Duchess of Cambridge – Michmutters

Kate Middleton has worn $83,000 worth of clothes in 100 days

There are always defining moments in every Queen’s career, say when Elizabeth I stood before her troops at Tilbury in 1588 and gave one of British history’s most famously rousing speeches or in 1947 when the future Elizabeth II delivered her famous radio address from South Africa promising to dedicate her life to her job.

But for Kate, currently the Duchess of Cambridge and the future Queen Catherine, one of the most defining moments came on April 30 2011, the day after her wedding to Prince William, and her first full days as a bona fide member of the royal family.

Crossing the lawn at Buckingham Palace as the newlyweds made their way to a helicopter to whisk them off to start married, just what did Kate choose to wear? An $85 Zara dress.

The symbolism was clear: Kate might have snagged the prince, gotten herself a title and was now calling a palace home but she was the same woman as she had been 48 hours earlier. With one outfit she was making it clear to the world that she would do things her way of her and that despite her elevation to royal ranks, she remained firmly tethered to normal life.

It was a powerful and very canny move and a style strategy we have seen her wheel out again and again in the year since then.

So, what in the name of her extensive collection of tepid coat dresses has been going on of late?

According to my calculations, in the last 100 days Kate has worn more than $83,851 worth of readily identifiable clothes, shoes and jewellery, not including the number of bespoke designer pieces she has showcased, items that I could not find prices for or the value of. the royal jewelery she has worn. (If we added that all in we would easily be well into the six-figures, I reckon. Keep in mind too that members of the royal family cannot accept freebies either.)

What is clear if you pore over photos and details of the last three and a bit months is that over the course of the last 100 days there has been a very discernible shift in her wardrobe towards the much more costly.

Gone, by and large, are her high-street favourites, affordable pieces from mainstream British chains and in their place is an ever-growing roster of four-figure frocks and diamond earrings.

No look came with a higher price tag in this time period than her very chic, pared back ensemble for the Top Gun premiere with Kate opting for a $5,115 Roland Mouret dress, Prada heels, a $4,418 Alexander McQueen clutch and new $18,133 diamond earrings from Robinson Pelham.

While Kate did re-wear a number of pieces, most notably the white Alexander McQueen suit she first debuted during her and husband Prince William, Duke of Cambridge’s disastrous Caribbean tour and a striking Catherine Walker coat she first donned last year, these are all pieces that cost into the thousands. (There are no prices listed on the Catherine Walker website and you know what they say about having to ask how much something is…)

This is a sartorial tendency that extends to her in her off-duty hours too. Back in 2019 Kate was last photographed at the polo wearing a $740 LK Bennett dress. In July, the 40-year-old was back at watching her husband de ella working up a sweat playing a few chukkas but this time she chose a ladylike Emilia Wickstead number from the designer’s 2019 collection. Currently, a white sleeveless dress that is similar is selling for just under $2000.

Since early May, Kate has worn Alessandra Rich on multiple occasions (whose dresses start at about $2,511 and go up to more than $4,000), plenty of Emilia Wickstead, again costing in the thousands, and a variety of pairs of Emmy heels ($690 to pop) or Gianvitto Rossi pumps which come in at $1022 a pair.

The genius of Kate’s style for so long was her ability to seamlessly pair bargain items, such as the $3.95 earrings she chose for her first official event this year, with high end pieces, a perfect blend of the accessible and the aspirational.

What was so delightful about this was not just the demonstration of her fashion nous but the implication it carried; just because ella she could afford all the designer loot she could cart home from Bond Street did not mean ella she wanted to.

It all felt refreshing and just real and over the years the duchess’ regular choice of budget looks interspersed with the luxe carried with it the message that royal life had not fundamentally changed her as a person.

Which is why this emergence of this recent Kate who seems increasingly wedded to top tier labels only is a bit disquieting. To some degree I feel a certain sense of disappointment that one of the most meaningful ways she has, for more than a decade, set herself apart from the royal status quo seems to have disappeared.

