Being subjected to the spotlight can be really hard—especially for a commoner-turned-royal like Kate Middleton. Unlike her sister-in-law, Meghan Markle, who had been an actress for 15 years, Kate had to make a few more adjustments to life in the public eye, which comes with almost as much backlash as it does love. Ahead, all the times the Duchess of Cambridge has caused an uproar since beginning her relationship with Prince William in 2004.
In early August, Kate Middleton wore shorts publicly for the first time in nearly a decade and people lost their minds—in a good way. Though it's not necessarily a controversy, it did rally a lot of public opinions about the Duchess' outfit, which is frequently criticized because, well, she's the future queen.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore Diana's Collingwood Pearl Earrings—the same exact earrings Diana wore to Harry's christening in 1984—in baby Archie's christening portrait. This would make sense if it were George, Charlotte, or Louis' christening, but royal fans accused Kate of "upstaging Meghan" and wondering why Meg wasn't wearing a special heirloom from her mother-in-law.
....that we're not going to get into caused a lot of tension and misreported headlines, including one that claimed Kate had an ongoing rivalry with Rose Hanbury, Will's alleged mistress and close family friend of the couple.
For years, it's been tradition for royal mothers to make an appearance hours after giving birth for an official royal photo call. For Prince Louis' birth last year, people criticized the Duchess for setting unrealistic expectations for new mothers, and later praised the Duchess of Sussex for choosing to wait a couple days before stepping out in full hair and makeup.
Talk about controversial. You can see a full timeline of rumors about the sister-in-laws' relationship here, but remember that's exactly what they are: rumors. Royal fans started becoming "Team Meghan" and "Team Kate," and were even convinced the royals were faking their relationship in this very picture during Christmas at Sandringham with the Queen.
People still can't seem to get past those feud rumors, and were even nitpicking at Will and Kate's birthday post to Meghan this year (which, by the way, was very nice). The Duke and Duchess captioned the photo, "Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Sussex today!" with a picture of the four of them during Christmas alongside Prince Charles. People claimed Kate was using it as a way to get attention, which sounds as crazy as you think it is.
Kate's engagement ring, which originally belonged to Princess Diana, was apparently controversial back in the day. According to the Daily Mail, the 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire was available to commoners...and let's just say that didn't sit well with the royal family. More on that here.
While most women wore black dresses to the 2018 BAFTA Awards in support of the Time's Up movement (like at the Golden Globes), Kate opted to wear a deep green gown with a black sash around her torso. Royal protocol prohibits members of the family from making any sort of political statement or showing bias. So, technically she was just following the rules here, but her black sash is likely a subtle nod to the movement.
The day following her controversial wardrobe choice at the BAFTA Awards, the Duchess stepped out in a backlash from Twitter users, people couldn't help but wonder if her mostly-black dress was meant as a symbol, thus sparking more controversy.to co-host the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange reception. Having received tons of
In 2016, Kate made the decision not to present the shamrocks to the 1st battalion Irish Guards on St. Patricks Day—a tradition first started by Queen Victoria to support the Irish in the Boer War. Kate was ridiculed on social media for staying home with her children while Prince William attended.
Kensington Palace released the following statement: "While the Duchess has accompanied the Duke every year since his appointment in 2012, and will do so again in future, this year she sadly could not make it because she is prioritising time with her children before next month's tour of India and Bhutan."
This February, Kate chose to attend and present the shamrocks (pictured).
The Queen was reportedly very upset with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when she found out Kate wanted to keep her public appearances "to a minimum" during her third pregnancy—understandable since she's prone to severe morning sickness. Nevertheless, Her Majesty thought the future Queen consort shouldn't skip out on her duties.
Kate Middleton chose Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton to design her now-iconic wedding dress. Unfortunately, the newly minted royal's lacy gown became controversial when someone sued over the designs.
English bridal designer Christine Kendall said the Duchess' dress was inspired by her sketches, and sued the fashion house (not Kate) for breach of copyright. Burton claims she didn't know who Kendall was or what her sketches were.
After a very public royal wedding, Kate and William held a more intimate, 300-person reception. The details of the party remain somewhat secretive, however, one of the dinner menus was leaked, revealing that the newlyweds served lamb as the main course.
Express pointed out that lamb is a rather controversial meat because it's either a hit or miss with people—s0 if their guests didn't like it, that would be a lot of wasted food.
Every family has a black sheep—and it seems like Kate's uncle, Gary Goldsmith holds that title in her family. He's been in the news a lot lately for some not-so-great things, including facing charges of assaulting his wife and getting caught drunkenly falling over in the streets.
His actions give the press more opportunity to scrutinize Kate for her commoner family.
Kate is about to gain a new sister-in-law in May—but back when her real sister, Pippa Middleton, was getting married, there was some serious tension between her and Meghan Markle. It was rumored that the bride was following a "no ring, no bring" rule, which left Markle out of the picture since she and Prince Harry were only dating at this time. Markle was reportedly in attendance that day, but not for the ceremony. This must have left Kate feeling very uncomfortable.
