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Does Kate Really Work...Enough?

Thursday, November 21, 2013


With some regularity, I get a comment that wonders at Kate vacationing or remarks that she should work more, and I have been promising to write my thoughts on Kate and just how much I think she should be "working."

Let’s start at the beginning. Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born to a hardworking couple in Berkshire, England. Michael and Carole Middleton were an ordinary couple, with normal jobs. He was a steward, she was a stewardess. I am not privy to the inside details, but somewhere along the line Carole decided to commercialize her creative side and began selling the party favors she made for her children’s birthdays. This business made the Middletons multi-millionaires. It enabled them to join the ranks of the (financial) crème de la crème of society and to give Kate and her siblings a privileged upbringing. All of this would have been fairly ordinary in the big scheme of things, except that Kate met, fell in love with, and married, the heir to the most prestigious monarchy in history: Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, son of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Kate is the daughter of self-made millionaires, married to a man who is heir, not just to a throne and a title, but to a fabulous financial inheritance. Practically speaking, Catherine Cambridge does not have to work another day in her life. 

Some people work because they love to, and that is good. Perhaps they have a passion for their job and they couldn’t function without it.  Most people work because they must, to sustain life or at least their lifestyle. That you love your work might be a wonderful bonus, but that you must work to pay for shelter, food, and other daily necessities is the first priority. 

But, if you remove that necessity, if you have worked long and hard enough, or if you have just gotten lucky, so that you do not have to work to sustain life, than work becomes optional and other opportunities open up. The idea that to be a useful member of society you must craft and maintain a career is false. Life is a precious gift and shouldn't be wasted, yes, but the definition of useful activity can be found in a myriad of places. Once your basic needs are met, the only duty you have to life is that you cultivate the talents and abilities that you have. Aristotle, the ancient philosopher, pointed out how absolutely necessary it is for growth that we have leisure. Only in a society in which a certain amount of leisure time is available to people do the fine arts flourish. We work so that we can have leisure. If Kate has more leisure time than the rest of us, who are we to begrudge her that? People who argue that she doesn’t do anything seem to have an attitude that the life choices she makes and prioritizes are somehow inferior to their own. But, why? 


If Kate’s practical needs are taken care of by her husband’s fortune or her inheritance from her parents, she has every right to indulge her personal passions. Art, gardening, history, photography, reading, raising her children, making a beautiful home for herself and her family. If Kate gets up every morning and showers her child with love and attention, reads great literature, indulges in her passion for art and photography, enjoys the outdoors in Kensington Gardens with Lupo, plans a dinner party to bring together her friends and family, lives, laughs, loves, savors life, why would anyone complain about that with any other motivation than jealousy?  

Kate is not a full-time working royal yet. William is clearly quickly moving in that direction, but even he, with his significantly busier calendar, is not a full-time royal. Nevertheless, Kate is working and fulfilling the duties of her "job" quite seriously. The problem is, her job is very unusual.  Part of Kate's job is to look like a million bucks. We expect her to step out of the car at every engagement looking radiantly lovely, perfectly coiffed, immaculately dressed. That takes work! It takes work to stay so beautiful for high-definition cameras. People scoff as she traipses from hair salon, to clothes boutique, to department store, but look what happens when she steps out with roots showing and an exhausted face? Public outcry! We feel cheated! The charity is upstaged while the world wonders everything from, "Is Kate sleeping well?" to "Is there trouble in royal paradise?!" My mom always told me when I was little, as she ran a comb through my tangled hair or stuffed me into an "itchy" dress, you have to suffer for beauty. Now that I am older I learn you have to work hard for it, too. From the gym to the hair salon, Kate's personal upkeep is no small thing. It's an unusual job, but it is most certainly time-consuming work.


Kate gave up many things to marry the man she loved and step onto the world stage for the rest of her life. Think about it. She will never be normal again. She will live and die under the spotlight of world attention. We will watch her every mood and move, we will carefully categorize her every fashion choice, her every patronage and event. When she has a bad hair day, she will make front-page news. She can’t step out of her house without a tourist taking a snap and sharing on Twitter. The vociferous appetite of her adoring fans will never dim. Kate, like Diana, will grow and grow in the public consciousness until even she can barely keep up with the image we create. Do I think this is all unfair or that we should feel sorry for her? No. She lives a life of extreme privilege and significant glamour. She is up for it. Some women would bend or break, Kate will thrive. But, she has every right to indulge when and where she chooses. She takes our scrutiny with dignity and grace, because when she wants space she has the money and flexibility to find it. She can jet to the wispy, snowy solitude of the Alps, or the secluded, sunny beaches of Mustique. We get to follow her life to the best of the paparazzis' ability, she gets to travel and vacation when the whim takes her.