(The only notable exception to this trend came on June 3 during a St Paul’s service during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations when she accessorized her bespoke Emilia Wickstead yellow stunner, which would have set Kate back thousands, and her $2000-plus Philip Treacey hat with … at $34 clutch from homegrown Australian brand Forever New.)

Maybe what I really liked about the Zara-era Kate was that every time she got out of her official car for an engagement clad in a $27 dress it carried with it a certain wonderful sense of defiance and refusal to suddenly change who she was. The takeaway: she She might have a title but she was still Kate.

One way to explain the change in her wardrobe direction might be that it reflects the repositioning we have seen of William and Kate’s image in the last year, from plucky young ‘uns to future king and queen. The runway from where they are now, as working foot soldiers of the royal family, to their coronation inside Westminster Abbey is being very clearly laid out by the Palace, driving home a message of monarchical continuity as the Queen looks shakier and shakier.

Perhaps the argument has been made that it’s fine for a workday duchess to slip into a few pounds worth of polyester but not for a queen-in-waiting. Or perhaps Kate has just grown up a bit and like women the world over is now focusing more on better quality pieces she can wear more often.

But to some degree the ‘why’ does not matter here; what does is what flow-on effect this shift might have.

On a purely functional level, Kate’s deployment of modest clothes over the years went a very long way to making her seem uniquely relatable in a way no royal WAG has before. Now, the more she chooses out-for-reach for everyone but the super-rich labels, the more she risks eroding those gains and making herself into more of a remote figure.

For William and Kate to truly ensure that the royal family remains a thriving concern, they need to seem approachable.

The danger there is obvious – central to the brand the Cambridges’ have assiduously been trying to build is that they are the congenial, normal royals, the hardworking duo happily transforming The Firm from fusty, frosty and all-too grand into a powerhouse of do -goodery.

At a time when the UK is in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis, seeing the woman who has been sold as the refreshingly normal duchess-next-door gadding about the better part of a $100,000 worth of designer duds is a potentially dangerous and certainly ill-conceived move.

Closes might maketh the man but Zara could help maketh a queen.

Daniela Elser is a royal expert and a writer with more than 15 years’ experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.

Read related topics:Kate Middleton



Kate and William at Commonwealth Games shows where Meghan went wrong

Of all the gin joints, chintzy drawing rooms, Chelsea pub back rooms, Norfolk kitchens, and private members’ clubs in the UK; of all possible backdrops for a couple of deeply illuminating royal moments, whoever would have thought the 22nd Commonwealth Games in Birmingham would be it?

The first one took place outside a train toilet. really.

Matthew Syed is a journalist and Commonwealth Games gold medal winner – for table tennis, no less. This week, he and his son Ted were traveling to the Games to catch the action and he took to the pages of the Times to recount a truly extraordinary tale about the trip.

“Five minutes before pulling into [the Birmingham station], I use the bathroom (we are traveling first class) as Ted waits outside. As I am doing my thing, I hear him talking to a woman in the vestibule.

“They continue chatting as I use the soap, then tap, then dryer. Judging by the laughter, they are having a whale of a time… By the time I am finished, we are only a couple of minutes from the station.

“’Come on Ted,’ I say, ‘we have to get off!’

“’Oh, and thanks for keeping him company,’ I say, turning to the woman waiting [for] her turn when I am stopped in my tracks. My brow furrows, my face works. ‘Kate?’ I blurt out. There are no security guards in the vestibule; not armed guards. But here is the Duchess of Cambridge, chatting merrily with my son.”

Then we get to our second moment, starring Kate’s husband, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in a chlorine-soaked aquatic center.

On Tuesday, the Duke, the Duchess and their daughter Princess Charlotte attended the swimming. While sitting in the middle of the crowd, he happily posed for a selfie with a group of Games volunteers who were seated in front of him.

Now, both of these instances could be filed under ‘Aw, aren’t they lovely?’ examples of two people who might be destined for coronations and crowns but who have not let their elevated status turn their heads.

