Tag Archives: Kate Middleton Criticism

Kate’s Hair is a Sight2See at Place2Be Headteacher Conference

For the second time since becoming Patron of Place2Be, Kate got jacked by the wind upon arrival at one of its events.

Don’t worry, it wasn’t as bad as when this happened:

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This time the wind just staged a hair assault.  But it did set a tone of levity in the press for an event at which Kate Middleton delivered one of those rare speeches with words and sentences and everything.

Even though some speech experts recommend opening with a joke, I doubt many would suggest the kind of semen hair joke The Huffington Post UK went with in its Comedy Section Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s ‘There’s Something About Mary’ Moment piece featuring this side-by-side:

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The Daily Mail also made a movie reference with its Gone with the Wind!  Duchess of Cambridge struggles to contain her bouncy locks as she visits London Conference to make a rare public speech about her ‘wonderful and secure’ childhood headline that was practically as long as the cinematic classic itself.  One of their photos captured the same kind of Scarlett O’Hara “I won’t let it go while there’s breath left in my body” resolve Kate seems to possess when it comes to leaving her hair down.

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OK! proclaimed Kate Middleton embraces windswept hair as she attends the Headteacher Conference in London with a pic of the duchess featuring the kind of pompadour height The King would have envied:

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To be fair, Kate doesn’t control the wind.  Even Oprah doesn’t control the wind.  But Kate does have access to weather forecasts calling for an updo or a window that enables her to reach for a ponytail elastic when she sees the house from the Wizard of Oz fly by because it’s so freaking windy in London that day.  Weather happens.

This is how Sophie, Countess of Wessex, prepared for her November 11th Veterans Day visit to The Queen Elizabeth II September 11th Garden in NYC which had some rain, some fog, some overcast skies and some sun with a high of 57 F and low of 50 F with winds topping out at 5.583 mph.

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Sophie often wears her hair back at events.  People tend not to take you seriously if they can’t see you.  That’s why you don’t see a lot of ghosts being interviewed on Charlie Rose.

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Perhaps the wind was trying to do Kate a solid and show off her recently debuted $3,300 Kiki McDonough diamond earrings which otherwise would have been lost in her locks.

KikiMcDonoughEarringsAnd at least the wind headlines cut down on the number of those proclaiming that Kate recycled her 2012 Matthew Williamson peplum dress.  I’m as guilty as anyone for using the word “recycle” when it comes to Kate wearing an article of clothing more than once, but it’s a strange way to refer to what is a completely normal occurrence every single day all around the world.  It both implies there’s something noble about Kate not immediately discarding clothing after use and it makes her sound like a labeled bin in which people should be putting their bottles and cans.

Kate’s speech came in at 3:20 and can be viewed on Daily Mail as can a transcript of the speech.  In terms of delivery, Kate showed some improvement over previous speeches which lends credibility to claims she’s been working on her public speaking, possibly with a coach.  Kate looked up more from the sheets of paper than in the past, however sheets of paper or note cards should only be used for reference so eye contact can be made with the audience.  Every time Kate lifted her head, her fringe flew up like flares, it was distracting.  Kate’s breathing was more measured in the beginning, but she began to lose confidence, seemingly strained by the Received Pronunciation affectation issue that’s plagued past speeches.  At one point her face went ashen, appearing to be daunted by the realization that there were still more words to go.  Her intonation was a slightly better but still needs developing.  Further practice will help with nerves and if she watches the speeches she has given to help her identify areas she needs to work on, she can continue to improve.

What I found most disappointing about the speech was its content in which she equated mental health with luck, referencing her own upbringing and indicating, “My parents and teachers provided me with a wonderful and secure childhood where I always knew I was loved, valued and listened to.”  That correlation suggests those with mental illness are just plain unlucky that they weren’t born to families that could afford better schools.  Her speech ignores genetic and biological causes of mental illnesses which according  to the Place2Be website effects three children in every classroom.  Kate stressed “not all children have the anchor of a strong family” which is a disservice to the cause she is supposed to be championing, mental health issues can effect anyone from any background.

One of the reasons mental health is such an important issue is because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, people are afraid to admit to any form of mental issues out of fear it will change how they are perceived.  It’s estimated that in the US 80% of those suffering from clinical depression do not seek any form of treatment for it.

Place2Be provides support to schools in the form of individual and group counseling for children, support for parents and care-givers as well as training and guidance for school staff.  Providing these resources in schools is very important, but they won’t be effective if they aren’t utilized by those who need them.

I went to a school which had a staff psychologist whose door was always open.  Literally.  None of the students took advantage of the resources provided by the school because of that door.  In the few instances it was ever closed, students knew it was because someone had made an appointment and a watch began to see who would come out of it, which member of the student body was secretly “crazy”.  In the girl’s bathroom one day, I remember one student advising another not to seek help for her emotional struggles through the school because it would be social suicide.

No matter how many resources Place2Be provides, the stigma surrounding mental health issues needs to change because children will resist programs that they feel distinguishes them as different in a way they perceive as negative.  Parents will also be less receptive to a program whose Patron suggested their children’s mental illness is linked to their poor parenting.

The steps Kate is taking to be heard are important, but even a flawlessly delivered speech cannot compensate for a flawed message that can be detrimental to the cause she is trying to help.  There were suggestions that Kate wrote this speech herself, which hopefully she did because if a professional speechwriter wrote her Place2Be speech, Kate might be better served trying that individual out as a stylist, tailor or hair wrangler.

