Royalty and the Beast(ly): Kate Middleton’s India trip
I tried to do it. I tried to be the one person who didn’t feel compelled to write about the Royal visit, even in passing. I tried, and clearly failed.
The reason is I can’t get over how sexist the reporting is, how superficial and sartorially obsessed we are — sure I love looking at glossy pictures like the rest of the world, sneaking over to Vanity Fair to see their slide shows sometimes, I admit, but… This has been a new level of ludicrous altogether.
It wasn’t just the Times of India with that photo and caption, or even The Daily Mail, with its naming and shaming of Kate Middleton’s lack of pedicure. So they got royally roasted on social media… and deserved it. But even the comment by the formidable Shobha De — which worked in the flow of her article, perhaps — but not when taken out of it as a quote. (You know the one, where she said given the lack of a derriere etc, it’s best the Duchess didn’t wear a sari.)
The latest that I’ve seen is in The Independent, criticising Middleton for dressing too demurley, dubbing her the ‘Duchess of Drab’.
Maybe that’s fine because the article does start with a reference to the taxpayers’ money being spent on this trip. In the UK, mind. The Brits may be debating whether Middleton dressed down to much and Indians might be forgiven for getting caught up in which colour of what dress suited, didn’t suit or whether she could’ve been more daring and bold or chosen some other Indian designer, but more than what they or assorted Bollywood stars wore when they met (yes SRK looked sharp, didn’t he?), wouldn’t you much rather hear what all they chatted about. I mean if we’re going to be catty, there’s the script!
The sharp commentary and clever analysis perhaps would’ve rung as less sexist if we didn’t have just the perfunctory mention of the Duke of Cambridge… Yes a suit is a suit is a suit, and I’m sure there’s only so much you can say, but… really? He’s the one we’ve seen grow up in the public eye, surely we have more to say about him? How about quizzing him on losing the baby weight or on being better looking than in photos? Or even about the issues they’ve chosen to highlight or learn about, ever so earnestly — there’s a thought!
It’s that sort of damned if you do, damned if you don’t sort of situation, I’m guessing. Perhaps the blue blood way is to ignore all the surround sound and go about beatifically, even if one is missing one’s kids and home terribly, and may not even want to taste Assam’s chilliest chilli.
But of course it’s not just editors and the media, it’s each of us who clicked on the click-baity articles or scanned through photos, that probably will yield hundreds if not thousands of impressions. Forget the real news — and there’s a lot of escapism going on, clearly — the photos from Bhutan are striking, now that you mention…Don’t miss the monks bowing — more for the King and Queen of the Thunder Dragon Kingdom, presumably, than the visiting royalty.