Just one day after Prince Louis’s christening, the Duchess of Cambridge made a surprise appearance at the centenary ceremony and celebration of the Royal Air Force (RAF). Kate turned up alongside the Duke of Cambridge and the rest of the Royal Family at Westminster Abbey and then joined them on the balcony at Buckingham Palace for a flypast. Like a mini Trooping the Colour, really.
While today’s appearance was unexpected, it follows the same pattern Kate has taken during her maternity leaves in the past, which is that after a couple of months completely off, she begins to turn up here and there for a smattering of headliner engagements related to her patronages. As Honorary Air Commandant of the RAF, today made sense, and I think it will help mitigate criticism that may come up if she attends Wimbledon later this week.
William and Kate joined the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Princess Royal and Timothy Laurence, the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex for a ceremony within the Abbey.
Following it, they met with RAF personnel, before joining the Queen at the forecourt of Buckingham Palace for the Presentation of Colours. The Queen gave a short speech:
Chief of the Air Staff, today is a very special day. Presenting the Royal Air Force with a New Queen’s Colour provides an opportunity to congratulate the Service for your remarkable contribution to Defence over the last hundred years. Tenacity, skill and gallantry have been your hallmarks, as you have helped to safeguard freedom and security in many parts of the world. I remember the Battle of Britain being fought in the skies above us, and we shall never forget the courage and sacrifice of that time.
In 1918, my father, King George VI, served alongside one of the Service’s founders, Lord Trenchard, before becoming the first of my family to qualify as a Royal Air Force pilot. That family tradition continues to this day: The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge have all earned their Wings, and wear them with great pride.
The Royal Air Force has won a place in the heart of our Nation, and I wish All Ranks, past and present, together with your families, every good fortune for your second century of service. Per Ardua Ad Astra.
From there, the RF stood on the BP balcony for the flypast, which is always a special moment. Photographers captured Prince George and Princess Charlotte watching with their nanny from a window.
The RF then joined a reception within the Palace where they met with more RAF personnel and charity representatives involved in celebrating the centenary. It looks like Kate bowed out of this part of the day and likely returned to the kids elsewhere in the Palace – considering that she’s probably still breastfeeding this isn’t surprising.
As noted in the Queen’s remarks, the RAF holds a special place in the House of Windsor’s heart and it’s certainly been a big part of Kate’s life via William – in that sense, today’s attendance makes sense and I’m glad that she made an exception for it. It’s also still a bit new and exciting when she and Meghan make appearances together, even if they’re both a part of a larger ensemble.
Fashion-wise, Kate wore a new coat from Alexander McQueen. I would like to point out that she’s now worn McQueen on every occasion at which she’s been seen since Louis’s birth at the end of April. This coat is essentially a replica of the white McQueen she wore to Charlotte’s christening in 2015 (and many times since) and the “pale yellow” she wore to Harry and Meghan’s wedding in May.
I liked this coat fine in the original cream, but I’m less enthused about the other colors, particularly this blue. It’s not my favorite shade on Kate in general and as we all know, I find it hard to jump up and down about the same piece in different hues. The hat, however, is new and from Sean Barrett.
Meghan debuted a new tea-length, full-skirted dress by Dior in what is either black or a dark navy blue. Though boasting the same wide bateau neckline that she often favors, the dress’s silhouette is a new one for her, as is the topper she paired it with. I’m usually pretty agnostic about hats, but this one by Stephen Jones I absolutely love and for maybe the first ever I’m not rolling my eyes at Audrey Hepburn comparisons.
Anywho, this post took me longer than I anticipated to compile thanks to too many interruptions (ugh, Tuesdays) – by now, Harry and Meghan have arrived in Dublin and there’s whole new engagement to turn to! I will do so as soon as I get a moment later today, and in the meantime let’s continue to pray to the gods of Wimbledon to bring a duchess sighting in the next five days.