Kate Middleton feels "betrayed and hurt" by an unflattering profile published in a British society magazine late last month, as the editor-in-chief is an old university friend.
According to The Sun, the Duchess of Cambridge was completely flummoxed by the "Catherine the Great" article published in Tatler, as Richard Dennen is "a close friend" with whom she's holidayed twice.
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"Kate remains hurt and upset by the article. It was very unpleasant," a source told the publication.
"But she also feels betrayed, as Richard had been a friend from the St Andrews set. Kate never saw this coming. There are a lot of unanswered questions, particularly who said these things to Tatler because her real friends would never talk that way about her."
In 2015, Dennen even shared a now-deleted photo on social media of Kate eating a sandwich at an airport, alongside the caption: "Before life got serious and we still ate wheat and flew economy," with the hashtags #TheCourtJester and #TheKensingtonCrew.
It's not clear how close the pair have been in more recent years, but it's understood Dennen was a guest at William and Kate's 2011 royal wedding and at the private reception.
That same year, he spoke publicly about his friend, describing her in a CNN interview as "very measured, very controlled" – adding that made her a "perfect" fit for the royal family.
"You don't want someone who's going to be falling out on the Kings Road face down, wasted after a boozy session," he said.
"There was this nightclub that everyone went to called Boujis and she was famous for always nipping into the bathroom, checking her hair and make-up before she left because she knew there were photographers waiting outside."
On Monday, it was announced that William and Kate were taking legal action against Tatler over the "cruel, sexist and woman-shaming" cover story about the Duchess.
The royal couple sent legal letters to the magazine demanding its profile of Kate be removed from the internet, the Mail on Sunday newspaper said.
The story, headlined "Catherine the Great" on the cover of the magazine's latest issue, remains online as of Friday.
While it started out flattering – suggesting the Duchess is now "one of the most influential women in the world" – it went on to reveal claims about the origins of her feud with Meghan Markle and described her as having "an aura of blandness".
Kensington Palace criticised it for a swath of "inaccuracies and false representations", but Tatler quickly fired back, insisting they had approached the Palace about the article "months ago".
"Tatler's editor-in-chief Richard Dennen stands behind the reporting of Anna Pasternak and her sources," a representative said. "Kensington Palace knew we were running the Catherine the Great cover months ago and we asked them to work together on it. The fact they are denying they ever knew is categorically false."
Insiders told the Mail on Sunday that the royal couple were particularly incensed at the suggestion the Duchess was feeling exhausted and trapped by an increased workload after Megxit.
They were also infuriated at the "disgusting" line about her being "perilously thin", comparing it to eating disorders suffered by William's late mother, Princess Diana.
- with the New York Post