But, this all comes after the publication of Tom Bower’s Revenge: Meghan, Harry And The War Between The Windsorsa 464-page full-frontal take-down of Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

And this week’s William and Kate stories? Those two, simple, brief interactions with the public? Well, they go a way to underscoring one of his key arguments about him, which is that Meghan’s expectations of royal life were a world away from the often unglamorous reality. Think, more making polite chitchat outside a public loo than private jets and Pol Roger.

At the heart of Bower’s book is the contention that when Meghan, clad in several hundred thousand dollars worth of couture Givenchy, made her way up the aisle of the 15th century St George’s Chapel at Windsor, she had little understanding of, or interest in learning about, the fabled institution she was joining.

Having, for so many long years, failed to claw her way out of the B-list, here she was, finally, about to become one of the most famous women in the world. The case that Bower makes is that the California native’s assumptions about what would follow were markedly different from what was, in actual fact, about to come next.

In Bower’s telling, even before the opening strains of Handel’s Eternal Source Of Light Divinewhich played as she made her way towards the altar, things were going off the rails.

Pre-engagement, when the couple was dating, Bower says that after “Harry’s demand for a dedicated female bodyguard for Meghan had been approved” that on one occasion, he met the Duke “on the tarmac at Heathrow with a police escort”.

“Meghan sped out of the airport towards Kensington. This was indeed the super-celebrity lifestyle for which she had always yearned.”

Then in the run-up to the big day, Meghan already “was confusing being famous with being a royal,” he writes. However, “the royal world is expected to be one of altruism, history, tradition and low-key patronage for no personal gain.”

Meghan’s misconception, in Bower’s reading of the situation, is that she fundamentally mistook the global fame of the royal family with Hollywood stardom, not grasping that, despite having become a Duchess and been catapulted to the highest stratosphere of stardom, she was not therefore automatically entitled to Beyonce-worthy treatment.

Take the issue of luxury gifts. Bower writes: “Palace gossip related that the publicity departments of some famous designer labels – Chanel, Dior, Armani, Givenchy and others – had been surprised by calls from a member of Meghan’s staff with a request: Meghan would be delighted if the House were to bequeath a handbag, shoes or an accessory to Kensington Palace in the near future. These items would be treated as goodwill gifts, the publicists were told. The women were puzzled by what they called ‘the Duchess’s discount’.

“In the past, their offers of gifts to Kate had been rejected on principle that the royal family did not accept freebies. Meghan’s staff, it appeared, were not worried about that rule.”

The veteran biographer writes that it would only be in 2019 that the Duchess “began to understand that the British monarchy, costing the public just £85 million ($A148 million) a year, was neither flush with money nor an invincible luxury Rolls-Royce machine. The power and influence which she assumed to have acquired from her marriage to Harry was an illusion.”

In the summer of that same year, one particular Meghan incident made international headlines. Attending Wimbledon with a couple of friends, their party de ella sat in the middle of a sea of ​​empty seats for a match, unlike when Kate regularly attended and took her place de ella in the stands, sitting in the midst of other tennis fans.

At one stage during the match, when a man sitting in the section in front of Meghan’s, got up to take a selfie of himself with the players, one of the Duchess’ protection officers “warned him about taking pictures in her vicinity,” according to the Daily Mail.

Former BBC sports commentator Sally Jones was also courtside.

“I felt this tap on my shoulder and was asked not to take pictures of the Duchess – but I had no idea she was there until then. I was absolutely gobsmacked,” Jones told the Email.

That Meghan took umbrage (or someone on her team took umbrage) at anyone trying to take her picture, despite that she had chosen to sit in a public place, where there were live TV cameras, looked all too much like suspiciously diva-ish behaviour. .

Contrast that scene with the events this week in Birmingham: In each instance, we have members of the royal family, at sporting events yet demonstrating two starkly different approaches to royalty.

At the end of the day, what William and Kate seem to fundamentally understand is that royalty is not the same thing as celebrity; it is not about special treatment, favorable seats or four-figure accessories finding their way into your wardrobe, free. It is about tedious devotion to duty no matter how repetitive or dull it might often be. (How many times do you think the Queen has asked, “And what do you do?” In her life de ella? I think we could confidently say the figure would have to be in the hundreds of thousands.)