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Impressions Of Kate

Before Kate Middleton was Kate Middleton, she was Kate Middleton, a young woman described by CG editor Dylan Jones in March 2007 as “probably the most intriguing woman in Britain right now, principally because we know so little about her.”

Really all the world knew about Kate at that time was that she was Prince William’s girlfriend.  She had graduated from St. Andrews in 2005 with a degree in Art History, lived in London in a flat purchased for her by her parents, spent most  of her time with her mother, shopping, was often spotted out with William, she didn’t work and her career aspiration was to become Mrs. Prince William.  The press quoted a friend source as saying, “Kate seems at a loss over her future and just seems to be waiting for Wills to pop the question. She has not settled on a career path.”

After waiting for eight years for William to propose and finally getting the Precious, no one even knew which name she preferred to go, and a Kate versus Catherine debate ensued.  In March 2011, a woman outside of Belfast City Hall finally asked Kate which she preferred to put the matter to rest.  Kate replied, “I’m still very much Kate.”

I guess she forgot to tell William because he started referring to his new wife as Catherine.  Maybe William decided he preferred Catherine to Kate.  I’m sure that  happens all the time with newlyweds.  If I ever get married, I think I’m going to rename my future husband Matthew Gray Gubler.  Or Wolverine.

There were no scandalous stories about the royal bride, Kate, suggesting she was the perfect candidate as a future Queen Consort.  A generation earlier, Lady Diana Spencer had been deemed a perfect royal bride because she was a woman with “a history, but not a past”.  The nineteen year old Diana came from a well-known noble family, had spent time with the royal family  growing up, shared an apartment with friends, had held a few jobs including working as a kindergarten teacher, despite having a pedigree and trust fund, she also did odd jobs cleaning friends’ apartments, working as a baby-sitter and mother’s helper, loved children dearly and was known to be hard-working, kind and a bit  shy.  At 19, Diana had a pristine but promising story for the press to tell and had already worked more than the 29-year-old woman who would marry her son.  Oddly Kate had scarcely left any kind of indication at all she had existed for nearly three decades.

There just weren’t many stories to tell or friends to extoll her virtues to the press.  After university, Kate’s work history consisted of one part-time job infrequently attended and quickly abandoned.  To many classmates, she was entirely forgettable. But, at a reader’s request, I have gathered up the impressions of Kate from those who remembered her before her story was rewritten in order to sell a woman who had been referred to in the press as Waity Katie, The Mattress, Her Royal Thighness  and The Royal Doormat, as a perfect fairytale princess.

In September 1995, thirteen year old Kate enrolled in the all-girls boarding school Downe House.  After only two semesters Kate transferred  out because she wasn’t well liked.  The press later ran stories suggesting Kate left because of bullying, the claims were all disproven because they were fabricated with the assumption she had been a boarder, which she never was.  The school’s headmistresses, Miss Cameron, confirmed that Kate was never bullied, describing her as awkward, unhappy, unable to adapt and fit in.

One of the classmates who remembered Kate noted, “You never saw her smile.  I didn’t envy her short brown bob, her boyish figure, nor her eczema, but when it came to height and sportiness she was lucky. I still find it hard to understand that in her year-group of more than 100 girls she did not find a single kindred spirit, not even on the lacrosse pitch, where she was at home.”

Another classmate who was able  to recall Kate scoffed at the idea that Kate had even been teased or given a dirty look, indicated Kate was “regarded as a nonentity” and the other girls “thought she was not worth bothering with.”

Other than an echoed recollection of Kate being a girl with bad skin and sullen look, Kate left no other impression on her classmates.

Kate transferred to Marlborough which was co-ed, thought to be a better match for her because as Miss Cameron explained, “Kate was happier around boys.”  Unfortunately Kate wasn’t at first, her gloom persisted even with boys around because she  wasn’t popular.  According to Gemma Williamson,  “One day they decided to rate each of the girls out of 10. Kate scored badly.  She turned to her mother and on returning from the summer holiday had undergone a transformation.”

After Carole’s summer project of making Kate more appealing to boys by helping her acquire what Williamson described as “a  perfect  body”, a more “confident” Kate discovered she could become more popular with boys by pulling down her pants and show them her bare bum.  “Sometimes jokingly we called her Middlebum, ” Williamson explained. “At 14 she joined other girls mooning boys from their dorm window,” another classmate indicated.  Jessica Hayes recalled that Kate became addicted to mooning and estimated she did it about 80 times before the school intervened.  I’m not really sure how one becomes addicted to mooning, but as someone who was starting to develop a pretty serious Twizzler addiction, perhaps I’m not one to judge.

Marlborough’s staff  has been directed not to speak with anyone about anything Kate did while at Marlborough that would reflect poorly on her image and were specifically instructed to  say no comment about her serial mooning, but some have dished off the record because let’s face it, all teachers are under-paid and under-appreciated for all that they have to put up with.   One of the teachers finally had to pull Kate aside and explain to her that while exposing herself to boys may appear to be an easy way now to become more popular, it wasn’t smart and urged her to consider how constantly exposing herself could come back to haunt her.  Another teacher spoke to a reporter on the condition his identity not be revealed because of the school-imposed gag order on staff.  He described Kate as, “unexceptional.  Anyone who remembers differently is probably talking with the benefit of hindsight.”

