Politics

The Real Royal Scandal Is on Us

Americans have always loved a royal scandal, even a smidgen more than British royalists do themselves. Some of this is easily attributable to our inborn desire for no more kings. Lately, however, the British royals have been given the same reality-star treatment every microcelebrity in America attracts.

Give us everything. Or you’ll regret it.

Historically, of course, the royals have provided. There was the Duke of Windsor’s abdication and apparent support for Nazism. Prince Charles’s and Princess Diana’s flagrant infidelities and divorce. Prince Andrew’s close ties with the since convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his own accusations of sexual abuse. And a massively popular Netflix series swanned in, dramatizing these and other ignoble ordeals, ready to sully the gleam before watchful eyes.

In this milieu, Kate Middleton’s refusal to cooperate is all the more frustrating. In January, Catherine, Princess of Wales, as she is officially known, stepped back from royal duties with a dissatisfyingly vague and brief announcement from Kensington Palace. The statement said she planned to undergo and recover from abdominal surgery until Easter.

The response was outrage and disbelief. Why hadn’t the princess specified the nature of her surgery? What, precisely, was her diagnosis? How, how could she leave us this way?

“To say she has broken the internet would be only the start of it,” The Spectator noted in an essay about America’s fixation on the British princess. “Rumors of her well-being are making their way into every newsroom, dive bar and church fellowship hour across America.”

Then, this week, in a brief video statement, Kate Middleton revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing treatment. This is a stark contrast with her fellow royal Meghan Markle, semi-Duchess of Sussex and far more attuned to the public’s need for a blow-by-blow of her inner journey, who announced a new lifestyle brand the same week, complete with a new Instagram page and website.

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