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Kate's Imminent Return To A New Royal Family

Monday, August 27, 2018

As summer fades to fall, we are also inching toward the return of the royals. Meghan and Harry announced a slew of public engagements last week, followed several days later by a calendar update for the Duke of Cambridge. A little oddly, Kate's official calendar remains silent and empty.


The Duchess is on a maternity leave both she and the Palace jealousy guard (and I support her in that protective clasp on her family life). Nevertheless, by this time we usually hear something concrete about her return. In fact, in the past few years, Kate and William have made "early returns" to the limelight, coming back from holiday for late-August events to kick off the autumn season (e.g. their August 25, 2016 visit to the Young Minds helpline center, pictured below).


Certainly this year is a little different. As a new mother of three, and scrambled schedule due to the new restrictions of the school calendar, Kate has a busier fall on her end that she has had in the past. Still, I may be alone in this, but I have found the silence a little unusual.


Over the summer, I remarked to a few friends that Meghan's arrival to the royal family was serendipitously timed, because it came just as Kate bowed out for several months. This quirk of the calendars permitted the Sussexes to bask in the glow of their wedding and the public enthusiasm it generated. The Palace deployed its new star couple often both before the wedding and in the weeks that followed the May 19th ceremony. In addition to allowing Harry and Meghan time to be the main attraction, their busy schedule kept the public and press engaged while Kate took time to bond with Louis, George, and Charlotte. The two Duchesses did undertake a joint engagement that felt awkward at times, but was sweet and ultimately a successful outing for both.


But, a royal family is one of hierarchy. Just like Hollywood's golden-age stars were billed according to star power, the Palace has to make sure that all its stars are garnering the right amount of media attention and the proper public reaction and support. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in the "situation room" where the strategists are deciding the best course of action to take over the next few years. This fall, the Palace has to merge Meghan into the Firm, or reintroduce Kate, depending on how you approach it, in a manner that permits both women to shine, avoids unnecessary comparisons and friction fueled by public speculation, and keeps the hierarchy in order. Given Kate's focus on family, and Meghan's strong interest in action, the PR people have a delicate tightrope to walk, and a lot of the task is controlled by forces only tenuously held or entirely out of the Palace's control.


All of these reflections were bouncing around in my head yesterday when the pictures of Kate at Balmoral hit the press. I was immediately struck by Kate's the new clothes, the statement jewelry, and the fact William and Kate accompanied the Queen in her Bentley rather than arriving by separate Range Rover.


As discussed on this blog in the past, Kate has certain clothing categories, and for the most part (there are exceptions to most rules) she wears certain labels for certain types of events. Catherine Walker is a heavy hitter in Kate's closet, and this was a bespoke item, too. At the end of the day, there is only so much you can read into a royal wearing an expensive coat to a Sunday church service, I know. But, we can say that this is a far more formal (dare I say regal?) ensemble than she generally fields at Balmoral (see below). Add to that her placement next to the Queen and I think there is a plausible argument that the ride to Crathie Kirk doubled as a very subtle PR event. We haven't seen a lot of Kate, but she certainly made this appearance count by looking every inch a future Queen.


I should be clear, just so the comments don't blow up,* that my interest in the balance between the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex is not entirely Meghan specific. The woman Harry married was always going to be a star, because he is a star. Balancing Meghan (and Harry!) with Kate and William, particularly as the two couples differentiate more and more as they settle and build separate households and families, was always going to be an interesting balance act.  I do think we will hear an announcement on her calendar sooner rather than later, and I will be interested to see how the fall plays out. I am not predicting anything seismic, but I do think we will see more little subtle shifts.








114 comments:

  1. I wasn’t expecting you to go in this direction when you said you were going to do a more thorough post, Jane! Interesting perspective...I thought the same thing when I saw her & William riding with the Queen in the Bentley & the way Kate looked more “regal” than on previous trips to Crathie Kirk. I can’t wait to see how this fall plays out.

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  2. I totally agree with you. I think the arrival (so to speak) of the Sussex marked a change in the Cambridge. William and Kate are senior royal in every sense of the word, and their obligations now more than ever will reflect that. Also, I think the delay in Kate's agenda has a lot to do with her children. They are no longer 2 but 3, where George and Charlotte have slightly larger school obligations.
    In the end, the visit of Kate and William to balmoral and being seen with the Queen I think is marking in a certain way how things will be handled. Also as you say, the clothes maybe regal that Kate used is telling us in a certain way how the Cambridge's agenda will be handled now. It is also telling us (if we read too much into it) the seriousness in which they will take everything they do from now on. In addition to sending a certain message like "we are senior royals and we must dress as such, regardless of the occasion or place." (Although I think this was already happening, if we remember how elegant and impeccable Kate always is)
    I believe that the obligations of william and kate will be more significant (as for example, the visit to the Middle East that William did, something of that caliber) and with this I do not want to take away merit or importance to what William and Kate did previously or the obligations of the Sussex or even of the other members of the family. Simply that the monarchy is about hierarchy and we can see that the Prince of Wales is preparing even more for his pending promotion to the throne, then it is logical that the obligations of the Cambridge also change in relevance.

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  3. This is an interesting perspective. I am curious to see how this plays out. Especially since the two couples have such drastically different futures in front of them. I am glad Kate has taken the time with her children. Her and Williams lives will always belong to the public in a way that will only increase from here and I'm glad they've tried to take time while the family is young and there are others to be the main focus.

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  4. Thank you for this thoughtful piece. I was also struck by Kate's very stately appearance and by her riding with the Queen, especially given the bitter critiques in the British press about the way the palaces have handled the continuous dripping of complaints from Meghan's father and Meghan and Harry's too Hollywood stay with the Clooneys. I think this was carefully planned (including Camilla's absence so as to avoid analysis of her not being with the Queen). All very carefully choreographed. The RF endured very bad press in the last two weeks about Thomas Markle and they seemed to have stepped in since the stories have completely stopped (almost overnight) followed by this carefully arranged display. Quite interesting. Thanks again.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Mrs. Clooney is a very distinguished British barrister so there’s more than “Hollywood” to that couple

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    3. Anon 9:21
      You didn't read carefully. I was talking about 3 different women on 3 different Sundays.
      1. Bea
      2. An unknown older female
      3. Lady Louise

      Jane, I realize some readers don't like Meghan. But are these kinds of comments (Anon 9:21) really acceptable here? Besides being hate-filled, the comment is more of a semi-literate delusional rant vs a different but reasoned point of view at least IMO.

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    4. Anon 9:21
      Why are you here if you dont like Meghan?

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    5. Anon 6:56, I am not anon 9:21, and can't see the comment that has been removed but I can answer your question. I was here before Meghan came along and am interested in Kate and the BRF. I don't like Meghan and try not to comment on her and I think it is not inconsequential to be here nonetheless.

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    6. Anon 9:10, well whether you like it or now, Meghan is Married to Harry and will be making headlines now and in the future. Meghan is not going to let haters ruin her life and marriage.

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    7. Don't worry, 19:52, I know my opinion will not affect Meghan in any way. I was just fighting for my right to be here even if I don't like her.

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    8. I am not enamoured by her either, I have really really tried, but I trust my instincts and I have a bad feeling about her. Time will tell. I am really looking forward to seeing Kate. I think, and really hope, that she will be back and busy and brightening our days.

      Great post as always, thank you 😊

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    9. Anon 2:35, a lot of people had a bad feeling about Kate as well and look what happened. You will just be in the pool of haters while Harry and Meghan thrive.

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    10. I have to jump in here to note that both commenters are entitled to an opinion on Meghan, but expressing a feeling does not make a commenter a hater.

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    11. Unholy crap, how did I end up way down here? LOL I just wanted to say wow, I had no idea that Harry had even been in the States. I'm a wee bit weirded out at what might be posted above me :) I guess I'm off to Googleshire!
      Arrgh, how people can decide to fully dislike a total stranger is so sad!Life is hard and short, don't waste space in your hearts and minds disliking folks. Meghan has a family to hate her guts, I think I'd like to do the opposite of what they do. But hey, that's just me.

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  5. I think you made some very good points Jane. It will be interesting to see how the balancing act is performed. Diana and Fergie is the most recent situation that was at all similar that I can think of and that didn't turn out too well!

    I know symbolism is a big deal re: the BRF. But I'm not quite ready to buy into the idea that there's a hidden meaning with Will and Kate riding with the Queen to church. I think the main change this year at Balmoral services is that, unfortunately, Philip is absent more often. This season we've seen him attend church at Crathie Kirk only once that I can recall. We've seen Bea, an unknown older female (unknown to me anyway), and Lady Louise riding in the backseat with TQ different Sundays. It's possible Kate knew or suspected she'd be riding with TQ because Philip is less active so she brought a new outfit to wear. It's also possible her figure is a little different than it was during the last few late summer/early fall Balmoral visits. Whatever the reason, I'm just not sure there's a lot of pre-planned symbolism involved. Lisa P may have a point about Camilla but 1. I thought Charles and Camilla usually drove separately to services at Balmoral anyway and 2. The Cambridges are visiting earlier than they have some years because George is now in school. So I'm not sure that's meaningful either.

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    1. Right, Prince Charles and Camilla stay at their own home - Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate when they visit, so they arrive to Church in a different car. I'm sure William and Catherine stayed at Balmoral Castle with the Queen, and that's why they drove to Church with her.

