As she passed the third year of her marriage the Duchess of Cambridge has caused endless irritation and exasperation among the courtiers of Buckingham Palace and concern among members of the Royal Family who themselves have their own feelings of resentment and frustration with Kate’s behavior.
It has been four years since Kate and William married in Westminster Abbey and Kate is still struggling to take control of her own life as a royal duchess, which has begun to cause not just concern, but complete exasperation among the courtiers who are eager to be helpful and help Duchess Kate become a successful royal. It’s no secret now that Carole Middleton has become the mainstay of her daughter as Kate continues to struggle to adjust to married life as a royal consort. All this has triggered a backlash with the accusations of being work-shy and letting her family interfere in her married life as a consort being proven as accurate. The problem has not been able to remain private, but has been clearly been observed by the public and caused the reputation of the Duchess to suffer damage to her prestige. The Duchess is suffering from a drop of respect and affection that the public previously had for her.
It began during the engagement when after when the notorious ex-wife of Prince Andrew, Fergie, got recorded selling access to the Prince Andrew and it resulted in William reacting by banning Fergie from the wedding ceremony, the festivities, and making it clear that his wife-to-be would be protected by him from the corrupting influence of the Yorks. This did not go down well with the York princesses who experienced problematic run-ins with Kate in the past, while Kate was just a girlfriend and Kate had once asked the princesses to sit somewhere else at a fashion show, asking the princesses to relinquish their front row seats so Kate and Pippa could sit in the front and Kate invited Beatrice to a skating party, failing, deliberately in the view of many, to tell Beatrice it was a fancy dress theme event. Allegedly Kate teased Beatrice to the point of tears and William reportedly spent the next couple of days with Beatrice, pointedly leaving Kate out of the trip. Andrew’s scandal over his acquaintance with Jeffery Epistein, a Wall Street trader exposed as a pedophile sealed the distance. Andrew was there, the princesses were there, but Beatrice and Eugenie made it a point to dress in an almost farcical manner, attracting derisive remarks from fashion commentators, but in the end Princess Beatrice ended up selling her loopy fascinator for thousands, leaving the money to charity.
Kate’s resistance to joining the routine and rhythms of royal life have come as a jolting surprise, mainly since before the marriage Kate had shown an inordinate interest in going to the Balmoral estate, eagerly participating in hunting trips and other activities, even on the eve of her engagement announcement having her mother there as a treat. It was taken for granted in the mind of William that Kate would be an eager participant in the traditional shooting activities and adhered to the routines as laid out for centuries. The ten years that Kate dated William, she was moved slowly more into the center of the royal sphere and even was his escort at official engagements. As her twenties passed, Kate did seem to pick up knowledge of royal routines and various other understandings, which ensured that if William did decide to take the plunge, that Kate, would be groomed to fit in seamlessly and obey the requirements of a royal consort and member of the royal family. As an English subject, it was taken for granted that Kate knew her duty to the Queen and would know her duties as wife and consort of a future King of England.
It’s never been a secret that the House of Windsor is filled with wayward royals, but instead of bringing more stability and becoming a stabilizing factor in William’s fey habits, she has brought controversies of her own making that have caused surprise to the courtiers. The royals and courtiers thought that by coming from an intact, close knit family, Kate would recreate a healthy, quiet home life for William and bring in more healthy stability. Instead, Kate has been acting out in ways that have made many fears that courtiers had about Kate into an unpleasant, horrific reality. Instead of recreating a stable home life, Kate has been seeking out adventure and excitement of her own that has resulted in a new level of scandal. Warning signs began to show themselves during the early months of marriage when Kate allegedly adamantly refused to live on base with William, snubbed the club for the wives of other officers, and even went so far as to skip out on Wales and live it up in London, when she wasn’t visiting with her parents. She showed additional discourtesy to the Palace, snubbing the royal courtiers who were waiting for her to present a clear agenda for her future sponsorship of charities and a regular schedule of appearances.
As Kate tentatively reenters public life, the past several months have been filled with the courtiers cajoling, encouraging, and virtually begging Kate to take the work load off of the Queen’s elderly shoulders and start getting Prince William on the royal work track. It’s no secret that the Duchess of Cambridge has been increasingly self-isolating herself and her unhealthy attachment to her mother’s nurturing has caused bewilderment to the courtiers, who as a rule do not view royal life as centered on the self, but duty to the Sovereign. Kate’s indulgence of her attachment to her family in Berkshire has been causing courtiers to become resentful of the Duchess’ clear enjoyment of royal comforts and prerogatives, but her complete lack of effort of doing her duty towards engaging the public and most importantly, lifting the burden of duties from the shoulders of the Sovereign. Kate’s independent approach to her royal role hasn’t been one where she works on her own at making numerous appearances, but is instead filled in a manner of Kate not just dictating her schedule, but deciding if she is even going to work. Her erratic decision making process has resulted in events being scheduled and then canceled, including moments with Kate skipping out on more stately events in favor of a frivolous society gathering. Queen Elizabeth is touted as being in excellent health, but the insiders in the Palace know that the Queen won’t live forever and in fact, the burden that the Queen has suffered has grown increasingly filled with extra stressors.
