Every year the Queen hosts a luncheon at Buckingham Palace about a week out from Christmas. It’s an opportunity for the entire family to gather for the holidays and ensure that even those who don’t decamp to Sandringham have an opportunity to see everyone. The Queen herself is expected to head out to Norfolk on Friday, while I would imagine the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge won’t leave until the weekend. Today’s event is private, but every year we do get arrival shots of cars passing through the BP gates, which is always a bit fun.
Notably, this year the Cambridges split into two cars, with William and Prince George arriving in one, and Kate, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis arriving in another. This might be due to the addition of Louis – looking back at photos from 2018, it’s unclear if he attended with his family, or if he was deemed too young. Even if he was in the car somewhere (or a separate car), the Cambs definitely brought along Nanny Maria this year, as well as two protection officers. In other words, their party couldn’t all fit in one car.
This prompted me to look back at years prior, and I’m actually not seeing any photos in which protection officers are that visible. Last year and in 2017, William, Kate, George, and Charlotte were all clearly visible in one car. In 2016, Harry joined the Cambridges with Kate sitting in the backseat with the children. The reason I’m raising this is that I’ve questioned a couple times now over the past year whether the reason Kensington Palace stopped announcing most of Kate’s solo engagements is due to security concerns. Today’s formation, and the presence of two POs in the front seats, could be related, but then again…
…When the Cambridges left they were in a slightly different formation and all three children rode in the back of one car. The windows on the backseat had a protective screen, but it’s still a cute picture:
And William and Kate were both up front, giving us the traditional shot we’re used to. So, who knows what was going on earlier – could have been a simple logistical thing:
Before we move on from the Cambridges, we never get a great look at Kate’s ensemble for this event, but sometimes it’s a recycle or we get lucky and she eventually repeats it. Let’s hope the latter’s the case because based on the glimpse we got of the white collar and red tartan print, royal Twitter has quickly guessed that this is a custom Emilia Wickstead of some kind. That would make sense – Kate tends to go through style phases (as we all do) and she’s definitely on a Wickstead kick right now.
As for other attendees, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were there. (Actually, only Camilla was pictured arriving as far as I could tell, but Charles was photographed leaving separately, so could be that he was at BP ahead of time.)
So too were Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank:
…And Princess Beatrice, though I didn’t see any sign of her fiance:
The Princess Royal and her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence:
Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara, and her husband, Mike Tindall (their daughters – Mia and Lena – were in the backseat):
The Wessexes split into two cars – The Earl of Wessex drove with his 12-year-old son, the Viscount Severn (not pictured):
While the Countess drove with the 16-year-old Lady Louise:
The Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, arrived with two of his granddaughters, Lady Amelia Windsor and Lady Marina Windsor:
Lord Frederick Windsor and his wife, Sophie, arrived with their two daughters (Frederick is the only son of Prince Michael of Kent):
I’ve also seen photos of Frederick’s sister, Lady Gabriella, arriving with her husband – you may recall the pair from their wedding this spring.
And while I would love to ignore him, it bears mentioning that the Duke of York did attend today’s luncheon. Given that today is private, it’s not inappropriate that he was there – he is after all still a member of the family – though I’m now a bit nervous someone is going to nonsensical enough to appear at Sandringham on Christmas Day. TBD, obviously, but I’m glad he didn’t ride with either of his daughters.
Meanwhile, it looks like the Cambridges did send out a Christmas card this year – at least to their patronages, as members of the Air Cadets received one featuring all five royals. Below is the image shared via Twitter, however nothing has been officially released by KP yet, so for the time being, enjoy:
With that, keep an eye out tomorrow for the next installment in the Richard III series!