A Year in Review: Meghan in 2018

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Akin to what I do for the Duchess of Cambridge, what follows is a review of the Duchess of Sussex’s 2018, but with a few key differences. This is of course Meghan’s inaugural year as a member of the British Royal Family and so what follows will be a little less about her clothes and patronages (of which there are none of the latter to-date) and more taking a look at how she – and the BRF – have handled her entry.

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A Year in Review: Kate in 2018

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Today we’re going to review the Duchess of Cambridge’s past year. Month by month we’re going to walk through the most memorable moments of 2018, review the fashion and discuss the highs and lows of Kate’s engagements, foreign tours and public appearances. Ideally what we’d like to see each year is growth as Kate evolves within her role as a member of the Royal Family and personalizes her position. In order to gauge that, we’re going to (briefly) cover where we ended in 2017 and then work our way through the highlights of the past 12 months.

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A Household Divided

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I’ve stopped and started writing this post a few times over the past month, with a lovely combination of my schedule and actual news coming out of London wrinkling my focus. What started out as a closer look at the Oceania tour was to become a look at the Duchess of Sussex’s first six months within the BRF…which was then to cover projections that the Cambridges and Sussexes would divide their household in 2019.

And now: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will leave Kensington Palace next year for Frogmore Cottage (not to be confused with Frogmore House) at Windsor.

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So, What Role Will Royal Baby Sussex Play?

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Is this question premature? Oh, absolutely. But let’s take a stab at it anyway.

Let’s start with the issue of the title and move on from there. The most obvious question is whether this child will be a prince or princess, but the answer is actually a bit convoluted (of course!). As it stands today, barring any further intervention, the answer is no. So, let’s dig in:

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The Queen Mother as a Girl: The Upbringing of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

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The Queen Mother is a figure who we probably haven’t spent enough time on. In the past she’s primarily popped up in relation to the Abdication Crisis, or in her capacity as George VI’s wife or Elizabeth II’s mother, but I’ve been remiss in covering her on her own, save a post from last year focused on her courtship with her future husband. Today we’re going to take a look at her upbringing and the years preceding her marriage.

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The Cambridges’ Most Memorable Moments

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In honor of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s seven-year anniversary today we’re going to take a look at the public highlights of the pair’s royal career. An interesting aspect of royal marriages, particularly in cases such as the Cambridges where they’re also the future king and queen, is that you are not just a married couple, but co-workers. Royal couples undertake numerous engagements as a pair, which, combined with the realities of living under one roof, means you’re spending significant quantities of time together. So far, that seems to be working out just fine for William and Kate, but here’s a look back at some professional and personal highlights from the last seven years:

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The Queen’s Birth 92 Years Ago Today

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Happy 92nd Birthday to Queen Elizabeth! Later today the Royal Family will all descend on Royal Albert Hall for a concert to mark the occasion and conclude the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), but in the meantime let’s take a look back at April 21, 1926 when HRH Princess Elizabeth was born to the then-Duke and Duchess of York.

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The Mother-Son Relationship From Hell: Queen Mary & Edward VIII

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The relationship between Edward VIII and his mother, Mary of Teck, is perfectly illustrative of not only the significance of a generational gap, but of how differing views on duty and happiness can be enough to drive a wedge between parent and child. In the case of Edward VIII, or “David” as he was known to his family, and Mary, their relationship was complicated by how each viewed the function of the monarchy itself. Theirs is hardly the first unhappy parent-child relationship in the Royal Family’s history, but it is one that feels more poignant thanks to how recently it unfolded, how much more we know about it and the fact that it was not devoid of natural affection.

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A Look Back at Kate as a Royal Fiancée

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Since announcing their engagement on November 27, 2017, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have undertaken a series of public engagements to introduce the bride-to-be to the UK. So far, they’ve turned up in Nottingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh, as well as two engagements in London. Averaging around two to three appearances per month, it’s likely that the two will continue at the same pace until the big day in May.

But the excitement of the events, the newness of Meghan and the breathless media coverage made me both nostalgic and curious about this time seven years ago when it was the Duchess of Cambridge – then Kate Middleton – who was preparing for her future role. It’s been just long enough that I wanted to take a look back and see what’s changed and what hasn’t.

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The York Children

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We’ve discussed before the strange tradition of strife between sovereign and heir that George I brought with him to Britain when the House of Hanover was established in 1714. It’s a pattern that has carried through subsequent generations in some form or another, though mercifully today it looks quite different than it did in centuries past. As of when the future George V began his family with Mary of Teck in the 1890s, family dynamics were certainly not as political or dire as they were when George II was waging war against his father as Prince of Wales or his son as king, but they also weren’t particularly warm and fuzzy. Indeed, George and Mary were tough parents and the patterns set out in the formative years of their children, two of whom would become kings, dictated how the monarchy unfolded through the 20th century.

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