As the Duke of Sussex took final leave of London and jetted back to Vancouver, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out a new milestone in their own royal careers: hosting their first reception at Buckingham Palace. The juxtaposition remains startling, but this engagement came as close to a response as we’re going to get from the rest of the Family – a display of unity. While William and Kate headlined Monday evening, the Palace announced that they were to be flanked by the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
I remain unclear on whether this was the plan all along, or if the Palace added three other royals to the lineup post-Sussexit news.
Even if unintentional, it was an interesting response to questions over who would “replace” Harry and Meghan in the royal lineup. Right now? No one, because there are already figures like Princess Anne and the Wessexes working on behalf of the Queen. They may not be superstars, but they do show up for work.
I wouldn’t be shocked if we see more promotion of these three throughout the year, nor would I be surprised if they start to generate slightly more media attention. A silver lining to Sussexit is that it drove a lot of new attention towards the Royal Family, so they might as well make the best of it.
Anywho. The reception in question was in honor of the UK-Africa Investment Summit, during which African leaders have visited London to discuss trade and investment deals. Members of the Royal Family, including William (and Harry before he left), took meetings over the last few days, and there’s a line of thinking that the Cambridges’ prominent positioning may hint at a possible African tour later this year. I would personally be highly in favor of this, so fingers crossed.
My favorite part of the evening was watching the warmth and informality with which Kate, Sophie, and Anne engaged one another. A lot of hay has been made over the last couple weeks about the British Royal Family being toxic and cold, and while I’ll grant you theirs is a strange dynamic, several of its members do enjoy positive relationships and personal closeness. It’s not impossible. It exists. We can see it with our own eyes.
Kate wore a new red, sparkly dress by British label Needle & Thread. It appears to be a bespoke version of the “Aurora” dress that sells at retail. It’s certainly pretty. Hardly groundbreaking. Kind of reminds me of a scarlet version of the gold Erdem she wore back in 2017 for the UK-India Year of Culture event. Sorry, that’s not really a robust fashion analysis, but then, when do I ever really provide that? 😉
William delivered a lovely speech that referenced his proposal to Kate in Kenya back in 2010:
Finally, Kensington Palace has announced a new engagement for the couple on January 27 when they visit Westminster Abbey for the UK Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorative Ceremony. We have yet to see notice for Kate’s first solo engagement of the year, but as we’ve discussed, those have recently been “surprises,” so she could really turn up at any time!