Typically, giving birth is an experience that few women would choose to replicate in their spare time. After all, it’s often held up as the most painful thing anyone can go through. So, it’s hardly surprising that women don’t usually look their best in the immediate aftermath. Unless you’re a literal princess, that is. And Kate Middleton’s immaculate post-birth pictures have inspired a wave of hilarious comparisons from her fellow moms.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – Prince William and Catherine, or Kate – brought their third child, Louis Arthur Charles, into the world on April 23, 2018. Louis is currently fifth in line to the British throne, behind his grandfather Prince Charles, his father William and his older siblings, George and Charlotte.
The newest member of the British royal family arrived at 11:01 a.m that day. And just seven hours later, 36-year-old Kate was seen looking very much the princess – despite the ordeal that she’d been through. Indeed, she was positively glowing on the steps outside St. Mary’s Hospital in London.
With her husband by her side and the 8 pound 7 ounce Louis in her arms, the duchess greeted the press wearing a red dress with a white collar. Fashion gurus have noted that the princess’ dress mirrored the color of England’s national flag on what was also St. George’s Day, which is the feast day of the country’s patron saint. But more than anything, the princess’ appearance was notable for her looking incredibly flawless.
Naturally, politicians and world leaders weighed in with their congratulations for the happy couple. British prime minister Theresa May, for instance, tweeted, “I wish them great happiness for the future.” Meanwhile, Canadian leader Justin Trudeau wrote, “Canada welcomes a baby boy to the royal family!”
Of course, plenty of people picked up on how perplexingly perfect the princess looked almost immediately after giving birth. Melanie Smith tweeted, “Well, I always thought Wonder Woman was a fictional character, until Kate Middleton walked out of the hospital only seven hours after giving birth. Now, I know she’s real.”
Journalist Lidia Curanaj, meanwhile, asked, “Can someone explain to me how #KateMiddleton was able to look so amazing and in heels HOURS after giving birth???” Curanaj then posted an image of Sylvester Stallone as his boxer character Rocky as a point of comparison to her own appearance when leaving the hospital post-birth.
However, some moms went a step further. Yes, they posted photos of themselves taken after they’d just given birth, comparing the pics to Kate’s immaculate image. And the results are undeniably hilarious. For example, Ruth Arnie Parnell posted a picture of herself to Instagram with the caption, “Expectation vs Reality.”
In response, presenter Jane Garvey tweeted a request for more moms to join in for the BBC’s Woman’s Hour program. “Little doubt that #duchessofCambridge looks amazing,” she wrote. “Most women post-birth look like a sack of spuds. I’d post an image of me but you’d need help afterwards. If you’re willing to share your truth, tweet @BBCWomansHour.”
And, of course, plenty of moms took up the challenge. Rebekah Baker’s photo, for instance, bore a curious similarity to Kate’s – at least in terms of the two women’s dress sense. Indeed, Baker’s red dress closely resembled the princess’ outfit, to the point that she wrote, “When Kate steals your style and looks equally as flawless post-birth.”
Meanwhile, Garvey’s fellow BBC correspondent Nina Warhurst posted a tongue-in-cheek picture of herself seven hours after giving birth, mirroring Kate’s timeframe between birth and photoshoot. And like pretty much everyone who isn’t a princess, Warhurst couldn’t quite match the glamor of the Duchess of Cambridge while tucking into her first post-birth meal.
Rachel Williams conceded that Kate probably didn’t look so phenomenal by accident, but still lamented her own post-birth pictures. “I mean, I know she had help to look that good but I would’ve needed a mortician that specializes in putting make up on corpses and industrial quantities of sanitary wear,” she tweeted.
Referencing the designer of the princess’ dress and the part of St. Mary’s Hospital from which Kate had emerged, Hannah Storm wrote, “Not quite Jenny Packham and the Lindo Wing; more sack dress and lino floor.” Indeed, she tweeted out a picture of herself cradling her newborn son with the caption, “Now where’s my lippy, designer dress and hair stylist?”
In fact, Instagram user marisag83 expressed her sympathy for Kate when posting her own comparison picture. “I actually feel bad that she has to get all dolled up right after birthing,” she wrote. “I just wanted to stuff my face and sleep.”
Among the responses to Garvey’s Twitter request for BBC Woman’s Hour were plenty of amusingly sarcastic pictures. Just take Jade Whyley, for instance, who wrote, “The comparison is uncanny,” alongside a photo of herself having just given birth.
And another mom took things one step further. Indeed, Tia Lukehart proved that even five years on from childbirth, it’s still hard for some women to look as good as Kate did after just seven hours. “My mom always said that she wanted me to marry Prince William when I was older,” Lukehart wrote. “So glad that never worked out because let’s be honest… those are expectations that I cannot live up to.”
As several of these moms had alluded, the duchess will no doubt have had an entire team of people making sure that she looked presentable in front of the cameras – including hairdressers, stylists and make-up artists. And, of course, that isn’t something that most women can call upon immediately after giving birth.
Nevertheless, many women still expressed compassion for what Kate had to go through. After all, she hardly had time to properly recover before heading out to face the world. “Knackered, pale, no clue what I was doing, bleeding, swollen, emotional. I feel so sorry for Kate,” Emma Boatman tweeted. “Can’t think of anything worse.”
Indeed, @colleenamanda_ agreed that Kate’s quick turnaround must have been stressful for the mom-of-three. “Kate had the baby at 11, the stylist and hairdresser were there by 2, and she’s had to haul herself out of bed and parade herself in front of the world at 6. Frightening,” she tweeted. “Pressure on her must be unreal.”
Nevertheless, it didn’t stop the duchess’ fellow moms from poking fun at her situation with their own photos. And side-by-side, the clash of expectation versus reality is absolutely hysterical. But then again, we can’t all be princesses…