Kate Middleton does remarkably well in public for a person that those close to her describe as introverted. One of the most famous women in the entire world, the Duchess of Cambridge never looks shaken by the spotlight, whether playing piano in front of the entire world or holding a giant spider with a smile on her face. But a friend of the Duchess now reveals that her relationship with the public—and particularly the tabloids—was not always so amiable.
According to the Sunday Times (opens in new tab) royal editor Roya Nikkhah (as covered by Express UK), when Kate and Prince William were first dating, she had to contend with vicious paparazzi—some of whom even camped out in front of the Chelsea apartment she shared with sister Pippa Middleton for days, just waiting for a glimpse of her. This went on throughout the decade before Kate’s wedding to Prince William, starting when she and the prince were linked romantically during their school days.
In 2006 and 2007, Kate was working as an accessories buyer for fashion label Jigsaw, and the publication says that paparazzi would wait for her to step out of her office to buy lunch before ambushing her and following her down the street. Eventually, she had to leave her job “which had become too difficult due to the constant presence of paparazzi,” according to Express. Plus, as a royal girlfriend, and not a member or soon-to-be member of the royal family, Kate was not entitled to any security detail, leaving her “on her own,” said the Times.
That level of intrusiveness also explains how Kate was even reportedly chased by “several men” in a car late at night, an unnamed friend told the Times. The source said that Kate, understandably, found the experience “terrifying.”
A source explained to the Times how Kate reacted to the pressure: “It was constant. She coped with it admirably, given how intrusive it was…It was never water off a duck’s back, but she has extraordinary strength of character and resilience. I’ve never once seen or heard of her losing her temper.”
The royals’ fraught relationship with the tabloid press is, sadly, nothing new. The press's viciousness toward Kate in her friend's account resembles the horrific treatment of Princess Diana, who died in a car accident while being pursued by paparazzi in France. And while this story about Kate makes it clear that tragedy did not drastically change the paparazzi behavior toward the royals, there is some indication it may be shifting. Just last month, Meghan Markle won a lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday, after the publication released private letters that Meghan had sent her father before her wedding to Prince Harry.
It's normal to be interested in the inner workings of the royal family—their entire existence as an institution is essentially predicated on being public faces for various causes. But it’s scary when catering to that interest threatens the family’s safety. Let’s hope that level of tabloid intensity is a thing of the past.
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