The Duchess of Cambridge is a tour de force. The middle-class daughter of former airline workers Carole and Michael Middleton has become the people’s darling, carrying out her royal duties with an ease and grace that expertly walks the fine line between relatable and regal.
Since her marriage to Prince William in 2011 34-year-old Kate has set out to embody a modern vision of monarchy. However, Kate is not the first royal with an outward looking vision, which puts family values and charitable work at its centre. Her considered approach to parenting and impeccable taste have led many to compare her with the late Princess Diana.
Countless side-by-side images certainly reveal striking similarities in their style. However, one person has begged to differ with the idea that the Duchess is slowly morphing into Diana.
Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman met the Duchess when she appeared as the cover star for the magazine’s 100th anniversary edition. Speaking to ES Magazine Shulman described Kate as “incredibly likeable” while also praising her professionalism and work ethic.
However, when it came to the question of how Kate differs from Diana, Shulman had a surprising response. She said:
“Diana was more interested in that high-voltage celebrity, that was something she really embraced. The Duchess of Cambridge is prepared to do her bit, but it’s not one of the things that she most cares about.”
“She loves her kids and the countryside,” Shulman continued.
But the moment Kate puts on her outfit of choice – whether it’s a Catherine Walker twin-set or a red carpet gown from Jenny Packham – she makes the transition from doting mum to dutiful Duchess.
“Dressing up, that’s a professional side to her,” explains Shulman. “It’s a sort of uniform, all those lovely couture costumes.”
The Duchess of Cambridge vs Kate Middleton
Unlike Diana, the Duchess of Cambridge is still often referred to by her maiden name. While this difference may seem innocuous at first glance, Boston University professor Arianne Chernock – who focuses on modern British history – suggests that Kate may enjoy “benefits” from our continued usage of “Middleton”.
“It doesn’t hurt her that the American press especially refers to her as Kate Middleton. It’s precisely her middle-class origins, and that name, which won her over to so many people in the first place. So that reminder can only help her,” she told Vanity Fair online.
So is it a case of once a Middleton always a Middleton? Well, according to a piece written by the Daily Mail’s Editor-at-Large Richard Kay last year there may be some merit to this idea.
The phrase ‘The Middleton Rules’ is said to have surfaced shortly after the Royal Wedding in 2011. According to Kay it refers to every aspect of the couple’s life – and the new model of Royalty that the couple are keen to embrace. Crucially, this also includes the right to privacy for their family.
“It was used to describe an initiative of William’s to ensure his fiancée never endured the kind of treatment meted out to his mother, Princess Diana,” the article states.
Kate Middleton and ‘the firm’
Another key differentiator between Diana and Kate is the fact that the latter has been well-briefed and carefully supervised by ‘the firm’ – the term Diana used for the Royal family. This is according to an opinion piece in The Guardian the year after the Royal Wedding.
“The press are giving Kate celebrity-sized attention and with that comes celebrity-sized pressure. But this time, it seems, the firm are ready for it,” Ros Coward writes.
And just how are ‘the firm’ taking Kate’s public profile in hand? Well one way is by organising photo ops that put Kate at the heart of the royal family’s matriarchy.
“There have been repeated photo opportunities showing Kate with the Queen or Camilla, or both…The emphasis is on mutual acceptance and unity,” the article continues.
So what do you think about the parallels between Kate and Diana? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.
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