Kate Middleton's uncle GARY GOLDSMITH slams 'petulant' Duke
Kate Middleton’s uncle GARY GOLDSMITH slams ‘petulant’ Duke: Birthdays come each year but your dad becoming King is kind of a big deal Harry!
- READ MORE: Kate and William release behind-the-scenes Coronation footage
Bacon sandwich in one hand, TV remote in the other, I was settled on my sofa when I got my first glimpse of my niece Kate stepping out of her carriage, outside Westminster Abbey, for the King’s Coronation. She looked like a burst of sunshine on a rainy day.
She always has such poise and class and, as one wag apparently and controversially put it last Saturday, ‘more star power, charisma and regal bearing than all of the other Royals combined’. Our Kate is certainly a magnet for attention.
As someone who loves a Great British event the way only we can do it, and as a patriotic royalist who appreciates all the Royal Family brings to us, I had been up since 5am with nervous anticipation and genuine excitement.
We were watching TV in my home in London’s Marylebone from 6am to catch all the action. It was great fun star-spotting: foreign royals, heads of state and dignitaries from across the Commonwealth and globe and a whole load of famous faces – the good and great – from across our nation.
It also stirred the emotions, and pride, and was a timely reminder that the British really are Great. Among this amazing backdrop were my big sister Carole, her husband Michael and Kate’s brother and sister, James and Pippa. When they took their seats in the Abbey, they were just a few pews behind their beautiful daughter Kate.
Kate Middleton looked like a burst of sunshine on a rainy day. She always has such poise and class and, as one wag apparently and controversially put it last Saturday, ‘more star power, charisma and regal bearing than all of the other Royals combined’. Our Kate is certainly a magnet for attention
More than could be said of Prince Harry, just a few rows behind, who looked disengaged and like a petulant, sulking teenager
The Waleses – Kate, William and Charlotte and Louis – all looked amazing and were for many of us the most confident and relaxed in this setting.
More than could be said of Prince Harry, just a few rows behind, who looked disengaged and like a petulant, sulking teenager.
So close to William and Kate, the position of the Middletons meant that it was nice to know that if Kate needed to catch a friendly eye, they were nearby.
She was, and always has been, in very safe hands with such a close and loving family unit supporting her. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a ‘pinch-me’ moment – the Middletons’ key position in this unique episode in British history. And quite right, too, as they are the people who have shaped our future Queen into such a calm and composed soul.
You can see this in how she balances Royal duty, marriage and parenthood. She will always put her family first, and even during this goldfish bowl moment she was making sure her two youngest children could take it all in and enjoy the occasion.
But like a professional athlete, there is always a hidden army of support people underpinning their achievements.
Kate’s ballast is her happy childhood and the grounding her parents gave her. I feel she will come to rely more on their support in coming years, as the King’s new, slimmed list of working Royals places more responsibilities on the younger, more relatable Prince and Princess of Wales.
So how has this sporty little girl, who so loved dousing me, her Uncle Gary, in water fights in the Middleton family back garden, become the future Royal Family’s most prized asset?
Knowing her like I do, I’d say it is her authenticity. She’s a very genuine person. I don’t think you could pretend to be anything you’re not when you’re in the spotlight for a never-ending period of time. The cracks would show.
In a way, I think she has become a conduit between the old-school monarchy and modern life as most of us experience it.
James Middleton and Pippa Matthews with their parents Michael and Carole Middleton arrive for the coronation ceremony of King Charles III and Queen Camilla in Westminster Abbey, on May 6, 2023 in London
I love the fact that Charlotte is turning out to be Kate’s mini-me, while George took his role as page so seriously – a straighter back you won’t ever see – and Louis is proving to be the mischief maker in the family.
How Kate manages to spin all those plates simultaneously, with the eyes of the world on her, is almost superhuman.
I think it helps that she has never sought the limelight. She doesn’t seek attention, that’s not Kate; in fact, she’s almost the reverse.
Wikipedia ought to have a picture of her under its entry for the words ‘kind’ and ‘thoughtful’.
That’s who she is; it is in her DNA and her bones.
She quietly gets on with the task at hand, taking her duty very seriously while making it look effortless. She is very respectful of the institution and manages to balance duty and family perfectly. Which, of course, made the contrast between William and Harry so marked.
There was Harry, awkward personified, behaving like a spoilt brat, flying back to LA that quickly for his son’s birthday party.
I mean… you get a birthday every year, whereas your father becoming King is kind of a big deal.
He was trying desperately hard to make the day about him and it was absolutely brilliant everybody ultimately ignored him. Harry who?
Then we had William, trying to catch his father’s eye, giving him moral support and sending him positive vibes. With all that’s happened in recent years, it’s brought them closer together as a unit.
It feels it’s the Middleton family template that William will be using to raise his own family. We should celebrate the Middletons and the impact they have.
William certainly has: he’s always ensured that, unlike other Royal in-laws, the Middletons are a non-negotiable inclusion. The late Queen made a point of inviting them to Balmoral, Royal Ascot and Sandringham.
The Middletons’ sense of family, and their creative outdoors spirit, will be moulding George, our future King, after all.
Kate was brought up in a family where hard work and attainment were acknowledged and rewarded. Success was not measured in money. It was all about having time together, having fun and building memories.
