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A career coach explains why the Kate Middleton saga is resonating with women online: 'I don't want to be your trad wife'

Lauren Edmonds   

A career coach explains why the Kate Middleton saga is resonating with women online: 'I don't want to be your trad wife'
  • Kensington Palace said that Kate Middleton underwent an abdominal surgery in January.
  • Rumors swirled following Middleton's absence from public engagements and a photo scandal.

Kate Middleton is one of the most prominent working mothers of our time.

Although Middleton orbited around the British royal family while dating Prince William, she didn't take on official royal duties until after their engagement in 2010, CBS News reported.

Her role supporting the monarchy only grew after their grand 2011 wedding, with royal engagements scheduled in both the United Kingdom and across the globe.

Middleton's responsibilities continued to mount over the years as she and William welcomed three children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis — from 2013 to 2018.

While her most recent royal appearance was with her husband and children on Christmas Day, she's remained absent from public engagements following Kensington Palace's announcement that she underwent "a planned abdominal surgery" in January.

Despite Kensington Palace saying Middleton would not resume public duties "until after Easter," her absence — and a photo-editing scandal that became an international topic of discussion — sparked conspiracy theories about her marriage.

The controversy — dubbed #KateGate — has spawned no end of TikTok videos, X posts, Reddit threads, and Instagram Reels from royal fans across the internet. The rumors became larger than life after American TV host Stephen Colbert speculated that Prince William had an affair.

Why do people, specifically women, care so much about Middleton's rumored drama?

"I think women are obsessed about it because we fantasize that maybe she ran away, and we want to run away, too, sometimes," Elizabeth Pearson, a mother and career coach, told Business Insider.

Women imagine Middleton had taken a stand against the monarchy

Many women shared their theories about Middleton online in recent weeks. Some of those hinged on the belief that her relationship with Prince William and the monarchy had fractured. One March TikTok video has 3.4 million likes, while an X post went viral with 133K likes.

@rachel.labrecque I just don’t see any other way to be honest #katemiddleton #royalfamily ♬ original sound - Rachel.Labrecque

Pearson is a career coach for women working at the C-Suite level trying to navigate work and family life. She said that the rumors, while unsubstantiated, may be resonating with women because we can see ourselves in Middleton.

"I think that it's tapping into something with women. It's this whole, I don't want to be your 'trad wife,' I don't subscribe to the patriarchy or the monarchy," Pearson added. "I'm not going to play along."

"Trad wife" is an internet term for women who assume more traditional gender roles in family life. While the lifestyle gained attention online, it's also amassed criticism from those who say it leaves spouses financially vulnerable and without autonomy.

Pearson said the speculation may also be playing into perceptions of class, given the fact that Middleton married into one of the most wealthy families in the world.

"Everybody sees her as this woman who has everything," Pearson said. "Still, I think collectively, women feel like she's not happy. I think a lot of us wouldn't trade places with her, and that's saying a lot because we've been conditioned to believe that money and power will make us happy."

She added that another aspect might be the parallels between Middleton and Princess Diana, who also served as the Princess of Wales during her marriage to King Charles III. Princess Diana faced hardships in her relationship, including speculations that King Charles had an affair with now-Queen Camilla and criticism from the press.

As rumors spread, sources and friends of Middleton told The Times of London that she may soon share details about her health.

"They will want to be clear and more open, but they'll do it when they feel ready," a person identified as Middleton's friend told the outlet. "I would expect that to be her instinct and it will be her call. They're not going to be rushed."

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