The 2019 Royal Variety Show is officially underway! This particular event has been happening annually since 1912, with the proceeds donated to the Royal Variety Charity, which supports elderly or ill members of the entertainment industry. The Queen herself is patron, however a royal presence at the show is often delegated to another member of the family in honor of George V and Queen Mary’s presence in its inaugural year.
This year, those delegates were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, marking their third year of attendance. They previously attended in 2014 and 2017 – ironically, both times when Kate was pregnant, so this is actually her first time turning up in a gown that didn’t have to accommodate that fact. And for those keeping track, it was a solo Prince Harry who attended in 2015, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in 2016, and Harry and Meghan last year (when she, herself, was expecting Archie).
The show includes singing, dancing, and skits, often including a fair bit of comedy that references whichever member of the family is in attendance, so it’s a fun event for those involved. I believe you can watch recordings from specific years, but I’m not aware of a resource that tracks all of them.
Whichever member of the RF attends is usually the last to arrive. They come to the theatre, are formally greeted, mingle with guests and performers, and then take their place in the theatre’s box seats.
This year, Kate chose to wear a new black lace gown by Alexander McQueen. Unless I’m forgetting an engagement, I think this is the first time in a little while since we’ve seen a new McQueen from the Duchess, so it’s good to see another piece get added into the rotation (I guess?). I have to say, while I do like this gown, I am getting tired of the dark lace numbers.
This gown is very similar to the lace Temperley we’ve seen on several occasions, which is but one of the several black lace gowns in Kate’s closet. It is, however, lovely in its own right. The black velvet trim around the neckline gives this a decidedly vintage flair that keeps it somewhat fresh, and I love the addition of the dramatic Erdem earrings.
So, evaluating this in a vacuum, I’ll give this the win. At the very least, it’s markedly better than the blue sparkly look Kate showcased in 2017! With that, we’ll next see William and Kate on Thursday evening at the Tusk awards, and in the meantime, keep an eye out for The Crown recaps if you’re watching this season.