Although they fell apart for a decade, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle‘s introductions about what it really means to join the royal family from outside have striking similarities.
In January 2007, with engagement speculation in overdrive and The Spectator that Kate declared “THE NEXT PEOPLE’S PRINCESS”, Prince William received several newspapers from the palace to stop publishing paparazzila photos of Kate, the prince’s old girlfriend who is always less able to go anywhere without anyone trying to take her picture.
It didn’t end there of course, because it wasn’t that all the papers came on board, and it later turned out that the couple was the target of hackers who were beaten by the News of the World, which has recently been hidden (which ironically was a of the newspapers that agreed not to publish paparazzi photos of Kate).
In 2017, a few months after their relationship, Prince Harry issued a statement to the palace pleading with the media to respect Meghan’s privacy and to mention some of the nefarious plans of photographers and reporters, ie waiting outside the front door of her mother in Los Angeles or trying to pay her ex for an inside scoop.
In fact, nothing had changed in the 37 years since Lady Diana Spencer first appeared as prince of Prince Charles and the newspapers lost their mind, they tried to suck every detail they could about the 19-year-old kindergarten assistant.
There is now clearly more awareness of the share of royals about how damaging the relentless media coverage can be, and Kate and Meghan both have more consistent support from their husbands in that matter, Charles was much more “well, let’s hold the upper lip over it, shall we? “used to be.
But navigating around the potential pitfalls of a royal romance and reaching the altar was only the precursor to the beginning of the real journey. Having accepted two of the most controversial jobs at The Firm, the young duchesses still had to work out their own approach to the lives of the most public of lives, working within both the parameters of the monarchy and their own personal comfort zones.
And it’s understandable that Meghan, much newer than Kate, is still working out the kinks.
Her choices so far, no matter how valid in the real world, have recently stoned the viewers of royals. Faithful critics were still hurt from the turn of the birth plan when they found reason to protest again when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex decided to hold a particularly private baptismal ceremony for their son Archie Harrison this month. No external cameras were allowed to make the pre-and post-recording (news brochures never film the actual baptism), and then they only released two photos and chose not to reveal who the godparents of Archie are.
But days later Meghan brought Archie to the Billingbear Polo Club in Wokingham to see Harry and William playing in a charity pool, knowing that well-functioning photographers (albeit the respectful ones) would be there, so it’s not that the Sussexes are their child hide the world. They also didn’t show him, because the sleeping baby was literally kept close to the vest. Kate was also there with her children and it created a very cheerful tableau – as well as an opportunity to read between the lines.
“We did not expect the duchesses to show up with their children,” the veteran royal reporter Katie Nicholl told ET Online after the game. “The fact that they did that was a great treat for royal spectators, but I think those candid photos were deliberately intended to sniff those rumors about the feud between the foursome. And you saw them all very close, very happy, very comfortable with each other. “
But consider the pearls clenched two weeks ago when it came out that Meghan’s personal protectors kindly asked other Wimbledon participants not to take the duchess’s pictures while watching one of Serena Williams‘s early games with friends.
“You don’t want to take pictures of the duchess, she’s here on a private level,” a PPO media consultant told Sally Jones during the game, according to the Telegraph. Jones insisted that she didn’t even try to take a picture of Meghan and didn’t even know they were in the same row.
Jones continued to write a column for the Telegraph with the headline: “Team Sussex’s demands for more privacy alienate even dedicated monarchists like me.”
It is a slippery slope. As a private person you would probably be hurt by the idea that someone from far and wide snaps photos of you, secretly or openly, but celebrities usually accept that they are more honest once they are in public. But then the shades of gray appear when you look at what public place they are. A restaurant where you try to have a quiet dinner for two is one thing, while a sports stadium is another.
Wimbledon is an event steeped in tradition and decorum and goers are expected to self-police accordingly, and they usually do that. But Kate goes (she and Meghan went to the women’s final together with Pippa Middleton last Saturday) and Diana always went before her, and no one had ever heard of this “no pictures, please!” directive.
Maybe it was just something else that Meghan threw at the wall to see what would linger.
One member of the All England Club also reprimanded her for wearing jeans, while another thought it was bad that she left after the game of Serena instead of looking around at double champion Andy Murray, who became the first player in 2012 from Great Britain to win a men’s singles title at Wimbledon since 1936, play mixed doubles (with Serena, by the way).
“Andy Murray was afterwards on Court 1 and it was a huge faux pas not to look at a Brit when she was registered with the royal family,” the member told the Times of London.
