LIZ JONES: Kate is popular not just because she always looks perfect… but because she refuses to be a victim. She’s starting to eclipse the other Princess of Wales………..

It was a startling statement, perhaps a rash one – reminiscent of John Lennon’s famous declaration that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.

Speaking on The Reaction, the Mail’s current affairs talk show, presenter and columnist Sarah Vine dared to utter the sacrilegiously unsayable:

‘I think the Princess of Wales is fast becoming as popular if not more popular than that other Princess of Wales.’


As a long-time Diana devotee, I was instantly outraged.

I’d always loved and admired Diana because she seemed, however perversely, to be humble – one of us despite the aristocratic birth right.

The way she corpsed for the camera, or nervously patted her hairdo before some big, boring formal dinner.

Diana made mistakes – we all do – and not just with her see-through skirts but wearing black when not at a funeral (not done for a royal) or showing way too much decolletage in yet another voluminous Emanuel dress.

Diana’s Emanuel wedding gown was hopelessly creased and her choice in a husband was downright disastrous. What woman wouldn’t sympathise?

As she opened up about her troubles, Diana helped usher in a MeToo age, the baring of souls, the tell-all memoirs, the unstoppable trend for wellness.

She was a godsend for some of us.

Having an eating disorder was not something to be ashamed of or secretive about – thanks to Diana.

Being honest about suicidal thoughts, her depression and self-harm helped many a teenage girl sitting shivering in a bedroom to feel no longer alone.

A turbulent, far-from-perfect private life sold newspapers and magazines, of course, and for the entirety of Diana’s reign as Queen of Chaos, I too was writing about her.

My very first Shy Di assignment for Company magazine was to track down other 19-year-old brides who were due to be married on that same day, July 29, 1981.

This progressed to writing about my own depression, my eating disorder and the collapse of my own marriage.

Diana was a lucrative if broken mirror to so many of our lives, meaning we clung to her – and still do.

If a beautiful princess can be so desperately unhappy, then we all felt less alone, less to blame.

But the world has moved on.

And the reason I believe that Catherine has now topped a recent YouGov poll of most popular Royals – surpassing even William and Charles – is that she personifies a more modern, self-assured ideal of womanhood.

Catherine refuses to be a victim. She will not allow herself to be tossed on the choppy waters of whatever fate befalls her.

It’s notable that occupying third position in the YouGov rankings is Anne, the Princess Royal, another woman who refuses to whinge or whine or buckle under the weight of self-pity.

Catherine is popular not just because she is never creased or caught wearing the wrong thing but because she is strong.

Even when telling the world of her cancer diagnosis, there was no hint of Poor Me, no hysteria, no man at her side to prop her up.

She knew that, had she broken down, we would have done the same.

Catherine possesses the quiet dignity of those like the late Queen Elizabeth who were fired in the kiln of wartime, a steely stoicism that seemed to skip a couple of generations.

I can’t imagine Kate bleating about the menopause when her time comes.

So, reluctantly, I agree with Sarah Vine. There is a dignity and strength in just getting on with life. Putting the needs of others first.

Diana fulfilled a need: she opened the floodgates.

Catherine’s role today is quietly and serenely to close them


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here