I don’t have the choice to live that lifestyle. Many people around the globe don’t either, we have to work most days and take our vacations when we can. Nevertheless, I submit that anyone reading this blog is miles ahead of many of the downtrodden the earth has watched live and die throughout human history. If you are in doubt, look to the slums of India, the far-reaches of Africa, read Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich about the Communist labor camps. Most of us are pretty blessed, even with our 9-5s and our annoying work colleagues. 

Ultimately, Kate owes you and me not a single thing. She signed on the dotted line to live under a microscope when she accepted her life of privilege. But, if she has the means and the time to jet to Mustique three times a year, more power to her. She generates revenue for the airlines and their employees, the island workers, the villa renters, the shops where she buys her holiday clothes, etc. Those people take that profit and they go home and have that much more extra with which to indulge their families. That’s how a free society works. That is how an honorable society works. We applaud the successful and we work toward success ourselves. The green-eyed monster of jealousy won’t destroy Kate's or the Middletons' peace as they sun on the sandy beaches of the Caribbean, it will only steal the happiness and peace that you could have. 

Kate is doing her job. Every day. She is raising a little heir to the British throne in a stable family environment. She is working with her charities, she is highlighting British fashion, she is being happy. That’s her job. Her job is to be happy, healthy, and normal. To be the beautiful woman that other women want to emulate. Britain’s princess is soon to be the most photographed woman on earth. That’s good for business, kids. Her job is to keep her marriage stable so we don’t have a re-run of the ‘90’s. The royals give so much more to the UK than they take. I won’t even open the discussion of the benefits of the monarchy, many others make that argument far more succinctly. Kate lives in a fishbowl, her every public move is dissected, her family is vilified, her personal life is the subject of constant speculation. She may choose when and where to accept a public engagement, and if she spends the rest of her free time sipping tea and chatting with her mom, that is her absolute right. 

Don’t follow the royals with resentment. Enjoy the fashion, the history, the pageantry. Savor a country walk with a solid pair of wellies, snag some holiday tips from Pippa, learn about the sick and the hurt who are benefitted by the charities that the Royals highlight. Thank God for your blessings, for they are many, and enjoy your life.

Kate is a wealthy, wealthy woman. She is wealthy because she was born to it, she got lucky, she won the genetic lottery. She doesn’t have to work. She gets to invest her time in what she chooses. What fabulous freedom. I hope she indulges that freedom wisely, and enriches her personal life through her free-time. I am glad that William met such a beautiful woman, with such a beautiful family, and introduced the world to her so that we may enjoy “watching our neighbors” while we go about making our own happiness.


56 comments:

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    1. Thanks, Rina! I appreciated your fast and positive comment! :)

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  2. thank you for this, i loved it.

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    1. Good, I am so glad! Thank you for reading my blog!

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  3. This is such a great post!!! :)

    I love the picture of the Duchess in the Grey Orla Kiley dress. So pretty!!! Honestly, I love my little quiet life and do not envy the Duchess at all. I think she is doing an amazing job.

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    1. Me too, Autumn. it is saved on my computer as "Kate Gorgeous." It just takes my breath away. She is a stunning woman! Thanks for reading!

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  4. Interesting perspective. Not sure that I agree, but interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. Ashley! I think you were one of the people that spurred me to write this! I am sorry we don't see eye to eye, or that I couldn't convince you, but I really do appreciate that you read my perspective and for your polite comment!

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    2. BUT, there have been people who have made nasty comments over the years, so I don't want you to feel like this was negatively directed at you. You politely raised a point, and that stuck in my head. I had all sorts of other comments on my mind while writing this, not all necessarily directed at you. :)

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    3. No offense taken. I hope my comments don't come across as nasty. Cynical- perhaps. But not nasty. I'm a Kate fan, and I definitely don't want any repeats of the 90's. (Including hair scrunchies!) Especially since the Queen stared reigning, the royal family has been perceived as hardworking, diligent, and dutiful. I think there is a direct correlation between those perceptions being met and monarchy's popularity. Right now, Kate is popular, young, beautiful, and glamorous. But eventually, if the perceived amount of work does not increase, that correlation may apply. Time will tell whether this level of "work" is a "newlywed/new mom" phase or a permanent one. I hope it is a phase.