      But still I wonder, where was Camilla?!

      Belle

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    2. Thanks for the extra details,  Belle. I don't know where Camilla was. Perhaps she wasn't feeling well. Doesn't she have back trouble? At any rate, since Charles and Camilla always travel to Crathie Kirk  from a different residence in a separate car, there's no reason to think Camilla would
      have been riding with TQ anyway. So I doubt Camilla was absent for any reason connected to Kate and Will riding with TQ. That level of "staging" strikes me as a bit too Machiavellian. (And if the goal WAS to provide a visual of the future of the monarchy re: W&K, why not ask Charles to stay home too?)

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  6. Lady in Waiting Mary Morrison is often with the Queen in Scotland.

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    1. Thanks Martha. I thought it was probably a LIW but didn't know who (& none of the British papers where the photo appeared seemed to know either!)

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  7. Oh gosh do you really think the Cambridges riding to church with the Queen was a PR move? I would hate to live a life where you have to think like that. And who thinks these things up? The Queen? An aide? And what does that conversation sound like "Liz, Kate, Will you need to ride to church together to send a subtle message. I would love to be a fly on the wall to hear all the planning. I'm sure this goes on it's just hard to imagine from the perspective of my normal, uneventful life. I guess that's why I follow Kate and find the royal family so intriguing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jane, I never would have thunk it :). --J

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    1. I agree, and lol about that conversation! They actually must occur, right? Watching The Crown has enlightened me in many ways as to how the palace policy is created, or adjusted, etc...and evidently it's not the royals doing it, but PR people, or aides, as you said! Very interesting, and effective. I'm glad to see Kate looking more stately, I have been a bit deflated by her casual style in the past. And in the back of my mind I think Meghan's sharp, modern style has prompted a change in Kate's attitude. She outranks Meghan and should not look more juvenile (ie: peasant dresses, frumpy ruffles and boho looks). I loved the elegance of Kate's early wardrobe, and I think she'll go back to it now! Yay!

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  8. In my opinion the blueprint for renewing the Royal family after the reign of Queen Elisabeth is already unfolding before our eyes. The focus will be on teamwork instead of dominance by the new monarch. The reason is the level of uncertainty that will face the British empire after the exit of the Queen: Brexit puts pressure on the economy and the unity of Britain; increasing calls from republicans within the Commonwealth to leave the system; a weak, old successor King Charles with less charisma and painful legacy of Diana; two strong sons (young lions) with appealing marriages. In order to survive as a RF in this fast changing modern world they have to cooperate more as equals on the basis of their talents and not their position. That is why we see the creation of the Fab Four. Charles and his sons will work as a strong team where William and Cate will focus on crown and continuity of the firm and Harry and Meghan will focus on connecting (the world) and commonwealth to help define A strong post Brexit position and role for Britain in the world. I would not be surprised if Charles will opt to be a transitional king to make way for King William within five years after his coronation. As a modern collective/managementboard they will transform the Firm to be ready for the future. Forget about hierarchy and courtesy! Welcome to the new royal reality! Good to see the Queen is facilitating the transition.

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    1. Anon 7:55pm this is a very smart take.

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    2. 7:55, I think you've laid out a very logical possibility. I think your assessment regarding Brexit and the roles William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan will play is very insightful. I don't think, however, Charles is quite that magnanimous to step aside after a short period of time. His ego has always told him that he is the heir to the British throne and doing whatever he wants is his privilege. He was caught totally off guard by the popularity of Diana and how much the people cared about her over him. His wounded pride made him behave like the spoiled child he is instead of realizing what an asset she was. Even after she died so tragically he still didn't get it. He went on with his affair with Camilla and HM accommodated him by allowing them to marry. He's never suffered a consequence of his actions and has gotten everything he's ever wanted. He's not likely to loosen his grip on that throne once he sitting on it. If the royals can survive Charles and Camilla on the throne I think they will survive for a several generations.

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    3. I think Charles has done a great deal of good through his various work projects, some begun at a fairly early age, so I don't have as negative a view of him as many here do. And that's fine, we can hold different views and still be friends. (I do still have some resentment over how Diana was treated but as time has passed I have had to admit to myself she wasn't as blameless as I used to think.) Regardless of all that, why should Charles step down early or step aside? He's spent his entire life waiting through no fault of his own but because of an accident of birth and the blessing (curse) of a long-lived mother. Leaving that aside, he certainly must know Will isn't anxious to take the throne. Will has said so often enough so if Charles doesn't know it, he's one of the few on the planet who doesn't.

      I do think the situation is unfortunate. For Charles waiting, preparing, and hoping while also not hoping a parent would die. For Will, growing up thinking most of his "real work" as a royal would be in later life and wouldn't carry a "retirement option" so he's been pretty reluctant to start working. It's only now as he's entered middle-age he's started to really "step up." He's done some good things but even this year his "time at work" has been fairly low by "working royal" standards. Breaking the cycle would be good but I don't see Charles doing it nor do I see Will wanting him to.

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    4. anon 7:55--"cooperate more as equals on the basis of their talents and not their position." Indeed, this attitude would be the salvation of the monarchy and one which I think Diana's boys espouse. It will be a monumental task overall, over-coming the traditions and strictures of precedence as well as the media's constant inciting toward dissension and competition. anon1

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    5. lizzie, I agree that Charles has done some good things. He is just not very charismatic and in these times it seems to matter more. There are those who will never accept Camilla. I too have realized as time has passed that Diana wasn't as blameless as I thought but I still chalk it up to how she was treated as a very young, barely 20 year old, bride. No guidance and much criticism (a lot from her own despicable grandmother) while being thrown into the deep end as Princess of Wales. It has been said that she loved all the attention and adoration, which I think is true, but I think it's the only place she got it. William and Harry have made certain to guide their wives along so they never experience what their mother did. For all of Diana's beauty, wealth, and privilege, I think she had a very sad life. I can see why William is not anxious to take the throne too early. I do believe he will be on the younger side, however, because HM longevity has reset the clock a bit.

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    6. I agree Robin---Charles isn't especially charismatic. And I suppose that does matter more these days. It's a shame because in the US, history books tell us many of the founders (and Lincoln) were distinctly lacking in charisma! And they certainly made important contributions. If though, Charles's children, their spouses, and his grandchildren are thought to provide needed charisma, that argues for them (the adults anyway) to take on regularly-visible roles. Charisma hidden behind palace walls isn't likely to affect the public's view of the monarchy!

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    7. Excellent points Robin. Diana wasn't perfect, but where her behavior was concerned, it was her response to the jealous, vindictive treatment of her among ALL of the Royals, but especially from their "gray suit" aides who used to wield unbridled power. Fergie described them as "more Royal than the Royals". Diana was just desperate to get away, and who can blame her?

      But it seems the Royal Family learned many lessons from that situation. Their treatment and acceptance of Catherine and Meghan (and their families) is totally different to what it was with Diana. Excepting the bad Markles of course :p And I'm sure William and Harry's influence has helped a lot in that respect, but the Queen, Prince Charles, and the rest of the Firm seem to be on board with a kinder, more inclusive Royal Family.

      Belle

      Camilla has, and always will be in a precarious position. Her agenda seems to differ from this "New Royal Way". I don't see her ever having any legitimate power in her role unless she embraces the new. Charles' sons seem to have more influence over him, which is a good thing.

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    8. Again, excellent points, Belle. When Diana married Charles she was touted as "a commoner" even though her blood was bluer than the Windsors. Her sons have truly married commoners - one even going so far as to marry an American (shocking!) - and they are all playing nice. How much easier Diana's life would have been had she not lost her life to being the guinea pig.

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  9. Great post as always, Jane! I agree that Kate struck me as especially regal on this outing. And that the serious, formal tone followed the only other news we had to keep us going through August - Meghan's father.

    I wonder if this was also an attempt to distance the Cambridges from that mess. To present them as polished British royalty, and far above the fray. I would imagine that Meghan is horrified and embarrassed and feeling "responsible" for the negative attention on the family. (Although the Windsors are not without their own scandals!)

    I hope that Meghan, and as you mentioned, her focus on action, does not drive a wedge in the relationship of our favorite brothers. There is a future in which William and Harry disagree about the family's strategy, just as Charles and Andrew do now. And, consider that Charles and William are more conservative, while Andrew and Harry are more celebrity oriented. I do think William and Harry have a stronger bond, but the scenario is plausible.

    Thank you for the perspective. Cant wait for the return of Kate!

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    1. Where the blame for the whole Markle mess should be placed is on the media for giving this nightmare family the time of day. It's not like most of us couldn't see the scenario playing out the way it has but I really hope the situation doesn't cause an issue between the two couples. It would do well for Meghan to keep a fairly low profile until her family debacle has subsided before stepping up to make her mark. The British people and those of the Commonwealth will appreciate her so much more if she's not in their face while her family tries to capitalize off her marriage. Eventually the novelty will wear off and they won't be interesting any longer.

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    2. Thomas Markle himself said that Prince Harry told him "never speak to the media, they will eat you alive, it will only end in tears".

      He did not heed that advice, If he had, things would be much different. Now Meghan wouldn't dare to call him, for fear the conversation would end up in an exclusive the next day. It's all on him, not her.

      Belle

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    3. Belle, there is irony there in its purest form. The fact that Thomas Markle told "the media" about Harry's caution about speaking to them just make one shake one's head.

