Belfast Telegraph

How the past just keeps coming back to haunt William and Kate

By Lindy McDowell

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their current tour of India are hoping to create 'new memories', we are told. As William's da Charles might say, whatever that means ...

A highlight of the tour will be a visit later this week to the Taj Mahal, that internationally renowned monument to romance. If you're ever going to pose for a lovey-dovey selfie with your partner, no better place for it.

But this was the same spot, of course, where Diana was famously photographed sitting alone on a bench before that spectacular building like a hapless passenger left behind by the tour bus because she'd lingered too long in the Taj gift shop.

Di, needless to say, was posing to make a point. Already a fair way into a high profile world tour of sulking and bickering between herself and Chas, this was her 'wish I wasn't here' postcard to the paparazzi.

As an illustration of a Royal rift, it has passed into history.

So, a tricky enough moment, then, for the son of Diana and Charles when he comes to pose at the same monument all these years later. And particularly tricky, you would think, for Kate, whose burden is regular scrutiny and comparison between herself and the Queen of Hearts.

You do get the impression that Kate is, in many ways, her own worst enemy. Instead of putting clear, blue water between herself and the late legend that was her ma-in-law, she didn't even put a clear blue engagement ring between them. Or engagement outfit.

Time and again there's been that 'rerun the past' look including - bizarrely - kitting out her own toddler son in an all but exact replica of what his father wore to visit his mum in hospital.

It's not so much as though William and Kate are trying to create 'new memories'. It almost seems as though they're trying to reshoot Chas and Di the movie. Only this time with a happy ending.

And, yes, of course, what happened was utterly tragic. But time to move on.

Before leaving on this trip the pair have faced considerable criticism over their workload. Kate understandably took flak for failing to follow tradition and present the shamrock to the Irish Guards on St Patrick's Day.

With the current tour then ahead, she'd apparently wanted to spend more time with the kids. But a couple of hours out to salute the troops? Try calling that a sacrifice, to mothers and fathers on a frontline tour of duty with the Armed Forces.

William hasn't exactly been running up the overtime either.

Then there was the 'secret skiing' holiday with the woefully posed pix released after it was all over. The 'new memories' being created here?

That this is a Royal couple with a much greater sense of entitlement than sense of duty.

It does not look good. And neither, say her detractors, does Kate. How can a woman dressed in such designer finery look so frumpy, they demand to know?

Actually, Kate doesn't look frumpy so much as uncomfortable. Strained. Her fixed smile sometimes has the pained look of a woman who's about to edge past an angry Rottweiler.

All that constant scrutiny can't be easy. Some of her critics are spectacularly unkind. But the same could be said about many other famous young women in public life, who have nothing like Kate's support system.

And yet for all that support system, she keeps making the same daft mistake.

One of the images that will linger from this latest Royal tour will be of the Duchess fighting, once again, to control her hemline in the wind. In this instance, rather unfortunately, at a sombre wreath-laying ceremony.

As 'new memories' go Kate - maybe not quite what was envisaged.

Can you backdate that £500, Colum?

As the election date looms, the parties pull out all the stops to get our attention. And our votes.

We have them, if not quite at our mercy, certainly much keener than usual to respond to appeals from the electorate.

The SDLP, for example, have revealed proposals to give every child born here £500.

A vote-catcher if ever there was one, although sadly a bit late for some of us. I’d vote for you myself, Mr Eastwood.

So long as you give me your word that the scheme will be back-dated.

Let public be judge of this taxing issue

As the wee man in the bowler says... tax doesn’t have to be taxing. Although try telling that to Dave Cameron and George Osborne.

And countless other incumbents of the corridors of power, who must be quaking at the thought that they, too, might have to reveal their tax returns for public perusal. When you think about it, shouldn’t it actually be the rule that they all publish their tax accounts annually anyway?

Not interesting, is how Mr Osborne describes his past dealings with HMRC.

Oh, let us be the judge of that George!

Belfast Telegraph


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