Tuesday 24 April 2018

Sarah Caden: Coleen Rooney and Kate Middleton's posh pregnancies a world apart

Coleen Rooney and Kate Middleton are both pregnant rich women, but they are a class apart

Royal bump: Kate Middleton suffers from acute morning sickness during pregnancies
Royal bump: Kate Middleton suffers from acute morning sickness during pregnancies
Big day: Prince George arrives at school. Despite the middle-class trappings, there is no doubt about his place on the social ladder Photo: RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge are seen during a visit to The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace on August 30, 2017 in London, England
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge are seen during a visit to The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace on August 30, 2017 in London, England
Wayne and Coleen
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge outside St Mary’s Hospital in London after Princess Charlotte was born in May 2015. Kate is now expecting her third child. Photo: PA
Coleen Rooney, wife of England's Wayne Rooney and their son Kai Wayne Rooney in the stands before the Round of 16 match at Stade de Nice
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry arrive for a visit to the White Garden in Kensington Palace, London, and to meet with representatives from charities supported by Diana, the Princess of Wales. Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire

Sarah Caden

Two little English boys started school last week and found their big-day photos in the newspapers.

 They were two little boys with famous and well-heeled parents, both heading off to expensive schools with ye olde uniforms that featured shorts and, in one case, a cap.

Big school for my gorgeous Klay!!

A post shared by Coleen Rooney (@coleen_rooney) on

There wasn't much to tell these little boys apart. They were clean slates, to an extent, as small children are, and yet we regard them entirely differently. Their schools may be of similar status, but not those boys.

George Cambridge - as his schoolbag announced his surname - is the cute little prince whose parents are admired for seeming to bring middle-class sensibilities to the royalty.

Klay Rooney is the second child of a couple who have done well for themselves but will never be allowed to imagine that money can buy you class. Or allow you to shift class, either. Not really.

It's a funny thing, social mobility. We can imagine that the modern age is relatively classless, a world in which a footballer can send his kid to the same kind of school as a prince, but that's only kidding ourselves.

Big day: Prince George arrives at school. Despite the middle-class trappings, there is no doubt about his place on the social ladder Photo: RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images
Big day: Prince George arrives at school. Despite the middle-class trappings, there is no doubt about his place on the social ladder Photo: RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images

Kate and William endear themselves to the public with the downward mobility of their perceived middle-class ways, but while buckets of money allow Coleen and Wayne to live a life as lavish as royalty, there's always a certain glee in pointing out how, really, they're only playing at being posh.

After all, for all the Rooney and Cambridge boys had in common last week - first day at posh school, mummy expecting a new baby - they were worlds apart at the same time.

The drama in the Cambridge household was that Kate's debilitating morning sickness on baby number three prevented her from bringing George to school. In the Rooney house, though, thing were little more messy, a lot less nice.

Two Fridays ago, as has been widely reported, Wayne Rooney was charged with drink driving after an alleged 10-hour drinking session. He wasn't driving his own car, mind, but that of his passenger, Laura Simpson. The Everton player is reported to have met her while out that night. He drank with her, left with her and got caught with her.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge are seen during a visit to The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace on August 30, 2017 in London, England
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge are seen during a visit to The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace on August 30, 2017 in London, England

According to Laura Simpson, the pair "kissed and cuddled" and he had speculated on whether or not her breasts were augmented, but they hadn't had sex.

She has said that she "would have sh*gged him" but that they were pulled over by the police, which is a lovely state of affairs on two counts.

Coleen Rooney was on holidays in Mallorca while this was going on. She was (as some newspapers took the time to count for us) on her 10th sun holiday this year. With her was eldest son Kai, youngest son Kit and the middle boy, Klay, whose photo she posted on social media later in the week in his school uniform.

It was hard not to see the "big school" emotional posting as an attempt at creating a counterpoint to the seediness of what was going on with Klay's dad.

It was as though Coleen was saying, "Look, this is who we really are." But that didn't wash. That's not how the Rooneys are perceived, regardless of how much money they have or where they send their children to school.

In part, of course, this perception has to do with Wayne's behaviour. After all, last week one of the people calling for Coleen to end the marriage was Helen Wood, the woman Wayne paid for sex in 2010.

Wayne and Coleen
Wayne and Coleen

She was among several voices suggesting that given Coleen is away so often, there's nothing to say that this is the first time that Wayne has behaved messily. He may simply have been caught out because of the drink-driving this time.

Read More: Proud Coleen Rooney shares adorable snap of son Klay on his first day at 'big school'

As last week rolled along, Coleen Rooney was pictured out with her family, her pregnant stomach evident.

Coleen Rooney, wife of England's Wayne Rooney and their son Kai Wayne Rooney in the stands before the Round of 16 match at Stade de Nice
Coleen Rooney, wife of England's Wayne Rooney and their son Kai Wayne Rooney in the stands before the Round of 16 match at Stade de Nice

At one stage she tweeted asking photographers to stop following the family car. What was striking, as the coverage went on, was the discomfiting pleasure that seemed to be taken from this downfall.

In particular, there was one gleeful report: Wayne had allegedly told Coleen that he would stop drinking if she stopped taking so many holidays.

In a nutshell, that is, the show could only go on if Coleen stopped living like Lady Muck.

This, weirdly, made Coleen the villain. She made him do it by forgetting who she is, getting above her station and gallivanting around like, well, royalty.

Meanwhile, look at how the royalty are behaving, which is not like royalty of old at all.

For one thing, much has been made of the fact that Kate and William are having a third baby at all. The Queen had four children, while all of her children had the classic, classy and polite "heir and spare". To venture to three children, which is the set-up in which upper-middle-class Kate grew up, is to border on common.

Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, his wife Princess Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte walk past helicopters at the airfield in Hamburg Finkenwerder, Germany, July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Charisius/POOL
Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, his wife Princess Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte walk past helicopters at the airfield in Hamburg Finkenwerder, Germany, July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Charisius/POOL

The reasoning, apparently, is that William not only fell in love with Kate when they met, but also her family.

He loved the noisy rough-and-tumble of the Middleton household, the camaraderie that was so different to his domestic background of marital disharmony and extended-family background of duty and formality. He wants to recreate what the Middletons have, apparently, and not the Windsors.

Which is all well and good as an aspiration and is also responsible for the relatability that makes William and Kate so well liked - but it's not a real class shift.

William may be decorating his life with middle-class manners, but the fact remains that he will likely one day be a king. And yet there's an acceptance that he can fashion his life in a slightly middle-class way, which is the opposite of the attitude to the Rooneys.

They can accumulate however much money they like, but they will not be applauded for acting like that brings them up the social ladder. Instead, there's a kind of glee when things go wrong and they are cut down.

Read More: Kate Middleton 'keen on a home birth' for her third child

Last week, as Klay and George headed off to school in their new uniforms, only one wore a posh-boy Just William-style cap. And that, of course, was Klay.

That cap, all by itself, was a small thing that spoke of the Rooneys' social aspirations and their pride in their little boy getting the start in life that they didn't have but that they can now afford. George Cambridge didn't need a cap to tell us his status in life.

George, for all the middle-class trappings of his parents' lifestyle, is a prince with all the posh-boy milestones his father enjoyed ahead of him.

Klay will enjoy all the advantages of wealth, but there will always be someone keen to remind him that this is not really where he came from.

Coleen and Wayne Rooney with their sons Kai (five) and Klay (two)
Coleen and Wayne Rooney with their sons Kai (five) and Klay (two)

Sunday Independent

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