Andrew Morton: 'Catherine and Pippa Are Very Competitive'
By Nicki Gostin Posted May 18th 2011 10:54PM
'William and Catherine: Their Story' is a lushly illustrated book detailing the courtship and recent wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. It's penned by Andrew Morton, author of the groundbreaking biography of Diana, 'The Diana Chronicles,' which was written with the Princess's full (though secret) cooperation and blew the lid off her dysfunctional marriage and life behind the palace doors. Morton spoke to PopEater as his new book was hitting bookstores about William and don't-call-her-Kate's fairytale engagement, whether Diana would be pleased with her daughter-in-law and he gives his take on everyone's favorite sister, Pippa.
Do you think Catherine was surprised by the amount of press her sister Pippa got on the wedding day?
I think she would have been. It's amazing what a pert backside can do! It's amusing, but it's slightly misogynistic isn't it? Just as William and Harry are very competitive, Catherine and Pippa are very competitive. The day was Catherine's day and Pippa played a significant walk-on part, that was it. I don't think she stole the show. Pippa has an exotic walk-on part.
Would you describe Pippa as a social climber?
Well she's someone who is now aware of their social access and kudos. I think what's going to be interesting will be how Pippa and James (the Middleton brother) handle fame by association which is almost more difficult to handle than fame by its' own rise. They've become famous because their sister has become famous otherwise nobody could care less about them.
The American press are dying for Pippa and Harry to get together.
Well I think we all are. We all want a Hollywood ending and there is a precedent for it in the Middleton family. Kate and Pippa's grandfather Peter and his brother married two sisters.
But has there been any snogging in the Palace?
Well we hope so!
Do you think Diana would be pleased with Catherine?
Diana very much preferred to deal with the middle class than the upper classes and the Middletons are resolutely middle class. I think she would have found in Catherine a young woman who she could have mentored. She always wanted a daughter through the labyrinth like world of royalty and with Catherine she was tailor made in a way. She's already got a sense of style, she's got a great poise, she would have been perfect for Diana to groom into a sophisticated princess.
You describe Catherine's parents as her secret weapon.
During their courtship what William liked most of all was to just go to the Middleton's house in Bucklebury, an ordinary Sunday watching TV, having a roast lunch and he became very affectionate towards Michael and Carole. He calls Michael Middleton Dad.
Carole has been portrayed as orchestrating the relationship.
I think Carole Middleton is like her mother who was nicknamed Lady Dorothy, so there was ambition there. In Britain ambition is frowned upon, in America it's celebrated and Carole was ambitious not just for herself but for her family. The idea of her somehow scheming to get her daughter to marry the future King of England seems a bit far fetched. Although I'm quite sure there was a degree of wow, Prince William is at St. Andrew's and so is my daughter.
Catherine has never put a foot wrong.
She's handled it to the manor born. I spoke to a number of people who knew her from college and school and they say roughly the same kinds of things, just as Diana was keeping herself "tidy" for what may have lay ahead somehow Catherine was always slightly different from everybody else. Just as sometimes you go to school with someone and feel they are going to do something exceptional they felt the same way with Catherine.
William and Harry are very close.
Oh goodness me, yes. They rely on each other intimately and they are each other's best friends. More than that in a world where it's very difficult to trust anybody they totally trust one another and you see that, most of their interviews have been joint interviews. Harry is the better horsemen, the better shot, the better motorcycle rider. He has a greater natural sporting ability but he's the one who looks up to William who is more studied, more serious, more suspicious.
Is William more a Spencer or a Windsor?
William is far more like a Windsor, far more stolid, far more serious, kind of princely in a way. Harry is absolutely a Spencer, he's reckless, devil may care, has a kind of jaunty view of the world and she used to say she's never got any problems with him.
I think it's interesting that William and Harry have remained so close to their old nanny, Tiggy Legge-Bourke who their mother despised. (Tiggy's son Tom Pettifer was a page boy at the wedding).
Absolutely. She accused Tiggy of having an affair with Prince Charles and having an abortion by him. On one occasion Diana made those allegations at a Christmas party and Tiggy was so shocked she had to be helped out of the room and talked about suing her afterwards. She has remained a friend and quite frankly I suggest that Tiggy will be part of the team that will massage Catherine into the royal world.
I also think it's amazing that William and Harry seem to have no animus towards Camilla who caused their mother so much heartache.
William was effectively used as a human shield by the courtiers in order to make Camilla acceptable to the British public and William could have made it very difficult for his father and he chose not to do so. William and Harry get along well with Camilla's children, Tom and Laura. Camilla was one of the witnesses to the signing of the registry. Their mother used to call her the Rottweiler and would spend hours pouring over maps to find what route Charles and Camilla used to have their trysts.
Do you think William and Harry are aware of their mother's complicated character?
Yes, I write about it in the book that they were very sad that she effectively used them as an alibi for her affair with James Hewitt.
Does William still hate the press?
He loathes them. He's gone from being a potential recluse which is what he wanted to be after Diana's death to someone who is now quite a savvy media operator and you can see that with the whole organization of the honeymoon. They didn't go straight away, they've controlled the news agenda very skillfully for the last couple of years. Nobody knew about the dress, the date of the engagement, about the venue or timing of the honeymoon.
To get more inside dish about the Royal Family check out Morton's website, www.themortonreport.com.
More Q&As From Nicki Gostin: John Waters, Keira Knightley, Jerry Seinfeld and Jesse James
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