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  5. Jane- Thank you for taking the time to write this beautiful staement. It is so true. As you said the Duchess does not owe us anhting but there are many people out there think she owes us everything. And what is funny most of them are from the US. I think it is really funny tht these people feel the Duchess owe them and yet they do not pay a single bit of tax to keep the royal family.
    These people just need to take a step back and rethink why they feel the Duchess owes them everything.
    William will contiune to be protective and guide her. He will not let what happened to his beloved mother happen to his wife who I would imgine he loves with everything he has. And now that they are parents to their little boy Prince George I do not see them doing many joint engagements do to the fact that they want at least one of themselves with him. And there is nothing wrong with that. They are just being parents royal or not.
    The Duchess is doing such a great job with her charities and with supporting Williams. People do not understand what it takes to work with charities. It is not just being there in person but all the back ground work it takes. So it the Duchess is not seen for awhile people just think she is being lazy and not working. But she is back researching and doing meeting with the charities. I would love to have all these people who are very nasty toward the Duchess because they feel she is not wearing the right thing or her hair is not right or her shoes do not match so on and so on to walk a week in her shoes and then come back and complain. I bet then they would have more respect for what she goes through on a daily basis.
    People forget that she is a new mom, and has a husband to look after. And I do believe they still do not have a full staff. They have a housekeeper/cook and a part time nanny. They have elect to do most on their own and I take my hat off to them.

    Again Jane thanks for taking the time to write this great statement/insight.

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  6. Well put, Jane. I do think your argument is accurate. Kate was born into a family with hard working parents who sought the best for the children, which is what any good parent ever hopes for. I think the argument that Kate does not 'work' enough is more the argument that she does not do visible work enough. We don't know what goes on behind the scenes and the paparazzi are oh so good about getting the pictures that will generate stories of a rather negative angle. That being said, I have been a Kate fan from the very first moment I read the article about Prince William possibly having a girlfriend on People.com and saw Kate in the infamous runway outfit, but even I have become a bit frustrated at times over her lack of visible work. I am perfectly fine with her putting her family first and she has every right to pursue and enrich that which is important to her be it her husband and child, her family and her interests, but I do think a lot of this could have been avoided if she would've done more when her and William lived in Wales and prior to having Prince George or even when her and William were dating. That could have possibly offset some of the overall criticism regarding her 'work' load or lack thereof. If we were being honest though, it isn't really her 'work' load that bothers most, it is what she chooses to work on. I think the root of this is that most people want her to be a career woman who has it all - she has the perfectly rounded family and the happy husband all while looking gorgeous every second of every minute. By choosing to pour into her family, specifically her husband and child, she is - in some opinions - epitomizing the very thing feminists have worked so hard to discredit...the beautiful woman who willingly chooses to put her family and those she loves first rather than the high power job that she has been offered. In my opinion, that is the crux of the whole 'does Kate work enough?' argument. By this argument, Kate, by choosing to be there for her husband and child, more so than her job (from the view of the small lens that is visible to us) is doing more harm than good for the female gender. We have so many vapid female role models who only aspire to be some rich guy's arm candy and Kate has managed to snag, arguably, the most famous one. I think a lot of people were hoping she would give girls something else to aspire to: but to me a career and feminism are not synonymous. True feminism, really true and healthy love of oneself regardless of gender, to me is to pursue that which will enrich the lives of those around oneself/those one cares for, following in the future and oneself as well. This is not an attack against feminism or Kate. Feminism has moved our society forward and women have both benefited and lost due to it and Kate could afford to pick up the more visible events when George is at an age she is comfortable with doing so. I think Kate though, by walking her own decided path with silence and very apparent strength, will be just fine.

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  7. I think your post was well-written and I can see where you are coming from, but I do not think that Kate works nearly enough as she should to represent the most prestigious monarchy in the world (to use your words). I think calling her a part-time royal is almost laughable. A handful public engagements over the span of several months does not a part-time royal make. She has the power and position to truly make a difference in her country and in the world. Her work pales in comparison to other European royals who have more pressure and more children. She does not have a political role, but the British taxpayers do spend quite a bit of money maintaining the royal family. They do not simply live off their own wealth. Yes, she gave away her privacy, but she got the best seat in the house in the history books. That's quite a bit to get in return and I think making regular engagements every day or every other day is not to much to ask, truly working to make the world a better place as opposed to simply highlighting British fashion or shaking hands. There are very few women endowed with so much power and presence on the world's stage and what disappoints me is not what she wears or how often she vacations, but how many opportunities she lets pass her by.

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    1. Completely agree. I understand that she is getting acclimated to her role, but it's already been three years since the engagement. While she shouldn't spend every day working, I think it's ridiculous she only works for a couple of days a month. And Jane, in your article you did not talk about how much financial strain the British monarchy places on the people--which can be repaid in service, much like how the Queen has done.

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  8. Interesting post, its as if im reading my own post :-).....just not as good a writer as you LOL. Thanks for sharing !

