Brown: Duchess Kate was ‘always quite jealous of Pippa’ & feared being ‘eclipsed’

As I started The Palace Papers by Tina Brown, I skipped ahead to the entrance of then-Kate Middleton into the royal narrative. Brown, like Robert Lacey, notes that Kate threw herself into William’s paths many times before university, and that she was likely trying to get “in” with William’s circle since she was probably 15 or 16 years old. Much like Lacey, Brown studiously avoids drawing conclusions about just how hard Kate stalked her royal prey, nor does Brown reveal just how many times William ignored Kate until that fateful night when Kate wore a see-through dress at St. Andrews. Brown is firmly on Team Middleton, even going so far as to describe Kate this way:

Like Diana, Kate is unexpectedly tall, but unlike Diana, Kate’s charm is less about dazzle and more about sheen… There’s a Mona Lisa quality to Kate. No one can quite figure out what she’s really thinking, or why, after seeing the royal experience up close, she so terribly wanted a life of such limited freedom and non-negotiable good behavior. She exudes honest intelligence without being threateningly bookish, a desire to support with a strong sense of self, an ability to win the room without upstaging her husband. It is as if she were designed to be the blessed obverse of Diana.

[From The Palace Papers by Tina Brown]

“A Mona Lisa quality…” LMAO. Imagine writing that with a straight face after we’ve seen Kate freeze-pose with her mouth hanging open for the past eleven-plus years. The flapping jazz hands are also so “Mona Lisa,” I’m sure. Don’t get me wrong, Kate is purposefully bland, which Brown interprets as enigmatic (it is not).

In describing the early-years Middleton family dynamics, Brown also dutifully notes that Pippa Middleton’s nickname at Marlborough was “Pan-face,” which is f–king harsh (but keeping with the Kate-hagiography vibe of the book). Still, “a family friend” notes that:

“Kate was always quite jealous of Pippa… I sensed that she feared being eclipsed by her, because Pippa has more natural effervescence, is socially much more at ease and was always popular with everyone, especially James’s friends.”

[From The Palace Papers by Tina Brown]

This was likely the start of it, don’t you think? Kate’s jealousy issues, her need to copykeen the person who is “outshining” her. First it was her sister, then William’s other women (like Jecca Craig), then Diana and then Meghan. As for Pippa… when I first got familiar with Pippa’s whole vibe, I honestly wondered why William hadn’t dumped Kate for Pippa. Pippa seems like a much more natural fit for royalty and everything else. And I wonder how that sister-dynamic has played out over the years, Kate the Jealous and Pippa the Confident.

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100 Responses to “Brown: Duchess Kate was ‘always quite jealous of Pippa’ & feared being ‘eclipsed’”

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  1. Rapunzel says:

    I often wonder if Carole wishes Pippa were the older sister that she could’ve put all her efforts behind. Kate really does have a more spare than heir quality to her.

    • Chloe says:

      Part of me thinks that pippa had more sense and never wanted the royal life.

      • SarahCS says:

        That was my read of it, Pippa has more sense.

      • C says:

        More sense and more of a personality yes but i remember her and Carole campaigning really hard for Harry after she walked on his arm behind William and Kate at their wedding and he flat out denied it publicly.
        Not to mention her exclusion of Meghan from her wedding.

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        I respectfully disagree. I’ve always thought the sisters would be happier if they traded lives, with Kate living in a moderately wealthy stay-at-home and shop lifestyle, and Pippa getting titles and attention. I base that on two things, (1) Kate’s inability to show any confidence or competence in public speaking even after all these years, and her continued nervousness around her own husband (whose title and position will always give him power over her). And (2), the way Pippa used Kate’s connection to William to chase any many who stood to inherit a title, at least until she was marginalized by the royal family and had to settle for money w/o a title. If their lives were reversed, I think they would both be happy.

    • C says:

      There are pics of Pippa sunbathing topless around William. Not really a big deal I guess on its own but considering what we know about their whole Middleton family dynamic with him I wouldn’t be surprised if Carole just didn’t care who he hooked up with as long as it was one of them. A lot like Philippa Gregory’s version of the Boleyns.

      Speaking of which (extremely ironic) Pippa, the second daughter (like Anne Boleyn, despite what Gregory says) also campaigned for a Percy of Northumberland: George Percy who she was close with at Edinburgh uni. I think his mom shut that down fast.