One such stressor has been Kate’s exhibitionist tendencies not becoming a fluke accident, but a full clear signal that the Duchess of Cambridge seems to rather enjoy showing off her figure. At first it was considered questionable that she had decided to wear a low cut neckline to her own wedding in Westminster Abbey, causing several raised eyebrows, but since modern fashion is known by all to be revealing and daring, it was seen among fashion commentators that a rather daring neckline was well within keeping herself known as a modern royal duchess who would be sure to push boundaries in almost any area, while maintaining the basic dignity expected of a royal duchess. It was in fact, keeping well within the dress styles of other guests who were daring in their choices, with Victoria Beckham wearing full black, considered a fashion blunder under normal royal dress codes. After her wedding the Duchess returned to Wales with William and as far as anyone was concerned, Kate would assimilate into a way of dress that would ensure that the Duchess would be viewed with admiration and respect. Even during the Canadian and Los Angeles royal tour, insiders were more bemused and diffident about the Duchess’ accidental flashes of skin, viewing it as a natural happenstance at the runways at airports where planes are flying everywhere and whipping up wind, something that has happened to other members of the royal family at various times.
Yet, the situation stopped being viewed as harmless when the Duchess began wearing abnormally high hemlines, when she was in fact wearing upper thigh high skirts when she was in attendance with the Queen at the first festival that kicked off the beginning of the Diamond Jubilee festivities. This celebration was held up as sacred, since Queen Elizabeth has been only the second Sovereign in history to celebrate reigning as Queen, for sixty years on the Throne. Kate’s increasingly established penchant for sky high heels and seemingly higher hemlines to show off her slender long legs was considered eyebrow raising and highly inappropriate. It reportedly offended Prince Philip who was seen throwing her a blanket as they were chauffeured away and tension was caused when Kate breached protocol by walking in front of the Queen. After the stunt of asking for her family (and being granted) to be allowed to ride on the official float that the royal family was to appear on and wave to the crowds. What unnerved the courtiers the most is how Kate was (and still is) determined to promote her family and their interests at the expense of the Queen’s landmark, historical moment in modern history. During the time period of the Queen’s Jubilee, Kate continued to wear clinging or high hemline dresses, or gowns with a startlingly low neckline that showed more than was considered decent.
The concern for modesty isn’t just a holdover from Victorian era prudery, but a very real security concern. With the cynosure of public interest worldwide focused on the Duchess, it’s a known fact that there are unstable, dangerous people out there who often make a very real security risk. Secondarily, the Duchess’ preference for high hemlines and low necklines caused a stir among the conservatives of Malaysia and Singapore while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid a state visit to the two countries on behalf of the Crown, on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee. Kate’s low necked Alexander McQueen gown ended up making her a negative contrast to the other more modest necklines worn by the other ladies in attendance and during a daytime reception she wore a Prabal Gurung dress that showed off her long legs, but left her looking considerably bare and allegedly offended the hosts with her immodest dress. The British ambassador was for a time in disfavor with the rest of the East Asian government officials and reportedly struggled to explain why the official representative of the Crown would dress in so unbecoming a manner.
Yet, the nadir of her string of immodest stunts (as they have now begun to be viewed) was when the Duchess was photographed at a villa in France. The timeline of the vacation is now known to be held right before their scheduled state visit. That the Duke and Duchess were even there was considered enough of a scandal, since the ducal couple were supposed to be preparing for their trip while living in Wales. The couple even refused to go to the 2012 Paralympics, begging off by claiming their need to be fully prepared for the Malaysia and Singapore visit on behalf of the Crown, so the Duke and Duchess were given permission to skip that duty and spend their time preparing. So with the Duke and Duchess caught out in a lie, it was indefensible, but the real, very real, scandal unfolded during the time when the Duke and Duchess were in the very conservative country of Malaysia. The irony was made even more poignant since the Duchess was visiting a mosque and had to deal with the knowledge that while she was dressed demurely in a blue chiffon day dress with a wrap placed neatly over her head, she was going to have to continue on stoically to her public appearances knowing that every man in the entourage and among the guests had viewed the photographs of her nakedness, full frontal, and were likely disgusted at her immodesty. This scandal was dealt with publicly by the Palace by doing what they could to preclude any publication via British papers (resulting in the firing of a handful of defiant editors), but by the time the Duchess had been quietly returned to the safety of her family home in Berkshire, on the international scene, the damage had been done. Pictures were publicized in Italian, French, and other foreign tabloid magazines.