The meat and potatoes of royal life is not swanning off to New York for an A-list baby shower held in a $100,000-a-night hotel suite but sitting through hospital wing openings and charming pensioners.

Really, HRHs are part public servants, albeit ones who don’t have to contend with home brand tea bags in the office kitchen, and part politicians stuck on lifelong hustings, forever trying to win the public over one handshake and smile at a time.

None of this is any sort of secret; none of this is insider knowledge. So why wasn’t Meghan better prepared?

One of the points that the Duchess of Sussex made during the Sussexes’ infamous Oprah Winfrey interview last year was that she “didn’t do any research about what that would mean” to marry into the royal family.

“I didn’t feel any need to, because everything I needed to know, he was sharing with me. Everything we thought I needed to know, he was telling me,” Meghan said.

That turned out to be a bit of a mistake now kids, didn’t it?

That an intelligent, educated woman would give up her career, adopted homeland, one of her dogs, and all of her friends to move across the world to dedicate her life to an ancient institution she knew nothing about defies all logic.

If she had done even a cursory Google search, she might have come across an excellent piece that Patrick Jephson, Diana, Princess of Wales’ long-time private secretary, had written way back in 2006 called “What Kate Should Know” in which he imagined what advice his old boss might give the younger woman.

Jepshon argues that the Princess would have urged Kate, that “modesty must be your watchword” and to “go easy on the conspicuous consumption”.

He writes: “Remember that living in a very big house surrounded by servants and riding in a gold carriage are all the excess that your future subjects will readily tolerate in their royal family. Don’t overlook the priceless symbolic value of Tupperware boxes, and try to develop a famous enthusiasm for turning off unnecessary electric lights.”

The piece (you can read it here) is basically a very sensible warning: Don’t let the gilded trappings of royalty go to your head. Understand the job for what it really is and get on with it.

If only Meghan had read Jephson’s piece; if only she had gone into royal life with a much clearer sense of what she was signing up for. That’s not to say ella she should have swallowed it holus bolus once she got there or not have tried to inject at least something fresh into the creaky monarchy – but forewarned is forearmed.

If Meghan had done a spot of Googling, she might also have come across the famous essay written by the journalist and satirist Malcolm Muggeridge in 1955 at the height of Princess Margaret’s fling with Group Captain Peter Townsend. In the piece, Muggeridge argued that “the application of film star techniques” to the royal family would ultimately have “disastrous consequences”.

He also said that the monarchy was “an institution that is accorded the respect and accoutrements of power without the reality”.

And, if the former Suits star had read a bit more still, she would have learned that the reaction to Muggeridge’s essay was so swift and furious it forced him out of the Garrick Club. (What a horrendous!)

Taking on the monarchy is not for the faint-hearted but joining it? That’s for people happy to take trains, make small talk with the public and to pretend to like watching competitive bowls.

Daniela Elser is a royal expert and a writer with more than 15 years’ experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.

Read related topics:Kate Middleton Meghan Markle



Meghan Markle 41st birthday: Kate Middleton and Prince William send wishes

Kate Middleton and Prince William put their royal rift aside today as they wished Meghan Markle a happy birthday.
The Duchess of Sussex turned 41 today, with the Royal Family taking to social media to wish her a special day, The Sun reported.

Sharing a photo of Meghan on their social media channels, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wrote: “Wishing a happy birthday to The Duchess of Sussex!”

Minutes later, Prince Charles and Camilla posted: “Happy birthday to The Duchess of Sussex!”

Both posts featured pictures of the duchess beaming in white as she marked the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at St Paul’s Cathedral this year.

The day saw her and Prince Harry sat at the other side of the aisle from Kate and Wills, with the seating order determined by working royal status.

It marked the first time the couple were seen with The Firm since the frosty Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in March 2020, shortly before they officially quit royal life.

They have since made a number of bombshell claims about the royals, with fears more could come in Harry’s upcoming tell-all book.

The couple made their latest UK trip with their children Archie, three, and Lilibet, one, from California – where it’s likely they’ll stay for Meghan’s birthday.

