An apple-cheeked, wide-smiling Catherine Cambridge visited with school children today at Robin Hood Primary in London. It’s been a busy week for Kate. She was out on the weekend, she was out yesterday, and again today. I’m going to be a sh-t disturber here and ask you if you think she seems different in these photos, like way more relaxed. Maybe it’s just what she’s wearing. It’s also the shot of her holding on to a cup of tea while walking. Just like us! Except our paper cups aren’t so cute. I don’t know exactly what’s allowed or not but it’s definitely a much more casual vibe. And she even got on the mic, not at a podium, to say a few words to the children. 

Thank you for all of your responses yesterday to my post about Kate’s reaction to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement news. Some of you were like, she’s so boring! Others were much more sympathetic, understanding of Kate’s role and status. She is married to the future king of England and the mother of the future king of England. Meghan Markle has much less restrictions. For Kate, totally, it’s always going to be an expectation of composure over charisma. Especially since she was stepping into a spotlight that was vacated by the most charismatic woman in the world, a woman whose own charisma also became a source of pain. We could not get enough of her. She didn’t have enough to give us. And that was what William has always wanted to avoid for Kate. The goal has always been to set up the situation so that what happened to Diana would never happen to his wife.  

There’s also, of course, the expectation from those old timey aristocrats who were probably already pissy that Kate didn’t come from an old timey family. These are the judgy pearl clutchers who remain out of the spotlight but control who and what comes and goes in upper society. The way Kate presents herself is for their benefit too. That’s why she worked so hard on her accent and the way she holds herself. Even, I guess, the way she dresses. 

The question is though… how long will those old timers remain in power when power structures are being challenged all over the place? I’m not saying we’re going to see a change in their status, like, tomorrow. But there is a generation coming up that does not relate to that old timey sh-t. This is why the royal family is on Twitter and Instagram. 

They royal family of England is on Twitter and Instagram. 

These people. Who won’t write on a piece of paper that hasn’t been embossed or engraved or whatever without their seal, these people are on Twitter and Instagram. But they joined Twitter and Instagram to be of the times. And that’s been the balance of the royal family – how to be of the time but also to maintain tradition. At a certain point though, “tradition” isn’t going to matter as much as it used to. Especially not when “tradition”, by their perspective, is based on a point of view determined by class and whiteness. 

People love the Queen. Loving her is a tradition. When she’s gone, who’s the recipient of that tradition? Is it Prince Charles, who is not without his controversies? Is it Will and Kate? And do people love them enough for it to become a “tradition” that can weather the change? It’s possible. But the question is, have they connected enough with enough of the people for that to happen? This is why it’s interesting to observe both Will and Kate’s relationship with the public, their interactions, their behaviours, and their attitudes – and whether or not together they can build the kind of appeal that can generate the kind of loyalty it takes to defend a tradition.