Are Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle feuding? And, if so, whose side are we on?
Reports of “tensions” between Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton began to surface as early as Meghan’s wedding last spring. Sources described Kate Middleton as being “in tears” at a bridesmaid’s dress fitting and laid the blame for Kate’s meltdown at Meghan’s feet. Then there was the “body language expert” who said there was “distance” between the two women. And, in the lead-up to Christmas, the announcement that Meghan and Harry would be leaving Kensington Palace — where William and Kate live too — prompted speculation that the move was “spurred on by Kate Middleton.”
But it appears that it isn’t as bad as it sounds. With the queen reportedly saying she’d “reached her limit with all the drama,” and a source claiming that the “feud” between the two women was “definitely being played up,” Kate and Meghan dispelled rumors of a rift with their display of friendship over Christmas. It all turned out to be much ado about nothing. But the damage was done, and those of us watching from “across the pond” had already taken sides. But whose side are we on? Kate’s, or Meghan’s?
Our Allegiance to Kate Goes Way Back
When Kate Middleton married Prince William back in 2011, it was easy for women everywhere to pretend that she could have been us. It was a Cinderella moment — a “commoner” had captured the heart of a prince. If she could do it, we all thought in our secret heart of hearts, then maybe we could too. And, as Kate effortlessly slipped into her role as duchess — complete with impeccable outfits, flawless hair, and a seemingly superhuman ability to maintain a trim figure despite having a bunch of kids in quick succession — she solidified in us the secret notion that we, too, would have been perfection itself if we’d been chosen, instead of her.
So on paper, at least, we should all identify even more strongly with Meghan Markle. Kate may have been a commoner, but she was raised in the British upper class. Her parents — though “new money” — are very much part of Britain’s upper crust. But Meghan is an American — you can’t get much more “common” than that — and her father is, for lack of a better word, kind of trashy. Her Cinderella cred far surpasses Kate’s. Okay, yes, she’s also fabulously beautiful and had a successful career as a TV star, but other than that she really could have been any one of us. If a side is to be taken in this (mostly apocryphal) feud, surely we ought to take Meghan’s.
Meghan's also fabulously beautiful and had a successful career as a TV star, but other than that she really could have been any one of us.
But our undying loyalty (and all our hopes of one day becoming a royal lady in waiting) are already pledged to Kate. For years we’ve commiserated with her over her severe morning sickness, watched her patiently care for her small children, and marveled at her otherworldly ability to walk normally in the highest of heels. Somehow, as we sat in our sweatpants, clutching our drooling babies, surrounded by mountains of laundry, we looked at Kate and thought: that could have been me. She’s living the fairy tale for all of us.
We See Meghan through Kate’s Eyes
Enter Meghan. Even though Meghan is infinitely more “one of us” than Kate Middleton ever was or will be, we now see her through Kate’s eyes (or at least through what we imagine would be Kate’s eyes if Kate was, in fact, us). Meghan is an “opinionated personality” and an “an acquired taste," while Kate is “pretty unflappable” but feels “used” by Meghan. It’s almost as if Meghan’s sheer Americanness — a trait we should all identify with — is just as unappealing to us as we imagine it must be to the impeccably British Kate.
What exactly are we doing identifying with an upper-class English Rose to the exclusion of an American career woman who caught the heart of a prince? If we are either one of these women, surely we are Meghan.
But oh! to be Kate. The American allegiance to Kate over Meghan is simply the song of our secret hearts, calling out to what we feel we ought to be — what we feel somehow we could be, what, deep down, we are — princesses. And, when it comes right down to it, there’s nothing at all wrong with that.