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    4. Robin, 12:26--Per Royal Central--MM spent the week of August 21st in Toronto at her friend/stylist's home, supposedly playing with the children and sitting by the pool. That description sounds like the Clooney visit, as described by some sites that denied that she flew to Toronto, although the details provided by fellow airplane passengers are fairly specific and convincing. I hope Thomas was able to meet with her during this time. It is a short ride for MM from Toronto to the US, in case leaving the country was a barrier for Thomas. It would be difficult to believe that MM would make this trip to see a girlfriend but not to see her father. That may be why some deny that a Toronto visit took place. anon1

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  10. It will be fascinating to see how the Fall goes. I expect that Kate will keep a slow schedule, and let the Sussex's long tour keep the press busy while she enjoys her time out of the spotlight. I would love to be wrong, and to see her and William out and about very frequently, undertaking the kind of important visits that William seems to have begun to take on.

    My guesses about her visit to Balmoral: the visit seems timed to have the young kids all there at the same time. We know that the cousins get along (perhaps leaving aside that little push down the hill last July) and it's always easier to have the kids all together to entertain themselves and make some fun memories together. I don't think it's a coincidence, seems likely that the families all planned to be there on the same weekend.

    And I bet Kate has simply had some new clothes made, knowing she'll be back at engagements soon (even if it's only a few). The same as anyone would do for back to school, or some other transition, but on a royal level. I think she just was having fun getting back in the swing of things with her hair and makeup. Or maybe Meghan's glam appearances have inspired her ;)

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  11. Uhhhhhhhhh! Excellent! Excellent! Excellent piece!
    You always see what other don't and I love you for that!
    It will be VERY DIFFICULT to balance these two!
    Wishing them the best! :D

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  12. A very interesting piece, Jane. I too wonder how the future will unfold for the brothers and their wives. I do think that Kate is happy to let Meghan be in the spotlight at this time in the lives of her young children. But Kate will come back and as the kids grow older, Kate will come into her own as a professional royal if you will. She is a very smart cookie and I disagree very much with some who have said that Kate wants only to be a stay-at-home mom. I think Kate has an agenda of her own but has chosen to concentrate on family for now, knowing her day will come. If all is well and if that’s what they want, I’m sure Meghan will have a baby or two in the next few years and then it will be her who steps back to focus on family, as i’m sure that will be important to her as well. The problem with the royal watchers of course is that we aren’t a very patient bunch. But patient we must be. I have no doubt we will be well rewarded in the not so distant future. My burning question though these last few months is: what has Kate’s assistant, Catherine Quinn been doing? I bet that she has been very busy behind the scenes putting Kate’s year together. She’s a heavy hitter and I don’t imagine she would have taken the job if there wasn’t a significant plan in place.

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    1. Excellent point about Catherine Quinn. We may see something really special when Kate's schedule is announced. Fingers crossed.

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  13. Totally agree with you that the silence around Kate's calendar is unusual and I think even starting to become slightly uncomfortable. Once she returns to work there will be inevitable comparisons of her and Meghan but they will just have to rise above all that and carry on regardless. I'm sure the Palace will handle it! I'm just looking forward to a busy time over the next few months and to seeing what they will all be doing and focusing on. Will be checking your great blog regularly for updates!

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  14. I think Kate looks beautiful and she definitely looks every bit the future queen! I have to say that I'm not sure quite so much symbolism can be attached to her sartorial choice for church. She may just be happy to have her figure back and to wear something new! The only thing I noticed that may be a bit symbolic is the choice of earrings. A nod to HM or a nod to her more prominent status as a senior royal. One thing does seem certain and that is the appearance of William & Kate taking the leadership role for their generation. William's trip to the middle east was quite significant. I see them attending events of diplomatic importance more often in future.

    On a personal note, I love the apparently close relationship the Cambridge's seem to have with Zara and Mike Tindall. Fun times for young families - no matter their roles!

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    1. I hadn’t really thought about it but I do think there was some symbolism to this event. Kate is very measured, and very symbolic, in her choice of outfits and I can’t believe she must happened to reach for something new and formal here. This does seem to be a tip towards a more senior role within the family. If I remember right, she wore that terrible Molah coat to a Balmoral service and if you think of that as mark to go against, this certainly seems to be saying she’s in a more formal position...

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  15. I dont think Catherine riding with the Queen has anything to do with PR. The Queen rides with members of her family to Church. Even when Prince Philip was well, he used to walk. Camilla, Sophie and a number of royal ladies have accompanied her to church. People are just making a big deal cause its Catherine. Same thing will happen when Meghan accompanies her to church.

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  16. Thanks for delving into this topic! I agree that, the last few times we’ve seen her, Kate has definitely seemed more regal/mature looking. With her beauty how can she not! It’s good to see her riding with The Queen...usually she has to ride with Camilla. It’s all about hierarchy!

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  17. I have loved watching DoC's style evolution. To me, the regal look Kate wore to church was a sign of respect for HM. Catherine has worn so many looks over the years, but seems to be very good at dressing appropriately for the occasion.

    Jane, I have really enjoyed the recent posts. They gave us a look back on Kate at various stages. It was a treat to see her style over the years. I am still in love with the blush gown Kate wore to the Norfolk(?) night to support her friends charity event.

    This autumn will be a treat watching the royal outings, their charities and fashion of both the DoC and the DoS.

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  18. Thank you Jane for a lovely post. First & for most, I believe we can all agree we are anxiously awaiting Kate’s return. However we must pause for a moment & check the calendar as it’s not fall as yet. Kate is probably savoring each & everyone moment with her 3 young children. George, Charlotte & Louis will only be young for a short amount of time. She will be preparing George for school & Charlotte for nursery school & spending precious time with her new baby Louis. I think it’s normal for the Queens various family memembers to attend church services when visiting Balmoral. Kate looked lovely as always. I was dismayed & saddened by the negative comment regarding Kate wearing casual clothing! Kate is a young women, wife & Mother, she looks beautiful in her causal clothes. When she is working she wears conservative appropriate attire.
    It is nice Prince Harry & Meghan Markle have been working a lot. It reduces the pressure on Kate. Do wish Meghan would telephone her father as his comments reveal a father who is desperately in pain for lost connection with his daughter.

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    1. I respectfully disagree that Meghan should phone her father. She is probably waiting to see if he will stop speaking to the press. Mr. Markle appeared to make one mistake by having the staged pap photos taken prior to the May wedding. At first this seemed like a one time error, but then Mr. Markle repeatedly spoke to the media.

      Kate's family has been wise in not attracting much in the way of media attention and I would bet Meghan wishes the same decorum from her family of origin. Mr. Markle needs to regain Meghan and Harry's trust.

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    2. If Meghan did speak to her father, her words would likely end up an "exclusive" in the British media the very next day. Thomas Markle was warned not to speak to the press, he chose to do different. Things would be much different now if he'd listened. It's all on him now, not Meghan.

      Belle

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    3. Good point, Belle. Her family seems to capitalize on every opportunity. If she wrote a letter, it would be published. If she called, it would be reported and probably embellished to the point of being unrecognizable as the truth. If they visited there would be paps everywhere because "someone" would alert the media to every step they took. Her family have proven themselves to be untrustworthy in every way. Normally, I wouldn't advocate keeping a family rift alive but, in this case, there seems to be no other alternative other than to ignore them as best they can.

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    4. I believe if Meghan can travel on commercial airlines to visit her Candian Friends for a couple of days for pleasure, she most certainly can travel indiscreetly to Us /Mexico to meet with her Father one on one privately. By doing this face to face & only with her parents (Not half siblings) she could educate her father on the Limitations of her becoming a member of the BRF. He obviously has no knowledge of the proper protocol. Supposedly Meghan has changed cell phone number & he doesn’t have current contact information. This would prevent future faux pas . By remaining silent is not helping him. Communication is the key to problem solving.

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  19. Well, just to throw a curve ball, which happens to echo my view, Prince Charles has always used his children as pawns to promote himself and his second wife. When William was younger, and still had mass appeal--and a full head of hair--Charles used him unrelentingly, joining him in interviews e.g..in William's gap year press ops, etc. But, ever since William shed his hair AND married the photogenic Kate, he's used Harry--who still had hair and mass appeal, which not even the photos of a naked Harry-in-Vegas could shake. Why? I would dare to suggest perhaps because Charles knew that Harry posed no direct threat to his (Charles's) throne, but that William and Kate did.

    Which brings me closer to the present day. Last year, Charles, IMO, executed a coup d'état. Elizabeth--his erstwhile mother--had to go, but, unlike many of her contemporaries on continental Europe, she refused to abdicate, so Charles pushed her out, for all intents and purposes. She remains as Queen, but as a rose in his lapel, a figurehead. Charles is at the controls, pulling most of the strings, once he got rid of Sir Christopher Geidt. The Queen still pulls a few, as evidenced recently at Balmoral, when William and Kate rode with her to Crathie Kirk and Charles rode in solitary splendour--with his chauffeur. Neither son rode with him, nor his ever-faithful second wife.