Meanwhile, a palace source told the Times: “It is not unusual for people who accompany members of the royal family in private or public gatherings to ask the public not to take pictures. This is to enable members of the royal family to to take good care of people and events. “
None of the above actions can be an action that they will repeat in the future, given the optics, but at the same time … Meghan can be knocked down if she does, with a thump if she doesn’t, no matter what.
So already this summer there was a mixed response to baptism, the closed door of which became more offensive to some in the aftermath of news that it cost $ 3 million in tax to renovate the house of Harry and Meghan. Then there was the international incident in which Meghan was effortlessly in when President Trump, during a visit to the UK, was asked about Meghan’s previous criticism (as a citizen) of him a few years ago and he noted that he did not know that she “filthy” for him.
Still calm after the birth and not going either way, Meghan was not in the state banquet for the Trumps that was organized at Buckingham Palace in June.
“Meghan has trouble with the intensity of the spotlight,” a source near the royal house that was recently shared with People. “Although she is a former actress, this is on a different level.”
Much has been said about the fact that the duchess was an actress in her pre-royal days, and therefore used to have flashlights in her face and to be wise with the ways of the 24/7 media.
But to compare its existence as the star of US costumes, pretty to be sure, but still on the brink of a normal life, with what it would be like if the other half of Prince Harry were in completely different areas act of public consciousness. Of course she was famous enough to go on talk shows and be in magazines, but she could still go to yoga and Whole Foods in peace. Her necklines did not make headlines. She could take a picture of her food and post it on Instagram.
“I think I can safely say as naively as it sounds now, after going through this learning curve for the past year and a half, I had no idea what it would be like,” Meghan announced the BBC after she and Harry announced their involvement in November 2017, a few weeks after Harry suggested. “I don’t think either of us did that, although we knew it would be.”
“No,” Harry added, “I tried to warn you as much as possible, but I think we were both totally surprised by the response after the first five or six months we had kept ourselves informed about what happened next. I think you can, you can have as many conversations as you want and try to make as many preparations as possible, but we were totally unprepared for what happened next. “
“It was a misconception that because I worked in the entertainment industry, I would be something I would know,” Meghan continued. “But even though I’ve been on my show, I think I’ve been at that time for six years and I’ve never been part of tabloid culture. I’ve never been to pop culture and have lived a relatively quiet life even though I have I was so focused on my work, so that was really a big difference. “
But you would think that Harry had been a bit prepared.
After all, he had experienced the often enough pressures of the press in him over the years to know that his specific place in the royal family – an additional heir but son of beloved late Princess Diana and son and brother of future kings – would come with a spotlight for the near future. And if romance and weddings and babies are involved … it’s the perfect storm.
Because he is only sixth in line, Harry was born with much more leeway than William when it comes to what is expected from his public life. He has to keep track of his various causes and gets the list of must-attend events in his inbox. But until he focused on full-time royalties, there was always a chance that Harry would choose a more distant life, one in which he still had his causes and appearance, but perhaps he spent a few years in Africa.
“As I always say, work hard, play hard – and I always enjoy my work, how long that continues,” Harry said in an interview in 2013 while he was stationed in Afghanistan with the Army Air Corps. “Then of course I have the other task to fall back on.”
By the time he met Meghan, he had accepted that “other task” and committed himself to a full-time royal life accordingly.
“I feel that there is only a small window when people are interested in me before [William’s kids] take over, and I have to make the best of it,” he joked to biographer Angela Levin in 2017.
It used to be speculation, again linked to her profession, that no spotlight would be too big for Meghan, that she would enjoy every piece of public transitional ritual that Kate went through, from all the excitement of a royal marriage (inevitably) to the ordered birth protocol that went together with the birth of all three children of Kate and William.
Meghan’s pregnancy was the first sign that she and Harry really wanted more privacy than some royal houses might have been used to.
Harry arranged to move them from Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, which led to speculation that Meghan might be closer to home – or even at home, perhaps, as generations of royals had arranged before her, until Princess Anne decided to to have children in a hospital.
Word eventually got out, but Meghan managed to get out of London for a baby shower organized by her friends in New York – showers were more of an American thing – without anyone being wiser.
And when her due date was approaching, no one outside knew the plan. Nowhere for the media to camp en masse, nobody knows for sure how it would all go. Eventually, at first glance, Archie’s arrival followed in the footsteps of his cousins, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. But there were some significant differences.
Meghan and Harry never let go where they were. There was a message that she was in labor … somewhere, when barely half an hour later the announcement came that Archie was born … somewhere.