Kate was nicknamed “Princess-in-Waiting” at Marlborough because of her fixation with Prince William.  Jessica Hayes recalled Kate spending hours pouring over magazine, learning everything she could about the man she vowed to marry.

When Kate’s sister Pippa started Marlborough, Kate became more confident.  Despite being the younger sister, classmates referred to Pippa as the “alpha sister” and Kate as the “beta sister”.  Pippa was more popular, smarter, better at sports and became the captain of Kate’s hockey team.  One classmate noted, “Pippa was slightly tough and, back then, the one with the charisma. No one would ever think of bullying her.”  Despite the age difference, the Wisteria Sisters managed to be together almost all of the time.  In addition to being socially dependent on her sister, Kate was also known as a “Mummy’s girl”.

But that wasn’t the only impression Kate was making.  In the 2000 Leavers’ Yearbook, a classmate wrote, “Catherine’s perfect  looks are renowned but her obsession with her tits are not.  She is often found squinting down her top and screaming, “They’re growing!”

Kate intended on attending Edinburgh when it was announced Prince William was taking a gap year and would be enrolled at St. Andrews the following year, Kate ripped up her acceptance letter and applied to St. Andrews, taking a gap year so she would be in his class.  Part of 19-year-old Kate’s gap year was spent as a deckhand on corporate hospitality boats, mainly serving drinks on yachts for wealthy clients.  The girls wore a polo shirt, navy blazer and their own shorts in black or navy.  Kate was remembered for wearing the shortest of short shorts.  Several male crew members provided pretty much identical quotes as one of the captains: “The thing about her that stood out was her legs and those shorts.”  While the male crew enjoyed asking her to scrub the deck, the captain admitted needing to tell her,  “Kate, would you mind not standing by that hatch when you are serving because it’s a bit revealing for anyone below deck.”   Despite the show she put on, one member described her as “rather prudish”.  Several noted it was obvious Kate had her sights set on a higher class of man than would be working as part of a ship’s crew.

Contrary to the fairytale myth, Kate had already met William prior to St. Andrews.  Paul Horsford reflected on talking about William with Kate in 2001 during her brief gap year stint doing corporate hospitality.  When he commented that maybe Kate would get to meet William at one of the events, she replied, “I’ve already met him once or twice.”

The “once” was during the summer of 1999.  Emilia d’Erlanger, a long-time friend of William’s, brought Kate to “Club H”, Prince’s William and Harry’s den in the cellars of Highgrove.  The “or twice”  was a fleeting encounter at a school event.  Kate failed to make an impression, though, on William.

William and Kate started shacking up during their second year at St. Andrews.  They tried to keep a low profile by dining out early so they wouldn’t be spotted, although given how notoriously cheap William is, it’s possible he was trying to take advantage of Early Bird Specials.  One of their favorite haunts was The Oak Rooms where a quoted observer (it sounds like he was either the manager or owner) noted, “They’re always very affectionate and smoochy.  And, just like ordinary college kids, they always go dutch on the check.”

Once Kate finally got William, her focus shifted to keeping him. She dropped the few female friends she had made who have been very gracious in the press about being frozen out of her life.  One noted, “I don’t even think she dropped us deliberately. But she has to be so careful about where she goes now and all the arrangements that it became more trouble than it was worth.”  A few females did survive the cut: her mother, her sister and a couple of girls who weren’t a perceived threat.

People who encountered Kate at the clubs described her as “rude”, “dour” and “plain”.  One girl dubbed  her Cerberus after the three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades in Greek mythology for her body-blocking of any girl who tried to approach William.

While the press has printed stories about William’s friends making “doors to manuals” sneers, suggesting they didn’t approve of Kate because of her middle class roots, individuals I’ve spoken have denied such claims.  William’s friends disliked Kate because of her unpleasant personality, flakiness and her off-putting behavior towards them.

During the Waiting Years, Kate had a habit of agreeing to be involved in charity work but then not bothering to respond when contacted and was a no-show at some events she indicated she was keen on attending.  William’s circle felt she acted as if she was above extending common courtesy.

According to one of Kate’s friends, “She has quite a bad reputation for being rude when it comes to responding to letters.  She often fails to RSVP when she is asked to attend events. She once failed to reply to a wedding invitation from one of William’s friends and it didn’t go down very well.”

The characterization of Kate as a “cold, dull, serious girl” by William’s friends in Penny Juror’s book Prince William: The Man Who Will Be King  is one of the most succinct descriptions of Kate’s personality that I’ve heard to date.

Prince  William gave the okay for Penny Junor to speak with friends, classmates and teachers for her book, Prince William: The Man Who Will Be King.  Other quotes from the book offered further insight into The Woman Who Will Be Queen Consort.  One of Kate’s tutors from St. Andrews noted, “She was another girl in a pashmina. When I read about her charismatic personality — well, maybe it’s developed, but it wasn’t that obvious then.”

The experiences of those who have met Kate have differed so drastically from the carefully crafted image that has been packaged for public consumption, some who have not been interviewed for books or articles have come forward on public platforms to share their impressions of Kate.

The comment section of a Jezebel article on Celebrity Encounters contained a contribution from St. Andrews alumni who had been in Kate’s class.  I’ve done some editing due to length, but it can be viewed in its entirety at http://jezebel.com/the-be…-a-dick-to-you-1704797468

The contributor was a student at St. Andrews and tells the story of a close  friend she refers to as Tina who had a class with Prince William (referred to as P-Dubya) and a weekly tutorial with Kate (referred to as the  skinny brunette), which was ten students in the professor’s office once a week.