    To the present. If my suppositions are correct--hey, nobody at any palace is briefing me, and I could be dead wrong--then the lack of engagement notices for Kate in September are down to two--maybe three--things: Charles's wish to keep a paper bag over Kate's head as long as possible, lest she and William steal what thunder he has, which, in part, means building Harry and wife up; Kate's 6-month maternity leave isn't up until the start of October--nor do I think Kate should be deprived of this; $$$ Charles is miserly, a cheapskate, who'd rather support his former valet, Fawcett "the Fence" to the reported tune of 100,000 GBP, per annum, money which might be better spent on his two daughters-in-law.

    In sum, I am entirely unsurprised at the lack of engagement notices for Kate in September--six months, beginning in April, ends at the first of October. Come October though...I rather think I might be inclined to place the blame for any lack of Kate-engagements squarely on Charles.

    Sorry if this post is a real downer; guess I'm just sick of posters on other sites questioning Kate's right to six months of maternity leave, as well as their inability to comprehend what an awful man Charles is.

    JC

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    1. Clearly, JC, the importance of having hair far outweighs the importance of being heir. anon1
      Keep those curve balls coming, JC. I enjoy them all. Ha!

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    2. JC -- Have you been watching re-runs of Downton Abbey?!

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    3. anon1 @5:03, haha! I loved that comment ;P

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    4. Hi there, Kiwi Gal! anon1

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    5. actually, Robin...JC set it up. All I did was deliver the punch line. Ha! anon1

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    6. If charles had even close to this much control over the Cambridges including Kate's engagements, then there's NO way he would have allowed the entire year of constant Diana talk that was 2017-promoted *greatly* by his own sons. Charles and Camilla had finally managed to build up some goodwill with the public or at least mitigate some of the hatred in some ppl after years of careful and successful pr work, and much of it was utterly ruined and made useless by all the diana documentaries including what his own sons said and did to bring up those memories. His and especially Camilla's popularity tanked again after the year in comparison to just before, even if they were never VERY popular. And it happened at an unfortunate time too because sadly the queen could pass away any time given her age so the importance of charles and Camilla at least not being hated by a large majority is important not just for Charles himself as king but the monarchy as a whole. Yet Harry and William were still able to play such large roles in all the Diana talk last year.

      I think there are many other examples that make it obvious the brf is decentralized and charles can't control his sons nearly that much, but all of last year with the anniversary of Diana's death strikes me as the obvious big example to utterly disprove the idea he can force kate to do anything including less work if she didn't want to.

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    7. Very good point 7:56. As long as HM is still around I don't think Charles can control as much as people are saying. He can't undermine his own sons so the "year of Diana" went forth. And, as William and Harry both said several times during the year, their own mental health suffered in how it all happened. As they are advocates for taking care of mental health, last year was a very important time for them. They are both adults now and William has assured the succession (if it all lasts) so Charles would have been very unwise to try and stop their honoring their mother. Isn't there still a statue to be unveiled at some point on the grounds at KP?

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    8. I tend to agree with those commenting that Charles does not have an iron grip over his sons. If he did then they would not have the freedom they do to run their offices out of Kensington. I also question whether if he did have that omnipotent power if he would chose to deploy it to limit Kate's exposure. He was jealous of Diana and made mistakes there, but that was his wife and was many years ago - he's surely learned from that debacle. He would be foolish to create a rift between himself and his sons wife who is also a very popular public figure. Charles may be many things (including blind to changing expectations as he was in his marriage) but he is not a cool.

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  20. Thanks very interesting blog!

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  21. I don't make too much of the fact that Kate's comeback may be slower than in past maternity leave. Also, I think there will probably be the pitter-patter of little Sussex's in the very near future as Meghan and Harry want children right away. I would think Meghan would take as much maternity leave as possible as it will be their first child. And since there is another royal wedding coming up we will be inundated with royal news, appearances and such. I'm looking forward to a busy fall.

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  22. There are so many interesting comments, starting with Jane's post, that I hesitate to remark on just one or two. I always enjoy a "think piece," as I am not very fashion-oriented. That's not to say I don't enjoy a well-tailored garment or a bit of bling such as Kate displays here. In my mind, it is classic Catherine. She emulates the Queen, not others, especially when appearing in HM's company.

    To my eye, her appearance matches HM's--the tailoring of the suit top, the serious jewelry, (HM's brooch), the careful make-up. Did you notice the Queen is wearing lip-liner shaped into a perfect rosebud? Eyes shaded to highlight HM's brilliant blue? In a flight of fancy I imagined HM and Catherine giggling over a shared dip into the make-up cache. In reality, I think there may have been a family photo or special celebration involved. Maybe not.

    I have said it many times- the Queen has her ways of making a point. I agree that a number of people have appeared with HM in the Bentley. It is the combination of the who and the when and why that makes the difference. (I think the LIW fills in when HM has nothing in particular to say in mind at the time or family is not available)
    I am also fond of pointing out the importance of context.
    The single elements in that photo, taken separately, can be explained away; however-the Cambridge appearance with the Queen, the timing, Kate's wearing the Queen's formal earrings, the serious suit, even the serious make-up---put together can lead one to speculate. anon1

    PS Did anyone notice that much was made in the popular press (tabloids) of the absence of the Cambridge tots at church and George's presence in the car on the way to lunch but little or no mention of Louise's brother, much older than the Cambridge children, being AWOL? Camilla was given benefit of the doubt..."it is not known..." It was also assumed by some that Kate was driving Zara and children to a shooting, not luncheon that was being served away from the castle that day. Of course, in usual click-bait fashion, that tone and slant brought out all the tut-tutters who took the opportunity to expound on killing animals and shame on William and Kate for promoting tiny tots at shootings and for not forcing wiggly little ones to sit through adult church. My church has a lovely part at the very beginning of the service in which the minister calls the children to gather around him in front . A short Bible lesson appropriate for children is given, after which the children move on to a child-friendly environment.
    Perhaps the Cambridge children, Camilla, M&H, and Sophie's James etc. were attending a separate service together. The photos were of departure from church
    not arrival. If the arrivals were missed maybe some of the departures were as well. So who knows who was there?
    Just how much is the public justified in intruding on a public person's private activities, whether literally behind closed doors or not? I realise church arrivals and departures are considered fair game traditionally for photos. It probably is a PR staple for BP/CH planners. I don't mind the perpetuating of the Queen's image of faithfully upholding the head of the CofE role or a show of HM's Bentley diplomacy but casting doubt on the Cambridge's role as parents while conveniently failing to note others' church truancy? Was it a coincidence that Phillip made a single appearance when the press was nosiest about his absence? Of course these church visits are orchestrated.

    I think what aggravates me most is the allowing by some of being lead like sheep to respond with unfair. inaccurate remarks about William and Catherine and others and by extension, the post-Elizabeth monarchy. I was, on the other hand, pleased to note that commenters here, for the most part, stayed on point with the discussion. Not an easily-lead group here although I do believe that Jane's approach and moderating style set the tone as surely as the tabloids set theirs

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  23. PPS There will be no "Charles III." It will be George VII. George VI was not born George ad Edward VIII was not born Edward. Plenty of precedent there. anon1

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    1. Edward VIII's full name is: Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David. His first name was actually Edward, but people called him David as a nickname.

      It was Edward VII whose first name was not Edward. Edward VII's first name was Albert.

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    2. Thank goodness they've shortened those official names a bit!

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  24. P3S--Technically, Edward VIII was christened "Edward," along with a bunch of other names-one of which was David, the name by which he was known to close family and the nefarious Ms. Simpson. There are still other precedents. Wasn't Edward VII actually also an Albert? I know George V was christened George. anon1
    Remember the part in "The Crown" where Elizabeth was asked, upon becoming Queen, by what name she wished to be called? I don't know if that scenario actually took place but it does point out that sovereigns often took a name other than their given one. The name "Charles" for a British monarch carries way too much baggage while "George" provides more respectable antecedents as well as providing a sense of continuity for his future subjects. Something that will be sorely needed in the aftermath of a 60+ year reign.

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  25. Thank you Jane for such a great post! I can't wait to see the Duchesses in action this fall! Charles is reaching a milestone year- my guess is HM will relinquish significantly more this year as a nod to his birthday. I bet she is enjoying having the family around her but I also bet she'll be worn out with the little ones. Best to send them on their way back to school and have some rest before the Dutch State Visit.

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  26. I suspect the overlap will be short lived if Meghan and Harry start a family soon while Meghan takes maternity leave, Kate will likely step up.

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  27. I have to say I do think shooting animals is a disgusting thing to do, and totally at odds with William and Charles' passion for "conservation". They should not be taking the children to such events, and should phase them out completely in light of a more enlightened, compassionate world. Also - I'm curiou to know how many engagements Kate has had over the last year? How does that compare with previous years? I'm always surprised to hear how many engagements the Queen and Prince Phillip have every year and I'm pretty sure W & K don't come anywhere NEAR it. I'll be we can count Kate's appearances in a whole year at under 20, not including a tour. But even their tours are about 3 -4 days long.

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    1. Though William and Kate are senior royals I don't think their position as heir to the heir of the throne can be compared to the visits the monarch makes. Especially since HM has curtailed her visits to a very small radius of destinations (as she should at her age) and can complete several in one day. It seems that if HM visits three places in a day it is counted as three engagements but if W&K visit three places in one day in a single town it only counts as one. Also, the ceremonial duties William has taken over from his grandmother never seem to count as anything and yet he is doing his royal duties.

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    2. I just searched a place where royal visits are tallied and Kate carried out 53 engagements before going on maternity leave this year. William is at 145 so far. We need to realize that not everything they do is in front of photographers and the public.

