It can be hard to compete with a sister whose backside now has its own Facebook following.
But even all the hype surrounding Pippa Middleton, and her derriere, was not enough to steal the spotlight from her older sister Catherine at her wedding to Prince William of Wales, according to a new book by British author Andrew Morton of “Diana: Her True Story’’ fame. At the end of what he describes as a perfect wedding, Pippa’s rear end was merely a subplot.
“Pippa…was but the hors d’oeuvre for the fashion banquet to come,’’ Morton writes in his newly released book on the royal couple, “William and Catherine: Their Story.’’
Morton noted in a recent interview with Pop Eater that the sisters are “very competitive,’’ just like Prince William and his brother Harry, but that “the day was Catherine’s day and Pippa played a significant walk-on part, that was it. I don't think she stole the show.’’
Morton’s new 224-page book details the lives of Prince William and Catherine from childhood through their courtship and then the big day. Morton watched William grow up after having been close to his mother, the late Princess Diana. “Diana: Her True Story’’ was a tell-all account of Diana’s disastrous marriage to Prince Charles that was written with Diana’s secret cooperation. It became a best-seller, detailing a life inside the royal palace filled with jealousy, adultery, bulimia, suicidal thoughts and plenty of other things that Catherine will want to avoid.
He believes this marriage will be (gasp!)….stable. But there’s always Pippa to liven things up.
"Their marriage is going to be (steady and staid) like the queen's and Prince Philip's," Morton told USA Today. “The world is ready for a bit of calm in the House of Windsor. The fun and games will be around Pippa and James, and Prince Harry."
Filled with lush color photographs of the royal couple from their childhood right up through the wedding viewed around the world, the book is the latest in a slew of releases related to the famous nuptials. It also stands in contrast to Morton’s salacious tome about Diana, considering that Catherine-don’t-call-me-Kate comes off as squeaky clean in the book despite being the first commoner to marry a future monarch since 1660.
Morton calls her “a princess of the people’’ and details how a schoolmate once got down on bended knee for a marriage proposal in a preparatory school production of the play “Murder in the Red Barn.’’ Catherine’s prophetic reply? “Yes, oh yes, dear William.”
While classmates were sneaking vodka and smoking cigarettes at her boarding school, she was “an observer rather than a participant, the girl who watched for the arrival of the house tutor’’ to alert her friends, Morton writes. It was almost as if she knew that something big was coming ahead and refrained from any potentially embarrassing incidents that could be brought to light down the road.
The book also details the complex relationship of William and Harry to their nanny, Alexandra “Tiggy’’ Legge-Bourke, whom Diana despised. Legge-Bourke had been hired by her husband, and Morton writes that she wrongly concluded that Charles had gotten Tiggy pregnant and then she had an abortion. Diana even dropped a fake-sympathetic “So sorry to hear about the baby” on Tiggy at a staff Christmas lunch, nearly causing Legge-Bourke to faint, according to the book.
However, the boys have remained friends with her and even had her son, Tom Pettifer, serve as a page boy at the wedding.
That streak of compassion regarding William and Harry runs through the book, including Diana’s divorce and their relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, who had an affair with Charles and eventually married him in 2005. Diana often confided in a young William about her divorce negotiations and her boyfriends, according to the book.
“William was effectively used as a human shield by the courtiers in order to make Camilla acceptable to the British public and William could have made it very difficult for his father and he chose not to do so,’’ Morton told Pop Eater.
However, there was another specific occasion when William and his brother were used as “human shields,’’ and this time he did not speak to his mother for a period afterward, according to the book. His anger spiked after her televised confession in 1995 of an adulterous affair with James Hewitt. She had told her sons that Hewitt had been around to help her overcome her fear of horses and improve their riding skill, but the truth that their mother had used them as camouflage for an affair deeply hurt him.
Diana is a continuous figure throughout the book, even after her death in a car accident in 1997. William even gave Catherine his mother’s engagement ring, with some viewing it as a romantic gesture, and others seeing it as an ominous omen given Diana’s failed marriage.
“For the foreseeable future, as much as she may wish to avoid the comparison, the ghost of Diana, Princess of Wales will haunt Catherine Middleton,’’ Morton writes.
However, that doesn’t mean that Diana would not have approved of Middleton had she still been alive.
“She would have been perfect for Diana to groom into a sophisticated princess,’’ Morton told Pop Eater.
If anything, maybe Catherine is a substitute for Diana in William’s life.
“Kate is a mother figure,’’ Morton told CTV.ca. “William has been looking for a mother and found one. Simple as that.’’
Now all Catherine needs to do is get her own fawning Facebook page dedicated to her backside and the fairy tale will be complete.