Another day, another country for the Cambridge clan. We have officially segued into the next leg of the trip, which entails three days in Germany, including stops in Berlin, Heidelburg and Hamburg. I have to say, I was particularly excited for today when I first saw the itinerary a few weeks ago. Berlin is one of my favorite cities and it’s always a little extra fun when you see places and sites featured that you’ve been to, if for no other reason than you get a better sense of the atmosphere.
The photos of the Duke and Duchess posing in front of Brandenburg Gate are the equivalent of them posing in front of the Eiffel Tower from the Paris trips – these are the iconic images that will leap to mind when we look back on this trip and, frankly, they’re the ones I was most looking forward to from this tour.
But despite a busy schedule of high-profile engagements, the day might have actually been stolen this morning during the departure from Poland, which, as expected, featured Prince George and Princess Charlotte doing what they do best: being adorable.
George appeared sleepy, rubbing his eyes and looking pretty nonplussed by his surroundings.
Charlotte, on the other hand, was in her element. She appeared pretty set on doing things for herself, such as charging up the plane stairs, only taking a mild stumble on the last step.
And both children were spotted tugging on their parents’ hands to let them get on the plane.
Richard Palmer on Twitter pointed out that some of George’s reticence to leave the plane on Monday and again today may have been based on him enjoying the flight itself (see tweet above). From what I know of three-year-old boys that actually sounds correct to me and it calls to mind the engagement that his parents brought him to last year where he got to sit in a helicopter and generally appeared pretty enthused by his surroundings.
The arrival in Germany was similarly stolen by Charlotte when she was handed a mini-bouquet of flowers which she immediately held up to her nose to smell. And with great gravity she also curtsied and offered a handshake – someone studied up for this trip! I think my favorite part was seeing her walk on her tip-toes while holding Kate’s hand as though she was trying to emulate Kate in high heels.
Kate wore a blue Catherine Walker coat dress, which may look familiar to some of you who have been tracking Kate’s fashion over the years. She wore a very similar coat in Canada back in 2011. So similar, in fact, that when I first saw it I literally couldn’t spot a difference except for the color until someone called attention to the collar. To be fair, I hadn’t yet finished my coffee…
Upon looking at the two coats side-by-side you can see few differences here and there. In addition to the sharper collar on the blue version, the tailoring is updated as well. Thanks to Royal Trio Updates for the below:
As you can see, the coat is hitting Kate a bit differently and there’s slightly more of a flare to its skirt.
As for my verdict, I’m pretty agnostic. This particular shade of blue doesn’t do much for me on its own, however the point of it today was a nod to the German cornflower. So, points for diplomacy and I fully acknowledge the merits of playing it safe for the formal arrival, but it’s a little bland, particularly since it’s so similar to her red. Not everything can be a show-stopper and if ever there was a moment to put on a “uniform” (for Kate I assume that’s a monochrome coat dress) then today was the day.
Btw, has anyone noticed that she hasn’t worn a hat yet? I’m into it.
And now for the work: William and Kate traveled to the chancellery for a private lunch with Angela Merkel where they discussed “European politics, global issues and volunteer work.” I hope that’s vague enough for you.
They posed for photos at the Brandenburg gate and met the with members of the crowd who were gathered to welcome them to the city.
From there the couple moved on to the Holocaust Memorial. Designed by architect Peter Eisenman, the memorial opened in 2005 and, as you can see from the images, it’s pretty visually compelling.
It clearly had an impact on William and Kate who quickly transitioned from ebulliently greeting well-wishers to somberly taking in their surroundings.
The visual of them dwarfed by the sea of stone tells quite the story.
The Duke and Duchess also had the opportunity beforehand to meet Leon Schwarzbaum, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. He shared some of his memories with them and noted that he had only begun discussing his experiences during the war in the last decade, which Kate called “a very brave thing to do.”
When asked by her if it had felt good to relieve himself of some of those memories, he answered, “I see that young people want to know what was done at that time.”
Indeed, for all that this trip was arranged to mitigate Brexit fallout, the most immediate impact is once again calling attention to the horrors of the Holocaust and understanding, particularly for those of us further out west, that its memory is not quite so distant for many.
After a stop at Strassenkinder, a local children’s charity, William and Kate headed to Bellevue Palace Gardens for tea and a bite of streusselkuchen with German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife, Ellen Budenbender. The Express noted that the meeting appeared to be a success – the group was heard laughing loudly from across the mini-lake on the grounds where reporters and photographers were stationed.
Tonight’s reception is already underway so keep an eye out for a separate post.