By Jeff Labrecque
September 06, 2011 at 06:07 PM EDT
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Marrying a prince is hardly the ultimate definition of success, but it’s hard to argue that the woman who landed the most eligible bachelor in the world hasn’t done well for herself. Yet I couldn’t help feel a little sad for Kate Middleton during her wedding. It wasn’t that her life as she knew it was officially over. It was the striking presence of her younger sister, Pippa. You may have noticed her in that sleek ivory Alexander McQueen gown. The tabloids certainly did.

So here you have this nice older sister, growing up in a nice upper-class British family. She does the right things, she goes to the right schools, she meets the right people. She’s responsible and loving towards her younger sister, who folks back home still argue was the prettier and the more outgoing of the two. Yet, the eldest perseveres, and lands a freakin’ prince. If there was any lingering sibling rivalry — and no matter how close they are, there’s bound to be some with sisters born just 20 months apart — you’d think landing the heir to the British throne would bury them once and for all. Until her special day, which is shared with the entire English-speaking world. And the entire world suddenly wants to talk about her sister’s bum as if we’re all Elaine Benes and she’s John-John.

Kate Middleton is now public property. Her every move, outfit, and weight fluctuation will be scrutinized by the tabloids forever. For. Ever. Meanwhile, her younger sister, who no one really knew until her sister’s nuptials, is a “Fascinating Celebrity” whose 28th birthday is noted by knights of the keyboards around the globe. How will Pippa celebrate her birthday? Who is she wearing? Who is she snogging?

Kate doesn’t seem like the catty type — any bride who would let her bridesmaid wear that dress has a generous heart of gold — so I expect she’s already wished her sister a happy birthday in royal fashion. But even with all Kate’s fairy-tale fortune, I would also understand if she is the envious sibling right now.

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