What a beautiful piece-both in writing and in sentiment. I think she captures what a lot of Americans have been thinking and feeling compared to our “British brethren”, as she says, and she tries to acknowledge both sides of a very thin coin.

As we often say around here, “both things can be true”, and for me this piece does a great job of holding space for multiple ideas in a thoughtful and delicate way.

I’ve so enjoyed both points of view this week. Thank you for providing this, Elizabeth!

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Mar 30·edited Mar 30

I haven't commented on here in a long time, but this one has my blood pressure rising.

I fundamentally disagree with pretty much everything this woman said. For someone who started out their piece with "There is no question that the Princess of Wales is, of course, entitled to keep her medical information private." she then goes on to immediately offer a "but" and give a litany of reasons why she doesn't actually believe that. Then she engages in further speculation and comparison, much of which has nothing to do with "the palace," and everything to do with her own entitlement and loyalties. It's a bit sad at this point, and the hypocrisy glaring.

I would think the “basic human response” when someone asks for privacy and gives you a timeline, is to respect it. This is not about "the palace," or their real and perceived mishaps -- it's about Kate Coyne and all the journalists and conspiracy theorists who were poking and prodding a woman going through something horrible, and now need a scapegoat for why they behaved so horribly toward her then, and continue to do so today.

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Full disclosure, and it’s probably because I am also an American, but I agreed with this essay much more than the other essay from the UK journalist.

I think if we were just discussing the initial statement it would be a different story than what actually occurred. That statement garnered 1 or maybe 2 days of press discussion and basically no social media discussion (outside of royal watchers), and I don’t think anyone would have speculated about anything if that was all that happened.

I think the speculation really started to boil up after the King Constantine service and just continued rising and rising until Kate’s statement. At that point, it seemed like W&K really needed a good and trusted advisor (who they would listen to) on how to navigate the public interest with their clear desire for privacy. Because they simply are not private citizens who also happen to be celebrities, they are taxpayer funded, future co-heads of state, and their social contract with the public is much different in that way.

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I think what is so interesting to me as a British citizen is the level of entitlement to private medical information and family intrusion the American media and royal watchers so clearly feel, compared with their “British brethren” (the jaunty camaraderie rings somewhat false, I must admit).

You reference that they are taxpayer-funded, but the level of intrusion has not been emanating from the very taxpayers that support the institution. In fact, the vast majority of surveys of the British public showed that they supported the Princess of Wales’s right to privacy, and were not leading the charge on the cruel, unjustified and intrusive speculation.

Of course public figures are public to citizens the world over, but to cry entitlement and justification for this behaviour on the grounds of taxpayer funding, to which you are not contributing, strikes me as disingenuous to say the least.

Kate Coyne writes that it is not the American way to approach illness in such a private way, referencing on-air colonoscopies etc, but surely a large part of the interest in the Royal Family emanates from their “otherness”. I couldn’t agree more with Beth about conspiracy theorists who poked and prodded and now want to justify their actions - and to do so by insisting that British public figures conform to the “American way” in the manner in which they treat their serious illnesses is incredibly arrogant and entitled. Of course, the British press has behaved abhorrently in the past in its treatment of Kate and Meghan (but largely Meghan), but in this case I find the revisionist histories by the American media commentators and conspiracy theorists to be extremely hypocritical and noticeably more problematic than those of the actual people who pay for the institution in question.