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    3. I think that the blog Gert’s Royals does a good job of keeping count of the royal visits- it counts each engagement for William and Kate, not just how many days each worked.

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    4. JF, another interesting blog I didn't know anything about.

      Don't worry, Jane, you are still my favorite! ;-)

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  28. I would be surprised if Catherine wasn't present at the upcoming commemorations of the end of WW1, Prince William has been present at all the centenary commemorations of the great battles, starting with the invasion of Belgium in 2014 and Catherine has been with him for most of them..
    Prince Charles was in his car alone probably because he came from his own house(Birkhall) on the Balmoral estate.
    The Duchess looked beautiful and I am not surprised that she wore a new coat and and a hat to accompany the Queen---they must be aware that there will be photographers--as there are also at Sandringham at Christmas and Windsor at Easter.

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    1. I think she will be there, too, Jean.
      Although, if my son had been targeted by name with a plot and actions threatening him verified, (at his school-which takes up again next week)I would likely lock him and my family in a fortress and never venture out. I don't know how she continued to appear in public in open areas with her children while giving every indication both she and her little ones are thriving and having fun. There are absolutely no safe-guards in such situations, at least not as secure as the RF has at Palace events. It is one thing to realise we all face a certain, vague threat; quite another to have one's child singled out by name with a plot in progress. It is also miles beyond the fears resulting from hateful words only. It reminds me of Kate bravely walking past the clamouring paps on her way to work and appearing in public at sports events and evenings out after William's break-up. She could have dodged the press and hidden out a her parents' home but she carried on-- and with a smile. anon1.

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    2. I agree, Jean. I think she will be at the WWI commemorations.

      anon1, I can't imagine living with a being a high value target, let alone knowing your children have to constantly be guarded. As the general public and the paps clamor for more and more sightings and photos of all of them they would never wish it for themselves if their own families lived in the shadow of constant threat.

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    3. An interesting angle, Robin. The paps are thinking of their own families when they take the high-dollar shots but need to give a thought to the "what if." anon1

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  29. There has been a lot of criticism of taking George to the shoot, but I suspect he wasn't taken to the shoot itself but to the picnic lunch that follows it. I work in a field called "animal studies" and tend to be a little more understanding of hunting since it provides food for a significant portion of people around the world. Unlike an aristocratic pheasant shoot which is usually a competition of skill and quantities, hunting itself can only be condemned if one doesn't eat meat at all, since the chickens, cows and pigs readily eaten by most people are also killed (and perhaps after living on much more unpleasant circumstances). In any case, I'm opposed to hunting and meat-eating personally but try not to judge, as most people around me eat meat. The birds shot by the RF during these shoots are all eaten (fresh, frozen and/or given away) and are part of the same food chain. The history of pheasant and grouse shooting in aristocratic circles in the UK is fascinating and the birds shot are actually bred and the populations maintained by game keepers who make sure that there are enough birds to provide "sport" during the season. They've been doing this for hundreds of years and some times the value of an estate like Balmoral was doubled or tripled according to the success of its game keepers in providing birds. There is a scene in Pride and Prejudice when Mrs Bennet invites Mr Bingley to come to their estate to hunt birds after he's killed the ones on his own. I find these traditions puzzling but fascinating.

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    1. I don't eat meat but I do understand hunting may play a role in culling/controlling animal populations (in my part of the US it's deer. And most people eat their kills.) But hunting birds for sport the way it's done in the UK falls in a different category for me. Given your work, Lisa, you may know more about the topic than I do. But here are some things I've read from pretty reputable sources.

      To protect the birds other native birds are often killed albeit illegally (hen harriers are now close to extinction in the UK) and other predators like foxes are legally killed to protect the birds. Badgers and other protected animals are often caught in the painful snares set to catch the birds' predators. Birds bred for hunts (like pheasant) live much of their life in tiny wire cages until it's time for them to be shot by hunters. The conditions for their farming are said by many to be less humane than those required for commercially-bred chickens. Red grouse are native but the way they and other birds are shot doesn't really seem fair in that they are intentionally driven towards the line of guns by beaters. The hunting "skill" required is quite different from what is required when tracking deer. With grouse it's a matter of aiming a gun accurately at a moving target and there are non-lethal games available to assess that skill! With lots of birds and lots of shots, some estimates are that as many as 40% of the birds that are hit are only injured, not killed outright. Some estimate
      as many as 100,000 birds are shot each day during hunting season in the UK. I really doubt all of those get eaten. (Every year pictures of burn pits on hunting estates are published.) Burning heather on the moors to induce new growth for the grouse--apparently a common practice-- also has many environmental implications.

      I think both Will and Harry seem awfully tone-deaf on these issues given their stance on conservation. It looks like "do as I say, not as I do." I don't know if George was taken to the hunt. But if Will (and Kate) continue to hunt, he will be if he hasn't been already. This kind of hunting does have a long tradition in the UK but hunting "exotic" animals in Africa was an accepted tradition in the UK for many years too.

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    2. Lisa--I thoroughly enjoy and admire your comments. Have you always been here or are you new to this blog? I don't see how I could have missed your comments. anon1

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    3. lizzie, I completely agree with your take on shooting and hunting, particularly shooting of grouse. Apparently, these birds are first raised, then sold en masse to large estate owners, to be used to provide game birds for shoots. It's big business on large estates; apparently, customers at London restaurants pay up to 25GBP to dine on grouse, and more startling, shooters on big estates pay up to 75GBP for every grouse shot. (Got my info c/o an article written by a British conservationist, not too long ago, but can't remember his name. Sorry.) I repeat: big profits for big estates.

      In my view, the BRF needs to refocus, and find other, less bloody ways, to raise money on their private estates (Balmoral and Sandringham--the latter hosts pheasant shoots later in the season. Same deal.) And while I'm at it, they'd be well-advised to put an end to polo as a way of supporting charities. This is an elitist sport, costs a fortune to train and maintain polo ponies, and will, sooner or later, result in accusations by animal rights activists of abuse of said ponies. Better ways need to be found to support charities involving the BRF.

      The BRF seems blind to what seems obvious to me.

      JC

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    4. Thanks to anonymous for the welcoming words. I read this blog regularly and enjoy it and the comments very much. I also wanted to add that Lizzie above is very right about the contradictions between the princes' bird shoots and their stance on conservation.

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    5. I must have missed your name, Lisa. Perhaps you have been commenting as an Anonymous? I think I recognise your writing style from some comments. BTW, I do have a moniker. It is anon1

      Regarding William and his conservation work. It does seem incongruous when considering both involve killing animals. However, William's cause involves working against the trafficking of animal parts from endangered species. There is a significant difference, although apparently this fact is avoided or missed by some. It is not hypocrisy.He is operating under the conservation banner, not the animal rights banner. He is not saying all animal killing is wrong and then taking part in a grouse hunt. The supporters espouse a conservation cause. He and Harry and others don't want these beautiful creatures to become extinct. I'll never forget the photo of William's saddened expression when standing before an elephant at a wildlife preserve and hearing the story of its escape from poachers. I believe the mother had been killed for the tusks and the baby found alive by the body.

      I think the real hypocrisy is involved with those who love their steak and bacon but decry the royal's historic and traditional grouse shooting and take every opportunity to label William as a hypocrite. In that instance, I would say the motive may be more besmirching William than saving animals. If one truly objects to killing animals, one would be a vegetarian. Which, I believe, lizzie says she is.

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    6. While the BRF of giving up polo because it is too elitist and expensive to maintain should they just pack in the whole monarchy thing too JC? The institution is far more elitist than any individual sport. (I should note I personally do not think the BRF should give up either polo or the monarchy :)

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    7. Hey Anon 1, As I've said before, I don't eat meat and I don't wear fur or leather. However, I do occasionally eat eggs from my neighbor's backyard chickens and I do eat some dairy products.

      I assure you, my sincerely held beliefs about grouse/pheasant and similar kinds of hunting aren't prompted by a desire to disparage or besmirch Will. I'm personally not a fan of hunting as a sport but as I said before, deer hunting in some parts of the US probably is useful these days to avoid mass, painful starvation of deer. I have friends who hunt deer and they eat what they kill. (I've been offered venison sausage more times than I can count! And we are still friends)

      Personally I think it is barbaric to raise birds in cages for slaughter. And I think it's even more barbaric to release farmed birds just so they can be intentionally frightened into flying towards a line of armed people at a shooting party. As I said in my original comment, reputable estimates are that as many as 40% of the birds shot at these sporting parties are only injured, not killed. That percentage almost makes commercial poultry plants sound not so bad.

      The hen harrier is almost extinct in the UK. That fact does relate to "conservation" not "animal rights." The bird may not seem as majestic, as important, or even as beautiful as an elephant to some and in the UK it's certainly not as exotic. But just like elephants (according to all reports I've seen), it is being wiped out because of hunting/poaching just the same. And the hunting on estates in the UK certainly isn't necessary for the survival of humans! The hen harrier and other birds of prey aren't being hunted for sport or for their "body parts." Instead they are being killed to protect the "sport" birds that people pay lots of money to blast out of the sky. (And pay much more per dead bird--a dead bird that may not even be  eaten--than it would cost to have a meal prepared of the same type of commercially-slaughtered bird in a nice London restaurant, as JC pointed out.) Other animals are being killed as well to preserve the birds for hunting. Some of those are members of a protected species so it's not just an animal rights issue. And the environment is being negatively affected by these human-induced changes in animal populations as well as by the burning of the heather on the moors. So yeah, I think it is hypocritical for Will to enthusiastically engage in that sport himself while espousing his beliefs on the world stage about what should happen in Africa and what people living there should do. But even if I didn't personally find his actions hypocritical, I think he'd be a much more credible spokesperson if he was willing to give up his own "blood sport" instead if just telling others what they should do.

