New Book Takes Aim at Kate and Princess Diana

Author takes aim at Duchess Kate and Princess Diana

Author takes aim at Duchess Kate and Princess Diana

A combo image showing the wedding of Lady Diana, Princess  of Wales with Prince Charles of Wales at St Paul Cathedral in London on July 29,  1981 and an image showing Kate Middleton standing at the altar with her husband  to be Prince William at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011. Author Joan Smith  makes sharp criticisms of both women in her new book, The Public Woman.

Photograph by: Stringer , AFP/Getty  Images

A new book is taking aim at two of Britain’s most beloved royals — Kate,  Duchess of Cambridge, and her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Joan Smith, an author and human rights activist, makes sharp criticisms of  both women in her new book, The Public Woman, calling Kate “unambitious,  uncontroversial and bland” and Diana a textbook case of “female narcissism.”

Princess Diana, Smith writes, “made catastrophic choices about men and showed  not a glimmer of insight into why her relationships kept going wrong. Diana  exemplifies a species of female narcissism which is repeatedly misread in  popular culture, glamourizing stunted ambition — wanting fame and admiration —  and erasing any requirement for personal responsibility.”

And, it’s not just Diana who suffered from stunted ambition, Smith says.  According to Britain’s Daily Mail, Smith finds plenty to say about the former  Kate Middleton, too, writing: “By the age of 30, the new Duchess of Cambridge  had done little since leaving university except play a supporting role to her  boyfriend, marry him with great pomp and ceremony and get pregnant.”

In the “blistering attack,” the Daily Mail says Smith writes that Kate is no  more accomplished than the attention-seeking wives and girlfriends (known in  Britain as Wags) of high-profile soccer players.

“Unambitious, uncontroversial and bland, Kate Middleton was Queen Wag in  everything but name.”

Smith uses her book to examine the advances of women in the public world —  and what it has cost them.

“The argument of this book is that sexual harassment is one of the ways in  which women are made to feel uncomfortable — outsiders and interlopers — in the  workplace,” she writes. “It’s not always conscious but there’s an elision here  of two ideas which has dire consequences for women: if a woman insists on her  rightful place in the public world, some men will assume that she’s publicly  available. I’ve written this book as a challenge to that notion.”

Smith’s analysis of the Duchess of Cambridge comes only a few months after  Booker Prize-winner author Hilary Mantel made international headlines for her  own public criticism of Kate, calling her a “shop-window mannequin, with no  personality of her own,” a pronouncement that was met with a chorus of  disapproval, including that of Prime Minister David Cameron, who called Mantel  “misguided.”


The Princess of Wales’ Maternity Style and Kate’s

The Princess of Wales’ Maternity Style

When the Princess of Wales was pregnant with Prince William in 1981, the then 20-year-old was all too aware of the public interest in her pregnancy. “The whole world is watching my stomach,” she famously said.

With this in mind, Diana made sure she impressed with her pregnancy wardrobe, stepping out in pastel-hued dresses, intricately detailed coats and matching hats.

When she fell pregnant with Prince Harry in 1984, Diana adopted the same stylish approach, always ensuring she looked the picture of easy elegance.



Many of the smock dresses that she wore were designed by the then Chelsea Design Company, which later changed its name to reflect its designer Catherine Walker.

After the announcement that Kate Middleton was expecting her first child, fashion fans were quick to discuss whether the Duchess of Cambridge would be taking style tips from the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

There was speculation that she might call upon the Catherine Walker label, having shown an interest in the brand after wearing its chic grey dress during an official trip to Montreal in 2011.


Kate has around three months to go with her pregnancy and so far she’s only needed to make minor clothing concessions to accommodate her modest bump. On an official visit to a bereavement charity last week, she wore a loose-fitting Peter Pan-collar dress from high-street chain Topshop, which she paired with a cream A-line Redgrave coat.

The next day, she attended 150th anniversary celebrations of the London Underground in a teal outfit by Danish fashion label By Malene Birger.

But as her tummy grows, she may opt for the loose-fitting styles favoured by Diana. As the world waits to see what Kate’s take on maternity style will be, let’s take a look back at Diana’s pregnancy wardrobe.




Earl Spencer is ready to hand over the contents of the exhibition featuring artifacts from his sister’s life back to his nephews, William and Harry.

“Diana: A Celebration” has been on exhibit in Northamptonshire at Althorp, the 500-year-old ancestral home of the Spencers, since 1998, on what would have been Diana’s 37th birthday. A spokesperson for Charles Spencer confirmed to the Telegraph that “It will close worldwide in August 2014.”

“Lord Spencer says Diana’s will stated that her belongings were to be “looked after” by him until both of her sons turned 30, at which point the contents would transfer into their possession,” reports the Telegraph. “Prince Harry will be 30 next year.”

The Telegraph also suggests that perhaps the collection, which includes Diana’s wedding dress, priceless family jewels, pictures, letters and home movies, may go on display at Kensington Palace, where Diana lived until her death in August, 1997.

The duke and duchess of Cambridge are expected to move into Princess Margaret’s former apartments at Kensington Palace after the birth of their child.

The spokesperson also told the Telegraph that the exhibition at Althorp “has been admired by thousands of people around the world, and has been a wonderfully tasteful celebration of the late Diana, Princess of Wale’s life and achievements – particularly her charitable works and her glamour”.

Diana’s grave is said to be on an island marked by an urn in the centre of  the “Round Oval” lake on Althorp’s extensive grounds. There is also a shrine near the island where between July and early September guests may visit.