On Monday the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a memorial service in Central Hall commemorating the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation. This was a pre-announced appearance, but prior to the event, Kensington Palace shared that Kate participated in a Holocaust Memorial Day Trust project that had her take two photographs of Holocaust survivors with their families. The pictures will feature in a broader exhibit the Trust is putting on in coordination with Jewish News and the Royal Photographic Society, the latter of which Kate is patron.
I wrote this morning’s post yesterday, noting at its end that we were still waiting for the Duchess of Cambridge’s first solo engagement of the New Year, but cautioning it could come at any moment. Well, indeed! A couple hours later Kensington Palace had a big announcement for us – Kate has unveiled a national survey asking five “big questions” to help improve early childhood. To mark the occasion, she is now undertaking a 24-hour “tour” of the UK, carrying out engagements in Birmingham, Cardiff, and Surrey.
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.
The work goes on. Today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out a series of engagements in Bradford, a town in West Yorkshire, for their first joint appearance of the New Year. It’s also the couple’s first away day of 2020, which the two have been doing more and more of over the last two years in an effort to see and be seen by more of England.
Yesterday was another marathon day for the Royal Family as they negotiate new roles for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The Queen’s statement made clear that details are still being sorted, and in the meantime, the rest of the family is handling intense media scrutiny as they go about their daily business.
For starters, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have now both been photographed driving their children to school, a task they try to handle every day, usually without incident. That there are now photographers waiting for them at Kensington Palace’s gates is indicative of current interest in the Sussex situation, but also a warning of what could come. Without the Sussexes balancing out royal duties with the Cambridges, there’s potentially a lot more expectation concentrated on two adults and their three young children. I think we know enough about William to know he is not pleased.
Happy Monday, everyone. It’s been a very full four days since we last checked in here on Sussexit, so let’s get right to it. Following a meeting this afternoon at Sandringham between the Queen, Prince of Wales, and Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, the Queen released the following statement:
“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.
“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.
“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives. It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK. These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”
Well. Wednesday was a crazy day. If you missed the drama, then you can catch up here on the initial wave of reporting. Today, we’re going to touch on some odds and ends that didn’t make it into my initial post because of all the information coming out, as well as weigh in on some of the reactions and narratives beginning to build.
[N.B. The below post was written before the Sussexes’ news yesterday. Since it’s not overly relevant to this topic, I haven’t edited it, save one little note at the end.]
Before we get started, Happy Birthday to the Duchess of Cambridge, who turns 38 today! The occasion was marked at Anmer Hall last weekend, but I’m sure there are some day-of festivities planned now that the family has returned to London. We’ll next see her out and about on Wednesday when she and the Duke visit Bradford for their first engagement of the new year.
With that, let’s turn to the matter at hand: last year’s engagement numbers. If you keep up with royal news then you may have seen the end-of-year articles tracking who the “hardest working” member of the Royal Family was in 2019. If you read more than one, then you may have noticed very different statistics get reported. There’s no exact science to these tallies – what constitutes an engagement is in the eye of the beholder, however the most traditional approach is to count it if it made it into the Court Circular.
It’s that time of year again – after the din of Christmas and New Years falls away, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge host friends and family at Anmer Hall the first weekend in January ahead of Kate’s birthday. We know this because, like clockwork, the Cambridges and members of their party are photographed walking to church on Sunday, so we usually have a good sense of who’s attended.
Last week I named the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge the Royal Family’s MVPs of 2019, so it stands to reason this was a big year for Kate. Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that I think there’s been a Cambridge renaissance this year in the court of public opinion, but no, in the sense that I don’t think either they or Kensington Palace did anything drastically different. But what 2019 proved to be is the first year Kate was as a full-time working royal without interludes away due to pregnancy and maternity leave, so it was a significant one by that alone.