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  9. I absolutely agree with you. Well said! If I think about what it must be like to be Kate, the bottom line is always "it must be a mixed blessing". Yes, she enjoys tremendous wealth and privilege. She also appears to be loved by a wonderful husband. But the constant scrutiny would be more than most women could endure.

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  10. Jane, beautiful post as usual! I completley agree with you. She carries herself with grace, elegance and style and does a brilliant job representing us. When people discuss Kate and her life of privelege, people don't often take into account what she had to give up to be with the man she loves, which is something very precious, her privacy and her families privacy.

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  11. Thanks for dedicating this issue a post. I can agree with lots of things you wrote. Although as not being British and only follow the newspapers I have a couple of things in mind.
    First I would ask the beautiful Duchess (OMG! some who reads another site might understand this) what is her aim in life? I think she is the type who waited patiently for a man a really long time, meanwhile she worked for the family business (?). She is simply not ambitious.
    Lots of people find excuses for her why she does not work "enough". I do not know what is enough. If she is a part time royal she makes a really few engagements I think. She had 2 years before the baby to know and be comfortable with her position. I think she did not use it well. One of commenters said she makes this fashion mistakes because of her lack of work experience and I tend to agree. She is out and about 2-3 times a months and simply she makes silly mistakes. Who cares about staying an hour longer when you have a Marilyn moment. Everybody is talking about even the bloggers what she is wearing because her personality does not come through. Of course everybody is taking Diana as an example, which is wrong. But what I think she could learn from her is devotion. And to be honest we (me too) all expect her to be perfect to act to dress to speak even to think. But at the end of the day she is one of us and that's why I realised now it is foolish to expect her to be a real royal because it is not in her blood, she needs to learn a lot but I wonder can you really learn to be a royal? I think it is an enormous task for her and can be a life aim.Thanks for reading! A.

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  12. What a great post Jane and I applaud you for bringing this topic up in such a well-balanced manner. I agree with the majority of your points. True feminism is about being able to make choice freely and without criticism. Whether someone is a full time mum, a high-flying executive or anything in between, they all make a valuable contribution and shouldn't be derided for that choice. The fact is, as you say, Kate was born into a wealthy family and even if she had never met William, would probably never have had a 9-5 career; not everyone is ambitious and there's nothing wrong with that. Personally, I sit somewhere in the middle. I think it is great that Kate has chosen to be a hands-on mum and at least little George and any siblings that may come along will have a loving and stable family life, which William and Harry didn't a lot of the time. So many people hold Diana up as a model mum but the fact was that for every outing at a theme park of McDonalds, there were many more hours spent with nannies instead of parents. If Kate and William choose to do less engagements and spend time with their young family, they should be applauded not pilloried. Having said that, I think there is a balance to be met and the fact is that Kate isn't your usual heiress or wealthy socialite. She has married into a venerable institution with a long precedent of public service and whilst she has been a breath of fresh air, there are still certain obligations that go along with being a senior member of the RF. I do think that carrying out say 2 engagements most weeks would not be detrimental to Kate's family life but would do a lot to allay the issues about her work ethic. She would still have way more time with her children than most working mums. I think she is doing a fabulous job and has stepped into her role with aplomb. She obviously works hard behind the scenes for her charities and the causes that she has thus far chosen to support are, in my opinion, extremely worthy and deserving of her patronage. It would just be nice to see her up her engagements a little. She seems like a lovely young woman with a real down to earth touch and it would be nice to just see her taking on a little more regular engagements.

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  13. While I see your points there is the basic point that most royal and aristocratic families have as their ultimate motto despite personal creed and crest and that is noblesse oblige. It is just that simple...

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  14. It is nice you mentioned Solženycin! Jana

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  15. I don't want Kate duchess of Cambridge to "work". !!!. Blimey what do people want. ?? Be a check-out girl at the local Tesco. ???? Ur having a laugh.

    I want glamour splendor and royal class. People love those things. My mum does. She always use to shop for stuff because " its what the royals would have" so it must be quality. Etcetera ..

    I like the royal family and the new generation of William and Kate are fabulous. We in Britain are lucky to have a prominent royalty. Many countries would love to have our heritage. They can't. We're unique.

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  16. I totally agree with this article, you put in words all that had to be said.
    Kate does work, very hard, much harder than we could imagine!
    I think being a royal requires so much work and that is not 9-5, but 24/24, 365/365 and for all the lifetime.
    And seriously, I have never seen a normally raised girl who became a princess that ensures all the royal duties as Kate does, so normally, so naturally and beautifully.
    I have no doubt that it comes from her talent and real hard work on it hehind the cameras.
    Thank you for this post!
    Lina

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  17. Thank you for taking the time to write such a well thought out piece on the Duchess and her life. There is so much hate and negativity that gets aired through our internet links to each other. Such a shame and I appreciate anyone who takes a civil stand against it.

