The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wrapped their mini-tour of Northern Ireland with a day of engagements in Ballymena that saw them meeting with police and visiting two organizations supporting children.
The day began at Hillsborough Castle where the couple sat down with officers and staff from the Police Service in Northern Ireland. From there, they participated in a walkabout with members of the public gathered in Ballymena to see them.
Their second engagement took them to the Braids Art Centre for a visit with Cinemagic, an organization who uses visual arts and technology to engage children and build up new skills.
Finally, they visited with Sure Start, an initiative that supports disadvantaged families with children aged four and under to ensure they have the support they need. Clearly these final engagements complement Kate’s work with early intervention and parenting.
A member of staff from Sure Start told reporters:
“[The visit] went as well as we hoped it would do, the duke and duchess were very engaged, there were fantastic interactions between our guests and the families, a great celebration of what we do here at Sure Start. A key part of all their conversations today was about being parents, about the parenting journey and the support we all need on that parenting journey.”
Two asides that were picked up by some outlets are that Kate referred to Princess Charlotte as “Lottie” and she indicated she was open to having a fourth child when talking to a mother during the walkabout. The former is interesting, and my guess is that William and Kate prefer to keep nicknames private for security reasons…and, well, because it’s private. A story circulated a few weeks ago that when Prince George introduced himself to a random woman he encountered in a park, he used a different name. I think that’s likely in a related vein – though George is hugely recognizable, he’s been taught to use a different name in moments like that for safety.
As for fashion, Kate debuted a new powder blue coat with cape detailing on the shoulders by Mulberry. Underneath it she debuted a new blue dress by Jenny Packham with black velvet belt detailing. Her jewelry was sapphires that once belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales.
I was underwhelmed by the entire getup. The Mary Poppins comparisons circulating online aside, I honestly thought both were recycles when I first caught a glimpse of photos and I hate it when that happens. Kate has a powder blue Alexander McQueen coat she first debuted in 2014 that is incredibly similar sans the cape detailing, while she has a blue dress in this exact hue by Jenny Packham that she wore as recently as October. The dress itself is fine, but I’m hoping this coat drops from circulation quickly.
Moving right along, two new engagements have been added to the calendar for Kate next week. On Wednesday she will join the rest of the RF for an anniversary celebration commemorating the Prince of Wales’s investiture, while on Thursday she and William will visit Blackpool. Meanwhile, a new engagement was just announced for the Duchess of Sussex on Friday. So, more to come.
In less professional news, there’s a rumor circulating that Kate will be hosting a small party for Meghan – not necessarily a “baby shower” but something celebratory for friends and family in the UK. If true, that’s lovely and I hope it puts the gossip about their “feud” to bed. Regardless, we’ll see both women together for the first time since Christmas on Wednesday and I’m sure there will be plenty of body language for everyone to dissect(!)