That’s a lot of acronyms in a title, but last night the Queen hosted a reception celebrating 70 years of NATO at Buckingham Palace. Guests included Presidents Trump and Macron, Canadian PM Trudeau, the UK’s Boris Johnson, among many others. And while the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and the Duchess of Cornwall were in full host mode, the Duchess of Cambridge was the only representative of the “younger” royals thanks to the Duke of Cambridge’s visit to Kuwait and the Sussexes’ extended break from duties.
Earlier in the day, Charles and Camilla hosted President Trump and his wife for tea at Clarence House. And given that it hasn’t been so long since the U.S. working visit, both couples appear to have picked up where they left off. Charles and the president were noted to have been immersed in conversation throughout the photo-call.
There’s been quite a bit in the news about the various countries and personalities that collided for this event, but we’re going to steer very clear of that here and instead focus on the royal lineup. The big news ahead of last night was that the Duke of York was excluded from the list of family members attending the reception. Naturally that makes sense given that he is essentially “retired” at this point, and it was a strong move for the Queen to have cemented that situation beforehand – had all of that drama been boiling now, the mess would only have been intensified.
Instead, the Queen, Charles, and Camilla were supported by Kate, the Princess Royal, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. I had thought the Earl and Countess of Wessex, as well as Princess Alexandra, were also on hand, but I’m not seeing any photos of them and now I can’t remember where I read that, so…moving on.
Princess Anne has her back to us in this pic, but is apparently being very amusing:
It’s significant that Kate was tapped for this even with William out of this country. This was a major event in which the Queen and Charles were conducting the more traditional – and frankly trickier – facets of the job, and it’s notable that Kate sans husband was included. Clearly she is seen as up to the task, and even more, it’s yet another example of the family positioning the Cambridges as a future king and queen.
However, given the nature of these receptions, we don’t get great shots of any member of the family, including the DoC. So, while Kate’s dress was identified as a new Alexander McQueen, we’re really only seeing it from the shoulders up. As you can tell from everyone else, this event certainly wasn’t black tie, and indeed, it’s almost on the casual side by royal standards. As such, Kate’s dress straddles the line on formality and it almost looks like what you might wear to your standard office Christmas party. I’m not a huge fan of this dress. I understand why Kate chose it, but the neckline and bodice look busy and constricted to me, and it’s hard to be persuaded otherwise without seeing how the garment actually falls.
With that, I’m going to move along to today’s surprise engagement. We’ll be back at Buckingham Palace next week for the Diplomatic Reception, otherwise known as our annual dose of tiara time.