Linda Colling: Kate too good for Royals?

Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton
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TOO good for them. That’s Kate Middleton and the Royal family she is joining, reckons her great aunt Alice Goldsmith.

The 99-year-old said: “I’m a bit dubious about her going into the family. You worry. I think she’s too good really. I don’t think she knows what she’s letting herself in for.”

What indeed?

What a dysfunctional family. Jeremy Kyle could have a field day with them if they were ever short of a bob or two and were prepared to bare all on his cheap television show. His lie detector test would be running on overdrive.

Apart from the Queen, who is worth her weight in gold, there’s Prince Philip making racist gaffes, scandalous corruption allegations surrounding Andrew, Prince Charles who wanted to be Camilla’s tampon, toe-sucking Fergie who is on her financial uppers, Prince Edward bottling out of the army to dance on the stage. And three out of four marriages going to the wall.

Then there was Diana. Conspiracy theories still abound 14 years after her death. Now regarded in a saintly light, once we remove the rose-coloured spectacles, she was hardly a model of virtue.  

There were affairs with a military man, a surgeon and possibly even an English rugby player. Then there was her throwing herself down stairs, staged television interviews and always wanting to be the centre of attention.

Alice, rightly, has her concerns and made them known even before the Meet the Middleton’s television documentary went out the other night, which has plenty folks in Hetton and on Wearside hopping mad that the area was portrayed in such a poor light – very much the poor relations.

Of the forthcoming marriage, Alice said: “My parents would be amazed. I can’t believe all this is happening, just can’t believe it.”

She isn’t the only family member to express concerns for Kate’s future happiness. John Harrison, 63, a retired transport fitter from Hetton, and a second cousin to Kate said: “I don’t think I would like their life. They’re not married yet and all next year’s work is booked out for her,” adding “It’s frightening when you think about it that one day she will be Queen. I hope it’s in my day.”

John was filmed in Hetton Lyons Country Park in the pouring rain next to the recycling depot, commenting that at least the wet would keep the smell down.

It was if the film crew had come with their own agenda, filming boarded up shops and houses, a lad on a push bike with only one tyre. Perhaps the message was no wonder Kate’s forebears couldn’t wait to get away from here. And it all came right at the end of an hour-long programme.

And so from pit heap to palace. One of the biggest social climbs of all time. If only Kate’s maternal grandmother Dorothy were here to see it. This would have been the very pinnacle for a woman whose social aspirations had her dubbed “the Duchess”.

Born in Mowbray Terrace, Sunderland, doors away from actress Christine Norden, she died five years ago. Channel 4 took no shots of the area.

That terrace may be gone but Dorothy grew up in Sunderland, a stone’s throw from leafy Mowbray Park. She worked as a shop assistant in the town.

And the daughter of a pitman-turned- carpenter, whose husband Ron was a lorry driver when they wed, had the willpower to make it to the top of the social tree in the village of Pangbourne, Berkshire. Dorothy’s delight at her granddaughter’s rise to this dizziest of heights would have known no bounds.

And I’d bet my bottom dollar that she wouldn’t have been one of the 9 out of 10 women who would not want to be Kate Middleton under any circumstances. My Daily’s research found that Kate’s inability to lead a normal life post “I do” – thanks to public scrutiny and media attention – were cited as the biggest deterrents for wannabe princesses.

As for the Hetton distant cousins, unlike some in the south, they haven’t had an invite.