Posts tagged with "Jezebel"

Kate Middleton illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Kate Middleton × Future Queen

Jezebel: The Forging of Kate Middleton Into a Future Queen

On the eve of her 10th wedding anniversary, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, appeared on the steps of St. George’s Chapel in Windsor for a very different sort of formal royal occasion: the funeral of the 99-year-old Prince Philip. She was appropriately somber in a black coat dress and matching hat, with a veil over her eyes lending her appearance a slight frisson of Dynasty-style mature glamour. The look was leavened only by a four-strand pearl choker borrowed from Queen Elizabeth II. After the service family members opted to walk back to Windsor Castle in the pleasant spring weather, and so came the most hotly anticipated moment of the day: Will and Harry together again, walking along at first with Kate—until she discreetly melted a couple of steps behind the brothers and let them walk ahead together.

The Duchess of Cambridge received effusive praise for her appearance at the funeral and perceived role as peacemaker between the warring brothers: “Kate Middleton’s new role as the glue holding troubled House of Windsor together,” the Mirror declared breathlessly in the wake of the funeral, praising the duchess for “tenderly” kissing her father-in-law on the cheek. The Telegraph announced, “The Duchess of Cambridge’s destiny is set, but it was at Prince Philip’s funeral that she showed just how ready she is for the role of future queen,” while the Sun pronounced: “Kate Middleton looked every inch the graceful and stoic royal at Prince Philip’s funeral.”

It was a media anointment in the UK—a coronation, even. Those same papers once tittered about how some people found Kate’s mother a bit vulgar and bandied about the nicknames “Waity Katy” or the “Duchess of Dolittle,” suggesting Kate was shamelessly content to wait around for Will and none too keen on work. Over the last decade, the commoner from Berkshire has successfully fashioned herself into a perfect, smiling, briskly competent but never flashy vision of modern, polished, up-market motherhood—posting her own photographs of the kids on Instagram, chatting kindly through her charity efforts with new mothers struggling to adjust. The Duchess of Cambridge is now the wholesome heart of the Windsors, the maternal figure with an expansive understanding of family ties ready to extend a hand to the prodigal brother, the future queen with the traditional womanly virtues required to bind together an ancient institution as its biggest generational transition in a century loom. This modern queen is the creation of a very old-fashioned playbook—handed down straight from Victoria and Albert.

Born in 1982 to Carole and Michael Middleton, who met working as a flight attendant and a dispatcher at British Airways, Kate’s childhood was prosperous but conventionally happy. Michael is distantly descended from Tudor gentry but more recently from Yorkshiremen who’d struck it rich in wool during the 19th century, resulting in a series of trusts that could be drawn upon for things like fancy private education. Carole is technically a very distant relative of the Queen Mother, but her family tree was full of laborers—including a coal-miner great-grandfather—and she had been born in a council flat. Around the time she had her third child, Carole launched Party Pieces, her party supply company; Robert Lacey puts somewhat dryly in his book Battle of Brothers that her “haggling skills are legendary in the direct mail business.” A source told him: “Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth most of the time, but she was a ferocious negotiator—and if the haggling wasn’t going her way, the decibel level rose.”

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Thandiwe Newton illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Thandie × Thandiwe

Thandiwe (Thandie) Newton is Reclaiming Her Name

After being miscredited as “Thandie” in her first project—a mistake that has continued for the rest of her career—actress Thandiwe Newton is insisting people use her whole name. All of her future films will be credited with her full name, Thandiwe, which means beloved in Shona.

“That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine,” Newton said in her May cover story for British Vogue.

Newton also spoke about her experiences with abuse in the film industry, which started when she was sexually abused by director John Duigan at the age of 16 while shooting her very first film, Flirting.

“There’s a moment where the ghost of me changed, you know, and it was then, it was 16. He derailed me from myself utterly. I was traumatized. It was a kind of PTSD for sure. I was so distraught and appalled that a director had abused a young actress, and that it was happening elsewhere, minors getting abused and how fucked up it was. I was basically waiting for someone to come along and say, ‘Well, what shall we do about this?’’’

Although Newton faced a great deal of backlash when she first came forward with her story of abuse, soon the #MeToo movement led to countless more women within Hollywood sharing their own stories of abuse and assault.

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Meghan Markle and Oprah Winfrey article Photo by Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese via Getty Images for 360 Magazine

Harry and Meghan’s Oprah Interview Was One for the Royal History Books

Kelly Faircloth

In 1995, the BBC documentary program Panorama aired a sensational interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, in which she uttered the immortal line, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” The fallout for the monarchy and Diana herself was immense. That interview now looks like a friendly round of Carpool Karaoke with James Corden in comparison to the primetime special event that was Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

In the course of the two-hour program, Meghan and Harry lodged bombshell after bombshell, guided all the while by an absolutely legendary interviewer at the very top of her game. The interview was just getting started when Meghan replied to longstanding rumors that she and Kate had had a blowup over the bridesmaids’ dresses in the runup to Meghan’s wedding—by confirming that it had indeed happened and saying that, contrary to the stories circulating, Kate had actually made Meghan cry. She insisted that she didn’t want to share the details because Kate had apologized and she’d forgiven her, but said it was an important turning point in their relationship with the institution, which didn’t refute the story.

