The great Kate-Meghan war: Why the duchesses are duking it out
One is a discreet English rose. The other is a brash Hollywood starlet. There was bound to be trouble
Leading the pack in the 2018 Yuletide Disharmony Stakes is, surprisingly, the royal family.
The Windsors have had a magnificent year – one major, lovely wedding that dispersed the acrid Brexit mood, one minor wedding that didn’t turn out to be as embarrassing as everyone feared, one new baby safely delivered and another on the way, one 70th birthday negotiated with affectionate aplomb and one successful hip replacement for a 96-year-old who walked into both weddings unaided. It was all going so well, this annus mirabilis.
Then the rumours started of a rift between the two duchesses. What could possibly be the problem?
Duchess One: I give you Catherine, English rose, the rather shy, dutiful daughter of a close-knit, middle-class clan. Impeccably turned out, conservative dresser choosing bright block colours just like Her Majesty, recycles items in her wardrobe, mixes high street with couture, waste not want not. Played a long game (since university) to win her prince to whom, when they gave a joint interview, she was sweetly deferential. Adoring mother to three beautiful children. Perfect, discreet queen material, which is good as one day she will be one.
Duchess Two: Meghan, outgoing American actress from a dysfunctional family. Big on hugs. Ability to cast off close relatives (and former husbands) when they get too embarrassing, hence the rather sad spectacle of her mother, Doria, being the only family representative at her wedding. Still finding a way to incorporate on-trend LA style into what passes for fashion in royal circles. Rumoured to have spent £1m on couture in under 12 months – most of it designed by foreigners. Wooed by her prince in double-quick time (apparently provoking some misgivings in Harry’s more cautious older brother). When they gave a joint interview, she was clearly the senior partner.
Reactions, according to taste, were either A: “Wow, that ginger got lucky,” or B: “God help him!”
Now, I don’t hold with the gleeful stereotype that says two women who don’t have much in common are necessarily bitchy rivals.
If reports are to be believed, Meghan has bombarded Kensington Palace staff with early morning e-mails demanding a programme of action.
She was a bit grabby about which of the queen’s tiaras she wished to wear at her wedding.
She made Kate cry at a fitting for Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid’s dress.
She even asked if St George’s Chapel at Windsor could be sprayed with scent before guests arrived.
All of this does not necessarily make Meghan unpleasant. It just means she’s American. That’s what they’re like.
The British concept of not trying too hard is deeply puzzling to them.
Still, she will have to learn – sooner rather than later, preferably – that having her husband shout: “What Meghan wants, Meghan gets” will not win her many fans on this side of the Atlantic.
As for Kate, I reckon she enjoyed being girl-in-the-middle in William and Harry’s life. The change from cosy triangle to Fab Four, introducing a new leading lady and TV starlet, was bound to be a challenge.
So, as the Windsors get ready to congregate at Sandringham, we can console ourselves with the fact that the royal Christmas, although catered, will be every bit as full of family tensions and perceived slights as our own more humble affair.
Just to add to the fun, Meghan’s mother Doria is invited, too. Can you imagine anything less relaxing than having your yoga instructor mom pulling a wishbone with Queen Elizabeth the Second?
– © Telegraph Media Group