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Kate in McQueen for Engagement with Charles & Camilla

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

I am still planning to write several posts Kate's engagements that I have missed blogging about this month, but today I am just going to jump in on the present.

Today, the Cambridges made a rare joint-public engagement with Charles and Camilla. Obviously, the Cambridges and the Waleses appear at the same events all the time, but today is distinguishable in that it is a “working” engagement as opposed to, say, the four of them all at a State event at Westminster Abbey. Although Kate has done various public outings with Camilla or Charles, and William has done engagements with Charles, the two couples very rarely make this type of joint appearance together. I can’t say for certain, because my memory is faultier and faultier these days, but I think the last time they went out as a foursome was their appearance together at a Gary Barlow concert back in 2011 (below).

There has been a lot of speculation about what prompted this visit at this time. Is this a post Sussex-abdication statement? Some public engagements are months in the planning, but the Palace can whip up public engagements on short notice, too. So, without a tip from the Palace, we can't say whether this was months in the planning, or a recently planned engagement. It could be either. 

The message is clear regardless.  Whether planned recently or some time ago, this event was meant to highlight the line of succession. That is a theme the BRF started developing more aggressively last year. We saw the BRF change gears around the time of the Kensington Palace split. I think the Palace understood it had a problem with Harry and Meghan, and wherever that went—however that problem resolved itself—there was a clear consensus that the upcoming stars needed to get the spotlight in a more intentional and deliberate manner. So, I do think today’s engagement is an extension of a theme we saw developing last year, and which the Palace hammered on quite hard over the Christmas season with the slightly odd (but, I suppose endearing) Christmas pudding photo-shoot and the Queen’s speech. I don’t think we can know, and I don’t think it matters, whether it was a pre or post-Sussex abdication decision. It was a response to the broader turmoil the BRF has been facing in the last year and half. 

Today's engagement had a few moments that were particularly poignant in light of recent events. William was trying to make a basket from a wheelchair, and Charles came up behind him to help.  In that father-son moment, the reality of Harry's absence hung in the air.  Charles truly has lost a son on the public stage. 

Kate was wearing a McQueen coat and skirt in the brand’s signature military style, paired with Ralph Lauren boots and a trendy mini-purse, also from McQueen. That is the Wicca style—Kate has it in several variations. She added sparkle with her Mappin & Webb Empress pendant earrings

I actually love this look. I am a sucker for the buttoned-up military ensembles; I love them as much as Kate does. I think she has such a boyish figure (in a good sense) that she can really carry off these looks very well. Kate has narrow hips, so she can play with looks that draw focus to the waist and hips more than most.  It is a very covered-up look. One of my friends texted me and said she thought Kate could be a nun in this ensemble, since she is covered from her throat to the tip of her toes.   I think the figure-hugging element of this ensemble, because it really is, very closely tailored around her bust and hips, is what saves it from overwhelming her.  She looks very long and lean despite it all.

I love these unusual ensembles on Kate. They are edgy and fun. This is a “look.” It isn’t an off-the-rack midi dress from L.K. Bennett—no offense to L.K. Bennett. To me, these are “royal princess” ensembles that are set apart from the average wardrobe and give royal fashion an extra edge of interest and glamour. I’d rather see Kate experiment with these looks (with regularity) than parade an endless succession of high street dresses and coats. 

For me, this was a big win!

There are so many pictures like this last one. Every time these two show up somewhere Kate gives William this smiley look that seems to say, "You ready to do this royal thing?"  And he is looking back at her with a serious, "Let's go be super-stars, baby." It just makes me laugh.  Happy Tuesday, or Wednesday--whatever day it is. ;)