The Queen hosted a state banquet last night in honour of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. Can we call it a ball? It was totally a ball. A super royal ball. Royals everywhere, including Prince William and Catherine. Earlier this week, I referenced Tom Sykes’s piece in The Daily Mail about the popularity of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, as evidenced by the enormous crowds that have turned out to greet them on their first overseas tour. They’ve been a major draw, as big of a draw as Her Majesty herself, and perhaps even bigger than the Cambridges. Tom speculated on the effect that would have on William who is said to be, in private, hot-tempered and jealous, not unlike how his father used to be jealous of Princess Diana and the fact that most people wanted to see her and not him – which is why some believe that Kate deliberately dims her own shine so as not to overshadow him.
In that post, I wondered whether or not we’d see the Cambridges take their game to the next level because of this and… well… did we see this in play last night?
Kate’s wearing Diana’s earrings and the Lovers Knot tiara, Diana’s favourite. After the divorce, Diana gave the tiara back to the Queen and it wasn’t seen again until Kate wore it, for the first time, in 2015. She’s worn it on average once a year since and every time there’s a reaction, every time people talk about it, its significance, its connection to her mother-in-law.
As for the dress, it’s Alexander McQueen – and it’s hideous. That said, it had a purpose. You can’t do much in the way of fashion forward at a royal ball with this crowd and this crowd, older generation monarchs etc, would 100% be into this dress. And as ugly as it is, the dress’s most important feature is the fit. Kate is showing off her figure, like really showing it off, for the first time since Trey was born in April. Showing it off = showing that it’s back. Sometimes you pick a dress knowing that it won’t be talked about. And sometimes you pick a dress knowing that you will for sure be talked about. This dress, even though, again, it’s heinous, was chosen because it would make headlines. All of it is making headlines: the tiara, the earrings, the dress, and the brooch. The brooch is the Royal Family Order, a “personal gift” from the Queen, made of glass, bearing the Queen’s image. Kate first wore it last December.
About those headlines though – Will and Kate did not formally pose for photos. The only shots of them at the event last night were taken as they made their way into the ball. The Queen posed with her guests and the most senior members of her family in attendance: Prince Charles and Camilla.
Will and Kate would have known this. They would have known that their opportunity to be “seen” would have really been in that moment only – so they had to maximise what we saw in that moment. Check it out. Even on the royal family’s Instagram account, Kate’s photo is posted first, before William’s, in the carousel:
Same goes for on the Kensington Palace (which reps William, Harry, Kate, and Meghan) Instagram account – Kate first:
Obviously she’s the draw on a night like this because it’s a ball and because she was in a ball-gown. But the point is… Kate brought it. At William’s encouragement? To remind us of the proper ranking?
One more note about Instagram and maybe it’s nothing…
On the Kensington Palace Instagram account, look what photo they used of Harry and Royal Meghan upon their arrival in Fiji – it’s the shot of them coming down the stairs:
It is NOT the shot of them posing in the official group photo with their hosts. Wonder why. Maybe it’s nothing.