In the eyes of the palace, what made the situation worse among the royal family is that it triggered William’s well known antipathetic behavior towards the media. William was already on edge after his marriage, getting worked up over the publishing of grainy photos that were claimed to have been him at his honeymoon and getting sensitive about what he viewed as unwarranted criticism of his new wife. The media is used to William’s temperamental ways, but William’s claims of press harassment bewildered the press and media attention backed off. They have been used to William’s antipathy to the media and view it as a reactive result of his mother’s death in Paris, but the reactive hostility towards the media in this case caused courtiers to warily eye Kate as a possible reason the Prince was so aggressive in his response. William developed hysterics, citing his mother’s death as a reason he wanted the press/media prosecuted and made numerous statements stating his fear that Kate would be dead at the hands of the media, allegedly like the late Diana, Princess of Wales. The palace closed ranks, but courtiers walked the halls with gritted teeth as they scrambled to save what they could of Kate’s carefully constructed clean reputation. It blew a hole in the carefully constructed façade and showed the public that Kate had not, as far as could be seen thus far, that Kate had not left her wild past behind. The palace had been working hard at cleaning up Kate’s past and trying to make her more acceptable to the higher echelons of British and international society and the French scandal singly blew their attempt to pieces. Kate was supported publicly by the Palace, of course, but in private courtiers were spitting nails that Kate had behaved so brazenly and with such irresponsible recklessness. To her enemies in society, it was just one unavoidable example that Kate was still the club hopping “Waity Katie” and that she was too common to join the royal family, much less as a royal consort.
William’s mother Diana has become a frequently used reference, a point of argument so Kate can avoid her duties, avoid being accountable to the Sovereign for her actions, and bypass numerous protocols and other routines. What courtiers know and still refuse to point out, is that Diana at the time of her death was not just being pursued by the press, but also in a car speeding over a hundred miles well over the limit and she was known to have not been wearing a seatbelt or engaging the services of a royal protection officer. Courtiers, eyeing Kate’s freewheeling behavior as a girlfriend of a prince and viewing her decade long refusal to get a job/career set up and established was cause enough for concern, but the reasons Kate offered up were jolting. Kate cited the media pressure and need to keep her royal boyfriend’s confidences, but Kate’s refusal to take any kind of charge or initiative to work around her circumstances caused concern. Instead of taking responsibility for her actions in France, for refusing to protect her reputation and maintain the dignity of her position, as well as exercising common sense, Kate egged on William to join her in blaming the media, photographers, the royal protection for not seeing and restraining the photographer, and started actively trying to censor publication as much as possible. What disconcerted the courtiers the most was how Kate refused to take responsibility for protecting her own reputation and knowing how to control her own behavior. Kate’s behavior was reminiscent of Sarah, Duchess of York; after the errant former royal wife was caught cavorting with her lover, John Bryan, Fergie reportedly blamed everyone but herself for the situation.
Another blow was sustained when the legal firm that provided free services to the royal family would no longer sustain the additional work for free and the royal family would have to end up paying for their legal services, ranging from contracts and various clerical work, to the additional load of having to handle the frequent battles against the media that William and Kate seem addicted to. Such a scandal, that a royal consort would be photographed full frontal is something that has caused a horrendous turning point and brought back Kate’s past as fairly immodest and much was made of her past where she would be photographed clothes askew and often her intimate area photographed by invasive paparazzi photographers who stake out the club scene where Kate was a fixture. As a girlfriend she had William’s support, but with her actions in the aftermath of the nude scandal, she ended up using the legal team that the palace keeps on retainer in an unprecedented scope. Editors from a handful of counties in the United Kingdom were dismissed from their positions in the media and allegedly, the accused French photographer was jailed in France (although whether or not the photographer in question was even at the scene in the first place is up for debate) and even royal protection was heavily criticized, despite the fact that their job as outlined requires them to look for active physical threats to their security, not photographers or eccentric tourists.
