As the world now knows, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s upcoming bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey will include comments from the duke and duchess about how the treatment they both received at the hands of the British press drove them out of the U.K.
At the end of February, during a surprise appearance on The Late Late Show, Harry told host James Corden that non-stop, hostile coverage in the tabloids was “destroying [his] mental health,” which ultimately led him to do “what any husband and what any father would do—I need to get my family out of here.”
What most people don’t know, however, is that Prince William and Duchess Catherine have also dealt with intrusive and aggressive treatment by the British press, Kate especially.
“Because Catherine made a near-seamless entry into the Royal Family, people assume she faced no difficulties. But during the early years, particularly before the royal couple announced their engagement, the duchess faced hurtful and invasive coverage by the media but never publicly spoke about it,” a royal insider told Best Life.
However, Kate and Prince William very much believe the royals’ ethos of “never complain, never explain.” Read on to hear what they endured at the hands of the media and how they handled it, and for the latest royals news, check out Why Meghan Won’t Make the Same Mistakes as Princess Diana in Her Tell-All.
It seems inconceivable now, but before she married William, the then-Kate Middleton faced a barrage of negative tabloid coverage on everything from her suitability as a royal bride (the Middletons were deemed too “middle class”) to her decision to date William for many years seemingly with no engagement in sight (the press dubbed her “Waity Katy”).
After the wedding, when Queen Elizabeth gave the couple her permission to take some time off from full-time senior royal duties to adjust to married life and again when the couple’s first child, Prince George, was born, she became a target again.
The British press was merciless in their criticism of Kate with stories about “Duchess Dolittle,” who they believed was not carrying her weight as part of The Firm. And for more mean nicknames from this royal’s past, check out Prince William’s Friends Gave Kate and Pippa Middleton This Rude Nickname.
Kate was staked out by the tabloids as soon as she and William graduated from St. Andrews in 2005. There had been an arrangement in place between the Palace and London’s Press Commission that William would be left alone during his college years as long as he did regularly scheduled photocalls.
But Kate was under no such protection since she was not a member of the Royal Family. Her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, had purchased a flat for her in London so she could be closer to William, but that made her an easy target for the paparazzi, which worried her parents.
Kate was hounded by a large number of photographers who became permanent fixtures on the sidewalk outside of the Chelsea flat that she shared with her sister, Pippa Middleton.
Often on mornings when she walked to work at Jigsaw, where she was an accessories buyer, Kate had to make her way through a maze of photographers who followed her on the street, calling out to her in hopes of getting a reaction.
On her 25th birthday in Jan. 2007, with a rumored proposal looming, Kate was hounded by about 20 photographers and five camera crews as she tried to leave for work that day. Her car was reportedly blocked by the paparazzi and cameras were able to get close enough to be near inches from a tense and disappointed Kate.
And for more on the ridicule Kate faced when she was young, check out Kate Middleton Was Bullied in School This Reason.
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