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    8. I pointedly excused you and other non-meat eaters from hypocritical besmirching in my last paragraph, lizzie.
      We seem to be discussing two different aspects of a related subject. I believe I actually said nothing disagreeing with your viewpoint.
      I did not discuss the morality of hunting, which seems to be the theme of your remarks. As deplorable as the circumstances you describe are, I can show you worse conditions used for raising pigs--which are very intelligent, aware animals, as are elephants. There is an effort toward encouraging raising free-range chickens but most commercial chicken operations are unbelievably crowded. I have been to a chicken slaughterhouse and believe me, if I were a chicken I would prefer being shot. I would need to see some reliable stats on the numbers of birds left wounded these days. As far as I know, there is a person assigned at each royal shoot to make sure this does not happen. At any rate, they are in a familiar environment in the woods, unlike the commercial birds who must make what must be a frightening trip to the slaughter house in cages in the back of a truck filled with terrified birds. Trust me when I tell you the slaughter house is no Windsor Great Park.
      The point of my previous comment was that William is not being a hypocrite by supporting the WWF type conservation organisations while taking part in the occasional grouse hunt. Conservation efforts are not a matter of telling Africa what to do. The thrust of the plan has been to eliminate the demand. China and other countries have cooperated in discouraging the sell of ivory. It is a world-wide effort that also includes measures on the supply end. There are efforts to help find other means of income for poachers. A big problem is that they can make a lot more money poaching and are backed by those who have no scruples when it comes to defending their source of income...which amounts to a whole lot more than they pay the poacher.
      "...saying one thing and doing another; do as I say, not as I do," etc. are common pejoratives aimed at William. (surprisingly, not so much at Harry and Charles, although they also have joined the effort). Hypocrisy seems to be the main complaint against William's supporting this effort--not that all animal killing is wrong. That is a whole nuther topic and one which most people would indeed be hypocrites to advocate.
      William actually has an engagement coming up in support of the effort to eliminate the illegal animal parts trade---which is not a "blood sport, by the way."
      I was not aware William hunted a protected, nearly-extinct species. I would think that would be illegal. It is in the US. anon1
      PS
      I have a relative who sends me those clips of sociable animals behaving very similarly to humans. After seeing one of a fellow surrounded by a cuddling pig friend and a nuzzling turkey buddy, I no longer eat pork or turkey. Beef is on its way out. Chicken may be next. As far as I know, fish neither smile nor cuddle.
      Thanksgiving is looking rather bleak at this point. Perhaps smoked salmon.

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    9. I am a 20 year vegan and animal lover/activist/advocate. I love people too so I am pro-plant-based eating as it extends life and prevents disease, and creates a more compassionate world for people and animals alike. William and Kate should really do away with any kind of tradition that involves blood and death and the suffering of even one animal. Selling animals to large estates to be killed is a gruesome trade. There are better ways to have "fun", and some traditions are just plain barbaric. The young royals have such beautiful, intellingent, kind hearts I'm sure if they gave it a little more thought they would agree!!! Cheers!

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    10. I admire and respect your views, Diane. I do wonder if you are saying William and Kate should stop eating meat or that they should stop doing their own killing at times?


      I remember as a child watching my Aunt on the family farm briskly dispatching an intended dinner item by ringing its neck. How could she, I wondered--then later cheerfully dispatched the fried chicken.
      If one thinks killing animals is wrong then it is wrong, whether one first honors and thanks the animal as Native Americans are said to have done or whether or not one actually uses it for food. Whether it is done as a sportsman, testing one's skills, or as an employee of a slaughterhouse, earning a living. It is not rational, to me, to deplore shooting grouse but turn a blind eye to those who allow others to do the killing for them. In pioneer times, if one did not hunt one did not eat. Hunting was a survival skill just as driving a car now is considered in some cultures. Being able to operate a motor vehicle may also become an unnecessary skill, once motorized highways take over. I would think, however, that keeping up one's driving skills could prove to be useful at some point.


      I hope the time will never come when my sensitivity for animal life and hunting skills will be tested by necessity. I think I would try to exist on nuts and berries. I abhor stalking in any form, whether of an animal or of a human. (sometimes it seems to me that W&C are followed only to wound them with critical shots when the opportunity arises.) I close my eyes or fast forward through those hunting scenes in films about the Queen. (or the scenes of Diana or the young Kate being stalked and harassed by paps) The Queen reportedly went to pay homage to a magnificent stag that had wandered from her property onto a neighbor's and had been killed. But it was the killing of just this particular stag--with so-many "points" on his antlers-- that saddened her. The hunts and stalking still continued.

      I do think those types of hunts will soon be a part of the past, along with the vestal virgin type presentation of marriageable young females at court. A process I consider barbaric and sexist. (why weren't the eligible aristocratic males also put on display and presented?) anon1


      Providing birds for hunts may be gruesome but so is the commercial process of providing meat for the table. I don't see how the one process is more despicable possibly because usually privileged people do it.

      All this discussion because George and Savannah were photographed in the backseat of a car--driven by Kate apparently--on Balmoral grounds. Since it was mentioned that the other royals were seen on their way to the hunt luncheon, why not assume Kate was driving her son to that family gathering as well?


      I recall years ago hearing a recording of a plant "screaming," as it was being chopped down. They are, after all, living organisms. Who's to say which life is more valued than another? Lizzie has a point about endangered birds being as worthy of protection as the noble elephant. The plants must die too before we consume them.Perhaps we should all survive on chemicals and pills. anon1.

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    11. I so appreciate your thoughtful and eloquent response, anon! Very interesting issues to mull over and consider. I can't answer to all of it, but my own choice to be a vegan was inspired by one pig. In a movie, where it was slaughtered, but took forever to die. I saw the reality of what killing an animal really is, and it horrified me forever. They are "people" in their own way. Each - even a grouse - has an individual personality, with complex thoughts and emotions. They each have a need to be loved, to be with family, they play, they love - it's so easy to disregard the evidence of this - we just do not look closely. So, in my view which I realize most do not share - no animal should be exploited for any reason. We have the luxury of being able to survive without them now, and I wish we could extend that ability to every human on the planet - but for now, baby steps lol. I am a practical person and I am long-used to being the idealist/fringe thinker. But why not begin to phase out these old traditions that are cruel and unnecessary - and as you said about ladies presented at court - sexist. Outdated. The bird shoots and fox hunts - killing for sport or commerce - is outdated, and should be done away with. On the other hand, organic gardening, preserving, baking, raising money through healthy eating - could be a wonderful alternative. :)

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    12. "Charlotte's Web" did it for me--for pigs (and spiders) as well as a few documentaries about pig farming in my state and the cattle business in Texas. Remember Oprah's being sued over her remarks after visiting a feed lot?, I think it was. And there is my Dad, relating his grief as a boy watching his pet pig he raised from a baby being taken to market. He said he probably learned a valuable lesson about the realities of life but it was a hard one for a little boy. That is why I protest those stories of Kate and Autumn taking their eldest children to watch a shoot.
      Kate has spoken of teaching George tennis, swimming, and care of pets but no mention of teaching shooting. I think that they were on their way to lunch in that photo. I don't think reporters are even allowed at the hunts or luncheon. They can intrude only so far on the Queen's private activities and property. It is all second-hand information or even speculation. There are several contradictory stories ...about which royals were where and when they were there. One said the Queen took Kate to the hunt...obviously based on an old photo. Next, I read that the Queen drove alone to the hunt. Another names the senior royals attending the hunt lunch but includes only the Cambridge children. No mention of James Wessex or Savannah or Isla being at lunch. If Savannah had been taken to the hunt she likely would have been at the meal that followed. So George was at the hunt (along with Charlotte, who was mentioned as being at luncheon), and Savannah was not at the hunt- because she was not named as being at the luncheon by that source. So the Kate taking both George and Savannah to the shooting story doesn't compute. Louise? Her parents were listed as being at the luncheon. A lot of creative, conflicting royal writing, it seems to me.

      I think 4 H clubs in the US have handled the topic well..the interaction of humans and animals. I know Kate has worked with several children's groups that deal with animals and outdoor life. Her Wellies have been put to good use.
      I have the catch and release (outdoors) plan for critters that wander into my house. Last night a cricket- Then I worry about them being able to find their way back to their families. I am serious. I really do that. I am not making an ironic remark about your comment, Diane, which I generally agreed with.