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Could not agree more. This take feels like piling on even more and while there is nothing wrong with speculating during these confusing weeks, there is horrific evidence this went well beyond innocent speculation a very long time ago. Given we still don’t even know the basics of her diagnosis(nor do we have the right), I think we can all see that this is an unprecedented and terrifying time for Catherine and her family. Forgive them for fudging up the PR surrounding this? There is still so much we don’t know about what was actually gone and the trauma this has caused them. They have dedicated their lives to service and have shown no signs of letting that go out the window any time soon but at the end of the day I think we can all agree they would and should put their family before ANYTHING or ANYONE. I’m astonished that some people cannot see that this entire “fumble” has likely been in an effort to protect their three children. I like to pay attention to various view points and take in different perspectives. This is shameful and a part of it is very much an effort by journalists and influencers to assuage their guilt over speculation and demands that went too far by blaming the palace. The statement was signed “C”. Why are people just assuming she didn’t edit the photo under immense pressure to put out something nice to end the speculation that had been building for weeks? I thought this was a group of feminists? Can a strong wife, mother of three, and future Queen of England not sit on a bench alone and COURAGEOUSLY announce her diagnosis to the world after the world has battered her for weeks? Shouldn’t we be praising her? I’m sure William was right there cheering her on. Having lost my beloved father suddenly at 7 I cannot FATHOM what William & Harry endured having gone through this AND have their mother be the most famous woman in the world. While the firm and the family are two separate things, over the top criticism of family decisions are often made under the guise of critiquing the institution. As long as I’m not attacking Catherine directly but rather the men in suits, I’m innocent. Or we could take her at her word that “C” edited the damn photo and give her the privacy she wants.

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AGREED and sorry, I think this page is tooooo involved in promoting the piling on. It’s not healthy

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Clapping and co-signing this essay! I think the points were made clearly and reasonably. I’ve said it before but crisis PR agents will be discussing what went wrong for years to come.

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I think this whole thing can be summed up with “There is no question that the Princess of Wales is, of course, entitled to keep her medical information private. But nature abhors a vacuum.”

The RF as a whole needs the press and by extension content creators to remain relevant. If no one writes about them there is no point to what they do (beyond the constitutional duties that a single person could do, leaving aside age/ illness) and therefore they court coverage routinely.

I would question what were they expecting to happen especially announcing planned but unexpected surgery requiring a way longer than usual stay — cancelling a tour and engagements then saying nothing whatsoever.

I don’t disagree this saying nothing was no doubt best for Kate and her children though, and I would never want to be in her position, fwiw. I just don’t think think they can expect to have it both ways to suit them (beyond the laws of privacy).

What I would find interesting though is a discussion around how to separate “news” and where the line around editorial interest is, and how that can be driven by something else other than seo, clicks and whatever drivel is being discussed on social media — the race to the bottom of the doom spiral is sad; I feel like we are so let down by everyone from politicians to institutions to big brand cover-ups that it is all too easy to question the truth of anything and everything when it is not always necessary.

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I have been thinking a lot about the RF's relationship with the media. We all say that the RF needs the media, but... the RF gets their tax money either way... Meanwhile the media desperately relies on the RF as an income source. They make more off of Kate (and Meghan) than any other member of that family. The royals have to feed the media or as we've seen (again) they flip on them so fast.

You're right, while the RF needs to find a better balance between public and private, the media needs to reconsider their line between the news and clickbait (too broad a description for sure, but using it for lack of a better one). Especially now that the news is competing with content creators for attention... the incentive to latch onto hysteria only continues to grow.

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I wish Kate very well. We have a lot of work to do on our media literacy and culture of fame consumption.

However, I've been thinking about this whole debacle a lot, and I keep coming back to the fact that it's hard to see how the royal family can go on as they have. They want and in fact need the public to care about them in order to survive. Not just to approve the tax money they use, but to care when they show up places. If no one's below waving back, why does anyone have to appear in a pastel hat on a balcony as jets fly overhead?

But they want us to care *precisely* on their terms. To be thrilled when they appear, but not to pry. To gobble up the nasty gossip they leak about each other in the tabloids, but not to take their picture in public. To yell and wave to Catherine whenever she attends an event, track her clothing, romanticize her love story, swoon over her mothering, but not to ask questions or speculate when she's suddenly vanished and likely very ill.

It's not mutual boundary-setting; it only goes one way. When famous actors or singers do it, they have something to offer. Beyoncé has a private life, and we both accept that (to a degree obviously - paparazzi still exist) and still support her because she makes something that enhances people's lives. She creates. The royal family's only creation is themselves. They have nothing else with which to bargain. The public is finding it less and less palatable to accept their terms.

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This take is so spot on.

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I really enjoyed hearing an American journalist’s perspective on this! Thank you for sharing, Elizabeth!

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omg the pearl clutching on this page is beyond parody. So glad I canceled my ‘subscription’

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