Over the last year and a half, as the British tabloids have stepped up their attempts to discredit Prince Harry and Meghan Markle of House Sussex, in part by clearly shooting stars and sunshine up House Cambridge, Catherine Cambridge has repeatedly been held up as the Best Duchess Ever. And, certainly, those viper courtiers at the palaces have done their part in protecting certain members of the family at the expense of others. But, as we’ve seen, sometimes they’re not all that good at their jobs. And it’s just blown up in their faces.
In its new issue out this week, Tatler has crowned Katy Cambridge the new Catherine the Great– you know, the woman who plotted to overthrow her husband, the king. Weird choice, but sure, the title sounds great on the cover of a magazine to those who don’t much know history. Tatler reveals that Anna Pasternak, who wrote the piece, spoke to “courtiers, staff, friends and society figures” for the story. As I noted in my post about this yesterday, this then was to be, perhaps ahead of the upcoming book about the Sussexes, Finding Freedom, by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, Kate’s equivalent of Meghan Markle’s PEOPLE story, when five of her friends spoke anonymously to the magazine to defend her against the British tabloids and clarify what went down with her father.
What’s interesting though is that Kensington Palace is now trying to distance itself from the Tatler feature. Because now that the full story is out, with all kinds of quotes about the Middleton family, describing Kate’s mother, Carole, like a Kris Jenner type, and this comment from a friend of Kate about how she’s struggling with the work…
“Kate is furious about the larger workload. Of course she’s smiling and dressing appropriately but she doesn’t want this. She feels exhausted and trapped. She’s working as hard as a top CEO, who has to be wheeled out all the time, without the benefits of boundaries and plenty of holidays.”
…House Cambridge is panicking – obviously a princess bitching about feeling “exhausted” during a global pandemic when frontline and essential services workers are basically putting their lives on the line is not a good look.
So now KP has released a statement:
"This story contains a swathe of inaccuracies and false misrepresentations which were not put to Kensington Palace prior to publication."
Really? Are we sure?
Because, as we know, Richard Dennen, the editor of Tatler, is an FoK (friend of Kate). And also, here’s what he posted on Instagram a while back:
Tatler is not, like, Woman’s Day in Australia. Or Heat. Or Star Magazine in the US. They’re well-connected. They’re especially well-connected among a certain upper class segment of London society. This is an upmarket magazine and they would never go rogue with a story like this, with “Catherine the Great” on the cover, without running it past Will and Kate’s people. And a magazine like Tatler would typically, at the beginning of the reporting process, not the end, reach out to the palace to get cooperation. Which is why most people with media experience in the UK – even if they’re not saying it publicly – find it hard to believe Kensington Palace’s denials that they had nothing to do with the story.
What’s hilarious too is that Tatler is refusing to accept the KP version of what happened, with the magazine releasing a statement endorsed by Richard himself about the story and defending the magazine:
"Tatler's Editor-in-Chief Richard Dennen stands behind the reporting of Anna Pasternak and her sources. Kensington Palace knew we were running the 'Catherine the Great' cover months ago and we asked them to work together on it. The fact they are denying they ever knew is categorically false."
“Kensington Palace knew.”
“We asked them to work together.”
“The fact that they are denying is categorically false.”
They just straight up called the Cambridges liars to their faces!
But… what happened to Richard and Kate’s friendship? What is going on here?
As they say, this is how the game works. If you’re going to get in the game, you better be prepared to play it, and understand who you’re playing with.
What is the game? The game is the tried-and-true royal game of placing stories and leaks in certain publications to further an agenda. In the Cambridges’ case, it would seem like they were trying to get the jump on Harry and Meghan and Finding Freedom and have their own version out there to make themselves look good – ie doubling down on the “Meghan made Kate cry” situation in order to make Kate appear even more sympathetic. What they did not foresee was that in giving their confidantes the all-clear to talk to Tatler, they inadvertently gave away more than they intended to; as friends and other sources started talking to the magazine, the things that came out of their mouths that they thought, initially, would benefit Kate, ended up coming out… all wrong.
Like that quote about Kate’s workload? It probably came from a well-intentioned place. The friend was trying to say, look, she’s working extra hard now because Harry and Meghan have f-cked off and she’s taken over the responsibilities and she’s parenting her three children and what a hero she is! The goal here was to blame Harry and Meghan, as usual, but the way it’s been worded, the way it looks in black and white print, is that she’s, well, complaining. And Kate’s brand has never been to complain.
In other words, a classic backfire.
And total amateur hour.
If you’re a journalist then, and you think you’re writing a puff piece, but the information that ends up coming to you is a lot more revealing, don’t you write the story that needs to be written instead of the story that the subject wants you to write?
For the Cambridges, this is the risk they took. They’re fronting now like they had nothing to do with it but, again, it’s highly unlikely that Tatler would have moved on this initially without their buy-in. Kensington Palace and the Cambridges just never expected that they’d be double-crossed because, usually, when they leak sh-t to other publications (ahem, tabloids), they get their way in the exchange because they and the tabloids currently share a common enemy: the Sussexes. So they all have the same ax to grind.
I wonder, then, what possibly could have fallen through in the quid pro quo here with Tatler? Could it be that Kensington Palace was supposed to deliver on something to Tatler in exchange for the puff piece but didn’t come through? Or is it simply that they got in way over their heads in a gossip game that is clearly above their weight class? Tatler, right now, does not appear to be backing down, unintimidated by Kensington Palace’s royal admonition. This is a fight between Karens. You hate to see it.