Kate Middleton and Prince William; Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Kate Middleton and Prince William; Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at their engagement photoshoots (Photos: Getty Images)

OPINION

In pitching Meghan v Kate, we all lose

It’s only been three days since Meghan and Harry’s engagement announcement, and already the press want us to pick our favourite princess

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By Emily Baker on

You’ve read it a million times in the last three days – Meghan Markle is going to be a truly modern princess thanks to her marital status, age, race, job and coat. Meanwhile, the original modern princess, Kate Middleton (remember her?), is a bore. A pregnant mum-of-two who spends her life wearing the same dress twice and chatting to children at museums. There can only be room for one princess at Kensington Palace – at least, that seems to be what parts of the press want you to think.

In The Sun, opposite a citizenship test they have mocked up for Meghan, there is a full page picture of Kate looking less than her usual “perfect” self. Clearly mid-sentence and putting her thumb up at a Stoke-on-Trent museum event, you have to question whether this picture would have been used if there wasn’t a new princess moving into the cottage next door. The idea is just a little more flagrant over on The Sun’s website, where they have devised a quiz to determine whether you’re more of a Meghan or a Kate. If you have bouncy curls, your best mate is your sister and you shop at Waitrose you’re a “classy” Kate. If you prefer animals to babies, have a “gay BFF” and don’t mind carbs as long as they’re organic, you’re a “cool free-spirit” Meghan. Go figure.

It’s a trope as old as the royal family itself – there is only one darling of the kingdom. There must be an ugly sister

There are also the engagement photos to pore over and extract every single minute detail from. While Kate opted for the now-famous blue satin dress, Meghan wore a white wraparound coat because she is much more adventurous than her royal counterpart. “The blue dress was quite conservative, this is stylish and continental. It’s easy chic, you throw it on and wrap it round, it’s very European looking,” fashion journalist Hilary Alexander told People magazine, “Meghan is a bit more adventurous than Kate and Meghan has a bit more of a European approach. Having been an actress she’s very accustomed to publicity shots and posing whereas Kate wasn’t.” Maybe – and this is just a fleeting thought – Meghan chose to wear a coat because it is nearly December and temperatures in London are dropping by the minute? It was also pointed out that while William and Kate posed for photographs for at least four minutes, Harry and Meghan only stuck around for a minute and a half. Was this because Meghan is less suited to royal life than the prim and proper Kate? Or is it because it was bloody cold.

Kate has been asked how she feels about Harry and Meghan’s engagement, as if she would ever say she was less than ecstatic. “William and I are absolutely thrilled,” she told the press, “it’s such exciting news. It’s a really happy time for any couple and we wish them all the best and hope they enjoy this happy moment.” Kate and William also issued an official statement when the engagement was initially announced, which read: “It has been wonderful getting to know Meghan and to see how happy she and Harry are together.”

Apparently this expression of solidarity is not what the press were after, and so begun a constructed narrative of envy and competition. It’s a trope as old as the royal family itself – there is only one darling of the kingdom. There must be an ugly sister.

It’s only been three days since the engagement announcement, so the comparisons are only just beginning, but so far Meghan will end up like “bland” Kate if she isn’t careful. Kate will be “forced” to wear a hat to the royal wedding. Meghan copied Kate’s curls, but hers were “cooler”. If you’re exhausted now, buckle up – this will be going on until at least a month after the wedding actually happens.

@emilyrbakes

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Kate Middleton and Prince William; Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at their engagement photoshoots (Photos: Getty Images)
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royal family
Kate Middleton
meghan markle
Opinion

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