However it is not yet known how the family will celebrate, a year on from Meghan’s 40 X 40 campaign which she set up to mark her 40th.

The duchess asked A-listers including Adele and Stella McCartney, as well as members of the public, to donate 40 minutes of their time to “help women re-entering the workforce” for the project.

She promoted the initiative in a glitzy comedy video recorded at her home in exclusive Montecito.

A year on, there has still been no follow-up on the campaign, which also featured comedy star Melissa McCarthy.

This story was originally published by The Sun and has been reproduced with permission.

Read related topics:Meghan Markle



Prince Charlotte watches swimming with William, Kate at Commonwealth Games 2022 | photos

Princess Charlotte was all smiles as she watched the Commonwealth Games with her mum and dad.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took Charlotte, seven, to see the swimming at the Sandwell Aquatics Center in Birmingham, The Sun reports.

William and Kate arrived on Tuesday shortly after the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their children, Lady Louise and James.

Before the duke and duchess’s arrival, Edward, who is vice patron of the Commonwealth Games, shared a joke with former prime minister Theresa May as he entered during the men’s 1500m freestyle heats.

The duke and duchess arrived shortly after with Princess Charlotte, dressed in a striped dress and her hair done up in pigtails.

Kate, dressed in a white blazer and trousers, embraced Edward, Sophie and their children before taking her seat next to Charlotte.

The duchess was pointing and explaining things to her daughter, while William held one of the official programs.

The royals were cheering and applauding alongside the crowd for England 1500m freestyle hopeful Luke Turley.

After rolling her eyes following a comment from her father, Charlotte then cracked a smile as Turley’s heat came to close.

It’s been a very sporty week for Charlotte, who also roared her support for the England Lionesses alongside Prince William ahead of Sunday’s Euro final.

She beamed as she wished the team good luck as they prepared to take on Germany at Wembley.

Wearing a short-sleeved polka dot top, Charlotte said: “Good luck, I hope you win. Bye.”

Charlotte is currently on her school summer holidays from her $34,000-a-year Thomas’s Battersea school.

This summer may also be particularly busy for the family who are reportedly preparing to move to a house on the Queen’s Windsor estate.

This article was originally published by The Sun and reproduced with permission



Sad milestone in Princess Charlotte video

I’m going to make an argument that might make you scoff: To be born a prince or princess in

the British royal family would be a rotten fate.

Oh yes, I know about the castles, the family’s $645 million wealth and the just under $3 billion trusts which only some members hav access to, not to mention the indescribably vast collection of jewels including questionable Romanov pieces, rubies the size of quail’s eggs and that their Gan Gan owns the world’s largest private collection.

To live life, from your first squalling breath, as an HRH means nearly unthinkable privilege, far too much venison and always getting to board a RyanAir flight first.

But, it would still be a rubbish life.

Exhibit A) the video released by William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Instagram and Twitter accounts on Sunday night ahead of England’s Lioness soccer team playing in the Euro 2022 final. There the duke sat in some bucolic garden somewhere in England of the sort that Beatrix Potter would have given her best bonnet to sketch. On his knee he sat Princess Charlotte, age seven-years-old, with what looked like a plastered-on, slightly forced smile.

You can see her eyes dart off to the side, possibly to her mother the duchess who, as we know, is a dab hand with a camera. William wishes the team luck before Charlotte gets to deliver her line from Ella at the end, saying “Good luck, I hope you win, bye,” and offering a cheery wave.

It’s short, sweet and should be nothing more than a source of a few million more likes.

Except that, watching the video, something occurred to me. Here we have the future king delivering his lines with genuine warmth and enthusiasm and a small child staring down the barrel of a totally new sort of royal childhood, one where she and brothers Prince George and Prince Louis won’t just be obliged to occasionally appear. in public but will be required to help churn out the social content needed to keep the monarchy afloat.

Sure, all royal kidlets, including a cherubic Queen in the 1920s, have been rolled out to charm and delight the masses, tiny curiosities, waving gamely, that the press could slap on their front pages with glee abandon.