      • The Hench says:

        The Percys seem like they have a fairly tight (for aristo circles anyway) family unit. I’m not surprised George’s mother shut that down hard – as I suspect Diana would have done to Kate had she still been around.

        It occurred to me the other day (sad I know that my brain was mulling this) that NO-ONE likes Carole Middleton. Media, courtiers and the turnip toffs regularly put the knife into her as a terrible and ruthless social climber. I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say anything pleasant about her or seen anything about her having friends -whether quoted or photographed. Carole would and has sacrificed Kate’s happiness and dignity on the altar of her social advance.

        As for Kate being the one pushed to William – it was reported some time ago that Kate was the favourite because she would do what Carole wanted. If she was always in Pippa’s shadow growing up then her motivation to finally outshine her would be strong – despite the considerable sacrifices of joining the craziness that is the RF.

        ETA I also read once that Kate’s own family call her ‘the Duchess’, which speaks volumes about how important that title is to them/her…

      • jazzbaby1 says:

        Kate’s own family called her The Duchess? Weird. When I was a tween I had Robert Lacey’s book about Diana and he said the same thing about her family nickname.

      • C says:

        That’s interesting @Hench. I read around the time of the wedding that when it came time for William to get a title on marriage she was sour because she would be called Duchess instead of a Princess of something or other (since it was THE BIG royal wedding, Diana’s firstborn son, maybe she thought they’d give her something big even if not Princess of Wales).
        I wouldn’t be surprised if the Middletons call her that since then though. Remember their tacky signet rings and photocalls just after the wedding (sans Kate too!)

    • February Pisces says:

      Pippa absolutely would have been pushed forward for William if they had been the same ages and in the same school year. Kate would have been an afterthought. I always said pippa probably grew up being the ‘Kim’ in the family whilst Kate was the ‘kourtney’ or ‘Khloe’. The difference is Kate was desperate to be the star, whilst kourtney n khloe didn’t seemed to mind Kim being centre stage.

      Anyway I think kate has always wanted to please her mother so much by going the distance with Willie because she has something to prove. She managed to achieve what her sister couldn’t.

      Also I seen those sunbathing pics and Pippa was changing her bikini top and Willie was in the sea behind her trying to have a look. But it was like she knew he was watching. It was weird but given how thirsty Pippa was to bag a title I wouldn’t be surprised if she tried to snatch him.

    • KASalvy says:

      Pippa outshined her Kate at her wedding. That tells you enough about Kate’s magnetism.

  2. C says:

    So basically, what I’m understanding is that you don’t even need to read this book, you can just read Katie Nicholl’s book on Kate for all of the same info. Except not even Katie Nicholl is this sycophantic which is saying a lot.

    • Blujfly says:

      Exactly – that line about jealous and James’ friends liking Pippa is a direct lift from Katie Nicholls or Sean Smith.

    • AmB says:

      Honestly, I’m relying on Kaiser so I don’t have to read the book. I couldn’t be arsed to spend the $ and if my local public library gets it there will be a waiting list. I figure I’ll get all the best bits here anyway.

  3. Merricat says:

    Yeah, to my mind, Pippa won–most of the perks, none of the expectations.

  4. Eurydice says:

    Hmmm, there’s “enigmatic” and then there’s “empty vessel.”

  5. Chloe says:

    “Without upstaging her husband” give. Me. A. Break. She upstages him all the time.

    • Barrett says:

      I think Kate is better looking than Pippa and William did meet her in college as someone deemed very attractive. He still may have a part of him LOL that thinks w his other head. For as boring, dull as he is!!! His kids appear cute, attractive and healthy (knock on wood). Biology.

    • Esmerelda says:

      …and yet in all the polls he’s consistently more popular than her.
      I think Brown is damning Kate with faint praise: she’s an insecure girl, jealous of her sister, not bookish, who seeks not to outshine her husband, and chose a life no one sane would want. Oh, and she’s tall.

      It’s not a flattering picture, even if it’s not the takedown we would want. Not everyone is so focused on royal gossip like us over here.

      • Chloe says:

        And yet when it comes to online engagement as well as hits on articles written about her she gets more than him. SHE gets the front pages. And there are more articles written about her than there are articles written about william. And if you make those polls world wide, she scores higher than him. So yes she upstages him all the time.

