legal. However, the elk population out west is now in need of being culled … and wolves are a natural solution to this.

      • bluhare says:

        If an animal destructive to its natural habitat is the main reason for hunting (to save the habitat) then we should be the most hunted species on the planet. We carry on about what animals do to the habitat when it is us who have done all the damage.

      • Mel says:

        “If an animal destructive to its natural habitat is the main reason for hunting (to save the habitat) then we should be the most hunted species on the planet. We carry on about what animals do to the habitat when it is us who have done all the damage. ”

        There is no AMEN big enough to express just how much and how passionately I agree with this.
        (As anyone who knows me would attest.)

        THANK YOU.

      • Original N says:

        I’m +2 for Bluhare!

      • hmmm says:

        William and Harry kill hundreds of birds in a session, other times stags and deer and boars as well and who knows what else. They are not culling. They are not eating that much. They are not feeding the poor. They are blood thirsty entitled aristos. I will say it again- bloodthirsty. This is their idea of sport, killing defenseless creatures. A bloodsport. And yet people find excuses for them

        William is a hypocrite of the first order, sobbing for the rare, massacring the common. He is so removed from reality of any sort. His life is a lie.

    • Maureen says:

      Animals eat other animals. That’s the cycle of life. How come the animal lovers don’t hate tigers for eating elk, but they scream about humans eating chickens? ANIMALS EAT ANIMALS. It’s what a huge portion of the animal kingdom does. And humans are animals.

      • My2Pence says:

        I think some of the objections over William doing this at this time might include:

        1) Poor timing with the upcoming conservation event.

        2) He’s supposed to be “in school”, which is the most recent excuse why he isn’t working. His “course” is designed around his schedule and tailored to his requests. That course was the excuse given as to why he didn’t go on vacation to see his son play on the beach for the first time. Turns out, he didn’t want to be with them on vacation, which says a whole lot about that relationship. He’d rather spend time killing things.

        3) The royals seem to shoot for pleasure not for food. Why not just shoot skeet? I state “shoot” not “hunt”, no hunters I know would call what the royals do true hunting. The birds at Sandringham are bred to be slow and unable to fly far. They shoot them with buckshot, making them unable to be eaten. Why not make it a fair match, rather than have beaters and dogs frightening dumb, engineered-to-be-slow birds to fly straight at the hunters? And shoot them with something else (not buckshot) so the birds could be prepped and eaten by the royals or given to food banks, homeless shelters, etc. All of that food goes to waste every time the royals go “hunting”.

        4) The animals on the Spanish property seem to be bred, like the Sandringham ones, to not have a fair chance. They aren’t culling to control the population of wild boars that are threatening homes and people. They are shooting animals that were over-bred specifically so they could be killed. Again, not much “sporting chance” kind of idea.

        5) As the potential future King of England, William seems to think the hunting is better in Spain. VERY bad PR for the UK’s hunting/tourism industry. Like when they go skiing every year in Switzerland and France, rather than being papped just once skiing in Scotland.

      • bluhare says:

        Maureen, animals hunting for food is much different than our factory farming. I personally have no issues with a humanely raised animal being humanely slaughtered for food, although I couldn’t do it myself. I abhor factory farming (speaking of chickens) which is where a huge chunk of our meat comes from. Agribusiness destroys the environment and cruelly treats the animals being raised for food. And a lot of them are not slaughtered humanely either.

        A wild animal hunts for its food, kills it, eats it, and that’s that. Nature can be cruel, no doubt, but it’s not intentionally cruel just for profit.

      • Suze says:

        @My2Pence – Plus one, big time.

        I actually have few objections to hunting non-endangered species. However, Williams is just tone deaf – or maybe he is just indifferent or – worse – contemptuous toward public opinion.

        And for heaven’s sake, as My2Pence said, make it a fair fight. Get off your protected ranches with animals bred for the kill. Stop having your employees chase the animals into corners so you can have the thrill of the kill.

        Eat what you kill or better yet, get it to people who need food and let them eat it.

        This goes for Harry, too, and I love him. But they are both blind on this particular issue.

  4. Ice Maiden says:

    I just LOVE Professor Beard. Granted, I love all things Ancient Roman anyway, but Beard manages to be both massively erudite and extremely entertaining and charismatic all at the same time. She’s definitely be on my ”ideal dinner guests” list.

