The Duchess of Cambridge opened up in the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast hosted by author Giovanna Fletcher on Saturday while plugging her parenting survey 5 Big Questions on the Under Fives. When asked about the televised mob scene outside London’s St. Mary’s Hospital, Middleton said, “Yeah, slightly terrifying, slightly terrifying, I’m not going to lie.”
The duchess, who along with Prince William, introduced their newborn son on the steps outside the Lindo Wing continued, “Everyone had been so supportive and both William and I were really conscious that this was something that everyone was excited about and, you know, we’re hugely grateful for the support that the public had shown us, and actually for us to be able to share that joy and appreciation with the public, I felt was really important. But equally it was coupled with a newborn baby, and inexperienced parents, and the uncertainty of what that held, so there were all sorts of mixed emotions.”
Just like Diana, Princess of Wales did after giving birth to sons William and Prince Harry in 1982 and 1984, respectively, Middleton made postpartum appearances with all her children, including daughter Princess Charlotte in 2015 and son Prince Louis in 2018.
Wearing a blue-and-white polka dot Jenny Packham dress, stilettos, and styled wavy hair, Middleton beamed while holding newborn George. “...Any parent having just given birth will know what this feeling feels like,” she told reporters.
But the duchess was insulted for looking too “perfect” so soon after childbirth. Others pointed out her postpartum belly bump. The take-downs continued after each subsequent birth, with rumors of hair-and-makeup teams scrambling to perfect the royal and accusations that Middleton was raising standards on how new moms should look.
According to Refinery29, actress Keira Knightley, who gave birth to her daughter Edie one day before Middleton welcomed Princess Charlotte, wrote about Middleton in the 2018 essay “The Weaker Sex” published in Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies). "We stand and watch the TV screen. She was out of hospital seven hours later with her face made up and high heels on. The face the world wants to see,” she wrote.
"Hide. Hide our pain, our bodies splitting, our breasts leaking, our hormones raging. Look beautiful. Look stylish, don't show your battleground, Kate,” Knightley wrote. “Seven hours after your fight with life and death, seven hours after your body breaks open, and bloody, screaming life comes out. Don't show. Don't tell. Stand there with your girl and be shot by a pack of male photographers."
Later, the actress said people “misrepresented” her words. "I think it's very interesting that certain parts of the media have, I don't want to say purposefully, but let's just say misrepresented my meaning and exactly what I said," Knightley reportedly said. "So I would suggest to those people in the media that they re-read the entirety of the essay and not just take one bit out of it because the comments that I made are completely about our culture that silences women's truths and forces us all to hide and I absolutely did not shame anybody in any way, in fact quite the opposite."
And in April, a “friend” of Middleton’s sister-in-law Meghan Markle told the New York Post that Markle “felt sorry” for Middleton’s postpartum publicity. In contrast, Markle and Harry kept the birth of their 9-month-old son Archie such a private affair.
That month, Buckingham Palace said in a statement that the Sussexes, who stepped down from their royal duties in January, “...have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”
Markle and Harry debuted baby Archie two days after his birth, posing for photos at Windsor Castle.
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