However, what sets the youngest Cambridges totally apart is that they are now also required to help their parents keep the pipeline of photos and videos for social media purposes coming.

Not only are George, Charlotte and Louis already expected to take part in key ceremonial family moments but on top of that, their childhoods are going to be intruded upon in an unprecedented way in the royal annals all in the name of likes, retweets and views .

You can already, clearly, see this pattern emerging if you contrast William and Charlotte at seven.

The year the prince was that age, he took part in the carriage procession for Trooping the Color and the later Buckingham Palace balcony waving session, appeared at the Beating Retreat military parade, and was photographed attending two weddings (his uncle, now the Earl Spencer , and that of the Duke of Hussey’s daughter) and alongside his brother Prince Harry on the younger boy’s first day at school.

Contrast that with the 12-months to date for Charlotte. In August last year she appeared in a Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Instagram post about a conservation effort called the Big Butterfly Count; there was the family’s Christmas card image, snapped during a private holiday to Jordan, that was shared widely; she attended the memorial service for her de ella Great Grandfather Prince Philip in March and the royal easter service in April, before the usual birthday shots of her were released in May.

Come June, Charlotte and her siblings took part in their first Trooping the Colour, did the balcony waving thing, undertook her first official engagement with her parents and George in Cardiff where she participated in an official walkabout, before taking center stage with her family during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, along with filming a video baking cakes with Kate, George and Louis.

Also in June, the Cambridge Three appeared in a sweet family shot, taken in Jordan, that was posted to mark UK Father’s Day.

Sure, the young Cambridges may never know the hell of being chased by the paparazzi, but often in the coming months and years we are very likely only going to more regularly see their small faces popping up on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook feeds. (A gambling woman would put money on William and Kate making a foray onto TikTok soon too.)

For the duke and duchess, being on most of the major platforms means they have agreed to a post-industrialist Faustian bargain. They can plug their brand of royalty – an accessible, warm and relatable one – directly to Britons via the most powerful marketing platforms ever created. The cost? They have to energetically and regularly generate the sort of personal and intimate photos and videos that are expected in these environments, that is, they are going to have to serve up their children at times.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, about 160 years ago, had the canny idea of ​​remaking the monarchy’s image by marketing their own family unit (and all nine children). This they did by releasing photos of what had hitherto been entirely personal moments such as christenings and the family on holiday. (In the 1860s, tens of thousands of copies of souvenir photos called carte-de-visites of the family were sold in the UK.)

This is a very similar strategy to the one that William and Kate are pursuing now, with their Happy Normal Family routine one of the building blocks of Cambridge Inc.

Cast your mind back to April last year when the duo released a totally unexpected departure of a video of the family gambolling on a beach, playing in a pristine garden and roasting marshmallows, to mark the duke and duchess’ tenth wedding anniversary.

The whole thing looked and felt like a commercial for a luxury station wagon, complete with atmospheric guitar music.

That was not an accident because fundamentally, William and Kate’s job comes down to the same thing a German car brand does: selling. In their case, selling the UK on a hereditary monarchy again and again to ensure it survives well into the 21st and 22nd centuries.

And, while every generation of royal parents have made their children accessible to the world via whatever the new technology of the day is, before now there was at least some sort of line between their private and public selves.

What sets George, Charlotte and Louis apart is that that distinction, that line, has quietly blurred in the last couple of years. We have seen content shot during family holidays, while ensconced on their private estates and after school in the Kensington Palace garden, shared on social media by their parents.

Obviously William and Kate are deeply protective of their children but they also have a responsibility to the monarchy too and that means embracing whatever new marketing weapons they can add to their arsenal.

Social media is a beast that must be fed and in recent years William and Kate have seriously upped their game on this front, hiring David Wakins, who formerly ran the Sussex Royal social media accounts, and launching a YouTube channel with a charming sizzle reel of sorts.

We are now served up, via the various Cambridge accounts, made-for-social content to promote their good works or news, such as when Kate was named as the Patron of the Rugby Football League and Rugby Football Union in February, with Kensington Palace putting out a sweet 30 second video starring the duchess amongst others.