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  18. Thank you very much for taking the time to write such a reasoned and articulate answer to the barrage of criticism that the Duchess and the whole BRF gets. While many of us admire of the tradition of service and philanthropy shown by the BRF (without micromanaging how they carry that out), others do not and they need to have our perspective explained to them. Thank you for being such an effective and gracious spokesperson for my views and the views of so many others.

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  19. Thank you for your article Jane. I'm a big fan of duchess kate. Every thing u said was spot on. I can't understand why people are having a go at her. Maybe their jealous.

    I will say this. She is a stronger character than people who criticise her think. If anything she's very protective of William. And very supportive. As a guy I notice subtle things about her body language towards him.

    Her "job" is to support him . She's not a celebrity although the worlds attention is on her. If anything she needs to slow down because she shows a little nervous energy. The huge weight of responsibility will come to her soon enough.

    I absolutely love her and so happy for William has found a lovely girl. I hope they have a daughter for baby George.

    Didn't she perform her duties when she was heavily pregnant. People forget that it seems.

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  20. I really liked this post. Thank you for articulating what many of us think. I follow several Kate blogs because I think she is a lovely young woman in a very interesting (and difficult) position, one I would never, ever choose. Where's the harm in admiring a pretty girl? I don't want to be her, I don't want my daughter to be her, but I appreciate that she is willing to be on stage for us.

    Plus, her baby is just 4 months old today. Isn't she allowed maternity leave???

    "Don’t follow the royals with resentment." This says it all.

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  21. Beautifully written- however I believe it is important to shine the light at those who really deserve our criticism. Let's look at the reality-stars, actors/actresses and trustafarians that grace our shores here in the US- these super-rich and over exposed literally burn money because they can. What do they provide to the world other than embarrassing photo ops that they themselves engineered? The excess and waste that they produce is disgraceful and their egos are all consuming- how do they drive around in 500K cars and give a sound-byte about the plight of the Philippines and in the same breath talk about "what they are wearing". I want to see them put their money where their mouth is- the royal family certainly does!

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  22. Some of what you write I agree with; some I disagree with.

    Kate's main job is raising her child(ren) and supporting her husband. However, she is a "major" member of the royal family, and thus needs to be seen as doing her fair share. She is the future Queen and thus, she needs to slowly form her own agenda.

    I believe it was several years after Diana married Charles before she started doing more and more engagements. Plus who knows what Kate does behind the scenes or in private. Diana did so much charity work behind the scenes that no one ever knew about.

    It sounds like after the first of the year Kate's schedule will start to fill up more. I don't expect to see her doing engagements every day, but she will eventually have to start "earning" the privilege that she married into. Yes, her life is in the fishbowl now, but she said "yes" to William's proposal and she knew absolutely what she was marrying into.

    I believe the Royal Family's past experience with Diana has everything to do with Kate slowly become a "working" royal. Diana was left on her own to find her own agenda, but she "swam" instead of "sinking" to use Diana's own words. I believe Kate will be given more leeway to figure out what she wants to do in her life as a royal because William knows how it was with his mother.

    But I don't agree that she has the right to indulge where and when she wants. The majority of the funds that support her and William come from the taxpayers. Yes, William inherited a lot of money from Diana and Kate's family is wealthy, but hasn't it been written that Charles is paying for her "working" wardrobe? Charles' money comes directly from the taxpayers. The taxpayers paid for the renovation of Kensington Palace. If William and Kate spend their own money flying to the Caribbean or skiing, fine, but to say she doesn't have to work because she's privileged to marry into the Royal Family...I completely disagree with that.

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  23. All the royal family "work" as well as perform their duties. Taxpayers do not support the royal family in relation to vast income and the attention they bring to the country. If that was the case, then we're under paying them. The queen recieves a sovereign grant to maintain the dignity of her status and position. It's a very long story going back many many years.

    I don't remember Diana, only seen news footage of her but my mum says she started life as nursery school attendant although her family were aristrocrats.

    Kate is my generation and I really do like her a lot. She has slready done a lot of business for the country *the kate effect" but I wouldn't want her to be any thing like a celebrity. Absolutely not.

    She is now a mother to a future king. She will also be beside William when he performs state duties like the opening of parliament. Or give a speech in French to the Canadian institutions. She has enormous responsibilities now she is married to the royal family.

