We must protect Caity Weaver.
Caity Weaver, outstanding writer, outstanding writer of celebrity profiles, humorist, and gossip champion always shows her work, we have adored her from afar for years here at LaineyGossip, and she has delivered once again – this time a piece for The New York Times, investigating the online rumour that’s been percolating for months now about whether or not William and Catherine of House Cambridge have been buying Instagram followers to compete with Harry and Meghan of House Sussex. And in Shakespearean fashion. After all, as the Bard himself wrote, “A sad tale’s best for winter”, and Caity’s come through with one that’s not of “sprites and goblins” but of dukes and duchesses…and maybe these days, they’re interchangeable anyway.
Over and above the content, this for me is the draw of Caity’s article: it’s her writing style, her cleverness, her wit – all of that is on display in this piece of investigative journalism, and the skill here is that her flair never overtakes the facts. Caity came through with the research. She looked into the stats. She threw down the numbers, she brought the receipts. Something’s rotten in Kensington Palace.
Or, is it the gossip’s favourite dilemma: coincidence or conspiracy?
If you believe that it’s a conspiracy, that there’s something suspicious about the Cambridge Instagram follower count, then you’re building off the premise that House Cambridge has some feelings about House Sussex’s popularity. And there is actually a trail of gossip that supports the theory; gossip that precedes all the drama of the last year. Gossip that originated even before Prince Harry married Meghan Markle.
Let’s fast forward to January 2018. Harry and Meghan were headed to Wales. That same day, William was scheduled to make a visit to a hospital in London. And according to the Daily Mail, which has since bent over backwards to coronate the Cambridges, William was annoyed that the events were happening on the same day because he knew he would be overshadowed. You’ll recall, in Robert Jobson’s biography of Prince Charles, published in 2018 to commemorate his 70th birthday, William was described as “a little grand”. None of that was in dispute at the time of publication by the very tabloids who’ve been decidedly pro-Cambridge these last months as the Sussexes have planned their exit.
So how does someone who bristles at a scheduling conflict and is said to be “a little grand” about his status react to his younger brother and sister-in-law tracking higher on social media than he does?
“A little more than kin, and less than kind.”
By the end of her piece, Caity doesn’t come to a definitive conclusion about whether or not the Cambridges are indeed up to some Instagram shenanigans. She doesn’t have to and that’s not how this works, it’s not how gossip works. She’s laid out a case – the charts and graphs and the side-by-side comparisons – and it’s up to the gossip public to examine the evidence and take a position, filtered through their own prism of bias.
“Let every eye negotiate for itself, and trust no agent.”
Caity Weaver, man. She’s a f-cking professor. All those years of English classes just came right back.
Have a great weekend!
Yours in gossip,