These days it is hours, at the very most, after they attend any sort of engagement or event that videos and/or multiple images taken by the Cambridge team are posted, chirpily informing the world of what they have been up to and increasingly offering behind -the-scenes access.

Take their recent, somewhat disastrous tour of the Caribbean where they paid for their own photographer Matt Porteous to record their trip and where the couple’s digital team put out daily videos and photo montages.

A video of them scuba diving, shot by Porteous, to view marine conservation work was an interesting first – an official engagement conducted while the credentialed press pack were nowhere in sight and which was exclusively shared with the world via social media.

Clearly, William and Kate are devoting time, energy and budgetary resources to building up their social media presence as they inch ever closer to the throne but that is a path that involves their kids, whether any of them like it or not. (I’d wager it’s the latter.)

To be seven-years-old and on school holidays, and yet to be expected to take a break from your childhood to record a video in service of an ancient, stultifying institution? I’m not sure there are enough emeralds in the world to make up for that.

Daniela Elser is a royal expert and a writer with more than 15 years’ experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.



The Queen needs Kate Middleton needs to take less holidays

There is a strange schism when it comes to the royal family and holidays: The royals love taking lengthy stretches off from the business of the monarchy… but their holiday homes are pretty grim.

Sandringham, the Queen’s Norfolk estate where Christmas is spent, looks like the setting of a gothic horror story while Balmoral, Her Majesty’s Scottish home, was partially modeled after a Bavarian schloss. All that forbidding gray stone and all those mock medieval turrets are enough to give even the bravest of young HRHs lifelong nightmares.

And yet when it comes to holidaying, the House of Windsor are nonpareils. Princess Margaret used to jet off to Mustique and crisp herself in the Caribbean sun with egregious regularity (you could probably still catch a whiff of coconut oil long after she was back demanding whiskey in the some London drawing room) while the Queen Mother promptly bought herself a holiday castle – the Castle of Mey – and would decamp there for generous stints, far away from anything so bourgeois as work.

And unfortunately this royal tradition of holidaying like it was a competitive sport is one that William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambrdige, are eagerly carrying on. In the last 18 months they have taken nearly four months off and are currently in the middle of their roughly two month-long annual summer holiday.

While the duke and duchess are set to roll up to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this week to wave the Union Jack and prove how good they are at cheering, in a normal year, once the final Wimbledon trophy is handed over in July, it’s time to get out the Ambre Solaire, with the duo not returning to their posts until early autumn.

This year, sure June was a busy month for the Cambridges given all that Platinum Jubilee waving they had to do, but as is usually normal, in July we have only seen Kate at a charity polo match and in the Royal Box at Wimbledon, hardly a demonstration of regal elbow grease. (Any sort of ‘work’ that can be done while holding a chilled glass of Pimms hardly counts as hard graft now does it?)

August, as unusual, will see Kate disappear off the radar completely, usually only popping back up around mid-September.

Likewise, in 2021, the only official engagements that Kate undertook in July involved watching tennis and soccer, after which she proceeded to take nearly nine weeks off, meaning that from the end of June until mid-September her out-of-office was essentially on.

The same schedule also held for William, apart from two meetings about the Earthshot Prize he managed to squeeze in and one church service. Gosh, however does he manage to get so much done?

The couple have, in roughly the last year, been to France twice (for Kate’s brother’s wedding and for a skiing holiday) and to Jordan, not to mention spending time in Scotland and Norfolk.

There’s no way around it: William and Kate have a holiday problem.

And, as we all know, the first step is admitting it.

At issue here is that just because they can take months of the year off and that traditionally members of the royal family have, does not mean they should.

For years now, the couple and their team have been focused on building Brand Cambridge, that of them as a hardworking and oh-so-normal couple. Look at them, out there boldly taking the most pressing issues of the day, including mental health and climate change, and then getting home for bath time!

