Before Kate Middleton was a princess personified, she was a common lass from Berkshire whose great-great-grandfather was a coal miner, but now she’s a “Queen-in-waiting.” Kate appears to be more blue-blooded than Her Majesty, but is the plummy voice and regal manner all a carefully contrived sham?
The British class system is as rigid as a rod of unyielding and back-breaking iron. It makes self-respecting men and women mere subjects of an old lady and her extended family.
There’s good, there’s evil, and then there’s tradition, which is usually the most powerful of the three, at least in countries like the U.K. where knowing your place and respecting your “betters” is ingrained in the DNA.
Although in recent years the landed gentry can no longer hope to get away with beating a hapless peasant with an antique bull whip, they still rule the roost in that “green and pleasant land,” albeit in a more subdued and subtle manner.
When it was announced that “lowly commoner” Kate Middleton was going to marry balding heartthrob Prince William, there was an unspoken recognition that the future King of England was at last breaking down barriers and moving with the times by marrying different stock to what one would usually expect a royal to breed with.
Some were aghast at the mere thought of one of God’s chosen few getting hitched with a member of the “bundled and botched” club.
Writing in the Washington Post, staunch royalist James Whitaker snapped, “I’m not against the middle class as such, but I do query whether Kate Middleton has the background and breeding to be queen one day.”
TV pundits and columnists everywhere appeared to take some sort of perverse delight dubbing Middleton as a “commoner.”
Yet as Kate Middleton and her family have proven time and time again, you underestimate a tenacious social climber at your peril.
Apparently, friends of the Duchess of Cambridge at Marlborough boarding school nicknamed Kate the “princess in waiting” because of her long cherished dream to wear the glass slipper and bag herself a prince.
Even after Kate Middleton became engaged to Prince William, cruel rumors abounded that whenever the Duchess entered the room, friends of the prince would whisper “doors to manual,” a mocking jibe in relation to Carole Middleton’s previous career as an air hostess.
Such slings and arrows of outrageous fortune didn’t stop our Kate, and with the same grunt and groan work ethic best exemplified by Kate’s mom, Carole Middleton, who has made her online Party Pieces company a million-dollar success, the Duchess dug her heels in deep and had her day at Westminster Abbey.
Yet snobbish attitudes towards the “commoner” appear to be very much alive and kicking and perpetually turning their nose up in disgust whenever the Duchess walks into the room.
In the British press, Kate has become outrageously known as the “Duchess of Do-Little” and “throne idle.” Both references are riddled and laced with a heady dose of class prejudice. Which is unfair because poor Kate has tried her damnedest to ditch the trashy outfits of yesteryear and the harsh twang of a County Durham accent, which would appear to suggest an instinctive love of greyhounds and meat pies.
In its place, we have eloquent, if somewhat overtly conservative attire and the plum tones of one born with a whole crate of silverware in their mouth.
The slouch-backed and downward gaze walk of the unenthusiastic proletariat has been replaced by the bouncy and breezy horse-like gait of the natural royal.
Not for Kate are the coarse knicker-flashing antics of the crass celebrity, she always sits proudly and primly with legs at the slightly diagonal angle know as the “Duchess Slant.”
Kate never stares directly at the camera with all the brazenness and vulgarity of, say, a Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus but always looks demurely into the distance like a true class act.
Yet even though this plucky commoner has modified her natural code of conduct and base instincts into something more refined and magisterial, Kate is still haunted by a class system that loves classification with a pathological obsession.
A royal insider says Kate finds non-English staff a relief as she doesn’t feel judged and they are discreet.
It would appear, that to some prejudiced and posh types, no matter how hard Kate tries to adapt to aristocratic society, the Duchess will always be as common as muck.
[Photo by Frank Augstein – WPA Pool/Getty Images]