    • Make mine a double says:

      I’ve just posted a link to her reply via her twitter feed but it’s currently stuck in moderating hell. I’m a huge fan too. And yes, hugely entertaining dinner party guest.

    • Bored suburbanhousewife says:

      @Ice Maiden–I too am an Ancient Rome obsessive! I’ve heard about Mary Beard of course but never read her. Must go to library immediately, especially as she is also praised by the always correct LAK!

      Assume you guys have all seen I Claudius and the Rome miniseries– one of MY old time dream dinner guests is Sian Phillips, the venerable actress who played the chilling Livia. Have you guys read her memoirs? I just finished Public Places and it’s great reading. She is so highly literate, her life so fascinating I could not put it down. She also provides an interesting and informative perspective on a frequently debated topic on this board–why does a strong, intelligent woman stay with an abusive man?

      Sorry to ramble on off topic-totally agree with these profs about the Duchess. I do feel sorry for her, I have never seen any woman of her age who literally has no friends. It is just weird AND sad.

      • LAK says:

        Bored Surbanhousewife: it’s spooky how we read the same books within the same time frame. I picked up that memoir this week to start reading end of next week after work slows down alittle.

      • Bored suburbanhousewife says:

        Oh I love this! That is great to hear–I know you will enjoy and hope you will pass through some of your comments on the book to me here on the boards! I know you have read Annabel Goldsmiths memoir too– a real mind blowing trip through the upper class. Gave me a whole new perspective on the Diana Charles Camilla Andrew Parker Bowles situation.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        I haven’t read Sian’s book, but her Livia in ‘I Claudius’ is one of my favourite TV characters ever. So deliciously evil. I also loved the young actress who played Livia in Season Two of ‘Rome’. The fact that we saw so little of her due to that wonderful series being cut short makes me sad.

  5. Make mine a double says:

    I’m a huge fan of Mary Beard. I follow her on twitter and this is what she has to say about the whole Kate thing.
    http://timesonline.typepad.com/dons_life/2014/02/me-and-kate-the-record-straight.html

    • Ice Maiden says:

      Seems like a bit of a storm in a teacup. Like she said, the media can’t get enough of the ‘women hating other women’ line, even when nothing of the sort actually took place. Are women only ‘allowed’ to have overwhelmingly positive views of other women?

      • Make mine a double says:

        Especially when it was only a tiny part of a wide ranging interview. The press just love stirring things up.
        I think it’s more that no one is allowed to criticise Kate. The female columnist, who admittedly very ignorantly, asked why she still had a bump when she came out of hospital after giving birth, was absolutely hammered in the rest of the press.
        And they love the whole bluestocking vs beauty debate too. That one’s been going for about the last 400 years.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        That comment about Kate’s ‘bump’ was ridiculous though, coming from a grown woman. So skin and organs which have been gradually stretched over 9 months are just going to snap back like an elastic band within a DAY of giving birth? Silly woman.

        I agree with you though that Kate has become ‘she who cannot be criticised’, or even analysed in a non-grovelling way.

    • Hazel says:

      Thank you for including this link. It’s a helpful reminder to go to the source, and to think about the point of view a particular ‘news’ outlet is trying to promulgate. Love Mary Beard. And why is no makeup and no heels considered weird?!

  6. BeckyR says:

    This is a load of rubbish.

  7. Froop says:

    I love Mary Beard. I hate that any woman who dares to criticise Kate gets chased after, even though their comments are totally accurate. See also: Hilary Mantel.

  8. Aria says:

    People compares her to Anne Boleyn (!) but she seems to me more like a Jane Seymore type. Ambitious and clever enough to know “her place”.

    • Ice Maiden says:

      Absolutely! Ann Boleyn was extremely intelligent, provocative and charismatic. Despite not being a notable beauty, several men at court were in love with her. Deffo agree that Kate is much more of a Jane Seymour type – underneath the bland, placid exterior, in her own way she was probably just as ambitious as Anne, just using different tactics.

    • Jaded says:

      Yes, she definitely has the quiet, placid demeanour of a Jane Seymour but undoubtedly has the steely determination underneath it all to have “won the prize”. Like Jane she also has a rich and influential family behind her who were no doubt hard at work pulling her strings during the long courtship.

