Under the headline, "Feeling the Xmas strain are we, Kate?", Mail columnist Sarah Vine suggested that Kate Middleton has every reason to "look shattered" after having had a busy week of Royal engagements alongside her duties as a mother.
In a withering critique, Vine wrote: "With her normally lustrous and bouncy hair scraped into an updo and her eyes puffy and lined, the 33-year-old Duchess of Cambridge looked absolutely shattered as she left Peter Jones, the Sloane Square department store.
Monday's Daily Mail front page:
Show some steel, DaveDecember 13, 2015
She continued: "But if you take into account the week she’s just had, it’s hardly surprising," before listing the Duchess's three official engagements last week.
"It doesn't matter how much extra help you have," Vine wrote.
The Daily Mail's treatment of Kate drew prompt criticism for its unfairness, with people on Twitter highlighting the fact its story amounted to reporting a young mother looking tired.
My god, if the Daily Mail thinks Kate looks bad, goodness knows what they'd say about me right now. Leave the poor woman alone!— Katie Fozzard (@Katie_Fozzard) December 13, 2015
What a shit effort from Daily Mail UK taking a shot at Princess Kate, mother of 7mo and a toddler for looking tired pic.twitter.com/HCJHElu27Y— Dee Dee Dunleavy (@DeeDeeDunleavy) December 13, 2015
bitchy Mail cover tomorrow of poor Kate. Happy to publish miles of pics of her/her family and then write she’s “feeling the Xmas strain”.— Fiona-Natasha Syms (@fifisyms) December 13, 2015
And the Mail's placement of the paparazzi image so prominently was scorned.
@suttonnick whilst I can't disagree much with their main headline. "Mother of two looks tired" is hardly front page news— Camp David (@Poochy1984) December 13, 2015
@suttonnick Could the Mail find nothing better to report,breaking news Kate Middleton not Super Woman after all, just your average tired Mum— Niamh O'Loughlin (@LittleNemo83) December 14, 2015
@suttonnick this obsession the Daily Mail has with Kate Middleton is silly - this headline may as well read; "mother of two is tired".— Chris Middleton (@chrismid259) December 13, 2015
Page 3 of the Daily Mail today is RIDICULOUS why Kate Middleton is tired - WHO CARES— Ellie Webster (@elliesufcblade) December 14, 2015
But the apparent cynicism and mocking tone of Monday's article appeared to have the desired effect, with all-knowing Mail readers queuing up to have their say on the Duchess' lifestyle.
The same photographs of Kate shopping in Chelsea were used by many of the main national newspapers, though perhaps not to suggest she looked stressed.
The Mirror speculated as to whether Prince George would receive a £20 toy helicopter.
While the Telegraph focussed on Kate carrying a wipe-clean table cloth, and what that might mean for her Christmas dinner plans.
Sarah Vine has previously drawn criticism for using her weekly column to liken feminists to Nazis, and to pillory Labour's shadow health secretary for liking hobnob biscuits.