      I'm not British and I am not sure which traditions they feel could be eliminated and still maintain the royal façade. The process involves a lot more than just making new RO's out of porcelain instead of ivory. I am not happy about horse exploitation either. Ascot, Polo, eventing, parades... A valued horse is lost and mourned and the races continue. Horses are a huge part of the royal/aristocratic way of life. An argument for change could be made there as well. I am not sure of a grouse's intelligence, sensitivity and social and human interaction potential but I have no doubt about horses and elephants.
      I hate those hunts, too; partly because, as you remark, Diane,the participants seem to enjoy it; but the BRF and aristocrats are not the only hunters in the world. It is a complex problem. I comfort myself with the thought that grouse shooting may be more "humane" than bull-fighting, for example, as a form of entertainment. At times I think Rugby is barbaric and the athletes exploited. :+)

      Charles, as well as Kate, engage in most of those activities in your last sentence; however, they have how many pairs of leather shoes? I think fox hunting other than culling is illegal in England, by the way.
      Very tricky question--what living organisms have a right to life and which should be killed to feed, warm,clothe, or entertain other species. Don't get me started on trees..Ha!anon1


      Today, William, Charles, Harry and many others must be dismayed over poacher reports out of Botswana, which has had an extensive elephant conservation and protection program they all have supported.

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  30. I don’t think this is PR because Kate is not the first nor will she be the last woman or man to sit in the back with the Queen. Everyone in the Royal family is expected to go and see the Queen during her stay at Balmoral. Every Sunday she usually has someone different riding with her. I’ve seen everyone from Beatrice to Sophie, Phillip, Andrew and Louise and William. The only person I’ve yet to see, in recent years, in the car with the Queen is Harry.

    It’s just a ride that everyone is expected to take at some point.

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    1. The question is--at what point? No one denies many have ridden with HM. Does she decide on the basis of whimsey or could her decisions of who rides when be based upon What is going on or not going on at that particular time? The same group of her family tend to show up each year, so it probably isn't based on who is available. Why Phillip suddenly at her side at a time when the news was full of his incapacity and absence? Or Beatrice, with Eugenie's wedding a big story? What about the news on that Sunday--It was Mr. Markle and"it's all the Middleton's fault" and Harry and Meghan are visiting whoever and H&M do Australia. And, "Where is Kate?" The Sussexes reportedly named their new pup "Oz," for Pete's sake. I wouldn't say the Windsors use Machiavellian methods, but I doubt much is left to chance anymore either.
      Compare the current royal news stories with the Sunday chosen one(s) for HM's Bentley diplomacy over time.
      It isn't all happenstance and I doubt it depends on the RF member's choosing: "Oh, I think I will just hop in with Granny for the ride to church." That may actually happen for events when they are out of camera range but not when the eyes of the world are focused on them. In my opinion, of course. anon1

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  31. I’m surprised some don’t view this outfit as symbolic. Kate uses her clothes as symbolism a lot, whether it be on tour or supporting a patronage. I’ll never forget the white piping on the navy maternity dress/coat she displayed while supporting the nursing now movement. She was emulating a nurse in her outfit. It’s hard to believe and I love the BRF, but most things are not random but planned. They don’t give interviews, write books, or speak to press— especially Kate. The press pool at events have to stand a certain to distance so most conversations can’t even be heard. So using their clothes to display a feeling is a reliable outlet for Kate. Loved this post and am very interested in where the BRF will be in time.

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  32. For those who are wondering how many engagements William and Kate have so far done this year, the Royal Forums has a thread where a dedicated member keeps a tally based on the published Court Circulars, British Royal Family Engagements 2018, under the heading British Royals. So far on the 'League Table' William up to the 16th of August is at 147, between Camilla at 153 and Sophie at 139. The Queen is at 195, and above her are Charles, Anne, Edward and Andrew. Kate is at 53, Harry 95, and Meghan 28 (since her wedding). IMO William is really starting to get going, and Kate would be too but for maternity leave given how many engagements she carried out in about 4 months.

    Unfortunately I don't recall my sources, but I know I read it from reliable sources, but apparently Kate or Kensington Palace has indicated that she felt she came back too soon to work after George and Charlotte, and intends to take longer with Louis. I also understand that Kensington Palace has said she will return in the autumn. So I'm in agreement with others who are saying October. The Dutch state visit (tiaras!!! gowns!!!) is in October, and I'm hoping she'll be there. Let's wait and see.

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    1. I agree, Edythe. I think the silence from the palace regarding Kate's autumn engagements signals an October return.

      Regarding the increased formality in Kate's style, I certainly noticed it and don't think its coincidental. Most things the BRF does are not happenstance. They are huge symbol senders. Until now, Kate's Balmoral appearances have been relatively low key. Last weekend's sighting was a big departure from the norm and I don't think that was without design. The images clearly send the message that Kate is the future Queen and to expect an increased gravitas in her autumn schedule.

      Just one quick personal preference observation, if this is an indication of Kate's future look, while regal and elegant, it is also rather plain, severe and safe which will be a bit sad from a fashion watching stance.

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    2. Very interesting! I went over to the Royal Forums and found what you were talking about. Interesting forum!

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    3. Edythe,I have always enjoyed your comments and am glad you seem to be back on the royal blog scene. You usually offer an authoritative and well-written comment that clarifies a point in a discussion.


      The thing is--Catherine has continued to work during her so-called "maternity leave."
      I have questions:

      Does that site describe what constitutes an engagement? What constitutes royal maternity leave, if there is such an official designation. It is not a term used by KP/BP/CH, that I recall.
      Is that definition of engagement used uniformly with all the RF?
      Does that site state who is or is not required to do engagements and how many are required? It seems to me that one can excuse one's own adult children from royal work obligations, picking and choosing which official RF events to attend.

      If a royal makes an appearance in HM's place-which happens a lot these days- who is given credit?
      Are public and private contacts with charities counted?
      Finally, are engagements counted by day or by separate appearance and is each event during a tour counted as an individual appearance? I have seen tallies where one royal's activities (Kate's) was counted in number of days out while other's had single appearances broken into several parts and counted as multiple events. (the Queen)

      Although we can argue numbers forever and futilely, since there are no publicly available parameters, is there any way to measure and/or compare depth, quality, and value of an engagement? For example William's meeting and forming a relationship with the future King of Jordan against, say, Camilla's eating ice cream cones with Dame Judith Dench?
      Are 100 ice-cream eating engagements equivalent to 100 top diplomatic meetings?
      Do you see what I'm saying here?
      Each royal has his ice-cream moments. It is a part of humanizing the Royal Family.
      But shouldn't quality count? anon1

      Just saying: below, under blog commenting policy, "Topics we tend to avoid here: 'does Kate work enough?' " Since it almost always ends up in a frustrating, repetitive litany by each camp and since neither Parliament nor the Royal Family to my knowledge has offered any guidelines whatsoever on what "enough" is...I think that restriction is wise. anon1


      PS Jane's last few posts initially inspired some interesting comments about the near future of the monarchy, among other topics. (I now refer to my Aug. 28, 2:40 pm comment, last paragraph, specifically) Unfortunately, they were used as a jumping off point for time-worn criticisms of W&C.We've heard the Will and his hypocritical wildlife conservation notion, Cambridge parenting lapses, and Kate's lack of work--one commenter cited all three in one comment. I don't recall if we have touched on the "work-shy, reluctant William" theme yet. Or the "they say they're normal but they really aren't" theme.
      The thing is--those themes may be conscientiously held opinions for some; but the end result, intentional or not,is a steady eroding of confidence in the Cambridges as future King and Queen. Our words said alone may seem harmless but the cumulative effect of such criticisms can, by history, be devastating. To make it worse, they are often based on rumor, supposition, faulty reasoning, or out-right lies and few seem to care where exactly the ideas came from originally. I am learning that lesson myself and I don't set myself up as a standard of correctness.
      It seems the appearance of the Cambridges riding with the Queen has touched a nerve, more so in other forums than here. Some deny its significance out-right. Others compensate for the couple having a moment in the sun by citing wrongs, as though cancelling out this positive with negatives.

      I think it possible that the reaction may prove just how significant this appearance was, if considered in context and considering various elements.



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    4. Anon 2:44, thank you for your kind comments. You raise some interesting points.

      Regarding the 'quality' of engagements - who can tell us but the royals and their aides? The excellent posters of the Royal Forums have often noted that engagements that were reported elsewhere weren't listed in the Court Circular. Several royals will be at an event, yet only one or two will get a listing. Often the Court Circulars will not be updated for a day or more, and many engagements are missed. Also, we can never know how many hours are spent doing behind the scenes work, whether royal-related or not. Sometimes something comes up, such as hearing that Kate has completed a deep-sea diving certification, but unless that is revealed, we don't know of it. I don’t for a moment claim that William and Kate are on par with the head royals, the Queen and her four children, in terms of work, but we don’t know their behind the scenes work either, nor their long-terms plans and aims. They want to approach royal work differently, they tell us, yet we still hold them up against the old royal ways of doing things.

      Regarding the numbers, at the end of the year, the total engagements from the Court Circulars are reported in the newspapers, and people who know very little about it see the numbers and judge the royals based on how 'hard-working' they are perceived to be based on those numbers. So for them, I only wish to demonstrate that William and Kate's numbers are quite high this year (even though Kate has been on maternity leave); considering William quit his air ambulance job in September last year, it is at last an indication that William and Kate are moving towards becoming the 'full time' royals that people have been clamouring for. As you point out, people's perceptions can be devastating. If we are aware that William and Kate are in fact 'stepping up' in numbers, if we notice that William and Kate, especially William, are taking on more and more weighty roles, such as investitures or tricky diplomatic trips, we will not be bothered by claims that they aren’t or won’t.