      • Relli says:

        So interesting you bring this up. Ever since Will and Kate have been engaged and married I love readng everyone’s input on the royal family and the politics of the UK. A few of you mentioned the odd lineage of the Windor’s and it got me thinking that I although I adored your entertainment (grew up on BBC programming love it) I didn’t know anything about your history. Since I have more time on my hands to listen than read I started on some documentaries and Wow so interesting! But there was one particular documentary about Henry’s wives and they way they highlighted Lady Jane made me think automatically of Kate and I couldn’t even see her! It was defintely the social climbing aspect and the securing her family.

    • bluhare says:

      What everyone said. The Seymours were connivers of the first order.

    • LAK says:

      That’s what I always say. She’s Jane Seymour.

      I think the Anne Boleyn comparison is due to the existence of Mary Boleyn, so people see 2 sisters now vs two sisters then.

      With regards Middletons as the Boleyns, again, I would say any medieval family wishing to advance by marrying/mistressing the King will do. The Boleyns are merely the most family that did this, but then so did the Seymours.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        And, like Jane, Kate produced a fine son at the first time of asking. Not that that’s such a big deal these days, but still. ‘The other Middleton girl’ joke IS funny, but all things considered, Kate is much more the docile Jane Seymour than the sophisticated Anne Boleyn.

        No doubt had Jane lived, she’d have turned a blind eye to her husband’s mistresses, like all good consorts were expected to do. Should William ever have a fling – though imho he’s too dull to even bother – I’m sure Kate would do the same. Diana, by contrast, threw a fit over Camilla, just like Anne Boleyn (though the two women were very different) did when Henry took mistresses.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        One way in which Kate does resemble Anne Boleyn is their persistence and tenacity. Anne was Henry’s mistress for about 7 years before they married, due to the difficulty in getting his first marriage annulled, and Kate of course spent that time and more waiting for a proposal. By contrast, Henry’s marriage to Jane took place within a year – maybe less – of him falling in love with her, prior to which time nobody seems to have paid Jane the slightest attention at all, even though she had been at court for several years.

    • Reece says:

      And she had a boy. Although we know now it’s not the egg that determines sex but you know…she had a boy.

      Edit: Ice Maiden your comment wasn’t up when I started typing.
      Great minds ;)

    • Aria says:

      It feels good not be alone with this statement.

  9. Feebee says:

    Totally agree with this assessment. I think that’s also why they waited so long to marry. Everyone had to be sure there’d be no “personality-awakening”, the kind where you seem to find your voice through your 20s. It’s like they waited then clicked their fingers in front of her with no reaction and so it was ‘okay, good to go’.

    Who knows what the future will bring. She may hit 40 and wonder what the hell’s going on but in the meantime everything will go as it has.

    As for Will’s wild boar hunt/govt conference conflict, I don’t see it. Are wild boars not acceptable? It’s not like he was hunting a black rhino.

    • Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

      And at least the boars outside – it would be cool if Wills $ Kate would take some activisim against factory farming.

    • ItSetsYou says:

      @Freebee
      What would she need to ‘awake’ from? Really, I don’t get the whole – run, Kate, run! Being a royal is just like having any other family and a job. None are perfect and I really do not see anything terrible about her situation.
      Diana suffered because she couldn’t conform, didn’t want to. Kate doesn’t stand for anything and appears to be perfectly content with the good and the bad side of being a royal. Why is everyone trying to make it what it is not? I’m genuinely curious.

  10. Zbornak Syndrome says:

    Well at least she ain’t twerking. I wouldn’t be TOO alarmed if my daughter admired her. At least she had the grit to get what she wanted, even if what she wanted was to be a Wife and Mother. That is not a crime.

    • Angelic 21 says:

      Really you think Kate waited for a decade to be just a housewife and a mother?! If she did want to just that, she definitely married the wrong man and stop taking out money and living in palaces.

    • Suze says:

      She waited a decade to become a duchess, then a princess, then a queen consort. Marrying William assured that she will never be just a wife and mother, she will always always have a public job serving her country.

      If her goal was wife and mother then she could have chosen a much easier, less time consuming route. And would have probably married a person who was much easier to live with.

  11. HH says:

    I don’t know why people would so offended. If you really sit down to think about Kate, you realize we that we’ve only received a hint of a personality. Whether this is due to her “royal expectations” or the fact that she’s just a mundane individual is of no consequence. I still have only a faint idea about her true interests, passions, etc.)