This was a theme Meghan returned to over and over again: the lack of support from the institution. “Not only was I not being protected,” she said, “but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.” And she was still just getting warmed up.

One of the most shocking moments came when Meghan talked about the depths of the depression she was suffering while pregnant with Archie, under intense media scrutiny and facing a barrage of criticism. She said she was struggling to the point of having suicidal thoughts: “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.” Even worse, she added that she approached a senior member of the family about getting care for her depression, and was told it “wouldn’t be good for the institution.” She didn’t have her car keys or her passport, at that point, and—as she pointed out—couldn’t exactly call an Uber. It’s worth noting, here, that “mental health” is supposed to be a big philanthropic cause for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who recently did a virtual appearance to promote a mental health hotline.

She said she then went to HR—“in my old job there was a union,” she noted—but they couldn’t help her because she wasn’t on staff, she said. (Sounds like the only thing everybody can agree on inside the Palace is that their HR department isn’t much use at all!)

Some of the most radioactive allegations were—unsurprisingly—about race. Meghan said that a family member at one point raised the issue to Harry of just how dark their child’s skin would be; when Harry joined the interview, he refused to divulge just who, exactly, had said it. Meghan also suggested that their children’s race was a factor in their not receiving titles (which aren’t automatic for the monarch’s great-grandchildren and have to be granted); her main concern, she said, was that Archie—the first royal with a biracial mother, at the center of a publicity storm—therefore wouldn’t automatically have security protection. Not a great series of revelations for a royal family that would like to continue their connection with the very diverse Commonwealth.

Elsewhere in the interview, Harry said that his father at one point stopped taking his calls during the negotiations over their potentially leaving the ranks of working royals. He was surprisingly frank about his family, in fact: “I’m acutely aware of where my family stand and how scared they are of the tabloids turning on them,” Harry said, adding that he had been “trapped within the institution like the rest of my family are,” specifically his father and his brother, and that he has compassion for them. He said that currently he and William are giving each other “space,” and that there’s a lot of healing to be done in his relationship with Charles. He also revealed that his family cut him off financially, including his security. Apparently, Tyler Perry stepped in and offered them not just a place to stay in the U.S. while they figured out their housing situation, but also covered their security.

The couple also revealed that they were actually married three days before their highly public wedding in a private ceremony with the Archbishop of Canterbury; that they’re having a daughter; and that they’ve started keeping chickens.

The interview generally did a good job of shredding the princess mythos; Meghan painted a picture of being cooped up inside her home, unable to leave because she was already “overexposed,” basically living on lockdown before anybody had ever heard of covid. At one point, she compared it to The Little Mermaid, in which Ariel literally gives up her voice upon falling in love with the prince. But she closed out the interview by saying their story was “greater than any fairy tale.”

vegetables by Nicole salazar for 360 magazine

Michelle Obama Encourages Picky Eaters

When I was a small child, I never ate the vegetables I encountered on my dinner plate, preferring instead to kick, scream, whine, and then feed the offending dish to the dog. How different things might’ve been if former First Lady Michelle Obama was the one gently encouraging me to eat my peas, using Muppet-adjacent puppets and her soothing presence! Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way, but for the children of America who are now currently throwing handfuls of broccoli at their parents in protest, Obama’s new show, Waffles + Mochi, premiering on March 16 on Netflix, is here to save the day.

There’s little information about what this show will entail, beyond the above tweet, which features Michelle Obama cradling a small, winsome mochi in her hand, flanked on either side by an overzealous bee with glasses and some sort of Yeti-thing, whom I presume is Waffles, as it is wearing a scarf and a frozen waffle as an accessory. The show will be produced by Higher Ground, the Obamas’ production company. My assumption is that Waffles + Mochi is a reworked version of Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents, which was reported in 2019 as the title of a half-hour children’s show that would take young children and their families around the globe on an adventure that tells us the story of our food.”

Again, we know very little about the show, because all we’re working with here is the former name and then the image of Michelle Obama flanked by Muppet-adjacent puppets, but what I’m hoping is that this culinary adventure will be a spiritual cousin to the earliest seasons of Sesame Street, which were quirky and weird and just as enjoyable to watch now, as an adult, as they were when I was a small child. Children’s television is at its best when it resonates with both children and adults who are lightly stoned.

Please read on in this article in Jezebel.