Things Kate Middleton could learn from Meghan Markle before she comes out of maternity leave
Meghan Markle is a star, an actress, and she loves the limelight. Kate Middleton is more self-effacing, private and shy, says Penny Junor, a royal biographer
Last weekend, Kate Middleton was seen attending the wedding of her friend, Sophie Carter, dressed in a crisp cornflower blue Catherine Walker coat dress with her hair tucked neatly under a floral headpiece. The Duchess was seen laughing and smiling while also shepherding her two elder children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
For the occasion, both the kids were immaculately dressed as pageboy and bridesmaid, while they attended the ceremony at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk, just down the road from Kate and William’s massive country home on the Sandringham Estate.
The wedding was a private affair, as there are still a few days left in Kate's maternity leave. Although the concept of maternity leave might at first seem odd when applied to royal duties, rarely anyone would begrudge the Duchess of her opportunity to spend a few months with her kids without having to think about hair, make-up, speeches, and outfits.
However, going back a generation, Prince Charles, unfortunately, did not benefit from his mother’s workaholism. In one authorized biography he bitterly recalled that the nursery staff were the people who "taught him to play, witnessed his first steps, punished and rewarded him, helped him put his first thoughts into words."
Robert Lacey, the author and historical consultant for the Netflix series 'The Crown', told the Daily Beast: "Kate's main job now is raising her children. Few things could be more important so far as the future of the monarchy is concerned. These are the crucial developmental years for her children."
Photographers working on the royal beat would vouch that Kate is as unhelpful a subject as Meghan Markle is helpful. Usually, when the Duchess of Cambridge comes out of a car, she tends to choose the non-photographer side, and even when she passes the bank of photographers, she speeds up, flicks her hair and looks the other way.
The Queen also doesn't like to pose for pictures much, but she does so with a lot of grace and charm. On the other hand, Meghan Markle is every photographer's delight, as she works the press at her engagements like the screen star she was long before she married Harry.
The Duchess of Sussex usually waves from the car as she approaches, and once she's out, she makes sure that she goes over to the press pen, and while she does not pose, she pauses, hovers even, which is super-helpful to the snappers. She’s also attentive to small touches connecting her to a narrative of normalcy.
A big example of that would be Meghan's latest attempt at closing her own car door, which somehow proves to the masses that the Duchess is a new and approachable kind of royal. And the crazy fan reaction at Meghan's new tactic brought out the ugly fact that William and Kate have become extremely haughty and out of touch.
It is largely estimated that once Kate comes out of her five-month-long maternity leave, she will most likely find herself doubling down on her rather boring image, in order to position herself as ‘the serious one’ in a future-queen role.
Penny Junor, a royal biographer told the publication, "We might want William and Kate to be lovely and engaging and give us all the great photos, but William models himself on the queen, and I suspect Kate is holding back slightly to ensure she doesn’t overshadow her husband."
"That is what went so disastrously wrong for his parents. Hers is a supporting role, as the Duke of Edinburgh’s has been all these years. These two are going to be in the public eye for the rest of their lives and it’s important they don’t behave like celebrities who fall in and out of favor. But inevitably that will result in the media being more interested in Meghan because they want people who engage."
"But they are all actually being true to themselves. Meghan is a star, an actress, and she loves the limelight. Kate is more self-effacing, private and shy. Harry can afford to be a bit of a clown, his role is very different from William's." However, Junor also says that although everything seems to be fine for now, adjusting long-term to the new dynamic will be key.
This would have to happen given the future scenario where Harry and Meghan’s popularity continues to vastly outstrip that of the more senior couple. "The danger is William and Kate might get their noses put out of joint if they feel their activities are being ignored."