Being completely honest, I never took much notice of Kate Middleton when she was Prince William’s girlfriend. When they got engaged, besides liking her now iconic sapphire blue Issa wrap dress, I still wasn’t all that interested. Then there was the wedding day – yes, she looked beautiful, the dress was exquisite, and she didn’t put a foot wrong – but not enough to really make me warm to her.
I even got fed up with seeing constant coverage of her across newspapers, magazines, and television. I thought it was over the top – in my mind she was just a skinny, pretty girl who would toe the line and do as she was told. But over the past decade as she’s grown into her public role and I’ve softened in my worldview, I’ve found a deep admiration for the woman, who will one day likely, be Queen Consort of the UK.
My opinion changed when I started reading about her early life. How she was bullied so badly at her first all-girls secondary school that her parents had no choice but to take her out and send her somewhere else after only one term. When she began dating Prince William when they were students at St Andrews University in Scotland, she had to put up with his aristocratic friends whispering “doors to manual” in her presence in a snobbish reference to her mother Carole being a former air hostess.
It didn’t end there. The media labelled her as “Waity Katie” as her relationship with the future King of England progressed. A picture of her looking solemn and pensive on a London bus didn’t help her image. On top of that, her family’s middle class and self-made roots was a topic of concern and debate in both the press and high society as it became clear that Prince William was thinking of popping the question.
Kate overcame all that intrusion and judgement to become the Duchess of Cambridge. She remained loyal to William and his family. Even when they split up briefly in the mid – 2000s. There were no exclusive, tell all interviews or airing of dirty washing in public. A few people could take a leaf out of her book (more on that in a minute). She simply dusted herself off, got back out on the dating scene and kept her dignity intact.
Since she married Prince William, she has breathed fresh air into the Windsor household. She has generated billions of pounds for the British fashion industry with her elegant yet modern sense of style. This has been widely dubbed ‘The Kate Effect’. Not afraid to be seen in the same outfit twice or more, the Duchess comes across as relatable to the 21st Century woman as well as promoting recycling and sustainability.
She’s taken on tough but important issues such as mental health, bullying and addiction as part of her Royal patronages. While remaining apolitical as expected, drawing the limelight on these causes has helped opened discussion, erase stigma and helped the Royal family appear less aloof and rigid. Kate has even talked about her own experiences struggling with motherhood, not afraid of opening up, as part of the campaign to promote good mental health.
Along with her husband and their three adorable children, George, Charlotte, and Louis, she has demonstrated that the traditional marital and family unit is still aspirational and rewarding. Despite this being an era of casual sex, starter marriages and eschewing parenthood.
Her old school class and refined fashion choices are refreshing in a time of vulgarity and rudeness. Her service and commitment an inspiration in an age of selfishness and laziness. Her healthy, active lifestyle a source of encouragement during an image crisis amongst young people, especially girls.
Her talents as a photographer and artist clear to see through her own work. Her academic prowess evident through her degree in Art History from St. Andrews. Her common humanity when she quietly attended the vigil for murdered marketing executive Sarah Everard in Clapham, South London. Her devotion to her husband and his work. Her rapport with people from all walks of life.
When Kate Middleton recently stole the show at the premiere of the new James Bond film ‘No Time to Die’ in a stunning gold sequined gown by Jenny Packham, it was like she had finally arrived. It was her moment, and it was well deserved.
This exemplary example of womanhood jars in stark contrast with that of her sister-in-law, Meghan Markle. Notice how I didn’t add her apparent title ‘Duchess of Sussex’? That is because in my own lowly opinion Meghan Markle gave up her right to be referred to as the Duchess of anything when she and her husband Prince Harry decided to stand down as senior royals after a mere 18 months of marriage.
Leaving the drizzle of Britain for the sunshine of California, these two wanted their cake and eat it. They wanted the royal titles but not the service it requires. They wanted to be financially independent but expected Prince Charles (And thus the UK taxpayer perhaps) to continue supporting them. Eventually they paid back the money they got from the public purse for their lavish wedding and home, Frogmore Cottage, but it was a cold comfort after abandoning their roles.
Meghan Markle is everything Kate Middleton isn’t. She preaches about climate change but flies on private jets, she wants privacy but will announce personal events such as a pregnancy on social media to billions of people and now she’s using her husband’s connections to make millions of dollars as she spouts her nonsense.
Where Kate is a throwback to better generations, Markle is typical of this one – materialistic, self – centred and shameless. Kate embodies graceful femininity. Markle is full of toxic female chauvinism. I could go on, but I think one of the memes circulating the internet after the cringeworthy Oprah Winfrey interview sums this whole argument up perfectly. Kate Middleton = Future Queen, Meghan Markle = Drama Queen. Enough said.
Laura Buckley is a writer from Co. Tipperary where she lives with her family. She has written for The Burkean and The Conservative Woman. You can follow her on Twitter @BuckleyLaura.