The moment the Duke of Cambridge’s skiing holiday to Verbier was labelled a ‘lads’ trip’, it was inevitable that the spotlight would turn straight to his wife. While Prince Will was off downing pints with his mates, dancing with his hands in the air and - shock horror - speaking to not one but two attractive members of the opposite sex, it transpired the Duchess was left at home, all alone, with just the entire Royal staff to help her look after their two children. Headlines immediately wondered how she would react to Will shirking Royal duties of attending the Commonwealth Day service to let loose on the slopes.
As the increasingly intrusive paparazzi revealed more fuzzy photographs of the Duke’s trip, the speculation around the Duchess’s feelings intensified. Would she be mortified by his now infamous ‘dad dancing’? What about that ‘slut drop’ dance move with a mystery woman, whose waist he dared to place his hand on? And what about the photo of him high-fiving Australian model Sophie Taylor?
Many suggested that Kate would be fuming, with a ‘source’ telling Vanity Fair: “It was William's choice to go away, but make no mistake Kate wears the trousers in their marriage, and she won't be happy with William's antics. She thought his partying days and larking around with the boys was a thing of the past. I imagine she'll find this humiliating and William will have come in for a pasting."
The outdated language around the drama says it all. ‘Wearing the trousers’, ‘coming in for a pasting’, and being ‘in trouble’ (as Guy Pelly is said to be with his pregnant wife Lizzie Wilson) all echo the old-fashioned sexism of a wife being a ‘ball and chain’; the ‘angry missus’ who gives her wayward husband a slap on the wrist for coming home drunk when he was meant to put the kids to bed.
In 2017, the thought of Kate seething in Kensington Palace at the thought of Will seen dancing awkwardly with a woman is not just unrealistic, it’s laughable. The pair have been together for more than a decade, navigating everything from a Royal wedding to the everyday trials of parenthood. A casual hand on a waist in a bar pales in comparison to everything they have been through - and so it should.
If couples cannot bear the thought of their other halves holidaying without them, or having their own time to let off steam with friends, then their relationship will always have an element of frailty. The happiest, strongest couples I’ve seen all understand the importance of time alone, and having separate interests. In these relationships, lads’ trips, girls’ holidays and the freedom to meet up with friends/exes/single colleagues aren’t just permitted, they’re encouraged.
Younger generations particularly understand this. A quick poll of the office shows millennials rolling their eyes at the thought of Kate sulking at home (“If you think Will’s behaviour could be misinterpreted, you should see me on a night out,” says a recently married colleague) while the only person to sympathise with the idea of an irked Kate is in her late thirties (“The photo of him putting his hand on her waist is a bit much.”)
There is no real concern that anything more sinister than a bit of apres-ski silliness is at play - indeed Will’s severely uncool dad dancing would have made sure no real flirtation could ever begin - the issue is more that Kate might be feeling humiliated, or as Jan Moir says: “a little foolish, less trusting and emotionally winded.”
Let us give Kate more credit than that. She has known William since they met in 2001 at university - the time where everyone is guilty of embarrassing dancing and drunken antics. His behaviour on the slopes might have come as a bit of a shock to the public, who are more used to seeing Prince Harry hit the tabloids, but for Kate it was probably a fond reminder of the boyish Prince she fell for - and an opportunity to invite her girlfriends over to the Palace and get up to some drunk dancing of her own.