“…The professor was always late letting students in, and there were no chairs in the hallway, so people would chat and be friendly as they waited.

EXCEPT for this one, very thin, brunette. My friend (let’s call her Tina) recognized her as one of the ‘followers’ of P-Dubya. But my friend was from a country far far away and couldn’t have given a shit (her country had given up the monarchy long ago).

So, Tina has a few tutorials, and she notices that the thin brunette always sits int eh chair next to her. But she never talked to anyone. Tina noticed, however, that the skinny brunette would always look over at her paper, and copy down her answers to the weekly assignments. Tina is super smart and always has all the answers, and is also an arty, anti-establishment person, so she didn’t care. In fact, one week, she went up to the skinny brunette and flat out offered her her assignment, because they had 10 minutes to kill before the professor opened the door, and why not? Skinny brunette looked down her nose at her, said, “I don’t know what you mean” and returned to texting smugly.

Well, no one fucks with Tina. So, the next week, Tina wrote 2 separate assignments. The first one, the actual one, had the answers. The second one was fake. I mean, really fake. She told me she was doing this, and we came up with the most ridiculous bullshit.

Q: When was Pearl Harbor?

A: 1492

I mean, really stupid. Like, NO ONE would believe those answers were real. So class time rolls around, and Tina waits in the hallway with the others. Skinny brunette comes, doesn’t talk to anyone. Door opens, Tina sits. Skinny sits next to her. Tina puts her fake assignment on top, to the corner of her desk. Skinny looks over, obviously copies word by word. Not even blinking.

The assignments were handed in. Tina told me she didn’t know what grade skinny got, and that was one of the last tutorials of the year, so she didn’t have much interaction after that.

TL/DR- Cate is rude, plagiarizes assignments, and dumber than a box of hair.”

Another commenter responded with:
“Can confirm. I chatted with a prof at St. Andrews who had Kate as a student and he told me, “she wrote one good paper. I suspected plagiarism, but could never prove it.a’ He didn’t think much of her.”

Kate being dumber than a box of hair does explain the growing mess of extensions and hair pieces she’s been sporting.  Clearly whatever is happening there, she has been out-witted.

A while back, I was anonymously contacted by a woman I believe was a member of Kate’s staff who shared her own impressions of Kate who she described as being not very bright.  Basically, she  seemed to share the opinion that a box of hair could beat Kate at a game of checkers.  What I found most interesting about what she told me is how Kate perceives herself, as a great mind and puppet-master controlling those around her.

Maybe Kate’s impression of herself is closer to reality than those who have been snickering behind her back at her lack of mental acuity.  Because if you think about it, this woman has managed to spend four and a half years reaping the full benefits of a job she very rarely shows up for, last year accounting for a mere 2.23% of the British Royal Family’s workload.  She has the largest apartment at Kensington Palace, fully renovated at taxpayer expense, a ten bedroom country estate to beige out to her heart’s content, and is supplied with a full staff so she can relax in pampered luxury.  She spends tens of thousands of dollars of her father-in-law’s duchy money annually on clothing and accessories for galas and movie premieres that count as work.  And the most stressful thing she has to deal with is how to fit a lightweight tour in between her luxury holidays.  This might be the most impressive con job in history.  And it’s being pulled off by Kate Middleton.  Or her hair.

redheart

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Remembrance Sunday

Sunday November 8th was Remembrance Day in the UK, a solemn day honoring the sacrifices of war and those who have fallen in current and past conflicts including the First and Second World Wars.

This year, the British Royal Family was joined by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation.  King Willem-Alexander participated in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall while Queen Maxima joined Kate Middleton, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Timothy Laurence on the Foreign Office balcony to watch the service.

Because Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is presently on a tour of New Zealand and Australia with Prince Charles, Kate was the most senior  member of the British Royal Family this year on the balcony.  Many royal watchers wondered how Kate would fare in the presence of the dynamic, intelligent, regal, quadrilingual, and accomplished Queen Maxima, especially considering Kate has struggled with event-appropriate demeanor since joining  the British Royal Family.

The Neverland Duchess wore Alexander McQueen for her balcony appearance with the Netherlands Queen.

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Kate’s ill-fitting Alexander McQueen coat  was bespoke.   Once  again Kate’s bespoke has left me bespeechless.  I’m baffled how clothing custom-made according to Kate’s measurements and tailored to her body could wind up  looking like it was picked up from an irregulars bin at a flea market.  London is world-renowned for its tailoring, it actually has famous tailors.  One was even awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to tailoring.  So why does Kate keep winding up with couture that looks like a Home  Ec assignment gone horribly wrong?

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The only way this would vaguely even make sense is if she had scuba gear on under her coat because she and William were planning on jetting off to Mustique immediately after the service.

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Caribbean happy thoughts might explain why Kate kept closing her eyes during the Remembrance Sunday service… her face probably looks a bit different when she closes her eyes and thinks of England.  Kate’s next scheduled event isn’t until the 17th and the Cambridges were rumored to be Mustique-bound in November.

Perhaps thoughts of flight were behind the butterfly fascinator which resembled cat ears, calling to mind the bunny ear pillbox hat of last year’s Anzac Day.

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Groucho Marx said, “Humor is reason gone mad.”  I can  only assume Kate’s brows were intended to lighten the mood.