  6. “She feared being eclipsed because Pippa was more natural”… lmao that’s not saying much. A cardboard box shaking hands with the working class is more natural than Kate.

  7. Miranda says:

    “Strong sense of self”? LOLOLOL.🤣🤣 Yeah, because nothing says “strong sense of self” like cosplaying your sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and occasionally your grandmother-in-law.

    • Gillysirl says:

      She sounds like a woman who has tried all her life to be who others want her to be – and never discovered who she was.

      And now she’s p*ssed because she did what she was told to and it’s backfired spectacularly. Yep, she’s a Duchess, in a loveless marriage and not sense of self. You need to love yourself before you can love anyone else.

  8. Digital Unicorn says:

    This is not new info – IIRC the aristo’s also preferred Pippa to Khate (as she was more open and friendly). I also remember reading somewhere that everything came more naturally to Pippa whereas Kate had to work at it – esp when it came to school work. The comment pretty much said Pippa was more intelligent than Kate – which I can believe.

    I have a soft spot for Pips – I think she would have been better at the royal life, esp on the rare occasions where she has done public events she seems much more at ease and isn’t faking it with the flapping jazz hands and gurning.

    • Blujfly says:

      Kate having to work harder than Pippa is a direct, attributed quote from dear Uncle Gary.

    • BeanieBean says:

      And the Pipster spends more time with the few charities she’s involved in; year after year, she’s a supporter.

  9. ThatsNotOkay says:

    Pippa cannot speak in public either. (Remember the Today Show debacle when rapist Matt Lauer campaigned hard to get her a guest correspondent gig?) Must be a family trait. Superficially average, intellectually dull.

    • BeanieBean says:

      True enough, forgot about that. She was a poor interviewee & a poor presenter (that short bit at some bar in Texas).

  10. KFG says:

    So kkkate is just a vapid, jealous, stalker, with no sense of self.

  11. Cecil says:

    Oh my god! “She exudes honest intelligence without being bookish” is an insane sentence to read. It feels like something out of a Regency novel, where women were expected to be smart enough not to give birth to stupid sons, but not outsmart/threaten their (likely empty headed) husbands. I can’t believe that’s considered a selling point for Kate. God forbid she be bookish enough to actually read her briefings or take an interest in the royal work!!

    • Naomi says:

      Yeah, she’s definitely not bookish– she doesn’t even know how to read the room!

    • equality says:

      I think it’s a slur against Cam and Charles who are bookish.

      • Lady Esther says:

        Yes, I imagine this is in direct response to the rumour that Camilla once said about Kate “does she ever pick up a book?”

    • Eurydice says:

      Too funny, so many code words. “Honest intelligence” is what they say about the lower classes – salt of the earth, none of that fancy book learning, just sturdy old-fashioned common sense. Tina’s a terrible snob.

    • Jais says:

      “Without being threateningly bookish”…because reading too many books is a clear threat to patriarchal misogynists the world over. Don’t worry though cuz TB’s book does not threaten the patriarchy in any way at all so reading it shouldn’t be a threat and won’t make you too bookish. Just in case, one aspires to be like Kate who is intelligent but not “threateningly bookish”

      • Merricat says:


      • Anna says:

        I was wandering if I can see properly… so now it is a bad thing to read and know things? Are we back to pretty little ladies who don’t think too much?! They are all insane, and in a way I admire the lengths they go to to write something good about this airhead. She waited 10 years, birthed 3 kids and that’s it so I understand the struggle.

      • Nic919 says:

        God forbid she’s a blue stocking!!

        Seriously this reads like regency era tripe.

      • PunkPrincessPhD says:

        “Threateningly Bookish” is now going on my CV, right under my PhD.

      • Feeshalori says:

        As a former librarian, I would embrace that description proudly!

      • Roo says:

        @PunkPrincess, we should have “Threateningly Bookish” tshirts made! 🙂

      • Nick G says:

        When you think that Jane Austen considered this an old fashioned idea in 1813

      • SenseOfTheAbsurd says:

        Threateningly Bookish would go nicely on my business card. Reminds me of the time my primary school best friend’s mother, who was a bit of a Carole, decided I was a bad influence because I read too much.

        Just tell us that Kate’s dim enough to fit in with the rest of those complacent, incurious dopes.

      • BeanieBean says:

        ‘She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain’. Louisa May Alcott called it, way back when. I cannot believe TB would write something so stupid. Well, OK, I’m a believer now, with all these excerpts. There’s one with a wholly undeserved literary reputation.

