Prince William And Kate Middleton United Front Fell Apart

Exactly one week after the explosive interview between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Oprah Winfrey rocked the royal family, Prince William and Kate Middleton shared a heartfelt photo on Mother’s Day in the UK.

On March 14, 2021, Kate and William shared a heartwarming photo on their Instagram. The picture featured a cake that their three children had made in memory of Princess Diana. This post stood out from their usual social media content, as it had a more personal and relaxed vibe.

Fast-forwarding three years, the royal family once again finds themselves engulfed in controversy. However, this time, all eyes are on Kate and William as they become the focal point, sparking weeks of speculation due to a digitally modified Mother’s Day photo.

Kensington Palace … sounds exasperated and very defensive. Kristen Meinzer, royal commentator

The scandal has taken the world by storm, transforming the once-beloved Prince and Princess of Wales into targets of ridicule on American late-night shows and across social media platforms. The negative publicity has been so overwhelming that even the faithful British tabloids are beginning to waver in their loyalty.

It’s a question that many have pondered: Where did it all go wrong for Kate and William? The answer may lie in the moment they ceased to act as a united front.

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A comeback for the ages

Following Harry and Meghan’s appearance with Winfrey, the royal family went on a charm attack, and Kate and William understood they had to be in the starting lineup.

As the world began to emerge from lockdown, William and Kate were suddenly everywhere. Before June, they went to Westminster Abbey to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary, spent time with youngsters on a farm, started a shared YouTube channel, played soccer with more kids, and had a drive-in movie night.

Kate with a goat! The photographs that followed were a PR dream for the royal family. Kate is giggling as she holds a golf club. Kate is holding a tarantula! Kate was wearing sneakers!

There were also numerous photos of the couple together, and many people remarked that William and Kate had become more intimate in public recently. They visited the University of St Andrews, where they originally met, in May, and according to an Access Hollywood story, William “even affectionately put his hand on Kate’s back in a tender moment we don’t often see from the perfectly poised heir.”.

It occurred barely a month after the pair shared an anniversary photograph along with a humorous Instagram video that was significantly more relaxed than their prior photos.

Taking a page from Meghan and Harry’s playbook

Celebrity brand marketing expert Eric Shiffer previously told Business Insider that William and Kate’s public outings in 2021 marked a significant shift in their public relations.

“They were manicured to the nth degree,” he added. He went on to say they “played their public persona with a Buckingham Palace excellence, out of the playbook that’s been mastered for centuries.”

The contrast between Kate and William’s formal and polished attitude and Meghan and Harry’s relaxed and friendly approach was not lost on the public or journalists. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex positioned themselves as the polar opposite of the royal family’s tight-lipped and stone-faced “never complain, never explain” motto by discussing their mental health difficulties during the Oprah interview.

“Harry and Meghan successfully came off as more human, approachable, and affectionate with their subjects,” royal commentator Kristen Meinzer told BI recently. “Meghan was doing these things that came off as her own heart’s desires, rather than ‘I am doing this because I have to cut another ribbon.'”

Clare McHugh, a royal historian, previously told BI that Kate and William “really adjusted their style” following their Oprah appearance.

She told me, “They realized if they don’t, this Californian couple will overshadow them, so they have to show themselves.” “They need to reveal themselves more because that is the currency now. So they released the anniversary film, created a YouTube channel, and made jokes. “It’s a new world.”

It wasn’t always like this.

Following Harry and Meghan’s interview with Winfrey, the royal family went on the charm attack, knowing Kate and William had to be in the starting lineup.

As the world slowly came out of lockdown, William and Kate appeared everywhere. They went to Westminster Abbey to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary, spent time with children on a farm, started a shared YouTube channel, played soccer with more youngsters, and held a drive-in movie night all before June.

The photographs that followed were a PR dream for the royal family: Kate and a goat! Kate laughs while holding a golf club! Kate’s clutching a tarantula! Kate’s in sneakers!

There were also several photos of the pair together, and many people remarked that William and Kate were becoming increasingly intimate in public. They visited the University of St Andrews in May, where they originally met, and according to an Access Hollywood story, William “even affectionately put his hand on Kate’s back in a tender moment we don’t often see from the perfectly poised heir.”

It happened just a month after the couple shared an anniversary photo and a lighthearted Instagram video that was much more laid-back than their earlier pictures.

A shroud of secrecy

In the weeks preceding the Mother’s Day photo scandal, rumors circulated concerning the royal family, which is funded by UK taxpayers and costs over $300 million per year. Kate’s most recent royal appearance was at Christmas, and there have been few updates since Kensington Palace said in January that she would be undergoing “planned abdominal surgery” and would not return to public responsibilities “until after Easter.”

When William issued a rare solo statement about the Gaza crisis in February and then pulled out of his godfather King Constantine’s memorial service “due to a personal matter” a week later, eyebrows were raised.

As suspicion about Kate’s location rose, Kensington Palace informed BI on February 29 that she was “doing well” and that “we shall not be providing a running commentary or daily updates.”