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With cracks visible in Kate’s facade,  many wondered how she would hold up as the most senior role alongside the much loved and larger-than-life Queen Maxima, given her past  widely criticized appearances on Remembrance Sunday.

In 2011, Kate joined Camilla, Sophie and Timothy Laurence on the Foreign Office Balcony, visibly enjoying being royal on a balcony.  A festive Kate smiled and laughed,  played with her hair, made  faces, seemingly not grasping that most people view war and death with sadness.

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Kate’s crack-ups  proved infectious and the normally restrained Sophie lost her composure when Camilla suddenly disappeared from view.  One was not amused.  The following year the Queen appointed her Lady in Waiting, Lady Susan Hussey to the balcony.

Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Lady Susan Hussey, Remembrance Sunday 2012

Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Lady Susan Hussey, Remembrance Sunday 2012

Under the watchful eye of Lady Susan Hussey, the royals scarcely dared to blink.  Kate behaved to the best of her abilities.

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Without the  adult supervision of Lady Susan Hussey in 2013, all of Kate’s pent-up crazy from the previous year’s Remembrance Sunday manifested in a flirty hair-twirling lark for the duchess who thought perhaps others might not be so bummed about lost loved ones if her hair looked pretty enough.

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In 2014, Kate and Sophie showed up in nearly identical  coats which seemed to have a sobering effect on Kate who was less expressive and exuberant than the previous year.

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With the exception of her curiously closed eyes, Groucho Marx brows and questionable headgear, I think Kate did a good job this year on the balcony, but honestly it’s becoming more difficult to tell with diminished expectation.  Kate didn’t burst out laughing during the service honoring fallen servicemen and servicewomen, she didn’t flash anyone or spend an inordinate amount of time checking her extensions or searching her hair for Drops of Jupiter, she didn’t spin around really fast with her arms outspread to see if she could turn into Wonder Woman and she didn’t try to start a Mexican wave on the Foreign Office Balcony.  And maybe  the Catwoman headgear is a positive sign.

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Sure, at first the Queen  might be resistant to Catwoman Catherine  but Kate’s only other career aspiration is inherently flawed.

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redheart

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The Limpet Goes Deep

According to a Telegraph article, Kensington Palace has confirmed Kate Middleton “passed a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Advanced Open Water Diver qualification, meaning she can dive to a depth of 30 metres (98ft).”  Kate reportedly gained advanced scuba diving qualification in Mustique.  This is an impressive achievement, especially since true limpets occupy the intertidal zone (that part of the seabed exposed to air at low tide and covered by water at high tide).  Perhaps somewhere on Kate’s Ancestry.com page, she’s got some deepwater limpet heritage in there.  Prince Harry was of course the one rumored to have correctly identified Kate as The Limpet back when Kate first attached herself to his brother.

The article also notes:
Kelly Fisher Katz, who met the Duke and Duchess when she was on holiday on the Caribbean island with her husband Martin, a Beverly Hills jeweller, said: “We went diving and they went very deep, more than 90ft. Our instructor said Martin and I weren’t qualified to go on the shark dives that they went on. They’re quite the sportsmen.”

Limpet teeth are the strongest known biological material so it’s no surprise Kate is keeping up with the hubs.  By “shark dives”, I’m not sure if Katz meant Carole and Pippa also tagged along or if maybe the Cambridges went into the Shark Cave which is a favorite Mustique hang-out spot for black tipped reef sharks.

It’s also not clear when this trip was or when Kate went to the Mustique diving school.  Since pregnant women aren’t supposed to scuba dive because of the possibility of suffering a miscarriage along with potential risks of fetal deformities, it most likely wasn’t during the January trip celebrating Carole’s 60th birthday.  So this is either old news or Kate and William managed to sneak away on another one of their secret getaways.

So Kate is capable of obtaining advanced qualifications for scuba diving but still can’t manage a speech after four years of duchessing?  At least at 98 feet under water, there’s less risk of awkwardly running into someone from one of the charities Kate keeps ducking.  It’s just such a buzzkill when people expect you to do things and stuff.  Maybe next Kate will be keen on astronaut training.

redheart

 

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Sailing Along in An Aging British Royal Family

On Sunday, Kate Middleton made a rare appearance, emerging from extended maternity leave for the rained-out America’s Cup race in Portsmouth.  Despite the inclement weather, Kate looked happy, engaged and interested.

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I like this Kate.  She doesn’t have that dead inside blank stare normally worn at her increasingly rare public events.  She wasn’t fumbling desperately in her hair for a panic button or frantically pressing into her crotch trying to activate some kind of escape hatch lever to take her far away from the expectations of duchessing.

I can even tolerate this Kate who is so giddy flanked by the very dreamy Ben Ainslie and the far less swoon-worthy Prince William that she has the deranged grin of an escaped mental patient who raided the happy pill closet before flying over the cuckoo’s nest:

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The problem is this Kate only exists at sporting events and celebrity galas.  And even though she’s using the guise of extended maternity leave (for which she doesn’t work enough to qualify) to avoid the duchess downer events like the tenth anniversary 7/7 Memorial honoring the 52 victims of the London bombings, her habitual hand-picking of events has irreparably damaged her reputation to the point even once-supporters are writing her off as hopelessly lazy.

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Judging by the overall tone of Daily Mail comments, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are probably one holiday away from royally waving at a torch and pitchfork mob.

