Why don’t you just fuck off back to Scotland then, Nina!!!!!” Within twenty-four hours of returning home, this is the sound of my sister screaming at me down the stairs. I don’t believe people who say they get on with their brothers and sisters; it’s physically impossible to get on with somebody as inherently irritating as a sibling. From the day the oldest sibling meets their new younger, cuter, replacement, the claws are out. The battle begins to fight for the limelight in the family.
There’s a video of my sister and I, aged six and three, dancing around our living room to Eric Clapton. My sister, the middle-child (family attention seeker), elbows me out of the way, whining to Mum in her high-pitched voice:
“MUUUUUM! Look at meeee! Look at my bracelets!”
Being the wiser, more mature, older sibling, I am standing in the background rolling my eyes at the absurd three year-old exhibitionist in front of me. Fifteen years on and little has changed.
It’s not just my sister and I that compete in this way; sibling rivalry is universal. Some built-in component seems to lead us to constantly compare ourselves to our siblings. The result of this is a fist-fought battle to reach the top of the family pecking order: to be the best, the most intelligent, the greatest sportsman and win the ultimate prize of being The Favourite Child.
This rivalry is not assisted by the fact your parents force you to learn the necessary lesson of “sharing” from day one, whether it’s your bedroom, the joint Christmas presents that inevitably begin to emerge or who gets to sit in the front seat of the car. There’s the constant competition, the sly clothes stealing, the bickering, name-calling, ratting out to the parents, and that’s just on a good day. One of my mum’s friends admitted to getting so angry with her sister that she stabbed her in the hand with a pair of scissors.
This is why I felt sorry for Kate Middleton as she walked down the aisle on Friday. Not just because she would never be able to walk down the street without make-up on again, but because she was suffering from the classic oldest child syndrome: the fear of being upstaged by our younger sister on our wedding day.
Granted, Kate looked beautiful; a modern Grace Kelly in her Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen silk dress. However, her conservative radiance was very nearly upstaged by her little sister Pippa, wearing a sexy, figure-hugging, low-cut matching McQueen dress, that had men across the country issuing double-takes as she trotted down the aisle behind Kate.
The Daily Mail named Perfect Pippa as the “foxy sister who stole the show”, whilst Twitter was awash with men and women alike gawking over her Pippa’s slender silhouette. As The Times columnist Caitlin Moran noted, ‘This wedding has mainly been about Pippa Middleton’s amazing arse, hasn’t it?’
Poor Kate. The last thing she wants is two billion people staring at her sister’s arse, as she walks down the aisle. If I were Kate, I’d be yelling at my sister to make sure she didn’t drop the train or get too drunk at the royal reception afterwards. But as always, Kate didn’t let this show.
With gentleness and the modesty of a Disney Princess, Kate would never let such a catfight explode in public. My sister and I, meanwhile, are known for our public displays of, err… sisterly affection. You never know, Pippa may have also screamed at her sister to “fuck off back to Scotland” at one point too, but I’m sure she’s changed her tune now.