Kate Middleton’s brother James has opened up to Tatler about the difficulties of being thrust into the spotlight following his sister's 2011 wedding to Prince William.
The entrepreneur and dog lover revealed in the magazine's August issue that he “suddenly, and very publicly” was exposed to judgment about himself and his career, while he was still trying to figure things out in his early twenties.
James, who runs a personalised gift company called Boomf, explained, “Suddenly, and very publicly, I was being judged about whether I was a success of a failure. That does put pressure on you. Because in my mind I’m doing this irrespective of my family and events that have happened.”
Boomf, which started initially as a personalised marshmallow company, has since expanded into exploding confetti cards - a very different day job from Kate’s public appearances at the palace and various charity patronages.
Middleton said he leads “a separate life” to the royals and explained, “If there’s interest in me, great. If there’s interest in me because of them, that’s different.”
Another topic James spoke candidly about was his battle with depression, which he wrote about in a piece for the Daily Mail.
He explained to Tatler that he felt “guilty” for being depressed and said, “I thought ‘What do I have to be depressed about?’ I’ve been so lucky with my upbringing, I had all the things I wanted. It’s not that I wanted more, but there was something that wasn’t always there... And the more I ignored it, the more it was taking over.”
While he “didn’t communicate with [his] family at all” about his depression initially, in 2017 Middleton finally spoke about the issue with his GP. "Even saying that was an easing of the pressure. I was saying I wasn’t okay, when each day I’d wake up pretending I was.”
Despite leading a separate life to the royals, Middleton has worked closely with his sister Kate's mental health charity Heads Together and said that he was “compelled to talk about [his mental health battle] openly” because of their efforts to support others in a similar situation.
James revealed in a piece for the Daily Mail that he experienced clinical depression in 2016, calling it a “cancer of the mind”, and said that “it wouldn’t be honest to suppress my story” and that he was inspired to speak out about it thanks to his sister Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and brother-in-law Prince William.
Since being diagnosed and undergoing treatment, which included cognitive behavioural therapy as well as “restorative time” at his brother-in-law Spencer Matthew’s home Glen Affric, James explained that he finally “feels like James Middleton again”.
Middleton has also recently started sharing his life with the rest of the world with a public Instagram account filled with his many dogs, updates on his business and the occasional shot of his girlfriend Alizee Thevenet who he is reportedly “very much in love” with.
He told Tatler, “‘I am happy – I feel like James Middleton again. I feel like I was when I was 13, excited about life. I feel like myself again and I couldn’t ask for more.”
For those seeking mental health support, the Samaritans helpline offers 24/7 help on their hotline 116 123 and their email firstname.lastname@example.org. The NHS has also compiled a list of resources with guidance on how to choose the right service for you.
The full interview can be seen in the August issue of TATLER, available on newsstands and digital download on Thursday 27th June 2019. www.tatler.com