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Polo + Wimbledon = Better Balance Between the Duchesses of Cambridge & Sussex

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Between polo on Wednesday and today's Wimbledon outing, we have gotten a more authentic look at these two princesses more balanced and authentic rapport. When Meghan joined the family, there was a fan-created expectation that the two women would be besties. In my opinion, that seemed unlikely based purely on their interests and personalities, and I felt we saw that unlikelihood ripen to reality even before Meghan and Harry tied the knot. I don't see a real desire on the part of the royals to push Meghan and Kate together anymore. They tried that tack in the first few months, and it is my opinion that it backfired rather badly. I already mentioned how uncomfortable last year's Wimbledon appearance was, and the Christmas display of happy unity was, in hindsight, a little embarrassing. What we saw from these two events is a far more realistic relationship, and more authentic, which is good for the public and good for the ladies themselves. Let's look at polo first, and then chat about Wimbledon. 

On Wednesday, William and Harry competed in the King Power Polo Challenge. Some of you missed this bulletin, but the two princes announced last year that moving forward they would play less polo, but the polo they did play would be for big money. This is a disappointing development for fans, but not shocking. It makes sense that they'll scale back on polo as the years roll on. The result, though, is that the polo they do play is an even bigger treat for us all, and a bigger family event for them, too. 

Polo is a quasi-public/private event. Obviously Harry and William are playing for charity, but their families show up or don't at their pleasure. Sometimes Kate comes, sometimes she doesn't show. Given how infrequently William plays now, I knew that both Kate and Meghan would be there and that they'd bring their children. I do think in the last few years that polo changed from a family event where the royals knew they would be photographed, to more of public engagement vibe--or at least a bit of a photoshoot thing. That's not a criticism, it is just a function of where the family is right now with the current media mood. Nevertheless, it remains a private event, and so we see a more natural and relaxed side, even if they look a little more dressed for the press. 

One thing that was clear from polo is that while Meghan and Kate are friendly, they are not chummy. There were photos of the two women interacting--they did talk to each other, and smile and laugh together--everything seemed perfectly calm and friendly, but they obviously are not close. Meghan stood the majority of the match, and she was just slightly off to the side--just a little apart with Archie. More than a few pointed out the contrast between Meghan and Kate at this match and Kate and, say Zara, or Kate and Autumn Philips at other horsey events.  

I have said it once, I will repeat: they just aren't great friends.  Meghan has not fit into the royal family seamlessly, which is not surprising. It wouldn't have been seamless in the best of circumstances. She is a foreigner married into not just a foreign family, but a royal family. I suspect the culture shock, and the culture clash, is greater than any of us have really imagined. That is a universal culture issue that any foreign woman would face. With Meghan in particular, there are the  bumps along that way that we have already discussed, which are in addition to that base culture clash. So, the body language at polo was not out of left field, it was to be expected. This isn't to say she isn't welcome, but it takes time for people from different cultures to assimilate among themselves. 

A quick note about Archie's presence. Many were surprised to see Meghan bring Archie. Kate never brought her little ones when they were that young, but again, this really is a family thing, and if Meghan wanted to bring her baby, more power to her. In years past, we would have been thrilled to see any of Kate's little ones, had she decided to bring them along. Plus, given Meghan isn't all that warm and fuzzy with her in-laws, it was nice for her to have her own little man with her to cheer on Harry. 

It was announced at the end of the week that Meghan and Kate would attend Wimbledon together to watch the Women's Singles championship. Serena Williams was competing, and as you all know, Serena is a good friend of Meghan's, so it was natural that she would attend. Kate is the royal patron, so it was not only natural, but perhaps obligatory, for her to attend. After the decidedly unsuccessful debut of these two at Wimbledon last year, the Palace did not try to shoe-horn the two into a similar situation. 

As patron, Kate arrived early enough to greet her hosts and meet some junior players. To everyone's delight, she brought her sister Pippa, who has not attended with Kate since 2012. In usual Middleton mode, though, Pippa was still as discreet as ever. After getting out of the car, she disappeared into a side door, while Kate said hello to the Chairman of the AETLC and his wife Gill Brook (the woman in blue) and headed off to do some official meeting and greeting. There is lunch in the private club room before a match (it's described in the tennis special Kate appeared in), so that is where Pippa slipped off to, and where Kate joined her before the match. 

Meghan arrived just ten minutes before the start of play, and the three women made their way to their seats in order of precedence--Kate, Meghan, and Pippa. I frankly think that a sister-date to Wimbledon was long overdue, but it was also a very strategic move to bring Pippa. She made the party of two a party of three and immediately diffused some of the pressure to maintain conversation or smiling faces. Together, they were a more relaxed and jolly party, with Meghan able to turn to either lady. They all seemed to interact with a little more ease, and it looked like a lovely day.

After the match, Meghan left, and only Kate met the champion backstage to congratulate her, before rejoining Pippa in the Royal Box for the Men's Doubles finals.  All in all, an interesting week, which revealed a more natural rapport between Meghan and Kate, even if they aren't in fact besties. 

I'll just say briefly on the fashion--Kate repeated her D&G from Canada today. I loved it on the first wear and still love it today. That color is stunning on her, and the silhouette of this dress is just fabulous. I am a big fan of those oak leaf earrings she was wearing from Asprey London, as well as that D&G Sicily bag she was carrying. Pippa's more ruffled look was a win for me, too. Her dress was Anna Mason London and she wore wedges from Penelope Chilvers. Meghan went with Hugo Boss today. It wasn't my favorite look from her, but I did like the Wimbledon White and she looked lovely and glowing. 

Kate was wearing L.K. Bennett for polo, with a Mulberry belt and bag, and wearing her Catherine Zoraida Fern hoops and Castener wedges. That pink on her is fabulous. We haven't seen Kate in an LK Bennett midi in while (can you believe I just said that?), so it was interesting to see that the dress is now a polo choice. It was a great breezy piece for the field, and as I say, fabulous color on her and fabulous color for pictures against the green of the grass. Meghan was wearing an olive dress from Lisa Marie Fernandez. Olive definitely is one of her preferred colors (remember Louis's christening?), and although it isn't my preferred color, it looks great on her. I don't like the baggy look, but she looked very comfortable and chic. One of my absolute favorite bloggers, Being Bridget, loves tent-style dresses. I follow her religiously on Instagram, and doing so has definitely exposed me to so many ensembles with this silhouette. So again, while not my preference, wear what you love, or in Meghan's case, what felt comfortable for a day under the scrutiny of a long lens. 

Over and out kids. Kate and William will be at Wimbledon tomorrow!  See you soon...