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  24. This post was so beautifully written and absolutely true. Her job is not an easy one. I couldn't imagine living every single day of my life under the glare of tabloids just waiting for me to mess up, say the wrong, or wear something they disagree with. The pressure of being a royal is insane. She is trying to raise her child in the most normal way possible while also instilling the qualities of a future King.

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  25. Hi, Iove your post despite I feel you avoid diplomaticly some harsh words towards those you are critizing Kate. Some thoughts from me: Kate is ambitious! Do sports liek she did, loose weight after giving birth like she did is hard, she is meeting many challanges with discipline and hard work. Thinking about a public carreer - she needed to make a choice - where could she have really worked being engaged to Prince William???? Every step a paparazzi? Companies are not really keen on employees like that. She choose to get out of the limelight your parents company! Why not, 1.000 of people do that! She is "housewife" - Millions are! She is live a financially independant life - why not or do we expect every woman wealthy by her own or her husband to work -NO. Would we like Kate to make a living by selling out her life like Kim K. No we don't. I love the idea of her taking care of her family, settling in to royal obligations and once in a while enjoy us with public apperances. In the background I feel she is working hard with the charities, cares about lots of things and my impression is she is not a lazy person at all. We don't know how her real life behind the curtains is? And, considering what comes for the future I think now taking family time is the best they could do. Look at the Queen- most people retired already more than 20 years ago! It is not a job to quit at some time so you need to be careful not to lose yourself and family on the way.

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  26. Wow, this post certainly struck a nerve, I haven't seen this many comments to a post in a long time! Thank you Jane for sharing your thoughts on this mattter, you have made some excellent points. I agree with some and disagree with others, isn't that the way of the world? Anyhow, it seems to be a hot button topic and it was great to see it discussed here with quite a bit of dignity and grace. At the end of it all none of us knows what Kate does with her time, she might be sitting on the couch all day eating bonbons or she might be reading briefs on her charitys and deciding on how she can truly be of service to those who could benefit from her partonage, so all we can really do is speculate.

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  27. I just noticed that the dress in the first picture is the same Issa dress she wore the night before her wedding and in Canada. She looked so fresh faced back then!

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    1. I wondered if/when anyone would notice that. :) Yes, Kate and thrifty recycles!

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  28. I have to disagree with "Anonymous" who stated that by choosing to be a wife and mother over a career that Kate is discrediting and undermining the work of the feminist movement...the definition of "feminism" is that women should have the right to choose whatever path they desire, weather that be a high-powered career or choosing to stay at home as a wife and mother. I am so thankful to the women who worked hard to give me the right to choose what path in life I want to take, rather than forcing and expecting me to take a pre-chosen one. I have a career and I am a wife, and when I have a child I will leave my career because I believe raising my child at home is my life's calling, but that certainly does not make me anti-feminist. Those women who tell me (and Kate) that I am a disgrace to females everywhere for that are no better than the women and men before suffrage telling me to have a career is a disgrace to females. Kate has the luxury of defining her life as she chooses, and by choosing to put her energy into raising her child - as so many of us may also choose - she is exercising her right as a woman of this generation. Britain is lucky to have her.

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    1. This is an old post but I just read this blog recently and I'm so glad that someone posted this. BRAVO. I too am sick and tired of people who claim that stay-at-home moms are somehow destroying everything that feminists have worked for over the years.

      Let me be clear, I don't have children and I work 50-60 hours a week because I have to support myself. But I 100% agree with Danielle - in my opinion, the whole point of feminism is empowering women to do whatever they want. If they want to stay at home with their children, then great. If they want to have a career, then great. If they want to travel the world, then great. It's people who criticize those choices, whatever those choices might be, who are undermining the work of the feminist movement. No one has the right to say that anyone else SHOULD be doing this or SHOULD be doing that - we all have the right to make our own choices and if that choice sucks, then well, we're the one living with that consequence.

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  29. Ah! Excuse me for a moment here! While I agree that everyone should live the way the choose and if born lucky - not feel obligated to work, but you are forgetting one MAJOR thing here (pointed out by someone earlier) : "The majority of the funds that support her and William come from the taxpayers." You want to enjoy the privilege of living like a royal with everything paid by the people? Then you have to work. Otherwise, do what some rich people do when they work for charities - they get a symbolic salary of $1 and live off of the money they've made themselves. Because if you don't work AND live the royal life, you are going to be deservedly criticized.

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  30. I'm happy you wrote this Jane, I think that months and months ago I asked you for your opinion of Kate's workshy reputation and you said you'd eventually write a blog post about it . . . well here it is! The post is very well written. I also think it's a great defense of separating the concepts of a "useful, well-lived life" from "pursuing a vocation." These are different things, and I definitely agree that people can find fulfillment in ways other than working for a paycheck . . . things like raising a family, cultivating hobbies, traveling,volunteering, etc, are all things that can make for a very meaningful, full life.

