Princess Diana's Former Butler Weighs in on Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle

Amidst reports of big changes for Kate Middleton, Prince William, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry, there's bound to be speculation about their relationship. British media experts, including Princess Diana's former butler, got together for a TLC special Kate vs. Meghan: Princesses At War? to discuss coverage of the royals.

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(Image credit: Karwai Tang)

Amid reports of big changes for the British royal family, especially the Fab Four (Kate Middleton, Prince William, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry), there's bound to be speculation about their relationship. British media experts, including journalists, historians, and even Princess Diana's former butler (who's weighed in on Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton in the past), got together for a TLC special Kate vs. Meghan: Princesses At War? to discuss coverage of the royals and debate what was really going on between the two princesses.

The experts didn't definitely settle on whether there was a feud or not; some said it was just speculation and media gossip, others said there was something really there according to actual (anonymous) royal sources. But as usual, Paul Burrell had some interesting insight about the environment in the palace and Meghan's experience.

"Buckingham Palace is like Downton on speed," he said in the special, reported in E! News. "I know that Meghan will not be popular with everyone. They like things to stay the same."

He added that the "diva" reputation Meghan has gotten is unfair. "She's a mature woman. She knows what she wants, and she's out to get it."

Kate and Meghan have, in their public appearance, been sure to squash rumors again and again about any reports that there might be a feud between them, raving about each other and being kind and demonstrative.

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(Image credit: Pool/Samir Hussein)

Burrell did admit that the royal dynamics might be challenging to someone who hasn't been a part of it before. "Kate will always be in front, this is going to be alien to Meghan, having to curtsy to her sister-in-law in public," Burrell said.

"She's a strong, independent woman whose views will be difficult to change and that's where she's going to clash with members of the royal family and the royal household, if she doesn’t conform and do as she’s told."

But, ultimately, Burrell said he didn't think there was much truth to "manufactured" rumors other than it's alluring to think and talk about a potential rift. "It’s just too good a story," he explained. That's a relief! I love hearing that the rumors of a feud are just that: a rumor.

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Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.