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In his July 13th first-day-playing pilot interview, Prince William noted, “The Queen is still very active and is still showing incredible leadership. My father is doing many, many engagements, as are the rest of the family, and so there’s a lot being done by the Royal family around the country. I hope to still be a part of that, and do as much as I can, but equally do something which I think is incredibly important and [will] prove me in good stead for the future.”

A lot is being done by the rest of the Royal Family, but just how realistic is the plan for them to continue to pick up the rest of the slack?  According to The British Monarchy’s official website, there are eighteen official members of the Current Royal Family.  I have listed the age next to each:

The Queen – 89

The Duke of Edinburgh -94

The Prince of Wales – 66

The Duchess of Cornwall – 68

The Duke of Cambridge – 33

The Duchess of Cambridge – 33

Prince Harry – 30

The Duke of York – 55

The Earl of Wessex – 51

The Countess of Wessex – 50

The Princess Royal – 64

The Duke of Gloucester – 70

The Duchess of Gloucester – 69

The Duke of Kent – 79

The Duchess of Kent – 82

Princess Alexandra – 78

Prince Michael of Kent – 73

Princess Michael of Kent – 70

The average age of the current British Royal Family is 64 with 65% of the royals past the once default retirement age of 65.

In 2014, only 8% of royal engagements were undertaken by Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry, which means 92% of royal responsibilities fell to other members of the Royal Family, the average age of whom is 70.5 years old without its three youngest “working” royals.  With Prince William playing pilot, Kate Middleton on extended maternity leave and Prince Harry currently in Africa working on wildlife conservation, the bulk of the responsibilities for 2015 once again fall to the remaining fifteen current members whose average age is 70.5.

In the UK, the average life expectancy is 79 for men and 83 for women.  Is picking up the slack for Prince William and his wife really how his relatives should be spending the last years of their lives?  The Queen at 89 has lived 6 years past the national life expectancy and there’s no guarantee that at 66, Prince Charles will also enjoy the same kind of longevity.

In the July 13th interview, Prince William defended his decision to play pilot with the statement, “The term, ‘full-time royal role’ is bandied around quite a lot, and no-one actually really knows what that means…”

The only people who don’t seem to know what it means to be full-time royals are William and Kate who have never even attempted to give it a go.  At the age of 33, William is a part-time prince and Kate is an occasional duchess, both are relying on the elderly to do their jobs for them.

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Kate’s True Colours

On Wednesday, Kate Middleton showed her true colours and took a break from her extended maternity leave to enjoy the royal perk of prime Wimbledon seats.  Dressed in a new vibrant red LK Bennett dress with a new haircut and what looks to be new hair extensions, Kate’s appearance seemed like a classic post-break-up f.u. move, getting all glammed up in attention-grabbing red with altered locks to symbolize a new chapter in life while dancing to Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive on the inside in order to show the ex it’s his loss.

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I’m not really sure what split in Kate’s mind could have provoked this classic Kate break-up move. Kate never even flirted with Work so it’s not like that relationship could have ended and if Kate and Sense of Duty ever were really together, it obviously ended ages ago.  Kate and Black Eyeliner are still hot and heavy and going by recent paparazzi photos, Kate and Jeggings are still very much an item.  Perhaps Kate finally ended it with Pretending to Care, a pre-emptive strike against those who would question why Kate couldn’t be bothered showing up at the 7/7 Memorial the day before but could be coaxed out of extended maternity leave in order to sit in the Royal Box at Wimbledon.

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Do you have any chloroform on you, Darling? I want to invite Andy Murray over to Anmer to play.

Unfortunately, the Palace does still have to promote the whole Kate Charade and scramble for ways to hide the fact that Kate can’t be bothered with the responsibilities that came with the Duchess title for which she waited around eight years to have.  Even though Kate is on extended maternity leave for which she doesn’t work enough to qualify, the Palace is hard at work creatively padding her event numbers because her paltry annual engagement totals are always at the bottom of the family’s list.  The birth of Charlotte and Sunday’s christening showed up in the Court Circular as official engagements for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

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Granted, being in labor is the closest thing Kate will ever get to work, but a private christening attended by twenty-two people from which even members of the British Royal Family were excluded counts as an official engagement?  Seriously?  Because they permitted the commoners to wait out in the rain for the honor of looking at their Royal High Horses on their way to a private ceremony?

Four of Princess Charlotte’s christening photos taken by Mario Testino were released this week and they are the perfect metaphor for the Cambridge’s overly-manipulated image that has been distorted to a state of lifeless awkwardness.

Testino was Princess Diana’s favorite photographer, his photos for Vanity Fair were the last portraits for which she sat prior to her death.  He is a highly sought-after photographer, not only for those still seeking anything with a Diana association, but because Testino has one well-honed talent: he makes women look skinnier.

In the group photo, there’s a bit of a fun house effect happening.  Something feels off about it and it’s not until you start to examine it that you see what Testino has done.  Not only has Testino PhotoShopped the Middletons and Windsors into candy-coated perfection, he has moved the subjects and altered the background.

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This is a shot of the Drawing Room at Sandringham, the door on the left in between the two lit sconces is where the group photo was taken.

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That door is significantly smaller in the christening photo, reduced by Testino to one narrow panel, and the lighting fixtures were removed as the entire backdrop was compacted to create an artificial feeling of togetherness between the subjects, some digital slight of hand to artificially manufacture that which the photographer was unable to capture.

