The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge turned up at the London Palladium this evening for the Royal Variety Performance. The event is held in honor of the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, of which the Queen is patron, and this year marks the second time that William and Kate have attended on behalf of the Royal Family.
And because there can never be a dull moment, the show literally almost didn’t go on when what sounded like gunshots went off at Oxford Circus shortly before William and Kate were due to arrive. After all the recent terror attacks, London isn’t messing around, so the area was soon flooded with police, while buildings when into lockdown and passersby sought refuge from nearby stores and businesses. For a brief moment it seemed like the Cambridges might bow this one out over security concerns, but it was quickly announced that they would turn up, but a bit late.
From The Telegraph’s Hannah Furness:
As for the show itself, the evening features a host of performances – this year includes James Blunt and The Killers, among others. At one point William was asked to participate – a fact which seemed to delight Kate – by joining host Miranda Hart and calling out her catchphrase, “Such fun,” upon request. He was a good sport about it, but has yet to knight Hart with a light saber per her (later) expressed wish.
Kate was further looped into the festivities when Hart kicked off the show by singing a rendition of “There’s no Duchess like show Duchess” in a clear nod to the royal guests. And when Hart sat in an ornate chair on the stage, she asked them both if they were suffering from “throne envy.”
As you may be able to glean, this annual performance is irreverent, black tie and star-studded. It’s also historical – the first royal guests were none other than George V and Queen Mary back in 1912 and subsequent attendees have included the Queen Mother, the Prince of Wales and the late Princess of Wales. It’s particularly fun when William and Kate show up to events like this – not only is the fashion glammed up, but it’s always interesting to watch them engage at non-royal evenings like this. Tonight reminded me a bit of their attendance at the BAFTAs in February.
Coincidentally, Kate was pregnant with Princess Charlotte when she and William attended last time, so this marks her second appearance with a “baby bump.” Tonight she chose a new, bespoke light blue Jenny Packham gown, paired with a JP clutch and Oscar de la Renta heels. Featuring long sleeves and a beweled overlay covered in sequins and shimmering flowers, the dress actually looks fairly similar to a Jenny Packham she debuted in Paris this past March.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like this dress. When I first saw it, I was thrilled we were getting a new gown and even more thrilled that it wasn’t lace. That said, I continue to find it So. Strange. that Kate commissions custom-made gowns that are so similar to one another. Had this dress been another color besides the same light blue (which is beautiful!) I would probably have thought nothing of it, but this one is so alike to the other at first blush to essentially be the maternity version of it.
But stepping aside from that, like I said, I do really like this dress. In fact, it might be the glitziest thing we’ve seen Kate in since the silver gown she wore to a Tusk gala back in 2013. The overlay hangs down over the end of the skirt underneath, which features a sweetheart neckline (something a bit fresher than the high collars and V-necks we usually see Kate in). I just…wish it was green or gold or SOMETHING.
UPDATE: Hannah Furness posted yet another video, this one from the end of the show when William and Kate were invited up on stage to greet the performers:
Moving on, we will next see Kate on Tuesday afternoon at the Foundling Museum for another engagement.
Now, for the OTHER royal couple on everyone’s mind. Royal Twitter has been losing its mind for the last 24 hours thanks to rumors that Kensington Palace was preparing to announce Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement today. The gossip became so specific that a time stamp of 5:00 pm GMT was even circulating. We now know, of course, that today wasn’t the day and we’re still waiting. But my God, the last time I remember this much nail biting was the media circus around Kate’s 25th birthday. If you recall, not only did an engagement not happen that day, but William and Kate briefly broke up three months later.
I’m not saying that’s about to happen now, of course, but Meghan only arrived in London six days ago. She might need a bit of a breather from leaving her job and making an international move before she’s ready for a day that will essentially change her life forever. I, too, hope that it’s sooner rather than later – and agree that all signs point to an announcement before the end of the year – but everything is just speculation at this point. We’re on their timetable and we’re not going to know what that is until we do.