Silent glamor: after Diana, Kate reinvents the job of princess

Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:42am EDT
 
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By Estelle Shirbon

LONDON (Reuters) - Few mothers taking a new baby home would want a crowd of photographers snapping them from every angle at the hospital door, but Kate, future Queen of England, is likely to handle the bizarre situation like a consummate professional.

Since marrying Prince William in 2011, Kate has learned how to be a princess for the era of 24-hour news: always beautifully dressed, smiling for the cameras, she has withstood scrutiny and done nothing controversial.

The birth of her second child, expected imminently, will attract a media circus like the one that greeted the arrival of her firstborn, Prince George, in 2013, reflecting global interest in the young royal couple and their family.

It is a peculiar kind of stardom. Her image is ubiquitous on the front pages, fans cheer her at every stage-managed appearance, and the clothes she wears sell out in a flash, yet Kate has revealed very little of substance about herself.

"She's popular for the same reason the Queen is. They're both people who say almost nothing but on to whom others are able to project the things that they like," said Catherine Mayer, who wrote about Kate in the U.S. magazine Time when it selected her as a runner-up for the title of "Person of the Year" in 2011.

But there is a flipside to a fame built on beauty, glamor and the old-fashioned fairytale fantasy of marrying a prince.

"It's an amazingly intrusive kind of coverage that only women undergo and it means that at some point it will also turn because inevitably she will get older," said Mayer.

An early sign of that came in February when the Daily Mail, Britain's second-biggest selling newspaper which also has one of the largest English online readerships in the world, published a close-up image of the back of Kate's head on its front page.   Continued...

 
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, arrives with her husband Britain's Prince William at Sydney's St Andrew's Cathedral April 20, 2014.  REUTERS/Phil Noble