OPINION: Kate feels sting of media's forked tongue

Kate Middleton will never again enjoy total pri­vacy. Having courted the heir to the throne for so long and so publicly, a return to the security and anony­mity of the Home Counties is not an option.

The carefully managed announcement of a ‘mut­ual' break-up was already spinning out of control by day two earlier this week.

Media stories multiplied that Kate was a ‘wronged woman' whose very proper expectations had been betrayed.

Columnists weighed in on her side and ‘friends' emerged with titbits contradicting the official line. The wave of media sympathy may well prove as seductive to Kate as William once was.

For William, previously the monarchy's golden boy, the break-up gave the first hint of the devastating image problems that have cursed Charles since his split with Diana.

Was Wills a cad to Kate? Did he dump her after promising her if not the Earth, certainly the prospect of the throne? Did his family ­really despair of the ‘middle-class' behaviour of her impeccably-mannered parents?

Whatever, William inevitably becomes the victim of the male-female schism which media coverage of high profile break-ups tends to engender. Male readers usually shrug their shoulders, while women tend to see a new icon for various causes.

Kate is in a unique position. Never has a royal girlfriend been so closely embraced by the Windsors.

Crucially this included Palace PR advice and protection: complaints were made to, and swiftly adjudicated on by, the PCC and photocalls were staged. Just how long she retains this firewall will be central to the control of the story. Even more so will be the future ambi­tions of Kate and her family.

The rights to her story are worth millions. She could command her own fees for TV shows and endorse­ment work. (It's a fair bet that Audi will not want to take back the car provided when it was ­believed an engagement was imminent.)

Were Kate to remain silent forever, friends and even possibly family could find proper justification, beyond money, for telling her side of the story. Given that knowledge - and the certainty that whoever she dates in future, or whatever she does in the future, will become public property -will Kate not be tempted to put the record straight?

The Royal Family can properly tie their servants in to lifelong confidentiality agreements, but their imposition on ex-girlfriends is doubtful. And in a modern world of shared emotions and experiences, why shouldn't she sell a fair and balanced story? Even men would read it.

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and was formerly a senior newspaper executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun.

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