It feels it’s the Middleton family template that William will be using to raise his own family. We should celebrate the Middletons and the impact they have
She is not a prima donna: she just gets on with the job asked of her and is not precious. She definitely gets that from Michael and his family, like the time spent at the cottage they had in the Lakes, bathing in tin baths and gathering logs for fires. They are a robust bunch and have a strong competitive streak: ‘I’ll climb a mountain; I’ll swim a lake.’ She takes it all in her stride.
I think her savviness and business acumen comes from our side, the Goldsmith clan. Dad worked for himself, I worked for myself, Carole worked for herself, setting up her own successful business, Party Pieces. We looked after ourselves and did so with a massive sense of fun and engagement.
READ MORE: Eat your heart out Netflix! Kate and William release slick behind-the-scenes Coronation footage of Charlotte, Louis and George as well as an exclusive peek inside Kensington Palace home (so is this a taste of what’s to come?)
Kate has always been a high achiever: she won so many awards at school and was head girl.
But it certainly isn’t her be-all-and-end-all. She just wants to do her best and it just happens that her best is pretty bloody good.
I remember the first time I held our future Queen, after she was born in January 1982. Being ten years younger than my sister, Kate was the first baby I had really met.
She was a few weeks old when Carole brought her round in her Moses basket and I had to be coaxed into holding her. But I got to know her, Pippa and James well over the years as I was a regular visitor to their family home in Bradfield, Berkshire.
It was a great family house and I spent a lot of time there. It was next to a public footpath where they had a wild garden with brambles at the back and they used to invite friends with goats to come over twice a year to eat the thorny jungle.
One year, Carole paid for me to have sailing lessons for my birthday treat and I spent the whole summer with them. In return, I creosoted their fences.
Every chance, we would have water fights and play outdoor games with the kids.
Family time was always very important for Carole. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a meal at her house without all sitting round their farmhouse table chatting and joking.
I also believe Kate’s school, Marlborough College, played an important role in her development and confidence. I remember talking to Carole about her decision to send the children to boarding school which, back then, I honestly thought was a mistake. I thought it was like saying, ‘My career is more important to me: someone else can look after the kids’, but now I realise I was wrong. If you can do this and it works for you, public school can give children an amazing start in life. What changed my attitude was a family party. The girls were chatting so confidently with such great poise and knowledge, as well as being very attentive, making sure all the guests were happy.
Now I’m a huge convert to the boarding school option. I sent my daughter Tallulah to Stowe. She is amazing and another great advert for this choice.
I first met William when I was invited for supper at the Middletons’ house in Bucklebury, Berkshire. I walked through the front door, which was open so that the dogs could come and go.
The house had a formal dining room and orangery but everyone was lounging around in the kitchen, wearing jeans and sweaters.
Kate was cooking on the Aga while William was making tea for everyone. Unfailingly polite. The first thing he said to me was: ‘I’m so pleased to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you. Thank you very much for letting us stay in Ibiza.’ (Kate and William stayed at the villa I own on the island in 2005, while he was at Sandhurst.) I told him that it was my pleasure.
Then I just sat down on the sofa and chatted to him and Pippa while Kate cooked. Pippa and James treated William as if he were one of the gang. It was so strange initially that William offered to make tea, but it soon made perfect sense. From the outside you would never have known he was not part of the family. It was all very natural.
By the end of the evening, the banter escalated and I jokingly asked William to explain why some glass pyramids had been broken when the family stayed in Ibiza.
Kate has always been a high achiever: she won so many awards at school and was head girl
Without missing a beat, he threw James under the bus. It was just all good-natured fun and they made me feel very welcome, William especially. That was why I got so angry at Harry’s suggestion in his Netflix documentary that the men in the Royal Family marry ‘someone who would fit the mould, as opposed to somebody you perhaps are destined to be with’.
William was very attentive to Kate. I’ve never seen a more relaxed couple. He slotted right into the family dynamic. There was no formality, just lots of playfulness and joking.
After they married, I watched Kate blossom into her role, with the support of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.
In many ways, William and Kate are very much like them. They are comfortable in each other’s company, support each other infinitely and have given each other space and encouragement.
Kate took her time to relax into the role and did it at her own pace with William’s love and guidance.
But they have also ploughed their own furrow: if you try to follow everybody’s footsteps it could feel like a prison. They’ve had time to look up, enjoy the scenery and see where they can add most value.
They are a breath of fresh air. They make it look so easy. They are thriving and it’s no wonder they are the most popular Royals.
It was a defining moment at the Coronation when William kissed his father on the cheek and King Charles said: ‘Thank you, William.’ The eye contact and bond was there for all to witness.
My favourite moment of the day was the encore on the balcony when Charles came back out to wave at everybody. It was the first time I had seen his face relax. The tension just dropped away.
As for the comment that the balcony was ‘too white’, I’ve never been so offended by something on TV. I think we can all appreciate the fact that the Royal Family is evolving fairly rapidly, and if it’s not Usain Bolt fast enough for everybody, then I think they need to get over themselves – change is obviously happening.
Forget Meghan and Harry, the Prince and Princess of Whining. The King and Queen and Prince and Princess of Wales are the new Fab Four.
As told to Claudia Joseph
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