Testino cut each figure out, modified them and pasted them into the altered background.  He didn’t get the positioning of the feet correct, though, I have drawn a vertical line using Pippa’s and Carole’s feet as the starting point which should bisect them down the middle.

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Obviously Pippa’s head is turned but if you look at her neck, you can see how far Testino was off when recompiling the elements of the photo, his tinkering also left Pippa’s chest looking like she’s at Picasso levels of lopsided.  With Carole, he’s slightly less off.  And I’m not sure why there is a glowing red line under the couch in the back, perhaps it was left to distract from the pic’s patchwork or maybe it is meant to symbolize the love between William and Kate that is so passionate and intense, it manifests as flaming carpet snakes.

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The beigeness of the Middleton family reportedly caused some issues for Testino who had to work around the Middletons matching their attire to Charlotte’s christening gown.  Pippa’s Emilia Wickstead dress was also too close in shade to the cream colored paint of Sandringham’s drawing room so Pippa had to be repositioned so that James’ dark sleeve could be used to delineate her arm.  A subtle shadow was also added along her nipped-in torso to help keep Pippa from looking like a floating head.

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Back in 2009, Mario Testino told a Telegraph reporter, “The magic comes when a sitter is not self-conscious.”  Too bad Pippa couldn’t make it work with George Percy, perhaps with access to Hogwarts, a little life could have been injected into Charlotte’s christening photos.

Since Charlotte’s christening counted as an official event, I wonder who is picking up Mario Testino’s substantial tab?  Whether the cost is met by the Royal Family or the taxpayer, these stale photographic crumbs were a rip-off and certainly not value for the money in a time of austerity.

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The Middletons Take Mustique

After three events on Monday for which child-scarer Kate Middleton looked like a Clueless Miss Geist, the duchess became a self-fulfilling punchline when she jetted off to Mustique on Thursday with Prince William, Prince George, her mother, father, sister and brother and several Royal Protection Officers.

Despite being ‘too pregnant’ to join Prince William on a tour of China and Japan, Kate is apparently just pregnant enough for the nine hour flight to her favorite Caribbean destination.  No Fake Hyperemesis Gravidarum to spoil the Caribbean Queen’s third trimester two week getaway with the Middletons, which is fortunate, had Kate’s pregnancy really been a difficult one and not just billed so to get out of duties, there might be concern that the future fourth-in-line to the throne was several islands away from the most basic of hospital care.

The trip is ostensibly to celebrate Middleton Matriarch Carole’s 60th birthday which apparently the Doolittles were unable to do when they spent this past weekend with Kate’s parents at Bucklebury or during the two weeks or so that the Middleton family spent at Anmer Hall around the Christmas holidays.

Surely this birthday celebration for Carole has been in the works for a while and yet Prince William still opted to forego Christmas Day with his grandmother, preferring to spend it instead with Carole and the rest of the Middleton clan in a mansion gifted to him by Her Majesty.  Apparently with the short deck Prince William seems to be playing with these days, Carole trumps the Queen.  With Carole Middleton seemingly always getting top priority, isn’t every day Carole’s birthday?

But this Mustique trip had to have an official reason to make it slightly more palpable to the press, after all, Prince William has been doing very few official engagements while supposedly training to be an air ambulance pilot, Kate just took several weeks off around Christmas from all that nothing she does, and they couldn’t call it a Babymoon because they just had one of those in November, nor could it be a second honeymoon because they just had one of those ten months ago in the Maldives… so Carole’s birthday celebration it is.

While this is a private Middleton getaway, unfortunately it still comes with a hefty price tag for taxpayers who foot the bill for security and any additional staff the couple brings, such as the nanny.  These costs include round-trip business class tickets, luxury resort lodging, per diem and overtime.  While RPO numbers are never released for “security” reasons, I estimate a dozen Royal Protection Officers were brought along to Mustique to guard the villa, The Heir-To-The-Heir, The Heir-To-The-Heir-To-The-Heir and The Hair.  Despite taxpayer financial contributions to this trip, it’s doubtful taxpayers will even get to see pictures from this latest holiday.  In the past, other guests on Mustique have complained about royal security restricting movement on the island, taking away their cell phones and even questioning them before allowing them on the beach (which makes the 2013 babymoon pics even more curious, with many believing Carole was somehow involved).  But, who knows, maybe Prince William will spring for some “Kate and Wills Blew My Tax Money on Another Holiday and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” souvenirs.  Or maybe Prince William prefers the more classic “I’m With Stupid” design. redheart

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How To Be A Lady

Buckingham Palace was kind enough to remind American journalists what is appropriate attire around visiting members of the Royal Family, so I wanted to take the opportunity to address proper etiquette.  In preparation for the visit the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have planned to New York City, this post is dedicated to the topic of How to be a Lady.

-Always behave as if there are cameras on you.  Because in this day and age, there probably are.

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-Be well read and articulate.  A lady is an excellent conversationalist, never curses or stammers and can speak knowledgably about a wide range of topics.

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-Never lose your temper or yell.  You do not need to raise your voice to make an impactful statement.

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-Be confident in manner and speech.

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-Have good posture.

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-When standing, your hands should be at your sides or across your diaphragm.  Never on your nether regions.

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-Don’t play with your hair in public.

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-Don’t play with your hair while grabbing your nether regions.

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-Dress properly in garments that fit well and aren’t revealing.  The only thing worse than exposing your undergarments with sheer clothing…

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… is exposing yourself wearing no undergarments.