This is the formula that has been cooked up to try and ensure that the monarchy survives yet. The idea seems to be to let Prince Charles be, well, Prince Charles, rabbiting on about hedgerow preservation and delivering the occasional barnstorming speech about the environment and his Aston Martin that runs on white wine (really) and Britons will grudgingly tolerate him.

Meanwhile, alongside all that we have William and Kate pioneering a much pluckier, more engaged and more proactive version of royalty that also features quite the cult of personality.

Central to the nascence of Cambridge Inc. is the couple’s relatability and willingness to be vulnerable. We’ve heard Kate talk about the loneliness of new motherhood and appear on a parenting podcast while William has regularly opened up about the emotional toll that his years of him as an air ambulance pilot took on him and his grief over the loss of his mother.

These touchy-feely outings are not one-offs but a core part of their public personae, all about transforming them into the first senior members of the royal family who are viewed as genuinely human and who are in touch with the real world; who have done more than just spy the hoi polloi when peering out at the world through the window of a golden carriage. (They have one of those of course, but it’s terribly unwieldy for the school run.)

But for all the H&M dresses Kate wears, they are not a normal middle-class family, no matter how many Audi station wagons they add to their fleet and how many times young Prince George is taught how to use the self-checkout at Waitrose.

The duke and duchess can take vast swathes of time off whenever they fancy because they have complete control over their schedules, aside from key events like Trooping the Color and Remembrance Day, meaning they can spend a week on the beach, even if it is in the Cornish Isles of Scilly, rather than at their 19th century mahogany desks whenever the mood strikes.

Nor do they have, as the vast majority of the world does, have a very finite amount of leave to be carefully husbanded and can instead beetle off for some more quality time in famille, Harrods buckets and spades in tow, whenever they fancy.

But, it’s time for the Cambridges to give up this royal perk. They can’t have their nearly one hundred days of holiday per year and still go about trying to sell themselves as the Duke and Duchess of Relatability.

Every time William and Kate accidentally remind the world just how fundamentally not normal their lives are it jeopardises all the work they do the rest of the year to sell themselves as the approachable faces of the modern royal family.

There is also the fact that this pesky bad habit also serves to revive the Lazy Kate narrative that haunted her for years. Prior to their wedding, in 2008, the Daily Mail reported that the Queen thought Kate needed to get a job.

“The Queen has admitted she has no idea what Kate actually does,” a senior aide said at the time and that Her Majesty is “of the opinion that Kate should be working. She believes in a modern Monarchy and feels very strongly that the Royals should be leading by example.”

A source close to Kate said back then, “Mostly she just waits for William to come home so that they can go on another holiday.” (Ouch.)

Then there is the fact that the duo only began full-time royal duties in 2017. Diana, Princess of Wales, by contrast, was chucked in the deep end and shunted off to charm the masses in regional town centers before she had even gotten all the wedding confetti out of her hair.

What anyone worth their Walter Bagehot knows is that the British monarchy, in the coming years, is in for its greatest test since Oliver Cromwell started getting ideas. The next king is a man who garners tepid, at best, support, at a time when the royal house has suffered a series of body blows in recent years it has yet to recover from, thanks to Prince Andrew’s horrifying behavior and the seismic eruptions of Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Things for the Crown are not exactly looking tickety-boo, hence why so much is resting on William and Kate.

And yet, they seem willing to gamble all the gains they have made to take time off from their duties with the sort of enthusiasm that Margraret probably reserved for the arrival of every new 20-something barman at her favorite Mustique watering hole.

Of course the duke and duchess should get a holiday and of course they should not have to apply for leave from their manager (though the image of the 96-year-old Queen spending part of her day green lighting holiday requests from HRHs is fun) . But those crazy kids have to find some sort of middle ground between the extreme privilege of royalty and the image of them as hardworking, ordinary parents who just happen to have the keys to the Tower of London. (Yes, I know, they don’t actually have them but they could certainly get their hands on them they couldn’t they?)

It’s time for William and Kate to channel less Princess Margaret and more Princess Anne. And when it comes to the Princess Royal, the swimsuit industry’s loss has only been the monarchy’s gain …

Daniela Elser is a royal expert and a writer with more than 15 years’ experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.