The Guardian: Petty Duchess Kate isn’t showing ‘the most civilized example’

I’m writing this because several people sent it to me and several people have been trying to threadjack other royal stories with this. I don’t make it a rule to cover observational columns about the royals unless they carry actual news or gossip. This did neither. Catherine Bennett at the Guardian wrote an op-ed called “With Meghan and Harry, Kate reveals she is up to carrying out that vital royal duty… bearing a grudge against relatives.” You can read the full piece here. The piece hits many sweet spots, saying that we were led to believe that the younger royals “are more empathetic than their sourer, or weirder elders” and that while William and Kate’s “performed relatability” (aka cosplaying normalcy) came across as “Marie-Antoinetteishness,” a lot of people bought the idea that the Cambridges had more emotional intelligence than their predecessors. But that idea blew up a week ago when Kate couldn’t even fake congeniality towards the Duke and Duchess of Sussex:

Courtesy of their hilarious double act in Westminster Abbey, it seems much more likely that William and Catherine are already, as inheritance edges closer, about as emotionally literate as Prince Philip, as careless of their status as Prince Andrew, and as supremely forgiving to outcasts as the late Queen Mother. With a few differences. The old Queen could at least cite, as the justification for a lifelong grudge, her conviction that Wallis Simpson had devastated her own family life and ruined her husband’s health. All Meghan Markle appears to have done to deserve a comparable level of visible ostracism from Kate and William is to conclude – admittedly rather late, and with scant notice – that a lifetime dedicated to trailing mutely in their wake would be unbearable. As a result, one hears the left-behind royals may now have to open more things and meet more subjects than usual.

You can see why this might seem, as well as a nuisance, a rather pointed commentary on the ghastly, state-maintained life that Kate Middleton wanted for herself. But even so. It’s not as if Meghan taught Kate’s kids to Nazi salute. And even minus their pretensions to leadership in talking/reaching out, blanking rarely-seen family members in a church, in public, isn’t the most civilised example from the Cambridges, future leaders of the family that, according to its own website, symbolically unifies the nation. Some viciously divorced civilians do better than this every week. Moreover, beaming impartially at friends and enemies is not even, unlike the Cambridges, a vital part of their day job.

Kate, in particular, has previously demonstrated huge professionalism in this respect, bestowing the same, dazzling smile on Narenda Modi, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping as she does, crouching down in the curious way that royals consider essential in all child-encounters, on an innocent tot. Whatever crime Meghan and Harry have committed to be denied the same favour, it presumably strikes the Cambridges as worse than – to pick at random, from the above guests’ specialities – sexual predation, brutal dictatorship and tolerating extreme violence against women and girls.

In the Abbey scene, surely the finest among the multiple glories of Harry and Meghan’s season one finale, we see a seated Meghan, smiling and waving like a pro at the approaching, then suddenly unsmiling Cambridges, who turn their backs, converse with everyone but them, then fall – William going, unsuccessfully, for dignified composure, Kate pursing into an unforgiving little face that would have discomfited the chattiest of tyrants – to ignoring them for the rest of the ceremony. Meghan, meanwhile, radiates artless goodwill.

Her showy, green, caped outfit has already been acclaimed – along with its companion blue, and red pieces – as a superlatively choreographed, Diana-beating exercise in revenge dressing, but nothing confirmed the triumph that was the Sussexes’ peerlessly executed exit better than the antics of his family. An intended official humiliation – with the Sussexes ostentatiously excluded from a royal parade – concluded as a disastrous face-off: Eloi 1; Morlocks nil. By this time all but Meghan’s most dementedly racist persecutors must have spotted that, although well advised to swerve the oppressive littleness of much royal life, she is at the same time, given her ability to turn a secondary school visit into a touching national moment, its finest practitioner. All the family had to do was, for an hour or so, endure.

[From The Guardian]

Yes. It is funny. Yes, it is an example of William and Kate’s continued pettiness. The surprising thing about it wasn’t the big reveal that Will and Kate are small, petty people, it’s that they can’t even pretend to be anything else. We knew that about them long ago, but we knew it because William leaked against his family members and because Kate employed people to embiggen her every pained, forced smile. But there it was, out in the open, on Commonwealth Day. The hostility, the meanness, the small cruelty.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, WENN.

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