The Real Reason Pippa Middleton Has Disappeared From the Spotlight
Royal mania is at an all-time high with Prince Harry’s impending wedding to Meghan Markle, Princess Eugenie’s engagement, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third baby on the way. But one person close to the royals you rarely hear about these days is Pippa Middleton. Since her own much-buzzed-about wedding to James Matthews last year, Pippa has largely remained out of the spotlight, focusing on philanthropy work, including putting out Heartfelt, a cookbook she published in the Fall of 2016 to benefit the British Heart Foundation.
Pippa Middleton's second book, Heartfelt, benefits the British Heart Foundation.
“Creating this book has been a huge pleasure, bringing together two of my greatest passions – delicious food and an active, healthy lifestyle,” Middleton said in a statement to Town & Country. “As an Ambassador, I care deeply about the work of the British Heart Foundation. Anything I can do to raise funds for their vital heart research is extremely important to me.”
Though Middleton has been a British Heart Foundation ambassador since 2014, she's worked to make her mark in entertaining and food writing since her memorable turn as her sister’s bridesmaid in 2011. Television appearances and bylines in glossies earned her feverish press attention in the aftermath of the royal wedding.
Seven months after the royal wedding, it was reported that there was a fierce bidding war by some of Britain’s largest publishers and that Middleton ultimately landed a six-figure book deal. In 2013, she wrote her first column for Vanity Fair. Shortly thereafter, she had another column with the UK publication The Spectator.
“It’s a bit startling to achieve global recognition (if that’s the right word) before the age of thirty, on account of your sister, your brother-in-law and your bottom,” Middleton wrote in her book Celebrate, which was released in late 2012.
Pippa Middleton holds her sister's train at the royal wedding in 2011.
In 2014, there was a series of highly touted sit-down interviews with former Today anchor Matt Lauer. Those were followed by rumors that she was being considered as a correspondent for the morning show. “NBC, along with all the major networks, has been trying to sign Pippa for some time,” an unnamed source told New York Post’s gossip column Page Six. The press breathlessly reported who she was dating and where she considered moving, including New York and Paris.
But suddenly, the stories stopped. Her columns no longer appeared and there were no more television interviews. Today, photos of Pippa and any news about her goings on are rare.
Some have speculated that Middleton’s lower profile came as a result of the less-than-glowing response to her public efforts. The reviews for her first book Celebrate were scathing. “Pippa’s Book a Bum-mer,” jeered the New York Post. “Celebrate is a wishy-washy version of Martha Stewart crossed with the Kraft Canada website,” declared the Toronto Sun.
Kate Middleton with her sister Pippa Middleton ahead of the royal wedding.
"I have felt publicly bullied a little bit just when I read things," Middleton told Lauer in 2014. "It is quite difficult because I'm just trying to pave my way and try to live a life like any 30-year-old."
In the interview, she went on to say that in spite of the mean comments leveled at her, she hoped to continue writing. Heartfelt, however, is her first project in several years. Though her name is still listed on the Vanity Fair masthead, a representative for the magazine confirms her byline hasn’t appeared since 2015. In all, she wrote six pieces for them between 2013 and 2015. Her last Spectator byline, "Pippa Middleton on wine, fishing and Kim Kardashian," is dated December 2014.
Larcombe says the wave of public projects could've been discouraged by her in-laws, who would've wanted to shield the family from any negative attention they attracted.
“William is used to the fame game and he takes a close interest to people in his circle,” Larcombe says. “It’s no coincidence that after the book and the column that Pippa took a very deliberate step back.”
Middleton's husband, James Matthews, a multimillionaire hedge fund manager, has also avoided publicity, unlike his brother Spencer Matthews who has appeared on the British reality shows Made In Chelsea and I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.
James Matthews's brother Spencer Matthews and his fiancee, model and TV personality Vogue Williams.
James Matthews might, in fact, be the real reason Middleton has retreated from the public eye. She's not hiding, says one royal watcher—Pippa enjoyed fame—but she's moved on. “Much more so than Kate, Pippa has enjoyed the limelight over the years,” says Duncan Larcombe, former royal editor at The Sun and author of Prince Harry: The Inside Story.
“I just think now she’s happy and happily married, settling down, not having to go to party after party or run these endurance events for charity. She seems to have put all of that behind her at the moment.”
Pippa Middleton at her wedding to James Matthews.
When Pippa and James wed in 2017, the press weren’t invited. And though the public was interested in her wedding, it was Prince Harry’s then-girlfriend Meghan Markle who received the bulk of the attention.
“The wedding in terms of the column inches in the paper was dominated by the significant fact that Meghan was going to go to the reception,” Larcombe says, pointing out that Markle skipped the ceremony to avoid drawing too much attention.
After the wedding, which was estimated to cost more than $1 million, the newlyweds set off on a jet-set honeymoon which included stops in French Polynesia and Australia.
Pippa Middleton and her husband James Matthews make a rare public appearance, attending church with the royal family in January.
Since then, the couple has laid low. A few weeks after her wedding, Middleton was pictured going to a gym in London’s posh Chelsea neighborhood. And in January, she made a rare appearance with the whole royal family—including the Queen—at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham. Otherwise, save for a headline here and there about home renovations on the couple's Chelsea pad, the coverage has been quiet.
“She’s certainly still very much the socialite in terms of her circle of friends,” Larcombe says. “A lot of her friends have gotten married and settled down, so I think these days she’s more likely to be hosting dinner parties in their lavish house rather than going out on the town and being photographed.
“The test will come if and when she has a baby. Kate's priority since having George and Charlotte has been to keep them very much protected from the public eye. It’ll be interesting to see. She'll either keep that low profile that her sister considers very important for her children—but I wouldn’t put it past her to do an interview with a big glossy mag to talk about pregnancy and putting her kids out on display and talking openly.”
Until then, it’s likely that Middleton's next big public appearance will be at Prince Harry’s wedding in May. Larcombe says: "Pippa and Harry are good friends despite all the mischievous rumors—they've never been more than good friends."
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.