“With Kate, there’s been a shroud of secrecy,” Meinzer said. “The vague language around Kate’s health, William’s absence from the funeral, and an update from Kensington Palace that sounds exasperated and very defensive.”

“It’s so glaringly different from the messaging coming from Charles’ office,” she said. “Charles seems more human these days than William and Kate.”

King Charles’ cancer diagnosis was revealed on February 5, a few weeks after Kate’s hospitalization. And, while the public is still unsure of Charles’ disease type or severity, he has been photographed several times since resuming public responsibilities.

“The Buckingham Palace team has been far more transparent than the Kensington Palace team,” Meinzer said. “When we look at Charles’ case, they were forthright about him having cancer, they did tell us he’d be having outpatient treatment, and they gave us photographic updates.”

“Less than a week after the announcement of his cancer, he was attending church with Camilla and waving at the camera people and his subjects,” she added. “There are hundreds of witnesses to see that this is actually happening in real time while these photos are being taken.”

The (altered) photo seen around the world

Unlike Charles, only three images of Kate have been shared since Kensington Palace made the announcement in January.

The first image, a blurry paparazzi snap taken on March 4 and obtained by TMZ, depicts Kate Middleton hiding her face behind a pair of sizable sunglasses while riding in the car with her mother. The third, released by the Daily Mail on March 11, depicted Kate in the car with William, but her face was turned away from the camera.

The most recent clear snapshot of Kate’s face was one she and William shared on Mother’s Day, March 10. The photo shows Kate laughing with the couple’s three children, and the caption credits William with snapping it this year.

Within hours, the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse announced that they would no longer distribute the image, citing fears that it had been digitally manipulated. They sent kill notices to media outlets globally, instructing them to remove the image from all platforms, including social media.

According to ABC News, the Mother’s Day photo was modified twice with Adobe Photoshop—oonce on March 8 and again on March 9—bbefore being released. During an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s “The Media Show,” Phil Chetwynd, global news director of Agence France-Presse, stated that Kensington Palace is no longer a reliable source.

“‘Photogate’ is a PR disaster, no matter how you look at it,” royal historian Marlene Koenig told Business Insider. “It’s a big story, whether the fangirls like it or not. It’s not because Kate is sick. It’s not about Kate being a member of the royal family. It’s about a person who altered a photograph to make it appear better. There is obviously a lack of trust.”

Kate accepted responsibility for the shot on Monday, saying on X: “Like many amateur photographers, I occasionally experiment with retouching. I wanted to apologize for any confusion the family photo we shared yesterday created.”

It was a move that simply increased confusion and fueled additional rumors.

Blame the princess

Kate’s decision to personally address the public instead of relying on a statement from Kensington Palace came as a surprise to both royal enthusiasts and experts.

According to Meinzer, it is unexpected for such a large and globally recognized organization to publicly criticize one of its valued members. He expressed surprise at their decision to essentially abandon Kate.

Kate’s recent post about X deviated from the long-standing PR strategy that has been supporting her and William for years. One cannot help but wonder why the royal family’s usual sense of unity was absent in this instance.

The Prince and Princess of Wales have been deviating from the strategies of their triumphant 2021 comeback tour for some time now. On their Instagram page, there are only a few photos and videos of the couple together in the past six months. The most recent addition is their official Christmas card.

The previous year, they had shared a sunny, laid-back, and cheerful picture, with vibrant colors and a lively backdrop. However, in stark contrast, the current photo features a black-and-white color scheme, matching outfits, and a plain backdrop.

Kate and William have unquestionably returned to the royal family’s previous approach of maintaining rigid formality. This shift has resulted in mounting speculation regarding the strength of their marriage and a diminished sense of rapport with the public, which is fundamental to the monarchy’s popularity and, consequently, its endurance.

“I believe it would have been better to emphasize the authenticity of Kate’s experience. Not everything needs to be exaggerated,” Schiffer recently shared with BI. “People can relate to the challenges of recovering from surgery, and it’s perfectly alright. One of Kate’s endearing qualities has always been her relatability and down-to-earth nature, so why deviate drastically from that approach?”

According to Meinzer, Kate and William could have taken a valuable lesson from Harry and Meghan on how to appear more relatable and down-to-earth.

It is uncertain whether the royal rota, the British tabloids that Harry claimed to have an “invisible contract” with the royal family, will continue to back Kate and William. Although there have been sympathetic stories published in outlets like the Daily Mail, The Mirror, and The Sun, there have also been negative articles criticizing Prince William as “ungentlemanly” and questioning the trustworthiness of the palace.

According to Meinzer, there has been a shift in loyalty among some long-standing members of the royal rota who have always supported William and Kate. They are no longer fully in their corner.

The royal rota rarely opposes the heir or the crown, but it has happened before. A prime example is how the tabloids portrayed the Queen’s reaction to Princess Diana’s death.

In the realm of royalty, maintaining an air of stoic silence can often lead to one’s downfall.

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