      William doesn’t get much coverage unless Kate is with him or it’s particularly newsworthy, such as the recent Middle East tour. I usually only know of what he does because Kensington Palace Twitter has tweeted about it, and Royal Central tweets the scheduled engagements of the day for all the major royal families each day about 4-5pm my time. Same with Harry. He has done solo engagements recently and gets little coverage for them because no Meghan.

      One more thing: William took a gap year (2014) between his air force and air ambulance jobs, which has been greatly criticised. I think it’s worth noting that around that time Prince Philip had a number of health issues and operations, and IIRC, Princess Alexandra, cousin of the Queen, was also unwell. I also find it interesting that William leaving the air ambulance just happened to coincide with Prince Philip’s retirement. I think William and Kate have been held back in order to be available to step in when certain deaths occur, or to take over patronages (as they have begun to do, Kate getting Wimbledon from the Queen and the Air Force cadets from Philip comes to mind).

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    5. Thank-you, Edythe. You pointed out issues and facts I have either been skirting around or just did not know. It is as though you are on the mountain top looking down and I am in the valley, looking up. A matter of perspective.
      Thanks also for the info on Royal Central. I can no longer get KP Twitter (or other Twitter sites once available from Google) because I am too stubborn and leery of joining and Twitter seems to be limiting access now to members only-which requires divulging of certain personal information, I believe. With other media sites wanting one to sign away one's privacy rights (via "cookies") in order to access, I am in royal news withdrawal. Other sources available often use truth and facts in spurts of whimsey and are not to be trusted or respected , in my opinion. anon1

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    6. "truth and facts in spurts of whimsey" - I love the wording your used there, anon1! And it's so true!

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    7. Time for me to step away from the computer--I can't remember if I replied to your 12:08 comment yet, Robin. Ha!

      I wanted to add that I left out perhaps the most important question: Who decides who does what and when? I still maintain there is a central clearinghouse to juggle and coordinate and plan, under the overall supervision of HM and aides and likely with considerable kibitzing from Charles. I know the FO organises overseas tours but do they decide which royal will go? The upcoming M&H Australia tour was planned to coordinate with an event of one of Harry's charities, the wounded vets games. (I am worried about M&H traveling to Zika infected islands. It takes awhile for the virus to take hold and I believe there are cautions for both partners contemplating adding to a family to avoid those areas.) It would seem there are many factors to consider when planning even a simple engagement.
      If the individual senior royals don't do their own picking and choosing for non-charity engagements, how can one be credited or blamed for the number, type, etc.?

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  33. Well when Kate had Charlotte in 2015 the palace didn’t announce any engagement until early September. Kate had a very busy autumn 2015 with high profile events and beautiful dresses. So the August silence dosent seem unusual. I think we should start worrying if there is no engagement announced by mid September.

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  34. It might also be quite possible that Kate may simply want to be more involved in the start of the school year this year. She was so dreadfully incapacitated last year when George began school, and with Kate being such an involved parent, I imagine she will want to be there for start of year activities and to settle both the older children into their respective schools. Or are they at the same school this year? In addition, Louis is still only approximately 5 months old; so still quite demanding. I imagine Kate will also want to be there for Pippa as well. When is her due date? Life is pretty hectic for our favourite royal at the moment, so I think it's eminently sensible for all concerned that Kate's return be gradual.

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  35. Maybe Kate’s engagements haven’t been announced yet because she is pregnant with her fourth child and she is suffering from HG again.

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    1. No she’s not expecting again she’s on maternity leave until October Kensington place stated this

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    2. I doubt she's pregnant. But I don't think KP said "October" specifically. At least what I thought I read was "Fall" or "Autumn."

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    3. I cannot imagine her being pregnant again so soon. Despite her seemingly endless energy and good cheer, a 4th baby would be tough on her body. I didn't realize she is on mat leave til October, that's fantastic! I'm such a nerd about the Cambridges, its fun to cheer for them. I picked up a cookbook the other day and there is a dish called something like "Kate Middleton Fettuccini", the lady who wrote the cookbook is so, so sweet and she wrote something like "I think Kate is so lovely, and it would be fun to have lunch with her, so this is what I would serve!" I totally think they should do it. Double fangirl moment. lol.

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  36. I think all of this is so very interesting! Thank you for letting us talk about the numbers and amount of appearances Jane - I think it is a critical issue to the existence of the Royal Family, and very pertinent to our understanding of them, and the Monarchy as a whole. I wish each appearance for every royal was photographed and shared with the public. I think it's fair to expect some kind of evidence of these "appearances", and it boggles my mind why they are so invisible. Isn't the point of them to raise awareness of whatever cause or institution they are supporting? How can you raise awareness if nobody sees it, hears about it, or even knows it happened? They don't have to work actual hours at these places, they don't fill a shift, or teach a class or lead a workshop or stay for very long - so why shouldn't they be photographed when they do appear? It just doesn't make sense. I feel like we're lucky if we get photos of Kate once a month when she's working, yet it seems she's making all kinds of appearances somewhere...? I'm also curious about Bea and Eugenie - do they make appearances anywhere? I'd love to see more of them, they are such fun. I do see Harry all the time and now Meghan too thank goodness, but not Kate. :( I miss her!

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    1. I hope to see Eugenie in wedding fun! This year was supposed to be huge in Royal and sort of Royal weddings. I made a Pinterest Board after all :-D. Two weddings in Monaco, one was cancelled or postponed (Charlotte Casiraghi) and no clue about her cousin. Then of course two here... I think the Yorks are kind of doing their own thing, but could be completely wrong. But fingers crossed for as much wedding stuff as possible for Eugenie! :) I honestly think if I were Catherine right now, I would want to focus on my family, not miss any moments with all three kids. So I'm cool with not seeing her out and about as much. I'm divided on the being-photographed-while-working with a charity.I personally grew up with a strong drive to help others, to serve, not in hopes of like, building up my epic karma bank (eww, right?) but just to help and because of my personal Faith beliefs, I would have a hard time in the shoes of the RF. They do have to be seen actively doing good, like you mentioned or people yell about tax dollars being wasted. It's all confusing. BUT again, I think we have some really good people here, and they do care about others. So can Harry and Meghan do a bit more now, sure. And maybe we'll get more photos like Kate and the kids at the polo. That would make me happy.

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  37. Catherine's new secretary has probably been earning her salt and organizing a well orchastrated return. Catherine left on a high note this spring. I think that two factors are at play.
    First the debut of post wedding autumn engagements for the Sussexes may he been planned organized to let the steam out of those first engagements so that it did not seem lie a big contest out of a gate for Catherine to return and Megan to begin. They have a tour planned for October as well so perhaps they will being Catherine's reemergence in mid to late September, ease off the combined photo ops and then alternate into a good mix of appearances into the winter before the holidays. They need to handle the dual debuts well and create a harmonious mix of photo opportunities at the outset of the long life of balancing the public work of the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex.
    I would not be surprised if the first few circular entries of the Duchess of Cambridge are meetings in and around KP then more pubic photo heavy engagements. They are obviously upping Catherine's fashion game as well. She looks far more formal and regal not by accident- this is observable from the Trooping from her dress on down to the Queen's loaned jewels.
    Secondly,Charles is also reportedly very ambivalent about William and Catherine upstaging him with their long term relationship, children and youth. This is always a factor in their work.
    It's far more comfortable to him for Catherine to be seen as workshy than for her marriage to William to upstage the Prince of Wales and his past.

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  38. When will Kate return? Even Meghan doesn’t have any engagements next week.

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  39. I had no idea there were public diaries, how do you all know about activities ahead if time, before I die of curiosity?
    Anytime I read yet another person who LONGS for William to leapfrog over Charles and become HM's heir (well, first i get irritated, truthfully) but I always also tell people how glad I am that things are the way they are, and anyone who really "loves" William and his family should be glad that this sweet, likeable, stable family should have as much time as possible to be an as normal as is possible family. Sure, its exciting to think of the future,but what has made my heart glad is seeing William in this strong family with in-laws who he has a good relationship with too. I'm so glad that both William and Harry married absolutely for love, there is no reason any more to not do that.
    I haven't read comments yet, it looks a bit daunting! I can't think of anything ugly to takeaway from this blog post. Yes, things are different, and a lot of it because of who (whom?) these men married. I am such an admirer of Kate's, and I am terrible at sharing :) So when she was pregnant and then on Mat Leave, i thought, boo, will we only see Harry and Meghan now? But i think ultimately that is a good thing, having more help hopefully working on great charities that really help people means less burnout for Kate, for the whole extended family. IMHO, the way Monarchy stays relevant is by Doing Good in ways politicians can't. People were all cranky the other day that Meghan would (or wouldn't, it was like Cranky Fest 2018) bring her politics in and she and Harry would do some vague but yikes! sort of "liberal" thing. Pfft. Just as Harry has found really cool ways to NOT just be "the spare", to be boots on the ground literally in war, then very present in helping people coming back from war, often differently abled, to compete in the Invictus Games and other stuff. That is needed in the States, frankly. Dang I just kept going, sorry! I just see good stuff here - but tinged for many of us with the knowledge that we have this incredible Queen (and she really is) who is over 90. Her eldest son is 70. But they know what they're doing. "The Firm" isn't a crazy rollercoaster, it's in good hands. They have learned a lot from hard stuff and I'm always excited to see what's going on.

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