Kate Middleton is one of the most photographed women in the world, but royal experts say that she actively makes it difficult for professional photographers to take her photo -- which is a direct result of her effort not to "overshadow" her husband, Prince William.
According to The Daily Beast's Tom Sykes, who writes regularly about the British royal family, "any photographer" who regularly photographs the royal family "will tell you that Kate is as unhelpful as Meghan is helpful" when it comes to taking photos at official royal engagements.
"When Kate steps out of a car, she almost always chooses the non-photographer side, when she passes the bank of photographers, she speeds up, flicks her hair and looks the other way," he explained.
In comparison, Duchess Meghan -- who, to be fair, had a previous career in Hollywood that provided her with experience in posing for photos at public events -- "waves from the car as she approaches, [...] gets out on the right side, [...] comes over to the press pen, and while she does not pose, she pauses, hovers even, which is super-helpful to" photographers.
It's one of the many reasons, perhaps, that Meghan (and Prince Harry's) popularity has seemingly surpassed that of Kate and William, a fact evidenced by the crowd sizes during Meghan and Harry's recent jaunt to Australia in comparison to those on Will and Kate's in 2014. But Kate's seemingly purposeful avoidance of the spotlight may fall in line with a generally-accepted theory that she strives to let her husband, the future King of England, shine when they step out together.
"We might want William and Kate to be lovely and engaging and give us all the great photos, but William models himself on the queen," royal biographer Penny Junor explained. "I suspect Kate is holding back slightly to ensure she doesn't overshadow her husband."
But Junor warned that such deference creates an unequal marriage, which has historically proven to be a slippery slope for the Windsors.
"That is what went so disastrously wrong for his parents," Junor said of William and Kate. "Hers is a supporting role, as the Duke of Edinburgh’s has been all these years. These two are going to be in the public eye for the rest of their lives and it’s important they don’t behave like celebrities who fall in and out of favor. But inevitably that will result in the media being more interested in Meghan, because they want people who engage."
Sykes added that "sources have told The Daily Beast hat fear of provoking his jealousy is rumored to be one of the reasons why Kate has consistently sought to dampen her public profile and withdraw from public life wherever possible," as William is rumored to easily feel threatened by a fellow royal's increased popularity.
"But they are all actually being true to themselves," Junor said. "Meghan is a star, an actress and she loves the limelight. Kate is more self-effacing, private and shy. Harry can afford to be a bit of a clown, his role is very different from William’s."
That much is true, as William is second-in-line to the thrown, while Harry will likely never be king. Such a position allows him to be more creative, adventurous and boundary-pushing in his endeavors.
And, as much as superficial a popularity contest within the royal family may seem, it it surely something to be wary of, considering that William is headed for the throne and will want -- and maybe even need -- to remain in full favor with the British public. So, if Will feels as though his popularity is being usurped by his younger brother and his new wife, then it could contribute to the already-growing "tension" within the next generation of royals.
As Junor said, "the danger is William and Kate might get their noses put out of joint if they feel their activities are being ignored."