The Great Kate Weight Debate - Too Much of the 'Too Thin' Talk?

By , Columnist

Wow, did I start something on the Morton Report when I wrote ‘Is Kate Middleton Too Thin to Bear an Heir?’ This became a talking point across the US media as William and Kate continued their tour of Canada and California.

In the past few weeks since it began, the Morton Report has become a major news breaker and discussion maker. It’s fast becoming the website to watch, the one to go to for news and debate.

Looking at the comments sent into the Morton Report and those round the rest of the country, plus the UK of course, I’d like to add a few more points of my own.

First, I think Kate is great - the best thing that has happened to the Royal Family in decades. But I recognise that she is a young woman under huge pressure, adapting to a new life and responsibilities, and now the number one target of photographers, magazines and fashionistas round the world.

However, she should never feel that she has to remain thin purely to please the fashion experts and the tabloids which will inspect her for any tiny changes. I hope that when she has children her figure will settle at a size or two larger (say a UK size 10, US size 6), which would suit her better as she matures into her thirties. Having seen pictures of her with Hollywood stars, I remain convinced that a few pounds extra would be for the best. Kate even made the reed-thin Nicole Kidman look large!

The doctors who are aware of fertility problems in underweight women know what they are talking about. As if to confirm their warnings, a British reality TV star, Chantelle Houghton, has just disclosed that she has little chance of conceiving a baby naturally after years of extreme dieting and eating problems.

In my original article I also wanted to warn girls and young women about the huge dangers of anorexia and bulimia. (I had never heard of the latter until Andrew Morton’s Diana: Her True Story in 1992 revealed that Diana suffered from it.) Some people appear to be more predisposed than others to eating disorders. Triggers such as bullying at school or parental problems can lead to substantial weight loss. Images of unnaturally thin airbrushed models and actresses only add to the pressure on girls and can become the tipping point leading to life threatening weight loss.

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, a socialite friend of Prince Charles and his sons, revealed this weekend that after being unhappy at school and beset by a cocaine habit and eating problems, her weight dropped to five and a half stones. She said that every time her sister ate with her, she would follow Tara to make sure she wasn’t bringing it up. Her family sent her to the Meadows rehab clinic in Arizona as a matter of urgency. Fortunately, she was cured and restored to health.

But some victims don’t get that type of help. The sickening inclusion of Kate into pro-anorexia sites just underlines how keen some twisted people are to make her into a role model for would-be anorexics. I would like to see such sites shut down as they are deeply damaging to impressionable and vulnerable young people.

Now don’t all rush at once to tell me there is another argument about weight. Medical experts and governments are right to look at the other extreme. Yes, there are some grossly overweight people here and in the USA. When I visited Las Vegas, I even joked that there should be four sizes of clothes: small, medium, large and Las Vegas. I have never seen humans the size I saw there, lumbering into the gambling salons where their buttocks hung down each side of the stools they sat on. I also saw people consuming meals that I could have assumed were eating contests for the Guinness Book of Records!

There is, of course, a happy medium. There can be moderation in eating and in exercise, which can also become addictive.

For Kate there is a lifetime ahead of intense and unrelenting scrutiny. Although she and William have moved into an apartment in Kensington Palace as a London base, they have now gone back to their quiet life in Anglesey. Perhaps there, Kate can think over the medical warnings about fertility and weight, and make up her own mind about the best way forward.

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What do you think of the weight debate? Do you think Kate has been under too much pressure to be thin? Do you agree that pro-anorexia sites, especially ones that have misused Kate, should be shut down? Get your friends too to send their views to the Morton Report.

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Margaret Holder has been writing about the Royal Family in newspapers and magazines for thirty years. She also broadcasts frequently on the BBC, both radio and television. She reckons she has now written more royal documentaries than anyone else in the world. Some are still being shown on channels in…

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