  12. Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

    I still want Harry to marry Lupita so we can have some interesting Royals to look at.

  13. Original N says:

    I recognize that the Daily Mail has a specific set of readers/commenters and their views may not be indicative of general public perception, but I find it intriguing that the best rated comments appear to indicate that the general feeling regarding W & K is changing …

    • InvaderTak says:

      From what to what? I’m American. Seems to me the consensus was split down the middle. 50/50 for/against.

  14. Gracie says:

    Because god forbid women in positions of power show emotion and passion and be interesting. I admit, I’m not a Kate fan. But that has to do with the constant fawning over them, and the fact that I hate royalty and think it has no use in the modern world. Regardless, I’d like Kate a lot more if she caused some controversy by being opinionated, intelligent, strong. She just seems so robotic and vapid. She has the time and the money and the fame to actually make a difference in the world, but she’s not utilizing it. I wish I could’ve lived through the Di era. She died when I was a baby so I don’t remember her at all, but the way people seem to have sort of canonized her really speaks to who she was. I keep hoping Harry marries a headstrong and defiant (and ethnic, but that’s neither here nor there) woman who brings the monarchy to its knees. That’d be awesome.

    • Maureen says:

      I lived through the Diana era. I even remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard about her accident and death. Diana glowed, and was bright, and seemed kind. But the REAL truth is that a lot of the adoration and myth around her is pure Cult of Personality. She was vapid, too. At least Kate went to university. Diana never, ever came across as intellectual or thoughtful. However, she loved attention and she loved helping people or at least being seen as someone who was helping people. Her marriage, charity work, and public life was the platform for attention she craved. But she was no brain box — not any more than Kate.

  15. anne_000 says:

    Are the Brits forgetting the party-girl Kate with her drunken photos & photos angled view up her short dresses? The one that did nothing substantial because she had no substantial interest in anyone beyond herself? Because that’s the girl William married & that’s the girl that can’t be shown in the media anymore.

    • Maureen says:

      You mean the girl who sashayed down the runway of a student fashion show wearing a bikini under a see-through shirt because she knew the future king of England was sitting in the audience?

      • j says:

        Thank you! I remember that time clearly and the impression she made was SO negative. All those silly, open-mouthed images of her emerging from a club at night when she was clearly ELATED to receive the attention of photographers – the glee she demonstrated felt so off to me. When I see her now, I still see that girl – the vapid cat that got the cream. I like royalty, I’ll admit it – I like the ceremony and the tradition – but for all the regal beauty that surrounds Kate now, none of it changes the impression I have of her. It just doesn’t stick. It’s pure PR: spin and image manipulation. Though I do hope she comes into her own and makes a difference with the prominent position she’s in.

  16. s says:

    I feel like Kate isn’t making a “sacrifice” to be bland. She’s in it for the clothes and the holidays and the lifestyle. Period. She has achieved the sum of her ambitions.

    Looking and behaving the way she does, however, is a job, and one that she is doing well. Woman probably hasn’t had a carbohydrate in a decade.

    • Maureen says:

      I hope she’s at least a warm and loving and concerned mother. At the very least. Because if she is at least those things then it’s great for her that she had a baby. A baby gives her something to love and care about besides herself.

    • My2Pence says:

      “Looking and behaving the way she does, however, is a job, and one that she is doing well. Woman probably hasn’t had a carbohydrate in a decade. ”

      Please see points under #1 above; many people feel she is not doing a good job.

      Being obviously too thin for her frame is a choice she made in the last few years. Choosing to be too thin (for vanity?) to the point that she is used as “thinspiration” for anorexics does not translate to “doing well” to me.

  17. bettyrose says:

    But Kate is the wife of a royal. If she were an heir in her own right, perhaps she would be encouraged to stand out. Presumably a female heir would be partnered with a bland husband who wouldn’t out shine her. But it’ll be at least four generations until the next female heir, so we can’t easily test this theory. I certainly do hope Prince George’s first born is a girl, though. Wake me in 30 years when she’s born.

    • LAK says:

      Or a set of circumstance could lead to abdication of charles’s entire line and we end up with Queen Beatrice, with (assuming she marries her current BF) American consort!!

      • bettyrose says:

        LMAO! Can we calculate the odds of that happening? :)

      • bluhare says:

        I don’t think the world could handle a Queen Bea!

