It’s Double Duchesses at Wimbledon

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On Friday, Kensington Palace announced that the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex would attend the Ladies’ Single Final of the Wimbledon championships together on Saturday. I wouldn’t say this was a surprise, but it was certainly welcome news, and, taken alongside the show of family unity during last week’s polo match, it’s clear there’s a collective push to put the so-called “feud” behind the four younger royals and start fresh.

Kate and Meghan attended this event together last year during the afterglow of Meghan’s wedding, and, in my opinion, it was a helpful showing of the two women getting along. Saturday served the same purpose, but with arguably higher stakes given everything that’s unfolded over the last year. The final verdict is that I think the appearance was a success and if their – and their household’s – strategy to get over this bump in the road is regular public showings of togetherness, then I think it’s the right one. For now, at least, I think it’s necessary.

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Onlookers have always appreciated the close relationship between William and Harry, and the clear bond that Kate and Harry have had over the years. The excitement that emanated from Harry finding a wife, and her introduction into the Royal Family, was understandable. So, too, was a desire to see some sort of sisterly bond grow between Kate and Meghan. The problem, I think, is that no one really gave it room to do just that – grow.

Kate and Meghan are in a uniquely bizarre situation in which they are not only sisters-in-law, but co-workers, and their personal lives are in fact foundational to the family business. There’s myriad opportunities to mess up and the fall out, all too often, results in commentary on their marriages, their parenting, and their appearances. William and Harry obviously know this and are clearly supportive of their wives, but I understand the desire for Kate and Meghan to form some bond as two women who joined this enterprise from the outside and support one another.

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I don’t think these two are best friends, and I think it’s entirely possible they will never be each other’s first phone call, but I do hope with the messiness of the couples’ professional split behind them and an alleviation of some pressure, these two find their own groove.

Back to Saturday – perhaps understanding the amount of media scrutiny their double-showing would create, the logistics of the day helped taper the intensity. Kate showed up at Wimbledon early with none other than her sister, Pippa Matthews, which was a treat all on its own. Both are keen tennis fans and both attend Wimbledon nearly every year, but we haven’t seen them at the event together since 2012.

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As patron, Kate had some meeting and greeting to do beforehand, and then she and Pippa attended a private luncheon. Meghan showed up a few minutes before the match and joined the Middletons in the royal box at Centre Court where they sat according to rank – Kate, Meghan, then Pippa. I think Pippa proved a useful buffer, and the three were seen easily chatting and smiling throughout the afternoon.

After the match, Meghan left, Kate met with the new reigning champ, and then Kate and Pippa watched the Men’s Doubles finals together.

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I’m sure that was carefully arranged and orchestrated, and it worked beautifully. That Kate was there in an official capacity was made very clear, while her position as patron was highlighted, and Meghan’s presence allowed her to support her friend and put on a good showing with her sister-in-law. Three birds, one stone.

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On the fashion front, however, I am less positive. Kate wore a green Dolce & Gabbana dress that she first debuted during the 2016 Canada tour. At the time it was still considered a “big” moment when Kate introduced high-end fashion houses into the mix and this added a touch of daring to her look, but…I wasn’t a big fan then, and I’m not one now. I love the color and Kate can certainly pull off the cut, but the bodice is a little fussy for my taste.

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Nor did I love Meghan’s look, which was a white Givenchy  blouse with a pleated Hugo Boss skirt. The blouse I love, so when Meghan was sitting, this worked for me, but I’m underwhelmed by the skirt and I don’t think the two pieces worked well together.

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Pippa, in fact, wins the fashion stakes for Saturday in my book. Her floral, ruffled dress by Anna Mason London stayed just on the right side of twee and felt appropriately summery.

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With that, I’m off to cover Sunday’s Wimbledon appearance and the Lion King premier, so talk to you again shortly!

 

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