Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images
Jane Henman, the mother of Tim Henman, has reportedly been offering the Duchess of Cambridge’s mother advice on how to deal with media attention.If Carole Middleton has not put a stiletto out of place since her daughter, Kate, began her relationship with Prince William, it may be because she has found a formidable coach in the mother of another very famous child.
Jane Henman, whose son is the former Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman, has, I am told, been a constant source of counsel to Mrs Middleton in recent years. The women are expected to attend the Olympic tennis at Wimbledon together.
“Carole is on the telephone all the time to Jane and there may be something about the respect old money has for new money in this,” an acquaintance of theirs tells me, somewhat acidly. “Jane has entertained Carole as her guest at the Wimbledon Championships in the All England Members’ Enclosure for the last two years and, with her husband, Tony, she was a guest at the royal wedding. The message Jane has got through to Carole is to limit her media exposure.
“She takes the old-fashioned view that too much familiarity breeds contempt. Carole, as a former flight attendant, had in the past shown a natural instinct to try to please everyone.”
Unsurprisingly, in view of that, Richard Henman, a sports publicist who is Tim’s older brother, says his mother “has no comment to make” when I inquire about the friendship.
The only occasion when Mrs Middleton did talk to a journalist was four years ago when she bared her soul to Mandrake at the Hennessy Gold Cup. “You see, I feel very vulnerable about everything,” she told me, plaintively. “I’m not a celebrity and don’t want to be one. Celebrities have minders and PR people. I don’t want a PR person, and wouldn’t want to have to pay to employ one. I haven’t asked for all this.” Snobs had unkindly claimed that Mrs Middleton used “non-U” words such as “toilet” and “pardon” when she had first been presented to the Queen.
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