Today is the tenth wedding anniversary of Prince William and Kate Middleton. To commemorate the milestone, Kensington Palace has released two new portraits of the Cambridges that were taken this week:
These shots are pretty intimate, by their standards. And a subtle nod to the day they announced their engagement with the blue theme. Here’s a refresher:
That was from the actual announcement in front the press. They also released official engagement portraits:
I’ve always liked the shot of them hugging, and how warm the colours are. The more formal one, the one where they’re shot full body looks like it’s been photoshopped, doesn’t it? Especially the outline of Will’s left side. Did we talk about this back then?
Anyway, here we are, a decade later, and Will and Kate are now parents to three kids, they’re fully activated on royal duty after spending the first part of their marriage living in Wales, and they’re clearly trying to loosen up their image with these pictures with one showing Kate mid-laugh, leaning her head into William’s neck, and the other showing them spoon-sitting on a log, holding hands at her hip, as William’s other hand seems to be resting gently on Kate’s thigh. Sexy! Lol. Like I said, for them, it kinda is. Will and Kate aren’t all that publicly tactile so the fact that these were the ones selected for release is a choice. The message here that is meant to be conveyed is that they’re close, they’re happy, and still in love. For these two in particular, this is especially important since William is expected to be king one day and, you know, stability, constancy, all that. At the same time, they’re also supposed to represent the British modern monarchy. That might be the bigger challenge. Certainly they check all the boxes for the older generations, but do they appeal to millennials and younger? These are the people who they’ll be relying on in the decades to come for support. And that support hinges on whether or not new generations give a sh-t about this story.
I was in London ten years ago today for the wedding, covering the event for etalk and CTV. It was an exciting week! I was positioned at the Duke of York Column and I saw Will and Kate on their way to Buckingham Palace after the ceremony at Westminster Abbey. Kate waved in our direction from the carriage as they were passing us and I remember how excited our producers are that we got that shot. The mood was positive, it was a Friday, it was a long weekend, everyone that I was around had a great time – it was like we just watched a fairy tale.
But think of how our conversations have changed since then – or, rather, the conversations that were always happening but that have now moved to the forefront. Institutions are being challenged, the status quo is being challenged, and we’ve been asked to consider who gets excluded from the fairy tale and who even gets to have a fairy tale.
These are the conversations that Will and Kate have to meet as they move the monarchy forward, if they can move the monarchy forward. With their image then, and these anniversary portraits are very much part of the image, this is the work that any picture they release has to do. There’s more to it than just a date. So… is it effective?