Today is the Prince of Wales’s birthday, marking 70 years since he made his debut at Buckingham Palace just 11 months after his parents’ famous post-war wedding. By the age four he would become the heir to the throne, by 11 he would be created Prince of Wales, by 21 he would be invested with the title and before he turned 30 he would found the Prince’s Trust, a charitable organization that grew from strength to strength and is still flourishing.
And while the festivities are perhaps not as all-encompassing as those which marked the Queen’s 90th birthday two years ago, this has still been a banner year for Charles and his household. From being named his mother’s successor as the Head of the Commonwealth to the birth of a third grandchild to the marriage of his younger son, things are looking good at Clarence House.
So good, in fact, two family portraits were released today, both taken in the gardens at Clarence House in September. We first got a shot of Charles with his wife, sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren during the christening photos released in July, but it’s remarkable that that was in fact the first time we had seen the family grouped together formally and in my opinion, these shots are long overdue.
They also mark our first good look at Prince Louis now that he’s a little bit older, and while I’m terrible at guessing features and who babies feature, he looks to me to be a mini-Middleton thus far. (N.B. so did Prince George and Princess Charlotte when they were infants, and both grown into more Windsor features, particularly Charlotte).
A few days ago a documentary commemorating Charles’s charitable work was released, and though Kate and Meghan do make brief appearances, the true substance of it comes from interviews with William and Harry, as well Charles and Camilla. After all the angst in the last couple of years and months over what relationship Charles has with his sons, it was nice to see them speak warmly of him as a father and grandfather in addition to his work. For those who missed it, you can view it here:
The tabloid headline moment from the documentary comes from William remarking that he is focused on ensuring his father sees more of his children, seemingly acknowledging there is some truth to rumors swirling since 2015 that Charles feels he doesn’t see enough of them. Perhaps there is some kernel of truth to the gossip, though I remain unconvinced this was some sort of Greek tragedy. In reality, I think his schedule is remarkably full and until last year, the Cambridges were primarily based in Norfolk.
Pivoting abruptly…to women’s clothing: in the photos, Kate is wearing a blue polka-dot dress by Alessandra Rich. This dress – and designer – have been all over the place lately – one of Meghan’s former co-stars wore it to her wedding in May, while Pippa Matthews wore a similar dress by the same label to Louis’s christening. The polka-dots and collar are all very Kate, so it’s probably unsurprising that she picked one up herself. I have to say I prefer this look on her than I have in many of its other iterations, so I’m willing to call this a win even though that collar is aggressive.
As for Meghan, the dress hasn’t been definitively ID’d, but the best guess is Givenchy based on the belt and the fact she turns to the label so frequently for her big “royal” moments.
With that, back to Charles: so far the big celebrations have been a Buckingham Palace garden party back in May that Harry and Meghan attended just three days after their wedding, and at which Harry delivered a speech, while last month Camilla threw a large evening gala in the midst of the Sussexes’ tour. The crescendo will come this evening when the Queen hosts a private dinner party at BP that is expected to beckon crowned heads from across Europe, as well as the entire BRF.
Earlier in the day William and Kate will carry out a daytime engagement in South Yorkshire, but it’s a safe bet they’ll be back in London for the festivities. I’ll do my best to cover all of that in a timely fashion and I promise that I will get back to history and a long-pending post on Meghan’s first six months and the KP household news soon. It’s just been a crazy autumn so far, so bear with me!