February 11 was a big day for the Windsors, relatively speaking. Actually, as I type that and consider what else has already happened in 2020 for the Royal Family I guess it was pretty small potatoes, BUT it was a solid royal day for those missing some of the more traditional aspects of royal watching, so let’s enjoy it. The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined forces to visit the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Nottinghamshire, bringing quite a bit of star power to highlight an organization focused on providing medical care for members of the Armed Forces.
And in case that wasn’t enough excitement, before the engagement began, Kensington Palace announced that William and Kate would be undertaking a mini-tour of Ireland in early March.
Now, obviously Charles, Camilla, William, and Kate have appeared alongside one another at countless events over the years, but to the best of my recollection, this is the first time the four have appeared together at a working engagement. Charles and William have, and Camilla and Kate have (and obviously the two married couples separately), but this day brought a unique arrangement that seems all the more significant when one considers the broader royal landscape these days.
By that, of course, I mean the Sussexes. Highlighting these two couples as a united foursome is obviously pretty helpful for the Royal Family right now – much like when William and Kate hosted their Buckingham Palace reception earlier this year and the Princess Royal and Wessexes were behind them in a visual display of solidarity. It begs the question: Was this engagement specifically planned to make that point?
Possibly. But I think you could argue it’s equally as likely that this day was in the works long before Sussexit, if for no other reason than these four maintain pretty intense schedules, particularly Charles, and this likely took months of planning. We also know that the Royal Family has been making an effort to highlight the direct line of succession for over a year now, meaning Charles and William, and when appropriate, Prince George. Camilla and Kate, as their wives, have likewise been promoted with regularity as future consorts.
So, I think the optics of this visit likely would have been on the Royal Family’s agenda for quite some time. As I reviewed the photos and news clips from the engagement, I considered whether the Sussexes might have been included had they stayed in the fold. Again, possibly. Certainly Harry’s experience with the military and his former professional focus would have made this visit complementary to his broader portfolio. Equally as likely, though, is that they wouldn’t have been. Perhaps to the detriment of their relationship to the Sussexes, the Royal Family is pushing the Cambridges and the idea of William and Harry as some sort of package deal has been falling by the wayside for quite some time.
So, how did the new Fab Four do? Pretty well, actually. There was obviously a military facet to this engagement that upped the gravitas to warrant four working senior royals. There was also an athletic facet during which the group participated in a demonstration of wheelchair basketball and we got to see Charles and William joking around with one another as they gave it a go. The latter kept the visit more in keeping with the Cambridges’ style. Below is video:
Now, let’s talk fashion. Kate gave us a new look upon which to opine, so let’s do just that. This skirt and jacket duo was by Alexander McQueen, a designer that Kate tends to whip out when she’s in a high-stakes royal moment, which this day was, more or less. It’s also a designer known for leaning heavily on military influences, and Kate tends to dress on-theme, particularly during military-focused engagements. At this point, we’re rather past the point of whether we like that she does this (I don’t), because she’s made it clear she’s sticking by this habit.
So, stepping away from that – do we like this actual ensemble? To be honest, it doesn’t do much for me. I’m not a fan of tall boots (these are Ralph Lauren) with long skirts, so the styling misses the mark in my book. I also found the jacket oddly loose or strangely-fitted. I won’t call it a miss, because there’s nothing truly objectionable about it, but it’s hardly an outfit I’d like to see again, and one that I doubt will stand out in my mind come end-of-year.
With that, let’s keep moving through February! But before I go, I wanted to say thank you for all the comments on my last post – I’ve missed writing here, and I’ve certainly missed getting to interact with all of you. No cause for alarm on my absence; it was just a busy time at work and I’ve had to re-direct my attention slightly. I’m happy to be back and I’m looking forward to hearing what you’ve thought about the last several weeks of royal news, too 🙂