    With all that said . . . I still disagree with your defense of Kate, specifically. I have no idea what she does day in and day out - no one does, which is why I always have to laugh a little when her ardent fans insist she MUST be working hard behind the scenes for her charities. Maybe she is, maybe she isn't. In my opinion though, she really needs to drastically increase her number of public appearances/visible charitable work. Not because she "owes" me anything, but because she married into a family whose status in British society is maintained by their reputation for extraordinary hard work and public service. Even Charles, who often gets overlooked because of the public's reverence for his mother and the media fascination with his more glamorous sons/daughter-in law, has done extraordinary charitable work through the Prince's Trust and his other charities. THAT'S the legacy that Kate has to live up to if the British Royal Family is going to endure in the modern era.

    I feel like Kate is a really good illustration about how people infer positive personality trains for attractive, beautiful people. She's very pretty and thin, so her fans insist she must be kind, hardworking, charitable, etc. Yet, none of know anything about her personally. She might be all of those things, or she might be a lazy, vain woman who cares a lot more about maintaining her looks than she does about making a difference. As more and more time goes by since the wedding, and Kate continues to do a minimal amount of charity work, I have a harder time believing the excuses that her fans make for her. Nor can I really get on board with the idea that she works enough because she doesn't have to work at all beyond maintaining her looks and her family's happiness (which seems to be the thesis of this post, sorry if I misunderstood). No one is asking her to be a check out girl at Tesco just to prove she's hardworking, we're asking her to continue the royal family's tradition of public service. Someone above mentioned that the sad thing about Kate is that she's wasting opportunities . . . I totally agree with that. She gets press attention just for showing up to a charity for an hour or two at the time, imagine the good she could do and the awareness she could bring by doing regular charitable appearances or even taking a more active role, like launching a new initiative or planning a fundraiser. Honestly though, even if she is only capable of doing the show-up-and-look-at-things-while-making-small-talk appearances, then she should be doing as many of those as she can. The media will follow her, making sure that the charity gets a lot of exposure, and she can get a ton of credit for being hardworking and charitable. Otherwise, I just don't see the point of her being afforded the status of HRH or living in a taxpayer-subsidized apartment if she's not willing to work on behalf of the British public. Working on her good looks and fulfilling personal life/interests would be sufficient if she was a regular celebrity or WAG, but I very much believe that being a senior royal entails a serious commitment to public service and charity.

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    1. I must say I totally agree with you, we "met" on the other Duchess site where her ardent fans attacked me and you were really nice there, I appreciated that but my comment did not fit the blogger's taste. So thanks here again. A.

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    2. Wow. Whitney, please start a blog. That was so enjoyable to read. Jane, your article was well written, but I think Whitney's argument prevails: "being a senior royal entails a serious commitment to public service and charity." Of course it's okay for Kate to take time off now and then, but now I more commonly associate the British monarchy with laziness as opposed to duty--and that is because of Kate.

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    3. @Whitney, what a fabulous articulate balanced considered comment. It is so hard for a lot of people not to get so defensive or needlessly attacking her. Just want to say how refreshing your stance is!

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    4. I think a lot of speculation goes to the fact that we barely know anything about her as a person. She's given almost no interviews, people don't know quite what to make of her motivations. I'm sure the Royal family is already working out when she will give her first interview.

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  31. Hi Jane, I just did a little research and found that in 2011, the year Kate joined the royal family, she carried out 34 engagements. In 2012, she carried out 75 engagements in the UK and 36 engagements overseas for a total of 111 engagements.
    I just thought it would be nice to see the actual number of engagements Kate attended.

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  32. I have read all of these comments. And I must say that most of you think Catherine should be out there working everyday. What you all do not know is that the royal calendars are done 6 month or so in advance. I don't understand what some of you mean by missed chances that Cahterine has missed? Her main job as a royal is to be supported of her husband and a mother to their children. Yes Catherine can do alot for the different charities but we do not know what she does behind the scenes.

    One of Catherine's charities made a statement that they are thankful for all her hard work behidn the scene she has done. I believe it was the one she visited last week. And theone's swho think all she does is work on her good looks, all I can say to you is she does not have to work she is a beautfful woman with little work. I think you are just jealous.