      • Suze says:

        I thought you were talking about the recently abdicated Queen Bea (I think they called her Trixie, though) of the Netherlands – another of my royal heroes. The Netherlands loved their Queen Trixie.

        Oh, well, it would take a crazy set of circumstances for Great Britain to get a Queen Bea, and I can’t wish that on anyone.

      • bluhare says:

        I meant more like Queen Bee, Suze. What a name for a monarch. You can trivialize it in three seconds or less!

      • Dominique says:

        Queen Bea & Dave! That’s funny!

  18. Maureen says:

    I don’t know her. I don’t know who she is. I don’t have ANY sense of a whole picture, or even a half picture, or hell — let’s come right out with it — 1/8 of a picture of who Kate Middleton-Windsor is. I don’t know what books she reads (if at all) or what she thinks about politics and religion and movies and art and current events and parenting and marriage, or if she gives even a whit about any of these things at all. What I do know is this: she waited TEN YEARS for her boyfriend (on/off even!) to marry her, and during that 10 years she did nothing of substance for herself, her community, or society at large — as far as we know. Her history of do-nothing-just-wait appalls me. That’s why I have no respect for her. NONE. I don’t NEED to know anything else about her. That one fact of her life history is enough for me.

    • Suze says:

      She is a complete cipher.

      I will say the photos of her pre-Wills years, and even her girlfriend years showed a livelier person with some personality in her eyes.

      • Maureen says:

        I think she was incredibly attractive in those pre-marriage days because she was SO glowing with health and vitality. She’s really tall (5’10″ if I’m correct) and in those days she weighed a little more than now and had a really athletic build. I think that kind of woman — that sort of healthy and robust girl out in the canoe or hiking up a mountain or whatever sporty things she was doing back then — is such a beautiful image. So even if you didn’t know much about her personality, opinions, character, likes and dislikes, you at least had the “feeling” that something could be there. But now … I’m not so sure.

      • My2Pence says:

        There is ongoing debate about her height. Really, nothing of note to talk about her work, so the little things get discussed. There are people who are adamant that she is 5’10″ – because they need her to be the same height as his mother? – but she’s really more like 5’6″. And I agree, her sporty build was much healthier and appealing than her weight now.

        She’s slightly downhill, but if he is 6’3″ there is no way she is 5’10″
        http://amokmagazine.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/2011__07__william_kate_july6_92_-_2.jpg%3Fw%3D400

        In this one, they’re side-by-side. She’s wearing Jimmy Choo’s that add at least 5 inches to her height. (5.5 inch heel, 1 inch platform) Plus he’s wearing dress shoes, so that adds 1 or 1.5 inches to his height too.
        http://assets-s3.usmagazine.com/uploads/assets/articles/46700-kate-middleton-wears-loose-fitting-silver-gown-to-palace-dinner/1320964696_prince-william-kate-middleton-467.jpg

      • Suze says:

        I agree, Maureen. I found her much more attractive in her girlfriend years, not because she was younger, but because she was so athletic and healthy-looking.

    • TG says:

      She even dropped out of a charity event she was training for the second Will snapped his fingers again after having dumped her for the umpteenth time. Pathetic.

      • Maum says:

        That event she was ‘training for’ involved her sitting in a boat (it was a charity boat race) in full make up while the other girls rowed and did all the work.
        She then pulled out because her presence was too distracting.

  19. Bored suburbanhousewife says:

    I would like to ask our royal observers to comment on her friendless ness. Did she used to have close girlfriends in school but gave them up to ensure no embarrassing leaks? Was she always a loner? Diana had here issues but she seemed to have had many close friendships and used to meet girlfriends for lunch like a normal person. It is just not normal for a young woman to have zero friends and socialize exclusively with her family. Thoughts?

    • LAK says:

      My opinion only, but I think this was a deliberate choice after William entered the picture because she had friends, who were dropped in favour of William’s friends. The only way she could prove her trustworthiness (sp) was to hang out with people already known to him.

      As for family as friends to exclusion of outsiders, I blame Carole’s uptradey policy for her children. If the external world is occupied with people who can only be viewed for their social usefulness to you, then the nuclear family remains the only safe haven where you can be yourself and can trust absolutely.

      In a lot of ways that makes *her* a bad friend to have because as soon as you outlive your usefulness, you are dropped – see Emma Sayles.

