Members of the Royal Family turned up for a memorial service at St. Paul’s Cathedral earlier today. Held in honor of those who lost their lives during the Grenfell Tower fires earlier this year, the Cathedral was packed with about 1,500 people, including the families and friends for those affected, and other residents who lost their homes.
In addition to remembering the lives lost, the service was also meant to give thanks to those who had rallied around the survivors to help since. The event was specifically televised in the hopes of making the moment one that touched the entire country – and, indeed, in a year that has felt like it has been a series of tragedies, this has stood out as one of the worst. In the same vein, it wasn’t specifically a Christian service, but one accessible to all faiths.
The RF has been outspoken in their support for victims following the fire and earlier this year even the Queen carried out an engagement that allowed her to see what help was needed in the aftermath. The Duke of Cambridge, too, has visited multiple times and referred to the fire as one of the worst things he’s ever seen. More recently, the Duchess of Cambridge met with the Rugby Portobello Trust in North Kensington and helped hand out gifts at a children’s Christmas party.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall led the RF’s appearance today, but they were joined by William and Prince Harry, as well as Kate. After the service, the royals met with bereaved families who had lost loved ones in the fire.
Fashion certainly came second today, but Kate wore a new navy blue Carolina Herrera coat, navy Jimmy Choo heels and a navy hat that I at first thought was the same one debuted at the unveiling of the war memorial in March, but is apparently new and different. Fair enough.
I really like this coat and the idea behind it. That said, I do think the double-breasted cut and military style hit Kate strangely in light of her pregnancy. Something about its fit just consistently looked off to me in photos.
Even so, I loved the monochrome matching of the coat, shoes, hat and gloves and it was certainly appropriate for the venue and event.
Charles and Camilla are fresh off a series of engagements that have been Christmas-themed, including a holiday party that Camilla hosts for children at Clarence House. The event has become one of the royal highlights of the season and I’m going to try and include it in some sort of royal roundup this weekend.
As for Harry and Meghan Markle, there is now conflicting information about her whereabouts over the last couple of days. It was first reported that while Harry went on a hunting trip in Germany, she jetted off to the United States to visit with friends and family, however Richard Kay reported for the Daily Mail that the couple spent this past weekend at Windsor Castle for the staff holiday party. Per the article:
Wearing a burgundy lacy cocktail dress, demurely cut just below the knee, she moved easily though the crowd of well-wishers just as she had a fortnight earlier, accepting congratulations from the men and women who in a few months’ time will address her as ‘Your Royal Highness’.
At the party, the formality was kept to a minimum with handshakes rather than curtsies. ‘She asked everyone she met their names and what they did,’ one guest told me. ‘It was very natural.’
Just as he had in Nottingham, Harry showed his confidence in her by allowing her to work her part of the room alone.
As the 900 guests sipped flutes of Mumm champagne or Sandringham apple juice, Meghan, who didn’t drink, circulated through the Waterloo Chamber, St George’s Hall and the Grand Reception Room where her own wedding reception will be held next May. It took her more than an hour.
In fact, Meghan disclosed that she and Harry had spent last weekend at Windsor looking over the state rooms as they began making plans for the wedding. Clearly the benefit of being at Monday night’s party was to experience what the same rooms are like when they are full of people.
This is the last engagement on the calendar for Kate before the Christmas holiday unless Kensington Palace squeezes in another before early next week. The Palace has confirmed that in addition to William and Kate, both Harry and Meghan will be attendance at Sandringham, so we’re in for quite a festive couple of weeks. The Queen’s Christmas luncheon is due to be held on Dec. 19 or 20, while there will be photos of the entire family as they walk to church on the 25th and 26th. We’ll be covering all of it here, so see you soon!
UPDATE: Speaking of the holidays, the Daily Mail is reporting that last night William, Kate, Harry and Meghan were all at Beach Blanket Babylon, a Notting Hill bar and restaurant, for Kensington Palace’s Christmas party. The equivalent of your standard office party, it marked an opportunity for staff to celebrate before break and for the four royals to say thank you. Unfortunately for all, the venue recently had its liquor license revoked and it was a “bring your own booze” situation. According to the article, Charles also made an appearance.