Monday kicked off a three-day state visit from the United States, and while meetings and public engagements will be ongoing today and tomorrow, most of the big ticket (read: royal) items happened on Day One.
There’s been some ongoing conversation online as to which members of the Royal Family supported the Queen during this particular visit, and so I think it’s worth noting that generally there is one family member – and their spouse if they’re married – that acts as the host, while other family members will attend certain engagements, and then a good group of them joins the state banquet held at Buckingham Palace.
In this case, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall acted as the point people by greeting President and Mrs. Trump at Buckingham Palace and escorting them to meet the Queen.
They were joined by the Duke of Sussex for a private luncheon, likely due to the fact that Mrs. Trump has represented the United States at the Invictus Games in the past. Were the Duchess of Sussex not on maternity leave, she would have accompanied her husband to the event.
After the lunch, per tradition, the Queen offers a tour of the gallery within Buckingham Palace where particular artifacts are showcased highlighting the UK’s relationship with a specific country, or which would have some resonance for her guests.
Yesterday, items on display included photos and documents from past visits of American presidents to the UK, as well as the Queen’s parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, in the United States.
Following the luncheon, the Duke of York accompanied the First Family to Westminster Abbey where they laid a wreath on the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. I’ve seen some discussion that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were at the Abbey at the same time, and that there’s a single photograph circulating of them, but I haven’t seen any evidence of this, nor have I seen mention in any of the day’s reporting. (If you have, please send my way!)
In the afternoon, Charles and Camilla hosted the President and Mrs. Trump for a tea at Clarence House, and the group posed for photos.
And the evening, of course, was the state banquet. These are always fun events because the Royal Family busts out their orders and tiaras, so it’s not only white tie, but inherently “British.” In this case, it was also the first time we’ve seen Kate display her newly bestowed Royal Victorian Order, which is the red, white, and blue sash worn on her right shoulder.
She’s also displaying her status as a Dame Grand Cross of the (GCVO) via a badge held in place with an acorn brooch – the acorns are a part of the adopted Middleton family crest, and she has a handful of jewelry (such as her wedding earrings) that nod to this.
Her tiara is the Lover’s Knot tiara, which is the one she clearly favors for events demanding a tiara. With the exception of her first state banquet in 2015, she has chosen this tiara for all subsequent banquets.
Finally, her gown is by Alexander McQueen. No big surprise there as it’s usually toss up between McQueen or Jenny Packham for formal royal engagements. I actually really like this dress, though the big takeaway here is that it’s white. Now that Kate has the RVO to sport, it’ll be harder for her wear other colors – indeed, the Queen and Camilla almost always go with white at state banquets for just this reason.
Update: For those wondering about the Marchioness of Cholmondeley (were you not?), she was also at the dinner last night. She was last in line in the procession, and Twitter is in a flutter because she’s not wearing her wedding ring. And if you don’t understand the significance of that, well then you can catch up here. I would note, however, that her husband was also in attendance last night as Lord Great Chamberlain, and he was seated next to the Duchess of Gloucester in the dining room. Even so, it’s fair to say she was as far apart from the Cambridges as possible. Hardly surprising. Do with it what you will.
And that pretty much wraps up the day! If there are any other notable royal moments today or tomorrow, I’ll write them up, but in the meantime, we can start looking forward to Saturday when we’ll see the entire family congregate for Trooping the Colour. I’ve heard rumors that this year will mark Prince Louis’s debut on the balcony, which sounds about right. Princess Charlotte made her debut in 2016 at roughly the same age.
We’re also almost certain to see Meghan (but no Archie). Meanwhile, Kensington Palace has announced an away day to Cumbria for William and Kate, so we’ll catch up with them again next Tuesday.