It was a dark day in London’s SWI postcode in July 2021 when the news broke: Mahiki, the 20-year-old blue-bloods’ favorite place to drink overpriced cocktails, was closing.
There have been no better-known patrons of Mahica than Prince William and the woman formerly known as Kate Middleton.
Since 2005, the duo have been regulars both there and at the Kensington Boujis, dropping out from under the fake Tiki Mahiki on Dover Street in the wee hours, with paparazzi and big PPOs (personal bodyguards, the correct name for the royal family’s official bodyguards) jostling as a couple. sleepily making her way to the waiting car.
These days, the duo – now apparently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – are the epitome of Dalsville family life, the kind of person who probably thinks a third glass of pinot grigio really pushes the boat on a Saturday night.
However, a whole new generation has learned of the serene days when Wills and Kate devoured treasure chests, Makiki’s signature combination of rum, peach liqueur, pineapple juice and champagne (I know I don’t like that either) thanks to the viral TikTok that is on currently has over four million views.
The 20-second sentence simply consists of photograph after photograph of young Kate and William on their party days, looking ridiculously worse for wear and tear, a galaxy away from the sedate, sober married people they are today.
It’s all sassy and fun, making William and Kate look like the epitome of remarkably sleazy, cocktail-eating 20s.
But the reality of Kate’s life at the time was much less fun. It’s time to take a walk down Middleton’s memory lane – and things will get much more sinister.
There is some debate about when William and Kate first met: some claim they met each other when they were both at school, while others suggest they only really got to know each other when they both entered college. St Andrew’s University in Scotland in 2001.
Anyway, the study records were passed on, Cupid’s arrow flew, and soon William had his first official girlfriend. (According to biographer Cathy Nicholl, when they later moved in together, when they became students, she put up checkered curtains, he installed a champagne fridge, and “a huge oil painting of his grandmother” appeared in the dining room.)
Now, until they finished school, they lived quite securely. The press agreed to leave William alone while he studied, which meant that apart from some very, very random blurry shots, they were living pretty normal lives.
For example, there are no photographs of the first public kiss in May 2004 at a rugby match because there was no snapper in sight.
Everything changed when they graduated and both moved to London in 2005. In 2006, William began his training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Meanwhile, Kate moved into a $3.2 million Chelsea apartment her parents had previously bought, and the onslaught began.
For almost five full years, Kate has been harassed, harassed, harassed and generally harassed by certain media circles. She was photographed in a supermarket in sweatpantsrepeatedly at airports and train stations, with parents in London, with family in the Caribbean, shopping, with a sister, in a cafe, on vacation, in a taxi, in a car and in many other places that would require a doctoral dissertation and the patience of a saint enumerate in full.
Some dads yelled out things like “Bitch”, “F*ck” and “W*t, look here!” her to try and get a reaction. A picture of Kate making or losing some kind of terrible face was much more valuable than just minding her own business.
What is remarkable in retrospect is her poise and grace under fire. There is not a single video of her crying, yelling hysterically at the press, or cringing as you or I would probably do.
Nothing that Kate did was too prosaic to be an occasion for the press. When she was filmed taking out the trash, pictures appeared in almost every national British newspaper. (“There’s rubbish, done. Evening Standard.) Later that year, she was filmed waiting for a bus and ended up on the evening news.
If you want to understand how hellish her life was, check out This Video which shows her begging a couple of photographers for her alone. “Please leave me. Stop it,” she can be heard asking desperately.
You see, right up to the moment that Kate got Diana, the huge sapphire of the Princess of Wales on her left hand, Kate was in a pitiful no man’s land.
She might have been one of the most famous women in the world, she could have sailed past the checkpoint at Clarence House and regularly kissed the guy who would one day make him head his own government, armed with services and a church, but she was still an ordinary citizen. .
Until it was determined that Kate would join the House of Windsor, she had no official status, meaning she received no real protection. Instead, she had to face marauding bass and tabloid hounds on her own day after day.
Tensions famously came to a head on her 25th birthday in 2007, when tabloid engagement speculation came to a head. About 30 photographers were waiting outside her apartment, physically surrounding her and chasing her to the car, where they surrounded her.
All William could do, somewhat powerless, was to issue an unprecedented statement in which he called “his girlfriend’s stalking the paparazzi.” More than anything, he wants this to stop.”
It didn’t stop, of course.
The harassment continued: at one point, an apartment near the Middletons in Chelsea was being repaired and scaffolding was erected. Later, Kate learned that the workers there were paid to spy on her movements in search of a certain snapper.
One Christmas, the Middleton family traveled to a remote part of Cornwall to celebrate. There, a photographer tracked them down, forcing Kate to hire Queen Harbottle and Lewis’ lawyers to stop posting the photos.
In 2006, Kate took a part-time job with fashion brand Jigsaw as an accessories buyer. Company owner Belle Robinson later said of her most famous employee, “There were days when film crews were at the end of the road. We said: “Listen, do you want to go out through the back door?” And she said, “Honestly, they’re going to follow us until they get the picture. So why don’t I just go and take a picture and then they’ll leave us alone.”
Look back: it was only about six months between Diana being first announced as Prince Charles’ latest companion and the announcement of their engagement, meaning she faced a relatively short paparazzi trial before she got bodyguards.
On the contrary, Kate dealt with this hell alone on a daily basis from 2005 until the very end of 2010.
Adding to the suffering of the now duchess was that she was also written about, as she faced a constant stream of criticism and ridicule, the object of incessant ridicule for allegedly being too thin, too middle class, or too lazy. She was dubbed “Waity Cathy” and painted as a pathetically retrograde wannabe figure grimly holding on to her royal boyfriend to make it official.
In July 2007, the UK government’s Culture, Media and Sports Committee released a report titled “Press Self-Regulation” which stated that Kate was the victim of “overt and persistent harassment” by the paparazzi.
All of this, I suppose, is a way of saying that Kate had a hard time by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, she has a boyfriend and one day she’ll get her own crown, but were her royal years a non-stop, head-spinning Mayfair party ride? Gorgeous knees and champas for a few days?
No, damn it.
So you know all those pictures of William and Kate looking like they were just having a great time? One regular at Boujis, one of their favorite places, previously said they spied on Kate in the closet putting on makeup before defying the paparazzi frenzy.
Just imagine that you have to be so perpetually careful; you always have to be on the lookout. And all this was before the really hard and dull work of the royal family began.
To put it simply, there aren’t enough Treasure Chests in the world for this to sound even the slightest bit attractive.
Daniela Elzer is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a range of leading Australian media outlets.