      • Bored suburbanhousewife says:

        Do we know if she had close friends in school? I would have thought Carole would push her daughters to befriend female classmates “of the right sort” as part of the social climbing. I’m sort of surprised the girls do not have a network of well born female friends as part of their strategy for moving up and gaining acceptance in the aristo world.

      • bluhare says:

        Bored suburbanhousewife: The only two friends of hers I can think of are Trini Foyle (I think that’s her name) and Emelia Wickstead (Jardine? can’t think of her married name. Trini is someone she’s known since school, and that’s all I know about her. She’s got a baby and Kate’s been photographed with her in London. Emelia is the person who got her intros to William’s circle at Marlborough, and she was repaid for that by being godmother to William.

      • Reece says:

        @Bored & Bluhare It’s Emilia (d’Erlanger) Jardine-Patterson. <–Married to the brother of JJ, the guy Pippa dated in college. I always remember that because he is PURDY!! The brother, JJ.

        It also just reiterates what LAK said imo. Almost everyone else was cast aside for the one that got her "in".

      • LAK says:

        Bored suburbanhousewife: what Bluhare said. Trini is the no agenda friend. Emilia Jardine Paterson {formerly D’Elanger} was the ‘right sort’ of friend.

        Pippa has only the ‘right sort’ of friends.

        James remains a mystery.

      • bluhare says:

        Thanks for the correction, Reece. I couldn’t remember D’Erlanger’s name for the life of me! Guess I got her confused with the designer Kate wears sometimes.

      • AmandaPanda says:

        I have a couple of mutual (former) friends with Kate (I actually even met her a couple of times at dinner parties etc many years ago now) and they have mostly all been dropped. Along with the COMPLETELY changed accent and a bunch of other things. Who knows whether she did it of her own accord or because the palace told her to, though.

        And I know Emma sayle well and she was never great mates w Kate or even really friends at all – that whole story was a bit overblown I think (it was a pr push that went wrong, but there was no great friendship there to start)

      • bluhare says:

        Are you willing to expand on “bunch of other things”, AmandaPanda?

      • LAK says:

        AMANDAPANDA: Juicy. Tell all!!! LOL.

      • Dominique says:

        Yes, more dish from AmandaPanda please! Even to my non trained non British ear the accent shift is totally obvious…along with her latest habit of thrusting out her lower jaw when she smiles or speaks…kind of in the style of one Thurston Howell III I would say…Luvvy… :-)

  20. RobN says:

    I know people live for conspiracies, and life isn’t any fun if there isn’t some ulterior motive behind everything, but it’s more likely than not that she’s just a pretty nice, fairly attractive woman who is close to her family and who seems like a pretty good mom and wife in fairly odd circumstances. That’s not as much fun as the scheming mother who raised her daughter to nab a rich man at all costs and who is the power behind everything, but it’s still probably true.

    As for William, there’s a world of difference between hunting an animal that is usually classified as a pest, and killing an endangered species. Controlling the numbers of certain wild animals is an accepted practice while poaching is not. Frankly, real hunters are usually the people most in favor of protecting habitat and wildlife.

    • bluhare says:

      I guess that depends on whether you’re hunter or huntee, as to whether there’s any difference.

      And I really don’t know why you have to preface your comments with veiled digs at people posting. Why not just post your opinion and be done with it?

      • My2Pence says:

        Good question, bluhare. +1 for you. Why not just share an opinion without the pre-emptive bashing of others?

      • RobN says:

        It wasn’t pre-emptive at all; I’d already looked at 50+ comments judging somebody incredibly harshly based on zero actual evidence and lots of anonymous sources. The degree to which commenters project onto a woman who says virtually nothing astounds me; it’s not like she’s some Kardashian type who can’t shut-up.

      • bluhare says:

        RobN, you say something similar practically every time you post. I just mentioned it this time and re reading your original post, I picked the wrong one to comment on. You’ve said worse. :)

      • Suze says:

        We judge the royal family; RobN judges us. It’s all a circle of judgement ; ).

  21. AnnieCL says:

    I don’t know about that – I don’t expect anything from Kate or William ‘cos I don’t believe or subscribe to the notion of ‘royalty’. They need to take their dead – eyed looks elsewhere..

