Many considered American actress Meghan Markle joining the Royal Family in 2018 as the peak of their popularity in the United States, which would mean that their popularity should have waned after she and Prince Harry moved to the United States in 2020, inevitably making Meghan Markle the most popular female royal in the United States. However, recent polls prove this to be false.
According to a recent poll, Meghan Markle is liked by 43% of Americans and disliked by 20% (the remaining 37% of those polled didn’t have an opinion), giving her a net approval rating of +23. The same poll asked Americans what they thought of Kate Middleton, who was liked by 52% and disliked by 9%, giving her a net approval rating of +43.
You would think that the former actress would have a higher rating in the United States due to her American roots, but the numbers make it clear that Americans, particularly American women, adore and prefer Kate Middleton instead.
American Women Love Kate Because She’s Beautiful Inside and Out
Why is Kate so popular among Americans when they have fellow American Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, to look up to? There are several possibilities, but the simplest answer is because American women see Kate as the epitome of elegance, graciousness, and dignity, which is what they expect of a royal. Royal expert Celia Walden says, “The thing they have loved about us and have always loved is sort of quietness and old-fashionedness of our Royal Family. People adore Kate, and they think she is an epitome of a Princess because she is very dignified. She has never put a foot wrong. They think she is absolutely wonderful, and it is funny that Meghan hasn’t taken over because you would think that they would embrace one of their own, but I think the latest poll said that Kate was twice as popular as Meghan.”
Other royal experts agree, as author Christopher Anderson told To Di For Daily, “Kate embodies everything Americans expect in a princess destined to become queen: beauty, grace, warmth, a regal bearing, and an ability to connect with the man and woman in the street. From an American standpoint, it also helps that she has working-class roots. This gives her a sort of Cinderella appeal. To top it all off, she is the caring mother of three adorable young children. Kate’s the perfect package.”
Many American women have a Disney-like view of the royals, and Kate perfectly exemplifies the classic femininity that we associate with royal women. She’s beautiful, classy, and kind to others, and we saw her charitable side especially during the darkest days of the pandemic. From working with the Royal Foundation to provide aid to those in need to creating Hold Still, a book of photographs showing how everyday Brits struggled and came together during the pandemic, it’s clear that she is all about giving back.
One thing that’s unique about her as a royal is that she is still relatable to the average woman, as Elise Taylor of Vogue writes, “Unlike most former royal spouses, the Duchess came from a non-aristocratic background. Although it caused some cruel comments during her courtship with Prince William – her family was publicly called the ‘Middle Class Middletons’ – it has emerged as one of her greatest assets because it means people can relate to her. She wears Zara to official engagements. She’s spotted at school pickups and grocery stores. She takes pictures of her children for their birthdays wearing soccer jerseys and camouflage t-shirts and then shares them with their multi-million followers. She didn’t stop doing regular things when she became royal – she stayed, in a way, seemingly just like us.”
Many American women are unfamiliar with the monarchy, making it difficult to relate to any royal, but Kate has broken that barrier. To see a prominent member of the Royal Family come from a non-royal background and maintain her sense of relatability over a decade into her time with the Royal Family is refreshing. Being a literal princess isn’t relatable, but Kate has found a way to relate to the public by coming across as kind, approachable, and even as a “regular mom.” This is likely because she had an average upbringing, and it’s impressive that she has been able to maintain her sense of "normalcy" throughout the years.
Is There More to Kate’s Popularity?
Elegance, relatability, and charity aren’t the only reasons why Kate is likable and popular. Body language expert and YouTuber Jesus Enrique Rosas believes it’s because there’s an air of mystery surrounding Kate. He says, “Mystery is something that every single person should be able to handle in a healthy way. You should never reveal everything about you in one sitting, because you’ll instantly become boring. I know I’m oversimplyfying this concept, but it’s literally applies to everything. There is no way a personality can be interesting, there is no way you can be interesting, if you don’t nurture a bit of mystery around yourself.”
Mystery adds an air of feminine allure, making women want to be like Kate and causing men to find her attractive. In the age of social media, it’s tempting to put every detail of your life out there for the world to see, especially when you have a large platform. Kate’s ability to live a public life while keeping most of her personal life private is probably difficult to do, but it only adds to her popularity. When you compare it to the recent Harry and Meghan documentary, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aired out their dirty laundry to the world, or Harry's just-released book, Spare, making readers around the world cringe at his level of TMI, it’s easy to see why they’re starting to lose American audiences.
How the Harry and Meghan Documentary Affected Kate’s Image
Will and Kate visited Boston in early December 2022 as their first official engagement as the new Prince and Princess of Wales for the 2022 Earthshot Prize Awards. In the midst of their visit, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released the first teaser for their Netflix documentary, which some believe was a subtle dig at the new Prince and Princess. If that’s true, they failed miserably. Americans not only adored Will and Kate during their visit, but the documentary failed in its attempt to portray Kate as cold and distant.
In the first half of the documentary, Meghan mentions that Kate found her first impression, more specifically her first hug, "jarring" in an attempt to paint her as cold, but most found her claim to be likely false by observing how Kate was kind to the public during her Boston visit and was especially gracious following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September.
A source close to Kate told People, "Kate's a big hugger. She is warm and friendly and greets everyone with a big hug and kiss. It comes naturally to her to be like that." The claim can also be refuted by anyone who has ever watched footage of Kate at royal engagements where she is warm and friendly towards the public, especially towards children.
Sources have reported that Kate feels "hurt and betrayed" by the claims made in the documentary, particularly when Harry spoke out against William, but she and William have refrained from commenting on the documentary. A royal source told Us Weekly, “William isn’t planning to give his side of the story or openly retaliate. He’s remaining dignified and is getting on with the job. Kate feels hurt and betrayed that Harry would do this to her too, especially as the pair used to be so close.”
The source continued, “He’s disappointed with Harry for portraying him and the family in a cynical light. William was hoping they could move on after the CBS interview [in March 2021], but Harry airing his dirty laundry has only heightened the conflict between the two brothers and resulted in them taking a step backwards.”
Will and Kate’s decision not to break royal protocol and to remain silent after the documentary only adds to their likeability. On the day that the second half of the documentary was released, the couple held their heads high and attended the “Together At Christmas” concert with their two eldest children, George and Charlotte, as planned. Kate went out of her way to greet the public, remaining her graceful self.
The way she reacted to the claims in the Harry and Meghan documentary is why American women love her. She remains discrete and dignified amid adversity, providing a positive role model for women everywhere.
Despite being in the spotlight for over a decade, Kate Middleton has managed to retain her popularity through the years. She’s relatable, charitable, elegant, and a great role model for women around the world. She's living proof that feminine attributes are admirable, making her the most popular female royal in the United States.
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