It is not just the problems that William has with the public and media, but with the royal family as well. She’s preferred to spend holidays with her family and William has been indulgent, most often at the expense of his time with his own family. This has caused resentment among the royals, who only gather together en masse during the holidays of Christmas at Sandringham and summers at Balmoral lasting only a couple of weeks at most. Until the wedding, the royal family was at last stabilizing and prepping to make a place for Kate at their table and have her move smoothly into the royal routine, but instead, Kate cajoled William into skipping Balmoral in favor of time alone together and only went to Sandringham for Christmas as required. It was hoped that Kate as a royal bride would bring out a more sociable and hardworking William out of the often elusive prince that William has always been. Unfortunately the Duchess has perversely been a more alienating factor. Despite public politeness, the royal family has begun to distance themselves from the Duchess of Cambridge; the combination of the Duchess’ preference for her family and a leisurely lifestyle has caused resentment among the harder working members of the royal family and the courtiers are becoming frustrated and tired of trying to get Duchess Kate on track to be an effective worker for the monarchical institution and nation. Members of the aristocracy have often reported the many antics, when the Queen herself isn’t reading about them in the media’s newspapers or seeing the television headlines. Camilla and Charles are weary of the hostile headlines against them and Prince Harry himself is sick of Kate’s public flirtatiousness. The courtiers never liked her and the Windsors are fast becoming hostile, where there was once diffident tolerance.
The abdication of her responsibilities as a consort in running her household has caused William to have as lonely a life as a married man as when he was a child, often left in the care of nannies and other staff. Instead of staying around at home, he often goes on hunting trips with friends, or occasional to Kenya to spend time with friend and confidant Jecca Craig.
Prince Harry referred to Kate as being the sister he always wanted, but was forced to start keeping his distance after the Duchess misinterpreted his polite friendliness as being either having a romantic fondness or being deferential to her preferences in his personal life. Harry has distanced himself from the ducal couple, which has caused a pained tension since the brothers were working hard on becoming a royal double act and it was regrettably disrupted by the 2010 engagement announcement and Kate’s move into the royal fold. Initially it was thought that Kate would be able to be added as a newly created triple act, but it has only become a sideshow act that has caused the three royals to become a subject of the most inappropriate rumors and jokes. The most obvious sign of the Duchess’s overfamiliar behavior and inappropriate view of sisterly affection was in 2012 when Duchess Kate sparked rumors of no less than Kate’s brazen flirtation with him during the shows and sparked lewd jokes and subtle suggestions in the news that there was an incestuous love triangle among Kate, William, and Harry. The result is now a rift between the princes and while Harry loves his brother, Harry has been trying to move beyond the role of being the “Dirty Harry” of the royal family; Kate’s flirting and image as a conservative homemaker and elegant cosmopolitan royal duchess has caused Harry to be cast back into the black sheep role that he was only just about to climb out of. During more ensuring public engagements, Kate was showing an obvious preference for Prince Harry, something that William couldn’t put a public stop to, lest he cause a scene during a public engagement, but her overtures have made people question if whether or not the Duchess is aware that she’s a married woman.
Kate was determined to make herself into a sister figure and yet, unused to the more formally established boundaries of the more individualistic private lives of the Windsors. There is no secret that Kate is used to a family where boundaries are less substantial, but Kate’s attempts were seen as disconcertingly aggressive. Reports of Kate seeing Harry in a tryst in the library with now ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy painted the prince as the same party boy as he used to be and made Kate out to be an unsophisticated commoner unused to the dissolute ways of the Windsors. Such a premise ignored the numerous exotic holidays that Kate had gone on with William and of course, the numerous clubs and parties that Kate was an evening fixture in. There was little to no chance of the public forgetting it easily and certainly, in small ways the royals reminded Kate of her constant clubbing and fact that Kate herself had cohabited with William during university.
Harry later moved into a small room in a cottage sized apartment in Kensington Palace, but there was a row over how Kate was again invading his private space when she was heard to have been planning on decorating his room while he was away. Now that living arrangements have again changed (with the move of William and Kate into their twenty room renovated suite in Kensington) the relations have gotten distant yet again as Harry resumes a more active royal life and a widened scope of duties independent of the three person act that the royal family has tried to create to launch the three as a new generation of hot young royals, the trailblazers of modern monarchy. Yet, Kate’s public behavior, the possessiveness for Harry’s attention in such a public way makes courtiers worry that Harry might well have problems attracting an appropriate wife that he would be happy with.
Instead of taking control of her life as a married duchess and chatelaine of the residences that she shares with William, Duchess Kate has instead regressed to her former behaviors as a young adult still dependent on her mother’s commanding personality. At first it was understood that Kate’s close relationship with her mother would in fact be an asset as Kate adjusted to living with William as husband and wife and it was tacitly understood that Kate would continue her close relationship with her family; but it was never believed that Kate would go so far as to have Carole literally take over to run the household and that William and Kate would regress to their pre-marriage relationship dynamics with Carole to direct her life and domestic arrangements.
The situation has in particular affected the marriage between the ducal couple, causing problems as William tries to leave his bachelor relationship closeness with Carole in the past and start a life with Kate as a married couple independent of their families.