What you need to know about the Kate Middleton drama and our humanity

3 mins read
Kate Middleton

Americans love a royal drama. Fascination with the British Royal Family lingers despite firmly rejecting royalty in our own country. This fixation, obsession even for some, has been on full display recently on social media during #WhereisKateMiddleton and #Kategate.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, and her children were last seen publicly at Christmas. In January, the palace announced that Catherine was having planned abdominal surgery and would be away from public events until Easter. In February, after persistent questions related to the princess’s health or status, the palace reiterated that there would be no updates.

Thereafter came a series of PR blunders, including a photoshopped picture that the AP pulled from print and another paparazzi picture of William in a car with someone who may or may not be Catherine. Now, it is undeniably odd that the communications team for the Prince and Princess of Wales would not have anticipated questions and planned a public relations strategy in advance if all of this was indeed due to planned surgery. I am not going to figure out what is going on there, even if I have my suspicions. Instead I want to focus on the reactions on social media.

Widespread scrutiny of the infamous royal family photo

Based on the amount of scrutiny that some have devoted to this “mystery,” you can see how invested people are in William, Kate and their family. People have made TikTok videos analyzing the clothes of the family in the Mother’s Day photo and inspecting the hairstyle in the car photo. The buzz led the photographer to speak out, while others even suggested that there is another woman in William’s life, and that is the reason for Kate’s disappearance.

It is a lot of ink to be spilled over someone’s absence from the public eye during the period she said she would be. In fact, a British friend of mine is completely unconcerned. “They said she is out until Easter,” she calmly noted when I asked if she’s been following the drama. When you aren’t on social media, the rumors do not register, apparently.

But why do people care?

Here’s my theory: People are concerned about Catherine not only because of the royal family’s history but also because she, William, and their children are a family that we do not want to fail. We deeply want them to be okay, but we are afraid — cynically, perhaps — that the fishbowl that they live in as the royal family means that they cannot be as normal and content as they appear to be. We know that the royal family does not have a great track record for healthy marriages.

After a lengthy courtship, which gained her the tabloid nickname “Waity Katie,” Catherine married William in 2011 and gave birth to their first child in 2013. She had two more children in the next 5 years and was known to have suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum during her pregnancies. This kind of maternal sacrifice is admirable, and I think that her willingness to suffer for the sake of bringing children into the world did not go unnoticed by the public — or by her husband.

Many look up to Kate not only as a beautiful and fashionable woman but, in a particular way, as a mother. I would be shocked if William did not admire her for that himself. He knows from experience how important a good mother is — and he also knows from experience the colossal damage that infidelity inflicts. Perhaps he waited so long to propose to Kate because he wanted her to understand the life she was signing up for and because he wanted to be sure of his own commitment to her. They seem to be as normal a couple as it is possible for the future king and queen of the United Kingdom to be.

Our fallen nature is at play

Part of fallen human nature is a desire for other people to be morally inferior to us so that we can look down on them; we want them to fail, to fall apart, especially if they have money or status or other advantages that we do not have. The tabloids would, I am sure, love to report that William has been cheating on Catherine for years and that the whole marriage has been a sham. It would be a big story in every paper and on every talk show. “See, I told you so,” would be on many lips. And yet, everyone would be incredibly unhappy, I think, if such was the case.

The better part of our nature, the part that wants the best for others, wants the best for William, Catherine and their children. We want the kids to have a happy childhood, shielded from public scrutiny by two parents who love them and put them first. We want this one royal married couple to heal the wounds of the previous generation by being faithful to one another in good times and in bad. And we do not want Kate to be actually really ill or to die young.

Let’s all take a moment, stop rumor-mongering, and say a prayer for the Princess of Wales and her family.

Sara Perla

Sara Perla is the communications manager for The Catholic Project at The Catholic University of America. She sits on the board of directors for the Gabriel Network.