Kate’s insistence that Edwina stay away from Anthony.
After Kate hears Anthony speaking of marriage as if it’s a business proposal (and realizes he may have his eyes on her younger sister), Kate immediately warns Edwina that she should stay away from Anthony at all costs. On paper, she knows Anthony would be a suitable husband—he’s wealthy, from a great family, and considered respectable in society—but she’s much more concerned with protecting Edwina from getting hurt—something all older siblings can empathize with.
In general, Kate and Anthony’s tendency to push their siblings toward what they believe are the best options.
In season 1, we saw Anthony constantly trying to control who Daphne ended up with (and trying to keep her away from the duke, who he saw as an unworthy player), and in season 2, we see Kate take a similar role on with Edwina. Older siblings often feel the burden of helping their younger siblings find their path (as misguided as they may be) and sometimes consider themselves wiser—not because they think their siblings are stupid, but because they’ve had similar upbringings and have had more time to explore the world around them. Older siblings don’t always know best, but it sure feels like they do!
Kate begging Anthony to marry Edwina (despite her own feelings).
Look, you might criticize Kate for pushing Anthony toward her sister, even though it’s clear that Kate and Anthony are falling for each other. But if you’re the older sibling, you know what it’s like to want to protect your siblings’ hearts—even when it means breaking your own. Being the older sibling often means making sacrifices and trying to do what you believe is “right”—even when it often feels so wrong to you.
Anthony’s overbearing sense of duty.
“I mourn for you, brother,” Daphne tells Anthony as he prepares to walk down the aisle with Edwina. “All of these decisions that you seem to make and then resent us for. Though they do not make you worthy of your family’s respect. They simply make us pity you.” While it may have been a reality check he needed in the moment, it doesn’t change the fact that Anthony’s feelings of duty aren’t completely misplaced. The fact of the matter is that most older siblings take on a lot more responsibility than was ever asked of them—they play the peacemaker, the middle man, the emotional support. More often than not, their role in their home is both of a child and an adult, even if their parents and siblings don’t always see it (despite often taking advantage of it). So yes, while Anthony needed someone to push him towards selflessness, it’s clear that the rest of his family simply doesn’t understand what it means to be the eldest.
Kate’s feelings of failure over Edwina’s doomed wedding.
When Anthony and Edwina’s wedding went up in flames, Kate’s mostly upset that she failed to give her sister what she thought she deserved. She doesn’t even take the time to revel in the fact that the man she’s in love with is no longer getting married—all she can feel is her sister’s heartbreak and the fact that she considered it her own fault (even though she was constantly trying to stay away from Anthony for her sister’s sake). Older siblings often take on more guilt and blame than is really necessary and punish themselves for their perceived failures—even if the failure was out of their hands for the most part.
Kate and Anthony’s feelings of needing to earn love.
So Kate’s situation is a bit specific—she feels indebted to her stepmother Mary for loving her like her own child—but the general feeling is something most older siblings can relate to. Because parents often rely on older siblings for more help than their other children, it’s not unusual for the eldest to feel, at least in part, like they have to earn their parents’ love. They believe that by taking on the extra responsibility, they’re making themselves worthy—a notion that can affect them even in their romantic relationships down the road.
The moment where Anthony and Kate admit that everything they’ve done has been for their family—but maybe they deserve to do something for themselves.
Sometimes an older sibling’s sense of duty will make them feel selfish and even evil for wanting to put themselves first. Kate and Anthony spent the entire season doing what they thought they should do, not what they wanted to do. That’s why, when they finally give in, it’s explosive—because they were constantly keeping themselves from what they truly desired all along, until it simply didn’t feel worth the fight anymore. This is a PSA for all older siblings: Sometimes you just have to do what’s best for you.