Two days later they presented their swaddled newborn in the media in the St. George’s Hall at Windsor Castle. Only nearly two weeks later was it officially confirmed by the release of Archie’s birth certificate that he was born at Portland Hospital in London. (Harry, William and all of William’s children were born in St. Mary’s.)
Which does not mean that Kate and William have happily handed over their lives to the press and some of them is ours. Second in line with the throne, the Duke of Cambridge has a certain aura of benevolent majesty to preserve, and as a future queen, the Duchess of Cambridge looks after her accordingly. Large media always watch.
Their relationship was more like a marathon than a sprint and after being married for eight years, they had considerably more time than Meghan and Harry to find out – but they too are confronted daily with the juggling act of having a life just for themselves and one that the public can feast on. The trick is to make the audience feel saturated without serving too much for their own taste.
Once upon a time there was a girl put in the spotlight through her association – first a friendship, then a romance, then an ex-girlfriend and then as a serious girlfriend before she became engaged to a prince in 2010, and it started when she was barely 20. They met at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and while the press was still largely watching their ways while William was in school (hence no photo of their first public kiss after a rugby match in 2004), it was not like they were were not interested.
“We’d text William and Kate if we saw photographers hanging around,” Charlie Moretti, a former school friend, told Katie Nicholl for her book Kate: The Future Queen. “None of us wanted their lives to be harder. St Andrews gave them normality for a few years, and I don’t think any of us wanted to ruin that.”
However, when the couple graduated, the press couldn’t get enough.
Members of the Prince Charles legal team first contacted editors in the newspaper on behalf of Kate asking them to fire as early as 2005 as journalists and photographers began following her on her return to England. A German magazine had discovered where she lived, so now the paparazzi could find her coming and going, as well as William’s. They quickly moved on to whose driver Range Rover was parked outside. A panic button that directly connected to Scotland Yard was installed in the flat.
When they went outside, they took a page from Queen Elizabeth II and the early courtship of Prince Philip and did not arrive or leave together. They were also not particularly romantic. They would spend whole nights at parties talking to respectful friends instead of each other, and heaven forbid that they hold each other’s hands.
Still, sharing not a secret, but rather a special quest to keep the seriousness of their relationship with themselves, the couple grew closer.
Then there was the media spectrum of 2007, when 30 photographers met outside of Kate’s Chelsea flat on her 25th birthday. The palace soon insisted that madness should cease.
“Prince William is very unhappy about his girlfriend’s paparazzi harassment,” a spokesman said. “He wants more than anything to stop, Miss Middleton, like any other private person, should be able to do her everyday business without this kind of break-in.” The situation appears unbearable for all involved. “
“Unbearable” is a strong word, and certainly enough pressure of all kinds William and Kate had split up during the Easter holidays. There were the upcoming wedding bells that clattered from the covers of tabloids, but the constant paparazzi escort must also have become a bit tiring for Kate. William enjoyed the relative anonymity of putting on a helmet and a leather jacket and taking his motorcycle on lonely rides, but it is not that Kate would just put on a big hat and glasses and sneak in like a crowd had gathered outside of her only exit.
“I’m sure they broke up for the time being, but William is very good at manipulating the media,” wrote royal correspondent Richard Palmer in the Daily Express. “This can be about giving her a breather from the royal scene and giving him time to do and do what he wants to do.”
They met again barely two months later, and at least by the time they actually got engaged in 2010 – a month before it was officially announced, to enjoy the moment for themselves – they were already working on it , “It has been a committed violation of their privacy for years.
Nowadays they do their common sense to do what many celebrities with a deep purse do to stay healthy: they allow other people to interact with their carefully composed social media accounts; they keep their children mainly out of the media, but then look forward to the world with unexpected photo and video releases; and they vacation on super exclusive private islands that not everyone has access to.
One of Kate and William‘s favorite places to go alone and with larger groups of family is Mustique (of course a no-fly zone), and they go there quickly, according to The Sun.
“It’s incredibly private and incredibly discreet but not at a distance,” a royal insider told the newspaper. “They know and trust the staff who work there and they are creatures of habit.”
The source added, “It’s about as close as they can be without going into the total wilderness like they did on their honeymoon when they went to an island in the middle of nowhere.”
Their honeymoon location was dropped from the bag when they took off, but their destination, the Seychelles, ensured that no one bothered them.
Harry and Meghan only confirmed later where they were not (Namibia), while a source confirmed to E! News that they have been on a honeymoon in East Africa.
So extreme discretion is still possible.