The Royal Bump...officially
Wenn, Neil Warner/ Splash
You've seen it already, presumably, after that Italian magazine published photos of the Cambridges on holiday in Mustique a few weeks ago. I was less interested in the bump than I was in how frizzy her hair looked in the tropics. Like really, really frizzy and thick -- its natural state with some hormonal boost. Does that put an end to the extensions debate?
There's always a debate, it seems, where Katy Cambridge is concerned. As opposed to those long range shots that were taken of her topless on a private estate in the summer, this time public opinion was less favourable. The Palace rebuked photographers for invasion of privacy, invoking Diana's memory in their claim that Will and Kate are being abused by the media, but many of you argued that it was a public beach. And besides, why hasn't she been working?
The backlash is very, very interesting. This is Kate’s first official public appearance in months, and many in the UK and over here are criticising her for being lazy. For doing nothing but shopping and sunning and spending money that she didn’t earn. There’s also been much heated discussion about a speech given by two-time Booker prize winning author Hilary Mantel who, in her remarks about modern monarchy, appeared to be criticising Kate for being a “jointed doll”, a simple clothes horse with no personality and no interests other than becoming the wife of the future king. Her comments were indeed sharp. And, of course, her most pointed words are the ones being excerpted around the world, positioning her essay as an attack piece on Mrs Cambridge, with royal defenders calling for her head, and people who love hating on Kate cheering her as their fearless leader. As always in these situations, many of Mantel’s arguments have been taken out of context. Her entire thesis, actually, has been taken out of context. This was not a slam for the simple sake of slamming. On the contrary, Mantel’s point is rather introspective. In the end she asks what part we, the public, play in the manufacturing of the Kates and the Dianas of the world. It’s a much more interesting conversation than the debate about whether or not Kate blows out her hair too much. And it’s a much more complete conversation than the one we too often engage in if for no other reason that, at the very least, it doesn’t presuppose that we are not equally complicit.
Click here to read the full speech.
And then, of course, there’s the other conversation -- about pregnancy, and how that usually absolves a famous person from criticism (Snooki, Tori Spelling, even Jessica Simpson), and what makes Kate an exception.
Is it because she’s the representative of a family who is responsible to the people?
Is it because she hasn’t shared enough with us and therefore we feel less empathy for her? Would it be different if she agreed to an interview and talked about how much she already loves her baby and how she cried when she went to her ultrasound and shared the anxieties all new mothers experience because...she’s “just like us”?
Is it because...she’s still so thin?
There’s something to be said about our expectations of accessibility and relatability. And the increasingly delicate balance the famous have to maintain between withholding, so as to suggest the presence of propriety, and revealing, so as to appear not detached and superior.
Something for the Faculty Of Celebrity Studies.