Duchess Kate ‘is not flashy’ and she didn’t panic when Meghan joined the family

Of course we couldn’t get through Keen Birthday Buttons Week without a major story dropping ON the Duchess of Cambridge’s 40th birthday. Roya Nikkah at the Times authored this “Kate at 40” piece for the Times’ Sunday magazine. She had help, in the form of several named Kensington Palace employees who spoke to her on the record, and I would imagine that KP also provided a helpful outline and talking points. Again, this rarely happens in royal circles, where the royal’s employees are paid to be on-the-record named sources hyping their boss. Usually, royal employees are expected to be more discreet. But anything for The Birthday Embiggening. This Sunday Times piece is so long and there’s so much weirdness, tea, shade and eye-rolling that I need to split it into two posts. This is Part 1, which is where I pulled out every time Harry and Meghan are mentioned, plus some shady sh-t about William.

Kate doesn’t do drama: Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, one of the Cambridges’ closest friends and advisers, their former principal private secretary who is godfather to Prince George, assesses Kate’s coping mechanism: “She has that almost old-fashioned, Queen Mother attitude to drama — she just doesn’t do it.”

The Sussexes ‘fired missiles at the monarchy and some personally at Kate’: Kate has watched her husband mourn the loss of his grandfather, not to mention his close relationship with his brother…An image of the duchess arriving at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April last year is telling. Taken a few weeks after Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which included accusations of racism in the royal family, Kate appears composed but defiant… William, 39, was “reeling”, with “his head all over the place”, furious that his brother and sister-in-law had taken aim at his wife and his family, forcing him to state publicly: “We are very much not a racist family.”

Kate focused on William after the Sussexes’ interview: “In the days after the interview her priority was William, not how she felt about what Harry and Meghan had done,” says a source close to the Cambridges. “She has focused on personal support for William in what has been a really sad time in his life. She never predicted the degree of falling out between them.”

The bridesmaids’ dress fitting: Of the “who made who cry” incident, a palace source says: “I’ve had hundreds of hours of conversations with her [Kate] and it never came up. I only ever heard from Meghan about that — a very different story from what she said to Oprah.”

Kate, the supportive wife: A close friend says: “Kate has a way of calming William down and knows how to be really affectionate and gentle. But she is 100 per cent loyal to him and has a shaft of steel running up her back when she needs to deal with stuff that’s unpalatable.” One of William’s closest friends puts it bluntly: “He has had a year from hell and she has been fantastic supporting him.”

Why Kate didn’t go to the Diana-statue unveiling: In July, when the brothers were briefly reunited again at Kensington Palace to unveil a statue of Diana, Kate did not join them publicly but worked her magic out of sight before the brothers emerged into the glare of the world’s media. “William was still furious,” says a close friend. “He had taken the view that he’d only give so much. He just didn’t want to go there [with Harry].” An aide says: “[Catherine] was amazing behind the scenes when Harry came.” The event went off without a hitch.

Kate didn’t “change” when Meghan came around, lol: It was the same when the Sussex show was going well for a time, with Meghan described as “a breath of fresh air” for the monarchy, bringing a modern, diverse feel to the institution. Before things spiralled the Cambridges looked a little too steady to some. But there was “no risk of Kate being blown off course or changing direction”, a close aide says. “Things need to feel relevant, but fundamentally it’s about a long-term set of values and there are benefits to tradition that the duchess has always had real clarity about. She is not flashy, that’s not what people want the institution for, and she has always had a very clear understanding of that.”

Kate helped William come to terms with his destiny: “She has been a hugely important factor in him coming to terms with his destiny, how comfortable he has become with his role in the royal family as future monarch and the demands of that.

Kate the Loved: Since the Duke of York stepped back from royal life in 2019 over his links with Jeffrey Epstein, and the Sussexes left in 2020, the load on the Cambridges’ shoulders has become heavier, and according to a close friend “they do feel more exposed”. Another Cambridge confidante says: “The UK looks to them for the future of the monarchy. It’s a tough role.” But the future Queen Catherine has proven she is up to the challenge, says Lowther-Pinkerton: “She paced herself, she took her fences slowly but faultlessly.” Knauf believes “she will be a huge asset to the institution and the country”. An impeccably placed, longstanding royal insider who has watched Kate’s evolution says of the future king and queen: “William will be respected. Catherine will be loved.”

[From The Sunday Times]

You guys, if I read one more keen version of the crying-at-the-bridesmaids-fitting story, I’m going to buy some bridesmaids dresses just so I can rip them to shreds, cry into those shreds and then burn them in a cleansing fire. Once again, “sources close to Kate” will never be specific about what actually happened during what sounds like multiple incidents where Kate completely went berserk on Meghan. One of the funniest parts about the “Kate is perfect and unchanging” story is that… Kate DID change. She f–king panicked as soon as Meghan and Harry got engaged. Not only did she panic, she began copying Meghan outright (and still does).

Hilariously, one of the things I’ve grown to enjoy most about the Kate-at-40 series is how “sources close to Kate” always make William sound hyper-emotional, angry, depressed, incandescent, reeling and unable to cope or function at any level without Kate’s steadying, keen hand. I have no idea why William needs to be thrown under the keen bus to make Kate look good too, but here we are. As for Kate not going to the statue-unveiling last summer… she was desperate to go and be the “keen peacemaker” once again. William shut her down, repeatedly, even though she threw several big tantrums in the media. That alone says more about their marriage than all of this birthday keenery. That and the fact that she clearly believes it’s in her best interest to make William come across as so emotional and incapable.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, WENN, Kensington Palace.

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