Even being the younger sister of the future queen of England has its limitations, Pippa Middleton has learned.
After her long-awaited first book, "Celebrate: A Year of British Festivities for Families and Friends," debuted to less than stellar reviews and sales, news has come this week that the younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge has been dropped by her literary agent.
Middleton's publisher, Michael Joseph, reportedly paid around $600,000 for the rights to the party planning book - thought to be an unprecedented sum for a first-time commission. But the book sold only 2,000 copies its first week on sale, and in December, U.K. bookseller WH Smith slashed its price 75 percent in an attempt to move some copies.
And the reviews for "Celebrate" weren't anything to celebrate about. The Toronto Sun called it "simplistic and lacklustre" and criticized its "platitudes and store-bought shortcuts." And the New York Post trashed its "treacle, most of which could be gleaned by reading an issue of Family Circle circa 1982."
In the wake of all which, agent David Godwin confirmed that he had decided to part company with the budding writer and issued a short statement in which he said he was "very sorry it has happened, but yes, it is true: I no longer represent Pippa and I wish her every good luck."
I was the only journalist allowed inside Pippa's London book launch in October last year. Alongside a cameraman and a sole photographer, I was able to watch and talk to the duchess' sister: A rare opportunity, given she has never given a proper interview. The closest she has ever come to talking publicly about her royal connections was in her book's introduction, where she talked about having achieved "global recognition" on account of her sister, brother-in-law... oh, and her bottom!
Pippa was better-looking in person than in her photos, with softer features and an enviable figure. She also seemed more businesslike than I had expected. She had a clear idea of where she wanted the room decorations to go, for example. I was sure she'd be more placid and shy than she was, probably because mostly we've seen her lurking in the backgrounds of photos with Duchess Kate and Prince William.
But one thing stood out more than anything: She was hoping for this launch to be her big break - to show she was more than just "Kate's sister."
"Is this OK?" she asked repeatedly (and more politely than we are normally accustomed to), checking she was in the correct position for the cameras. Nervously she shifted in her seat, smoothing the invisible creases of her dress and glancing regularly out the corner of her eye at the cameras.
With that image racing through my mind, I couldn't help feeling sorry to hear the news this week.
Georgina Brewer is the Royal Producer for ITV News in the U.K. Follow her on Twitter at @georginaitv.
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