  12. girl_ninja says:

    I shared this a couple of weeks ago! Kate is not special or interesting. All Pippa had to do is show up in a dress that somehow accented her little bum to cast a shadow over Kate. Then comes along gorgeous, brilliant, effervescent Meghan and it was game over for her. She’s not only bland, but a racist trash heap so KKKate can suck it.

  13. Barrett says:

    Biology? I think Kate is tall and better looking than Pippa. Blunt. William met her in college as someone in college attractive. He is dull and purposely chose someone after 10 years who met the bill but may think w his other head too. He has attractive, cute children.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I agree, they are so superficial, William would want the tallest, thinnest, most attractive among his choices. There are probably “better” picks for him, but many wouldn’t want to marry him, or maybe wouldn’t be a doormat.

      • Thinking says:

        He’s tall and slim himself though.

        When tall, slim men prefer tall women, I sort of get it. Not so much when the man is short and not fit himself. That’s puzzling to me. But fit types tend to gravitate to other fit types pretty much everywhere I’ve seen.

    • Beauz says:

      ‘purposely chose someone after 10 years who met the bill but may think w his other head too’

      He chose a doormat. Any mediocre person with the least bit of charisma overshadows dolittle without even trying.

  14. Lizzie Bathory says:

    It’s like Carole raised them to be budget versions of Jackie Kennedy Onassis & Lee Radziwill.

    Also, Tina needs to cool it with the adverbs.

    • sunny says:

      So without the style, grace, and brains? To say nothing of the charisma…

      • Lizzie Bathory says:

        Exactly lol. So they’re left with being raised to marry well & to compete with each other for men. People forget that Lee was sleeping with Onassis when Jackie decided she wanted him for herself. But as you say, at least the Bouvier girls had good qualities.

    • Jennifer says:


  15. Izzy says:

    Wasn’t Katie Keen nearly upstaged at her own wedding by Pippa’s bum?

    • Jan90067 says:

      She WAS upstaged by Pip’s bum! That was pretty much all everyone was talking about for DAYS.

      • SnoodleDumpling says:

        She was upstaged by her little sisters’ bum at her own INTERNATIONALLY TELEVISED WEDDING to a PRINCE and it wasn’t even much of a bum. That’s gotta be a bummer.

  16. Sofia says:

    Always thought Pippa and Kate may have been “better off” if they swapped lives. Pippa is the more outgoing one (though the bar is low) and probably would have ended up a Camilla type in terms of a working royal – not the hardest working royal in terms of numbers but still works a bit and shows some personality beyond “bland and basic”. And Kate would probably enjoy the “lady who lunches” life Pippa has with a rich husband, doing the odd “job” here and there and doing pap strolls in Chelsea to remind everyone you still exist.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I posted something similar above, but that was before I read your post. I totally agree with you, they would both be happier with the other’s lifestyle.

  17. Noki says:

    ‘Pan face’ means what exactly ?

    • Eurydice says:

      It can mean a face that is flat, or it can mean a face with no expression, or it can be like “deadpan” a flat expression that’s humorous. Not sure how this fits with Pippa.

    • Villanelle says:

      Pan-faced meaning ‘hit in the face with a pan’…I mean, she does have sort of a flattened face I guess? Still mean.

  18. equality says:

    Kate’s “less about dazzle and more about sheen”. What does that even mean?

  19. Summer says:

    Can someone tell me what on earth “pan-face” means?

  20. Boo says:

    Pan face is so mean but kinda true!

  21. MsIam says:

    She’s jealous and insecure yet never puts a foot wrong. What a combo!

  22. candy says:

    “without being threateningly bookish.”

    I hope no one ever describes me this way.

    • AmB says:

      I’m assembling my stencils to hand-paint a T-shirt as we speak!

      • MerlinsMom1018 says:

        I’ll take one.
        Having been to the library earlier today and picked up numerous books, I feel I have earned one.
        also: I consider “threateningly bookish” a high compliment

  23. Merricat says:

    “Threateningly bookish” is exactly my aspiration. No, no chance of Kate veering in that direction.

    • SarahCS says:

      If I was planning to have a gravestone this is what I’d aspire to have on it. Maybe an obituary. But yeah, this is absolutely aspirational.

