A Hello! (UK) magazine released earlier in September with Kate Middleton on its cover reveals a few intriguing underlying elements that shape our daily consumption of mass media today.

Most striking, at first glance, is the over-favorable presentation of the Duchess, especially in light of the (melodramatic) scandal over her topless photos that shook the royal family in September.

Whilst the topless photos, and the scandal that followed, represent the “moral degradation” and “obscene” behavior of an anachronistic royal house—which, at best, discredits and delegitimizes its mere existence—the cover of this magazine garrisons exactly the opposite.

This is apparent, firstly, in the subtitles of its cover where “an unforgettable week of triumph and tears” and “she has a very positive aura”, embellish and boost Kate’s (formerly tarnished) public image. This, accompanied by the serene picture, has taken her stature from a morally corrupt, or perhaps even “ordinary” woman to a heroine, a saint, a Virgin Mary—so to speak.

The text sustains this, but the image conveys it directly to the consumer. The veil, with its binary symbolism of oppression, gender inequality and backwardness on the one hand, and female innocence and moral standing on the other, is conveniently and strategically used to transmit the latter.  Unsurprisingly, the white woman wearing a veil can communicate exactly this, meanwhile a woman of color hardly can (see post below).

Again here, topless or nudity represents transgression, as opposed to the veil which conveys purity and integrity.

Lastly, the feature of heroism emerges as she comes from the “east”, which, in its most orientalist understanding, can communicate an exotic adventurist imagery already enmeshed in the consumer’s mind. Her “triumphs” and “tears” tell a story of a courageous and brave woman, perhaps much like her lamented mother-in-law, who is altruistic and caring.

So not only is she heroic, saint-like, but also, at the same time, a very human individual. She cries, the poor girl!