Kate may be the future Queen consort, but apparently she still won't take precedence when it comes to the royal blood line. It was reported that Queen Elizabeth II updated the "Order of Precedence in the Royal Household" to make it clear that as a former commoner, the Duchess must curtesy to "blood princesses"—the Princess Royal, Princess Alexandra, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Eugenie—when she is not accompanied by Prince William.
Meghan Markle will follow these same rules, and be required to curtesy to her future sister-in-law Kate too.
Kate's wardrobe has always been a subject of controversy (as seen in the next five slides). Her conservatively fashionable outfit choices are often called out for one thing or another. So, it was unsurprising that she received backlash for wearing a bright red dress to board the royal barge "Spirit of Chartwell" for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. The rest of the royal family members wore muted colors.
In a rather embarrassing, but accidental incident, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wore the wrong traditional outfits to their dinner on the Solomon Islands during their 2012 Asia trip. They were wearing clothing pieces from the Cook Islands by mistake.
Clarence House released this statement: “We saw they weren’t the same design of the traditional clothes we were told would be gifted. So we checked with the Solomon Islands government to ensure the right ones were worn. We were reassured the clothes were correct, and so the Duke and Duchess wore them to the event. It was not learned until later in the evening that the clothes weren’t from the islands. But it was understood that the Duke and Duchess intended to wear traditional Solomon Island clothes and this was appreciated. No offense was caused.”
Just one month before they were married in 2011, Prince Willam and Kate were touring North America. After stepping off the plane in Canada, Kate suffered a major wardrobe malfunction. A large gust of wind sent her yellow Jenny Packham dress flying in the air, exposing her knickers.
The wind doesn't seem to be on Kate's side when she's making public appearances. Again, she experienced a flying dress wardrobe malfunction in 2014—only this time, a German tabloid published the photos of her bare bottom. The Palace was not happy, calling it a "grotesque" invasion of privacy.
Kate is the Queen (pun intended) of the Marilyn Monroe wardrobe malfunction. In fact, this moment in 2016 comes closest to looking like an exact replica of the iconic photo. Kate typically keeps her cool when these incidents occur, but after so many wind-related mishaps, it might be wise of her to take the Queen's advice and sew weights into the hems of her dresses.
At first glance, Kate's dress seems like a perfectly good length—after all, the hem falls at her knees. But the internet got a little carried away with this dress, calling it "too short, too sheer, and completely inappropriate," according to Vogue Australia.
Because there was nothing really wrong with the dress, the Palace did not make a formal statement.
In 2012, two radio broadcasters impersonated the Queen and Prince Charles to get personal information about the Duchess' pregnancy with her first child. Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse who was treating Kate for severe morning sickness, unknowingly divulged information to them. Three days after the prank was aired, Saldanha committed suicide.
In response her death, the Kate and William released the following statement: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha. Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time."
However, Kate was still highly criticized when she refused hospital care for the same illness during her second pregnancy, saying that she was still haunted by the incident.
Kate and William welcomed Prince George on July 22, 2013. Eight months later, they decided to take a vacation to Maldives, leaving their newborn at home. Enter: All the critics who think they know everything. The new parents were reportedly in need of a break from the refurbishments of their home in Norfolk, not (as most assumed) from George.
Let’s be clear, no new mother has to look a certain way postpartum—every woman has a different experience with childbirth. So the fact that people were criticizing Kate for looking “too perfect” after welcoming Princess Charlotte seems downright ridiculous. But, of course, people will always have opinions, and unfortunately, what should have been a joyous occasion turned into a controversy.
In 2017, the British government passed a cap on child tax credits, meaning families could only claim up £2,780 (about $3,937) per child, for their first two children. Needless to say, there was a lot less excitement when Kensington Palace announced Kate and William were expecting royal baby number three.
"One could argue it’s just an unhappy coincidence that the announcement of a third royal baby comes in the same year the Government deems third babies a luxury not every family has earned," Victoria Smith wrote in an opinion piece on Independent. "It’s more than that, though. The contrast lays bare the fundamentals of reproductive injustice: the fact that class, wealth and race control which groups are considered worthy of the privilege of reproduction."
Kate and William took Prince George and Princess Charlotte on a ski trip in 2016, and their family pictures were very sweet. But PETA noticed the Duchess wearing a pair of , lined with possum fur.
The Duchess of Cambridge found herself amid yet another fashion controversy when she bundled up in a made with real fox fur, and the internet was outraged. PETA was back on Kate's heels, wanting proof that the fur was faux.in Stockholm, Sweden, this February. The charcoal-knit beanie was reportedly
"If the Duchess of Cambridge's hat is made with faux fur, PETA is delighted to see her take a leaf out of the Duchess of Cornwall's book—Camilla reportedly swapped all her fur hats for luxurious faux-fur ones," said PETA director Elisa Allen.