The newspapers are crammed with every theory under the sun about the end of the royal romance. We always expect royal romances to be to be like fairy tales, but over the years they have morphed into fables that have been truly grim, with no happy endings. Surely the papers should be ecstatic that William is single, instead of using psychologists to fathom out why the royal affair has ended. The media are now freed up to write about where William is going, where he’s gone, who he’s smiled at, who he’s seen out with, who was she, is she royal, is she a commoner, will they marry? The headlines would be endless, and let’s face it, the fantasy is always better than the reality.
With all this speculation, what I’m most interested in is what’s going on behind the scenes. Today we read that Kate made a pact with William and the Palace, never to betray the trust of the Royals and not to disclose anything about her relationship with William. She’s only 25 and she’s known William since 2001, right the way through his formative years at University. She has been privy to the inner workings of the Palace. In the light of this, the value of Kate Middleton’s story must be in the millions – lesser known people have made their careers from selling stories about far briefer dalliances with celebrities. Can we really believe that the Palace didn’t make her sign a privacy agreement? If they didn’t, will she keep her word to keep quiet on this? There is a scarcity of “tabloid tales” from the various women that Prince Charles dated before his marriage to Diana because the upper classes all know when to keep their mouth shut, it’s bred into them. But Kate Middleton, although allowed into that world, was not from it.
Twenty years ago I knew someone who was involved in writing speeches for a prominent member of the Royal Family. When the Palace had had enough of its speechwriter, he was dropped like the proverbial ton of bricks, with no further contact from Buckingham Palace. He used to joke that he waited for a Christmas card from the palace every year, but one never materialised. My friend laughed it off, saying he had known all along that it would end like that.
If we believe what we read, then Kate Middleton is already feeling the cold shoulder from the Palace since the split. Not offering her any kind of “after care” suggests the Palace has not upped its PR ante at all. What it’s not taking into consideration is whether Kate Middleton is really bitter about this break up. Of course, the romance itself was pretty commonplace; innumerate people get together at university, have lots of fun together and then split up a few years later. But how much fun was it for Kate and how much did she really give up to be part of that establishment? The only difference is that there’s a lot more money and column inches at stake on this early romance.
Could Kate – if not now, maybe in the future – be manipulated into being the next celebrity, ex royal befriended by our North American friends? If she took the gig, she’d be paid a hefty sum to become a new personality in media-Ville USA. Or will she be the one we all remember and love, and think William should have married? To the public, she has appeared as the perfect meek and mild girl, always dressed down and always reserved. So how much of that was her and how much of her personality did she have to modify to fit into the required mould for a future King? If she’s left, dropped and hurt, at the mercy of press intrusion, why wouldn’t she want to get something out of it?
She should be having fun at her age, not being thrust into the contrived pomp and circumstance that would surely have been her fate. I will be watching with interest to see whether she keeps her word or whether like Diana before her, the real Kate Middleton will stand up and tell her story.