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Becoming a new member of the royal family is no easy feat. But when it comes to past royal girlfriends of Prince Harry and Prince William, the scrutiny they endured was truly insurmountable. Now we know even more about what Kate Middleton, in particular, had to navigate when she was just William’s girlfriend. In Tina Brown’s new royal book, the author reveals how the paparazzi’s focus on the future Duchess of Cambridge felt almost like re-watching what Princess Diana encountered.
In The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — The Truth and the Turmoil, Brown recalls the unrelenting tabloid and media attention Kate faced when she and William were dating. “Kate was relentlessly pursued in London. She was hounded when she left her Chelsea apartment in ways reminiscent of the harassment of the young Lady Di,” Brown writes. The author even goes as far to say Kate’s treatment featured “nineties paparazzi excess all over again.”
Even years into their relationship, Prince William reportedly didn't know if Kate Middleton was the one he wanted to spend his life with. https://t.co/Z3MZmiw2aR
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) April 28, 2022
There were even times when Kate came across crass, vulgar taunts from paparazzi as a way to try and get a reaction from her as they snapped photos. “As she walked through Paddington Station or an airpot, barbaric photographers yelled ‘Bitch!’ ‘Whore!’ ‘Slag, look this way!’ to try to get a rise out of her just as they had with Diana,” Brown went on. Despite this cruel treatment, “Kate received no official Palace help to fend off the photographers and TV crews who waited for her to emerge from work.”
These types of interactions went on for years. And Brown makes an important observation about the way in which Prince Harry and Prince William’s past girlfriends were left to fend for themselves. “Most royal girlfriends without a ring on their finger were left to twist in the wind. The sharp reprimand that William administered to the press in 2007, after Kate Middleton was besieged outside her flat by news crew expecting a wedding announcement, came after a steady relationship of five years.”
Brown’s observations wholly emphasize just how daunting joining the royal family fold was for Kate and Princess Diana. Then again, with Diana, her celebrity skyrocketed and attention on the young royal was relentless — almost nothing like it had been seen before. At some point, it must’ve felt like watching history repeat itself when the endless attention on Kate Middleton just didn’t seem to cease. It’s a jarring reminder of just how pervasive paparazzi attention can be, and how much Kate and Princess Diana had to endure all on their own.
Even as casual British royal family observers, there’s still so much we don’t know about what happens in the House of Windsor. 2022 is poised to be a memorable year for the royal family. But with historic highs come lows and pitfalls. Royal biographer Tina Brown takes readers from the troubling years following Princess Diana’s death, to the rift between Princes William and Harry, the scandals of Prince Andrew, and Queen Elizabeth’s steady resolve through it all in The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil. Brown’s book features new, intimate details about the royal family, and contemplates how the House of Windsor moves into a new era.
Before you go, click here to see things you never knew about Kate Middleton before she met Prince William.