The then Kate Middleton was from an upper middle-class family (for example, tuition at Marlborough College, Kate’s alma mater, ran 40,000 pounds a year; her parents’ company that they founded in 1987, Party Pieces, is now worth a cool 33 million pounds) but, to Prince William’s “snobby” friends, she wasn’t good enough for their upper crust, aristocratic circles, according to The Daily Express. (Those who remember the early 2000s will recognize this group as the “Glosse Posse.”) Yet according to the outlet, Kate—confident even then—never once let it faze her.
William and Kate met as freshmen at the University of St. Andrews in 2001, and within a year or so, were a couple. They dated for around eight years before becoming engaged in 2010 and ultimately marrying in 2011. According to The Daily Express, back in the early days, William’s friends would make snide comments about Kate’s background, specifically that her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, met while both worked for British Airways.
“William’s friends, I hate to say it, would whisper rather snidely when Kate would turn up at Boujis, which is the nightclub that they used to go to in West London, ‘Doors to manual,’” said royal expert Katie Nicholl on the Dynasty podcast, the jibe alluding to Carole’s former career as a flight attendant. “Obviously, that is a bit of a put-down. It’s a bit of a derogatory reference to Carole’s career as an air hostess.”
In its heyday, the now-closed Boujis was frequented by aristocratic circles like those of William’s, as well as celebrity clientele like Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, and Rihanna in the early 2000s. The private members club, which charged 500 pounds annually, was described as the “best playground for the rich and famous to party,” reports The Daily Express.
Kate was tough as nails about the snobbery, as Nicholl said she “never rose to it.” She ignored being called “Kate Middle Class” (instead of Kate Middleton) and dismissed the “Glosse Posse” calling her “new money.” Speaking on the documentary William and Kate: Into the Future, Nicholl said “the snootiness of the upper classes leveled at what they called the ‘en masse Middletons’—this idea that the Middletons would turn up for a picnic at a social event, for example, and they would turn up in their pristine Land Rover that had been newly polished and they had a brand new Fortnum and Masons hamper, all of the paraphernalia that comes with an upper-class picnic. But of course, [they were] alongside the sort of true aristocratic double baron titles that turn up at these events, in their muddy Land Rovers, with their moth-eaten blankets that are full of holes and some sort of oddly cobbled together picnic with hardboiled eggs rather than M&S finest.”
She continued “Carole would take great pride in her picnic. She would have the finest spread on beautiful linen tablecloths with silver cutlery and everything else, compared to someone who probably was actually really posh, and I mean posh in the true sense, shall we say. They would just have nothing like Carole’s spread. The point is [they were] sort of so posh [they] don’t really have to bother making an effort—but the Middletons did.”
Shame on anyone who ever made Kate—or anyone—feel less than. And kudos to the new Princess of Wales for never once forgetting who she was—that right there, more than titles or tiaras or castles, is true queen energy.
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Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.
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