    I have lived in England all my life and we here think Catherine & William are doing a wonderful job. They are not full time royals so they do not have a full schedule like the rest of them do. JUST remember William just retired from the RAF. And for the person who said that Catherine shoudl have been doing more when they lived in Angelesy, well you are incorrect. If you have been following William & Catherine you would have known that the Queen they them two years to enjoy their marriage. So that meant that she was not expected to be out doing royal engagements. on her own but she did a few. Catherine was to support William in his engagements which she did.

    So all I can say that I believe most of you who think Catherine is not carrying her weight do not live in the UK because for the ones who do know for a fact that Catherine is doing just what she is expected to do. Right now she is still on leave and her job is to take care of their baby boy. And as I have said before if it does not bother the Queen then why should it bother us.

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    1. With all due respect your comments are always the same (you live in London, OMG, it is in every comment, why?), sorry. But we are entitled to our opinion as well. Don't like it don't read it. But here there is a peaceful community and I left the other because people think the beautiful Duchess is humiliated by a remark on her clothes or her work ethic. I can't help but wonder whether people are in love with her because that is when you are blind??? Sorry Jane for this but life is not black or white and people think they know everything just because she lives in London:-))))) A.

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    2. Anonymous
      You ask why I always state that I am from London is because people here do post where they are from. So why are you being so nasty about it. Yes everyone is entilted to there opinion and I was not saying they were not.

      First they were given two years to be basicly engagement free. But they did do joint engagements and Catherine did a few solo ones. Also most of these comments regarding her working are from people who do not live in the UK and do not understand how the royal family work. If you just do a little looking into the royal family people will learn alot. And as I have said before that all the royal calendars are done 6 months or so in advance.

      I just do not understand why people have to be so hard on Catherine. She is doing just what she has been told to do. When you marry into the royal family your life really is not your own anymore.
      All I am doing is trying to help non english readers a little insight into how the royal family works. I am not here to put anyone down or disagree with anyone.

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  33. Hear, hear, extremely well said! Catherine can never hope to please everyone and why should she? I think she is the kind of person who always tries her very best at everything she does and the Royal Family are lucky to have her. There will always be people who criticise her but they are probably envious or have nothing better to do! Sarah

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  34. I think part of the problem is we still don't really know anything about her as a person. Whenever she speaks in front of a crowd it's almost always from a pre-written statement. She's barely been interviewed. Maybe it will just take more time, but she could be using her position to go on any show in the world to tell people just about anything, and they would say, more please! Perhaps William figures that they have to do this until they die, so who cares if they put that sort of thing off another 5+ years. I do think it's a bit of a miscalculation to relegate her to the back-burner in a sense as they have done so far. It's hard to know how much of it is her choosing and how much is being dictated to her.

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  35. Kate and William have plenty of money, so Kate is able to stay home and care for George. If Kate didn't stay home with an infant son, caring for him and enjoying this special time, I would be appalled. And I would think she was stupid and shallow. What could be more wonderful than singing to your baby, laughing with your baby, and telling Daddy all about it at the end of the day.
    Stay home, Kate, if that is your preference. It won't last long and you'll never reget it!!!

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  36. Dear Jane,
    This piece is very beautifully written and a genuine account of what we do know about this Duchess and how her work and role is very important and affecting. I imagine Catherine having read this herself, and would be saying "thank you!!" A positive look at a shaping woman, Duchess, and future Queen...such a relief from all the stupid headlines the media outputs with regularity. What I pray is that she stays true to her beautiful self, pursues her talents and abilities regardless of the pressure, and that, in her case, she may grow more bold in the ways of speaking up for those things that can be made better and bring light to those very things God inspires her to shape, create, and effect.
    Joy, Emilyrose Schiller
    www.emilyroseschiller.blogspot.com

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  37. All this talk about the Duchess is fine and dandy but in April 2014 she flashed her parts getting off the New Zealand plane, had a parents-and-tot public appearance using George to try win favour amongst the peasants, and looked utterly ridiculous in tight, tarty navy jeans with wedgy heels. Don't even get me going on about the Duchess playing cricket in high heels or her fake facial expressions. The woman is not Royal material. At the time of their wedding I tried to keep an open mind to the possibilities that Catherine might be capable of; she disappointed on so many, many levels the past 2 years. When Prince William remarries in the future, the Duchess will be able to go off into the sunset and marry a wealthy commoner; there will be thus nothing expected of her except trips to her cosmetic surgeon and travel. But a Royal life: it is becoming obvious, NO, NO, and NO. I much prefer the idea of Prince Charles and his consort Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall as my immediate King in the future. (But that will be a sad day as I truly respect Our Majesty, The Queen as an amazing example of true Royal service personified.)

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  38. I am just now seeing this column, and as I read it I was screaming out loud in agreement with your thoughts. RM

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    1. Really glad you came across it and that you enjoyed it!! :)

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