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Silent 'Queen Kate' has become the ideal royal. It wasn't always like this.

She doesn't complain, and she doesn't explain. 

She stands by her man.

She doesn't spill tea, figuratively speaking (or literally, judging by her immaculate outfits).

She's the figurehead of 18 different charities and organisations.

She turns up to whatever rainy corner of Britain is required with a polite smile, an engaging line of small talk and a seemingly bottomless capacity to receive tiny teddy bears and bunches of wilting flowers.

She kisses babies and hugs toddlers.

She's raising an heir and two spares with her hands as on as royal hands get. 

She has really nice hair.

Catherine, the Princess Of Wales, is surely the perfect royal. 

Case in point #1: The coverage of this weekend's coronation. Arriving at Westminster Abbey on Saturday morning looking like Britannia – the representation of Great Britain in warrior goddess form – with her cloak and her designer headpiece and her solemn, respectful air, the world’s media swooned. 

Sublime. Iconic. The headlines say. 

The Future Of The Monarchy Is Assured. 

The Perfect Queen In Waiting.

Watch the Mamamia Out Loud hosts discuss all the royal things they're not allowed to. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

Case in point #2: The relentless game of compare and contrast with her sister-in-law, Meghan, Duchess Of Sussex, who enjoyed a few short months of adoring coverage before the British press remembered she was an outsider – and an outsider of colour, at that – and set about her reputation with a hacksaw. 

There began the fun, familiar game of pitting two women against each other: Meghan is flashy. Kate is understated. Meghan is needy. Kate is confident. Meghan is narcissistic. Kate is selfless. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Even Prince Harry, in his book, Spare, felt the need to draw parallels between his brother’s wife and his own. He wrote that Meghan greeted Kate to an at-home dinner barefoot, in ripped jeans. Kate was in a frock, heels and a full face. Uncool, Kate, is the subtext here. Uncool

He also wrote that Kate was irritated about being compared with the star quality of Meghan, an actual screen star. 'It wasn’t real', he wrote, 'But I think it had Kate on edge, while putting her and everyone else on notice that she was now going to be compared to, and forced to compete with, Meg.’ 

Well, that competition is over.

Kate, according to YouGov, who poll such things, has an approval rating of 65 per cent. Her sister-in-law, Megs? Twenty-three per cent. Not that we're, you know, comparing. 


But it wasn't always like this. For years, in fact the best part of a decade, Perfect Kate was mocked and baited. 

Firstly, she wasn't posh enough. Her parents had made their own money, and lived in a nice big house in England’s Home Counties, rather than an inherited ancestral palace. 

"Doors to Manual," the poshies would whisper as she walked into rooms, referring to her mother Carole's early job as a flight attendant. 

"The wisteria sisters," was another suggested nickname for Kate and her sister Pippa, because... wait for it... they were pretty and good at climbing. Social climbing. 

She was too meek, too passive. 'Waity Katie,' was the most common nickname thrown her way in the noughties, as she and William dated, lived together, dated, split up, reconciled, and lived together again.

Or, of course, she was too aggressive, too ambitious, seeing off her competition by choosing to dress ‘inappropriately’ during her and William’s brief split to, you know, lure him back. 

Even once married, everything was wrong. Her skirts kept blowing up in the wind. Not that she was allowed to wear pants but really, Kate... where’s the decorum here? Even her choice of knickers was questioned. 

"After all, every woman — especially a public figure who is constantly photographed — knows that a lightweight fly-away dress and the merest threat of a breeze hardly marks the right occasion to wear the skimpiest knickers in your drawer,” the Daily Mail sniped in 2014.


Perfect Kate was lazy, too, apparently. ‘Duchess Do-Little’ was the tabloid tag for her in the era when royal appearances were counted up and contrasted. It definitely had nothing to do with her having three children in quick succession – an heir and two spares, indeed – each time suffering debilitating nausea. Or with her needing to be home more often to care for them. No, definitely not that. Or the fact the royal reporters were just so stoked with the new nickname they’d given her they just needed every chance to use it.

Just as with Meghan, all of the Middletons and everyone vaguely associated with them were approached by the tabloids with a big fat chequebook. Only one ever bit – problematic Uncle Gary, who lived in Ibiza and maybe sold drugs, and sometimes would invite a reporter in for a beer and a chat and a photo. Gary wasn’t excommunicated, but Kate and William did stop summering in Ibiza.

There’s a point to revisiting this role call of minuscule transgressions, and it’s this. 

The royal relationship with the media is such a genuinely contentious issue that it has ripped a gaping hole in this most famous of families. 

On Saturday, in another world, William and Queen Kate would have been sitting in row one of Westminster Abbey alongside Harry and Meghan, all in their best clothes and their ridiculous fancy cloaks. Little Archie would have been pulling faces up on the Buckingham Palace balcony and Lilibet would have been practising her wave. The King would have had both his sons pledging their loyalty and allegiance, and the royal bench would be wider, stronger. 


But a war over press coverage – who gets it, who doesn’t, who leaks, who doesn’t, who gets praised, who gets slammed, has been fundamental to the disintegration of these relationships, and, by Harry’s own account, their subjects’ mental health. 

But what silent Queen Catherine communicates, with that sure-footed gaze that greeted the camera outside Westminster Abbey, where Kings and Queens are married, and buried and christened, is that she knows that part of her life is all an uncontrollable game. 

This week, she’s up. So is her father-in-law and his second wife. They are all enjoying a warm blast of popularity and praise. 

Next week, William and Kate’s luck could run out. With the coronation out of the way and Harry having handled it as best he could, now a million miles away in his new life, the hangry tabloid beast might turn on the Wales'. And very much Kate. Because royal women are the tastiest of victims. Destroyed, bit by bit, by the cameras’ relentless click and ravenous need for a new headline, a new story. 

With that knowledge in mind, 'never complain, never explain' looks pretty good. 

As does Kate’s clear strategy:

Smile. Say little. Keep moving. And maybe, just maybe, the carnivorous circus clowns will just cartwheel on by without eating you alive. 

Image: Getty + Mamamia.