Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan Markle are now both 40, and the women could not be more different. While Catherine has gone from strength to strength in the last several years, Meghan has gone from being a breath of fresh air to the bane of pretty much every royal’s existence.
So how is one Duchess thriving and another just surviving, as Meghan famously said in her self-pitying ITV interview in 2019?
Reading between the lines, The Times of London article commemorating Catherine’s 40th birthday says it all.
Catherine is the hero of her own story, while Meghan has to constantly cast herself as the victim.
A former actress, Meghan came into the monarchy demanding the top billing and attempting to become the new people’s princess by merely existing, producing copious positive PR articles and spouting nonsensical word salad. And when that didn’t work, she cast herself as the victim of a supposedly racist system that didn’t bend to her will.
Meanwhile, Catherine became the monarchy’s greatest asset through hard work, a constantly steady hand and focusing on what really matters, her husband, her children and her family, the Middleton’s and the Windsor’s.
As a result, Catherine is thriving in her role despite the immense challenges and pressures that she’s faced, while Meghan and Prince Harry are meandering through their post-Megxit life, stepping on one PR landmine after another.
The Times details Catherine’s strength’s quite well, and ironically call out Meghan’s royal mistakes.
After Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, Catherine continued with a scheduled engagement within days, with Prince William by her side, and ignored the press attention surrounding the interview. Though undoubtably hurt that Meghan threw her under the bus and said that she made the bride-to-be cry during a bridesmaid fitting, Catherine was singularly focused on the job and not lowering herself to Meghan’s mudslinging, even privately (though apparently, she rolls her eyes when someone mentions Suits).
“In the days after the interview her priority was William, not how she felt about what Harry and Meghan had done,” claims a source that is close to the Cambridges’. “She has focused on personal support for William in what has been a really sad time in his life. She never predicted the degree of falling out between them.”
When it comes to the bridesmaids spat, which could be a banal disagreement over tights to Meghan saying verbally unkind things about Princess Charlotte, Meghan’s version of the story is her “truth,” as in the anthesis of what actually happened.
A different palace source shared, “I’ve had hundreds of hours of conversations with her [Kate] and it never came up. I only ever heard from Meghan about that — a very different story from what she said to Oprah.”
Meghan also constantly complained about the press on Oprah, during her ITV South Africa tour interview and seemingly to anyone who would listen, while simultaneously posing for pap shots occasionally and doing pretty much everything she could to draw attention to herself.
To elicit sympathy and to prey on the current environment in the United States, she claimed on Oprah that any negative attention was racist and that Catherine’s press moniker of “Waity Katie” was just a bit of bullying.
“If members of his family say, ‘Well, this is what happened to all of us’ or if they can compare what the experience that I went through was similar to what has been shared with us — Kate was called ‘Waity Katie’ waiting to marry William,” the former actress told Oprah. “While I imagine that was really hard, and I do, I can’t picture what that felt like. This is not the same.”
It wasn’t just “really hard” for Catherine, it was constant harassment and stalking by the paparazzi. They followed her to work, out shopping, with her family, with Prince William, out at the pubs/clubs and training for a boating event. In addition, someone commissioned a bus with a “Waity Katie” advertisement to publicly and constantly mock her as she would use that public transportation. There’s also a rather famous picture of her looking rather contemplative on a bus.
Meanwhile, Meghan seemed to relish in the media attention that finally drifted her way after well over a decade in Hollywood. She smiled brightly for every prearranged photography shoots out and about in Toronto, and one in London as she stood outside a spa establishment so the photographers she called could get a shot of her.
Catherine also famously had to deal with topless photos of her being taken and published while on an official royal tour in conservative Muslim Asian countries. Though obviously “devastated,” she continued with not a hair misplaced nor with a look of discontentment. By-in-large, the public has mostly forgotten about the images.
She was the picture of grace, while Meghan used her time in impoverished Southern Africa to complain that no one asks her “if she’s okay.”
The difference between the two women comes down to this: heroism vs. self-proclaimed victimhood.
Catherine is the hero of her own story and confident in her life, marriage, children and greater family, both her biological and royal relatives. Regardless of what’s happening around her, she knows what’s truly important in life, and it isn’t about dresses, tiaras, jewelry and meaningless accolades, it’s about helping others, raising a strong family, developing a strong marriage and embracing the rich and historic heritage she had the privilege of marrying into.
Meghan instead basks in her unsubstantiate victim narrative. It’s one that requires her to destroy others, including friends and family, to try and elevate herself. She constantly talks about helping others, but her words always ring hollow as every miniscule thing she does is carefully publicized. Her image has become one about greed, selfishness, contrivance, lies and narcissism. Believing herself better than the monarchy and the history of her husband’s family, Meghan manipulated her husband into severing all family bonds to “escape” to California so they can try and make their fortune.
As it turns out, increasingly no one is interested beyond seeing the car crash aspect of her and Harry’s public image.
A close aide sums it up well: “Things need to feel relevant, but fundamentally it’s about a long-term set of values and there are benefits to tradition that the Duchess of Cambridge has always had real clarity about. She is not flashy, that’s not what people want the institution for, and she has always had a very clear understanding of that.”
That’s why Catherine is flourishing and thriving in her role and family, while Meghan’s desperation for fame, money and influence is increasingly leading her and Harry to destruction.