Happy Saturday 🙂 Let’s catch up on some odds and ends from the week, starting with yesterday’s news that the Duke of Edinburgh is in hospital. There was some speculation earlier in the week when he was seemingly absent from the Queen’s luncheon at Buckingham Palace (given that he largely lives in Norfolk now, he, too, would have been seen arriving at some point), but now we know: he’s apparently been under the weather for a few weeks.
Today, seven years ago, Clarence House announced that Prince William and Catherine Middleton were engaged and set to be married in the “spring or summer of 2011, in London.” By the time the news was made public, the couple had been engaged for about three weeks, the proposal having come during an October trip to Kenya the two made with friends. Shortly after the announcement, CH followed up that the couple were expected to continue to live in Anglesey, Wales until 2013 while William continued to work with the Royal Air Force.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have given us quite the whirlwind romance since they went public with their relationship this time last year via a strongly-worded press release from Kensington Palace. As soon as she was photographed shopping in London by the end of the year, good money was that she was “the one.” By late spring, engagement rumors had reached fever pitch, helped along by their frequent treks between Toronto and London, not to mention a lengthy vacation in Botswana in August.
The Duchess of Cambridge followed up last night’s gala at Kensington Palace with an engagement for Place2Be today, during which she delivered a speech on childhood mental health. The event and her remarks aligned with the broader Heads Together campaign, as well as Kate’s focus on early education and supporting children and their parents’ access to resources.
Late summer has officially arrived and, right on schedule, the Queen has taken up occupancy at Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands. The residence is open to the public until late July (a relatively recent development) and staff spent last week preparing it for the Royal Family while the Queen stayed nearby at Craigowan Lodge. Now, however, the tourists are gone, Philip’s last engagement is behind him and it’s time for a bit of respite.
Yesterday the Duke of Edinburgh carried out his final engagement as a full-time working royal, ending a 70-year career and beginning a very well-deserved retirement. In his capacity as Captain General of the Royal Marines, Philip attended a parade outside Buckingham Palace on Wednesday marking the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge, a series of physical challenges raising money for charity.
With grey skies and steady rain, the sight of Philip smoothly carrying out his work in a bowler hat and rain coat felt old school – a hallmark of a very particular generation of the House of Windsor and the end of an era.
And quite the era it was – Philip has carried out 22,219 solo engagements (not counting occasions during which he accompanied the Queen), gave 5,496 speeches and served as patron to 785 organizations.
Will wonders never cease? The Duchess of Cambridge showed up at a reception at the Natural History Museum, of which she is patron, wearing a brand new dress and strappy sandals. And while that may sounds very Kate to some, in fact, I was betting on a recycle given the jewels and cleavage on display at last night’s state banquet.
Now, before we turn back to Kate’s sartorial splendor, let’s give the NHM its due. Tonight featured the unveiling of a giant blue whale skeleton called Hope. (That was a weird sentence and I didn’t anticipate having to write it, but here we are.) Hope replaces a beloved figure, “Dippy,” who is, quite naturally, a dinosaur. Or was, as the case may be.
I’m excited for this post, mainly because mentions of the Princess Royal have been few and far between on this site thus far. Usually she gets a brief mention here and there if she pops up at the same event as her brother or nephews, so I’m pleased to be able to cover some of her solo work.
If you haven’t heard, Princess Anne, only daughter of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, is often referred to as the hardest working member of the Royal Family, and she’s earned her reputation the hard way. Last year she carried out 640 engagements, besting every other member of the family by a long-shot.
Holy haircut, the Duchess of Cambridge is starting off July with quite the bang. But before we get there, let’s start with the tennis. Today, Kate appeared at the Wimbledon Championships for the first time in her capacity as royal patron of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, a role she has taken over from the Queen and whose annual duties were carried out by the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent.
The Duchess of Cambridge debuted a new Gucci dress to unveil the Exhibition Row Quarter at the Victoria & Albert Museum today in London. The opening marks the museum’s largest architectural project in a century and features new public and gallery space, designed by British architect Amanda Levete. Notably, the building’s original facade is showcased.