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-In addition to not being immodest, attire should be appropriate for the day’s activities.

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-Never adjust your undergarments in public.  Always excuse yourself and adjust in a lavatory or other area where you will have total privacy.

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-Don’t bite your nails.

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-Always exercise proper etiquette when eating and drinking.  For example, champagne flutes should only be held by the stem.

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-Never drink excessively.

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-Take your sunglasses off when speaking with someone, unless he or she is a very close friend or family member.

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-Be a gracious guest.  Smile warmly and thank your host or hostess for his or her hospitality.

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-When exiting a car, pivot when you are still seated so both feet hit the ground outside the car at once.  Getting out one foot at a time not only looks awkward, it can result in an embarrassing flash of undergarments.

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– Never behave snobbishly, treat others with respect.  Class has nothing to do with lineage or titles, it’s about how you act towards others.

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– Do not whisper or gossip, it can make others feel ill at ease.

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– A lady is always gracious in any activity and is careful not to flaunt her success at the expense of others.  As American Football Coach, Paul Brown, stated, “When you win, say nothing.  When you lose, say less.”

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-When in the company of others, keep your cell phones away.  Texting, Tweeting and talking on the phone sends the message you do not find your present company interesting enough to give your undivided attention.

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-Always remember that your actions in public reflect on how well you were raised.

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-When traveling abroad, always remember you are a guest of that country.

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While the Royal Family may have certain expectations of conduct from society towards its representatives, society also has certain expectations from the Royal Family’s representatives.  Can respect and special concessions be demanded for a duchess who cannot even manage to conduct herself as a lady, especially in a country where titles are merely quaint reminders of a system of government our country has rejected?  Perhaps the focus should be on Kate acclimating herself to the customs of the country she is visiting as well as familiarizing herself with how to behave as a lady instead of making demands on our free press.

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Lack of Sartorial Variety at Royal Variety Performance

On Thursday night, Kate Middleton and Prince William attended The Royal Variety Performance.

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And she didn’t wear the black lace Alice Temperley.  Instead she wore black lace Diane Von Furstenberg. This is one of Kate’s best looks to date and yet, it falls a little flat.

Don’t get me wrong, she looks lovely.  But she is a beautiful thirty-two year-old woman with nearly limitless resources who could have looked spectacular.

Due to the thrice-repeated Alice Temperly dress, we’ve seen her in floor-length black lace.

KateBlackLaceAliceTemperleyWe’ve also seen that neckline before.

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We’ve even seen it with three quarter lace sleeves.

KateLaceNecklineThis is Kate’s first time representing Her Majesty at The Royal Variety Show.  And she chose the color black which Queen Elizabeth very rarely wears.  Her Majesty believes the monarchy should be visual representations of blossoming hope for the future.  The future that Kate is representing photographs flatly.

In 1962, this is what the then 36 year-old monarch wore to the Royal Variety Performance.

queen1962I’m not a fan of fur, but it was a different time.  Queen Elizabeth looks breathtaking.

Granted, Kate is a duchess married to the second-in-line to the throne and not the reigning queen, but she could have evoked the same kind of glamorous regal grandeur without overstepping her position.

Tonight’s accessories and make-up are unmemorable.

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Kate’s gone with an ever-so-slightly darker version of her smoky-eye and nude lip day make-up which she never strays from despite a self-professed love of make-up.  The earrings are blue topaz circles with diamond accents designed by Kiki McDonough which she’s worn before at a Creative Industries reception and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert.  They are pretty, but certainly not spectacular.  Blue topaz is a semi-precious stone that tends to disappear on skin, the understated design makes these earrings more suitable for an awards luncheon.  From beneath her hem peaked black platform Jimmy Choos as she clutched a black beaded evening bag to her favorite resting spot, no nailpolish to even brighten up her crotch clutching, her hair the same loose chignon that has become one of the very few up-do’s she wears.

Kate’s look this evening is merely slight variations on other looks we’ve seen before.

It’s said that the Royal Variety Show is the least favorite event on the Royal Family’s official calendar, Prince Charles and Camilla have attended on the Queen’s behalf in recent years.  Last year Camilla wore custom Vivienne Westwood gown and a sapphire brooch converted into a pendant.

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That necklace was not on loan from the Queen, but Camilla has on many occasions worn some of Her Majesty’s spectacular jewels, including major pieces such as the Boucheron tiara, the Delhi Durbar Tiara, the Collet Coronation Necklace, and the Greville Diamond Necklace.  To date, Kate has only been lent four pieces: the Cartier Halo Tiara on her wedding day, The Maple Leaf Brooch for the Canada tour, the Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace for the National Gallery Portrait Event earlier this year and the Fern Brooch for the New Zealand tour.  I was curious to see if The Queen would loan Kate any pieces for her first Royal Variety Performance, it would have been the perfect opportunity to dispel some of the swirling rumors that Kate is feuding with the Queen over her work ethic and that the marriage of Kate and Prince William is on shaky ground.  I wasn’t surprised that she hadn’t.  Maybe the Queen was just concerned she wouldn’t get one of the priceless pieces back in case Kate scampered directly back to Bucklebury and feared it would wind up on Pippa demonstrating the perfect keg stand on The Today Show.

So far I’m not impressed with stylist/assistant Natasha Archer’s choices for Kate, if she was involved at all with this look.  Kate looked beautiful but underwhelming.

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