Princess of Wales: how the bourgeois Kate became a royal model

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Charming Princess Kate
How an ordinary citizen became a royal picture book

She is one of the most popular members of the British Royal Family. But that wasn’t always the case. The British people first had to warm up to the middle-class Kate Middleton. Slowly but steadily she drew the audience to her side. The Princess of Wales still has some critics.

Discreet, her appearance is always impeccable and glamorous if desired: Kate Middleton may have middle-class origins, but over the years, together with Prince William, she has become a fixture of the British monarchy. The new heir apparent and his wife, now Prince and Princess of Wales, are wildly popular with their compatriots – according to a spring survey, the 40-year-old is even more popular than her husband.

The daughter of a flight attendant who made her fortune from party favors and an air traffic controller, it was not easy to adjust to the life of a royal. She met William while studying art history at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and apart from a brief divorce in 2007, they’ve been a couple ever since.

After the news of her engagement to William, photographers followed Kate’s every step. Many have already seen parallels with William’s mother Diana, who was killed in a fatal accident in Paris in 1997 while on the run from paparazzi – and whose title of Princess of Wales she has now inherited. According to media reports, Williams’ friends are said to have joked about Kate’s mother Carole’s former job.

William always emphasized the cordial relationship with his in-laws. Kate has not commented on this, nor has she commented on her experience as a newcomer to the royal family – unlike her sister-in-law Meghan, wife of William’s younger brother Harry.

Only the queen was more popular

With William and Kate’s dream wedding in 2011, all reservations were forgotten. Since then, Kate has been considered a picture book royal. She is hailed as the perfect mother who discreetly helps her three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, live as normal a life as possible. She also fulfills her growing duties as a member of the ringside of the royal family with charm and without missteps.

In recent years, William and Kate have increasingly established themselves as the most popular royals – right behind the late Queen. And as a representative of a more modern monarchy. So Kate made no secret of the less pleasant circumstances of her pregnancies. She brought up morning sickness and admitted in a podcast that she is “not the happiest of all pregnant women.”

She later appeared as her children’s own courthouse photographer, and during the coronavirus pandemic, she and her husband publicly supported the vaccine’s introduction, speaking to medical staff and vaccine skeptics.

“mannequin without personality”

When Kate talks about topics close to her heart, she becomes passionate – for example, when it comes to early childhood development: “Our early childhood shapes our adult lives,” she says – and launched a companion program in 2021 that Royal Foundation Center for Early Childhood Youth.

However, the 40-year-old is less popular with feminists. British actress Keira Knightley accused Kate of pressuring women to always “look beautiful” with her well-groomed appearance. Writer Hilary Mantel compared her to a “mannequin with no personality of its own”.

But royal expert Penny Junor protects the 40-year-old: “I think she understands her role, which is mainly to support William,” Junor says. “They say she’s boring and a bit conventional. You know, the Queen’s great achievement over the years has been just that.”

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