  22. Xantha says:

    Wait a minute…

    He can find time out of his course schedule to go hunting with his brother, but he couldn’t find time to go on the annual Mustique trip with his wife and son? And it’s his son’s first trip abroad ever?

    I used to be hesitant about the theory of Will and Kate leading seperate lives, but now? I think there is a strong chance that is true. Like they might have some type of deal to get together for PR engagements and baby making vacays and spend the rest of their time apart.

    This really is looking like a marriage of convinence.

    • hmmm says:

      Nor did he rush back to spend time with his son who had been away from him from a while. Dolittle and Georgie come back and he buggers off. Makes one wonder….

    • Kata says:

      I think you are totaly right.

      I remember reading a theory here, that this two has some kind of arrangement, she got the ring, a titel and a position after 10 years of waiting and in exchange he can do whatever he likes.
      And right now it looks like to me that he has some kind of quarter life crisis, now that the baby is there he is going back to school and thinking about taking another gap year. Yes life is getting serious even for him.

    • FLORC says:

      Also, early in their marriage they went to the Falklands. Kate was with William for a week. Then he sent her home and stayed an extra week alone.

      Lots of that stuff isn’t well covered because more often than not William is not doing what he says he is and is often ght enjoying himself away from Kate.

      This was all fine when it was just Kate, but now he has George. George will be raised by the Middletons until a backlash hits and he swoops in to take charge.
      (Much like when Kate lived with her parents for weeks and weeks hout William before she gave birth. Then he came in 2 days before she did to take her to his hospital.)

      • bluhare says:

        Kate went to the Falklands too? I thought William went for training of something like that and then he stayed an extra week (which was not publicized).

      • LAK says:

        Bluhare: i’m assuming that was a typo on Florc’s part. That extra solo week was glossed over with sugary articles about how much William and Kate were in love and what a fairy tale it was.

        He returned and promptly went on holiday with Kate….and entire Middleton clan!!

  23. Victoria says:

    Hi, I’ve wanted to join the conversation here for awhile, specifically with LAK, Florc, Bluhare. Hey… I follow the royals a lot too, some celebrity gossip. I’m 30, live in San Diego CA, married to an English guy, do caregiving, write a lot of comments on the DM here and there. Just wanted to say I like this blog and the articles, comments. Keep it up, read most days.

  24. Shelby says:

    After reading articles about other European royals, I now realized that the Duchess of Cambridge is the most boring and bland of all ladies who married into royalty. CP Letizia of Spain was a journalist and news anchor. CP Mary of Denmark was a real-estate agent and worked for Microsoft Solutions while still being a girlfriend of CP Frederick. The Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Stephanie speaks several languages and has a master’s degree. The new queens of Belgium and the Netherlands also had their own careers prior to marrying their respective spouses. Queen Mathilde of Belgium was a speech therapist and a multilingual. Queen Maxima of the Netherlands was an investment banker and a polyglot too. Even the once-controversial CP Mette Marit of Norway, who admitted of not really taking her education seriously prior to meeting CP Haakon, is an active attendee of UN forums and summits and has obtained her Master’s degree in Executive Management in 2012… 11 years after marrying her prince! I can also cite other CPs outside Europe like the flame-haired Lalla Salma of Morocco (my girl crush!) of briefly working as an engineer before marrying King Mohammed VI.

    My point is, the women I mentioned at least had careers or took graduate studies before meeting their respective princes or kings while all Kate did was shop and wait for William to put a ring on it. These women have something to put in their CVs (not that they need it now) other than being the other half of … (state prince’s or king’s name). Prince Charles may be interfering on the number of engagements that Catherine and William must take so they won’t overshadow him but she could have done something prior to becoming the Duchess of Cambridge! She could have applied her art history degree and worked for an auction house or a museum or a restoration project. But she’s all about clothes and vacations and more clothes and more vacations.

    • Aeryn39 says:

      Well said and thanks for all that background on Kate’s European counterparts! Fascinating!

    • bluhare says:

      Good post, thank you.

    • Shelby says:

      Thanks guys. I am fascinated with royalty so I like reading about them. I’ve been reading this blog since last year and this is just my second time to join a discussion. I’m looking forward for more discussions about the royals here.

    • Victoria says:

      Catherine was studying to catch a Prince, she doesn’t know anything about art history after she took her top off ;-)

  25. bluhare says:

    Does anyone know where Sachi is?