      Edit: ooh t-shirts! I have a sweatshirt that says ‘without Hermione Harry would have died in book one’.

      • Roo says:

        Please share where you got that tshirt!

      • Kristen820 says:

        Made a fake campaign bumper sticker few years ago (unable to post pic)…

        McGonagall/Granger 2020
        Seriously, though. Potter’s useless.

      • SarahCS says:

        @Roo it’s a (UK) business called The Spark Company, they are AMAZING. I also have an ‘on Wednesdays we smash the patriarchy’ t-shirt and ‘never the less she persisted’ top I wear in the gym as that one works on multiple levels.

      • iseepinkelefants says:

        I’m going to use “threateningly bookish” and “never the less she persisted” on my dating profiles 🙄 but I live in Paris so I doubt most men will “get it” ☹️

  24. Over it says:

    I will tell you what happened between kate and pippa relationship. Pippa no longer gives a f. Kate can keep her titles and loveless marriage. Pippa now has a rich husband who by all accounts seem to love her and isn’t embarrassed to be seen out with her.
    Pippa literally gets to live the rich-B life and she doesn’t have to pretend to work for it.
    Kate probably hates pippa more now than she ever did because she sees that despite the fact that Kate will probably be queen consort one day, that’s all she will have . No love, no freedom and no choices because she gave that all up to be William doormat and her mother’s ticket to being queen mom.

    • ohrhilly says:

      Plus a million. I always refer to her as HRH Pippa because I think she’s 10x more ambitious than her mom and sister. She’s done much more charity work than her sister and BIL.
      Have we not forgotten the recipe for ice cubes in her book?

    • MerlinsMom1018 says:

      @Over It

  25. Mel says:

    So we’re back to telling women to play dumb to make other people *cough* men* cough* feel better about themselves?

  26. Chaine says:

    “No one can quite figure out what she’s really thinking, or why,”— because she is utterly vacuous!

  27. Rice says:

    I cackled at the “Mona Lisa” thing because, in my country, that term means “nice from far, but far from nice”.

    • Eurydice says:

      LOL – like Cher said in “Clueless” – “She’s a full-on Monet. From far away it’s OK, but up close it’s a big old mess.”

  28. FeministYeah says:

    Idk about y’all but if someone said there’s a Mona Lisa quality to my face, I’d get them, hahahaha.
    What a WAY to call someone bland! Average to the point of invisibility! This shall be my new read to mentally vacant people

    • The Recluse says:

      I gagged when I saw the Mona Lisa comparison. DaVinci’s masterpiece has mystique. Kate is blander than a carton of milk. She wishes she had charisma or mystique.

  29. SuzieQ says:

    Mona Lisa? No one is going to be lining up decades from now to see a portrait of the Duchess of Dullness.

    • Nic919 says:

      We never heard if anyone showed up to see her travelling birthday portraits. I have to think of there were line ups we would have heard by now.

  30. Amy Bee says:

    Tina Brown is a terrible writer.

  31. Moneypenny424 says:

    With her jazz hands all over the place, if she’s channeling any Da Vinci work, it’s Vitruvian Man, not Mona Lisa.

    • SnoodleDumpling says:

      Not gonna lie, much of the time she reminds me of DaVincis’ ‘St. John the Baptist’. Just, something about the smirk and the ostentatious hand gesture.

  32. Deering24 says:

    “… threateningly bookish?!?!” 🙄🙄🤮🤮 Honest to God, can we do a GoFundMe to give Kaiser combat pay for slogging through this?

  33. Liz Version 700 says:

    Thank you for taking the hot reading these excerpts for us! Just the overview makes me feel like I have been kidnapped into a Barbara Cartland novel? No bookish women for our hero Prince 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ Just good old dry as dust salty people

  34. BeanieBean says:

    Ooh, this is the quote that gets me, ‘threateningly bookish’. A bookish woman is threatening, really? And a woman wrote that line? The misogyny, internalized or otherwise, never ends.

  35. kskpamuk says:

    I would bet money that William never lets Kate forget she is a commoner who hunted him, both those two know the truth. He does not respect her and for good reason IMO. He treats her exactly how she thinks he should, I’m guessing deep down she hates herself.

  36. serena says:

    Kate seems certainly very petty and jealous and I have no problem believing it stemmed from a sisters rivality.
    “No one can quite figure out what she’s really thinking”.. LMAO, that’s because she is thinking about NOTHING.