Today, the Duchess of Cambridge has shown, more than ever, that she is ready to be an empathetic and active Queen one day. In a speech given virtually, announcing the findings of her 5 Big Questions Survey, Kate appeared regal and composed, speaking passionately about a subject she truly cares about. The feedback has been hugely positive, as it should be. But the reaction, yet again, highlights the different standards the people of this country hold for the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex.
As part of the speech, Kate stated: ‘I believe the early years should be on par with the other great social challenges and opportunities of our time. And next year, we will announce ambitious plans to support this objective.’ The implication is, surely, that early years are not currently considered to be on a par with said social challenges. But by whom? Society? Politicians? Kate is actively calling for us – certainly the public and arguably its leaders – to change the way we think, behave and act. It is a hugely positive move.
And yet, compare this to when Meghan spoke out – again via a virtual speech – to encourage Americans to vote. She did not state for which party her followers should give their support. She did not name a single political figure. And yet, she was told to mind her own business, to keep quiet. As a member of the royal family – stepped back or otherwise – her detractors said that it was not her place to speak out or express her opinions. Those detractors do not have the same problem with Kate’s intervention on social reform.
'But what you do isn't for the quick win - it is for the big win’, added Kate. ‘It is for a happier, healthier society as well as happier, healthier children.’ Her words – vague, yes, but nevertheless forthright – could have been used by Meghan in her speech about voting, and she would have been told to mind her own business.
Kate is an impressive woman who cares about children and society. It is hugely positive that she wants to make the world a better place. But so did Meghan, and the world rounded on her.
Why is this? Perhaps, some would argue that Kate - a woman who will, one day, spiritually represent a country - should be speaking up for it, whereas it is none of Meghan's business. But is it not the other way around? Should the wife of the future head of state even hint at what topics do or do not matter to her? Could it not set a dangerous precedent if she, for example, does not speak up for the environment in future? Whereas Meghan, still a Duchess but no longer a working member of the royal family, is free of such conflict fears.
Yet again, it's one rule for one, another for the other. Is it elitism? Racism? Snobbery? Or did these inconsistent critics just never like Meghan from the start (which, by the way, could signal an elitism or racism that lingers within them)? Who knows. But it's clear that the hypocrisy has gone nowhere.