Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Kate Loves: Why 2017 Signals Big Changes for the Cambridges

In the early hours of last Thursday morning, social media was all a flurry with rumours of an "emergency meeting" at Buckingham Palace. Conjecture either Her Majesty or the Duke of Edinburgh were ill turned to rumours which spread like wildfire, and included The Sun newspaper accidentally publishing a story with the surprising headline: "Prince Philip dead at 95, how did the Duke of Edinburgh die, etc etc". Thankfully, the rumours were just that with the Palace confirming the real news: Prince Philip will be retiring after August. The statement read: "His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year. In taking this decision, the Duke has the full support of the Queen. Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying the Queen. Thereafter, the Duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time. The Duke of Edinburgh is Patron, President or a member of over 780 organisations, with which he will continue to be associated, although he will no longer play an active role by attending engagements."

Despite Prince Philip's age - he will celebrate his 96th birthday next month - the news somehow very much surprised me. The Queen has described her husband as her "strength and stay", their enduring partnership has seen him by Her Majesty's side for almost seven decades throughout the joys and sorrows of her reign. Through vast change in Britain, guiding the monarchy for decades, to painful times which saw the loss of family members, to the Queen's 'annus horribilis' of 1992 when tensions between Charles and Diana were at an all time high followed by both Prince Andrew and Princess Anne announcing their divorces, he has been by her side.  He is the longest-serving royal spouse in ten centuries. They will mark their 70th wedding anniversary in November. 70 years of marriage is an incredible milestone and is perhaps, ahead of such a landmark event in their life together, a time for reflection and a carefully considered decision on the next realistic move, which would not only be sensible but inevitable. Although the Queen intends to continue "a full programme of royal duties supported by members of the Royal family", it is abundantly clear neither HM nor Prince Philip could continue to carry out such a vigorous programme of duties. Ones which can involve long periods of travel, likely became heavily taxing. According to various reports, the decision came after many conversations with the Queen and other members of the Royal family, their children and grandchildren.

His indomitable and often unapologetic wit and sense of humour has sometimes garnered unforgiving press coverage, however, almost everyone who has met him came away with a fantastic story to tell! Under regular circumstances he would be enjoying three decades of retirement, but his unwavering sense of duty simply wouldn't have allowed for that. Throughout the course of his royal career he has carried out over 22,000 royal engagements, 637 solo overseas visits and hundreds more with Her Majesty. I think we can all agree, Philip is enormously deserving of retirement, and we wholeheartedly thank him for his decades of service. The announcement was very much a bittersweet one, as although the Queen plans to continue as she has for as long as she can, it heralds the end of an era for the monarchy... A sentence I write with more than a tinge of sadness.

In classic Prince Philip style, at an Order of Merit service at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, one of the guests was filmed saying to Prince Philip: "I’m sorry to hear you’re standing down." He replied with a smile: "Well I can’t stand up much longer." We wouldn't have expected anything less from him. :)

The fact is the news signals a period of change, adjustment and refocusing for the Royal family - and for none more so than the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Unbeknownst to the public, preparations have been underway for some months. In January, Kensington Palace confirmed Prince William would not be renewing his contract with the East Anglian Air Ambulance: "Their Royal Highnesses have loved their time in Norfolk and it will continue to be their home. From this autumn, however, the Duke and Duchess will increasingly base their family at Kensington Palace. As they have in recent years, Their Royal Highnesses are keen to continue to increase their official work on behalf of the Queen and for the charities and causes they support, which will require greater time spent in London." The statement was vague to say the least offering little insight into specific plans - for Kate's role in particular. A statement on the Cambridges moving to London later this summer was vaguely worded, too and said the "Duke and Duchess will increasingly base their family at Kensington Palace" stressing Anmer Hall "would continue to be their home".

When William joined the EAAA in 2015, it was initially very much thought he had hoped to spend several years or more working with the air ambulance. When asked about full-time duties at the time he said: "The term 'full-time royal' is bandied about quite a lot and no one actually knows what that means, but I think I can still manage to do my commitments and my responsibilities as well as I can. The Queen is still very active." With George settled in at Westactre Montessori nursery in Norfolk, William and Kate are said to have seriously contemplated sending him and Charlotte to school in Norfolk, with popular choices Beeston Hall and Glebe House School - both relatively short drives from Anmer Hall - on the list. One imagines William would have discussed it at some length with the Queen before it was decided a move to London and a full-time focus on royal duties was the right decision.

The Sunday Times reports:

'The House of Windsor knows it is heading for a watershed moment in royal history when the Queen’s record-breaking reign must be replaced by something new — something that will not necessarily be greeted with unanimous acclaim.
"I don’t think this announcement is the end of the story, more the beginning," said a senior royal source. "There may be more changes afoot." It is already clear that not all members of the Royal family may be happy with what comes next.
Buckingham Palace seeks agreement on the question: "What is the modern monarchy for?" Is it about dashing princes adopting issues of the day and using their celebrity muscle to promote solutions? Or should the royals stick to ceremony and leave issues to the professionals? And does the public understand the sometimes contrasting dynamics of separate royal households — with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, the Prince of Wales at Clarence House and the Duke of Cambridge at Kensington Palace? "We need to operate more as the ­public sees us, as one family delivering for the state," said one royal source. "This change [Philip’s retirement] is the opportunity to realign the households."'

Roya Nikkahh of The Sunday Times continued: 'Royal insiders are talking of a huge shift in the monarchy’s focus, away from what one source described as "personality-led" issues towards a more traditional ceremonial role emphasising continuity and stability — "to be a focus for the nation in national and international moments". The source added: "Some people might say that the monarchy isn’t a ­company or a personality-led organisation. The feeling is that the duke’s ­retirement means everyone must step up to help the Queen and focus more on what the monarchy is there to do, not what it can achieve by dint of who the personalities are." For William and Kate, the plan is for them to 'considerably' step up not only the number of engagements but in overseas commonwealth tours representing the Queen and participation in State Events. There is very much a feeling the time to step up and take on a significant, active role has come.'

It was a sign of things to come when William accompanied the Queen last week to welcome Her Excellency Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to Buckingham Palace. We will increasingly see HM accompanied by other members of the Royal family in what has been dubbed "Team Windsor".

Back to The Sunday Times story:

What seems to be a key part of a delicate royal equation is the nature of the transition that everyone knows must lie ahead. What exactly does a realignment of the households mean? Is this a veiled signal to Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry that they have to be careful about focusing their royal time and prestige too narrowly?
At his meeting with Buckingham Palace staff, sources said Geidt emphasised that the duke’s retirement was “an opportunity to pause, reflect and refocus as a family”. The source added: “It wasn’t draconian finger-wagging, but it was about: let’s all remember what we’re here for and what we’re doing it for; let’s make sure we’re all at the Commonwealth Day service, opening tea shops, attending flood disasters — things the public expects the monarchy to be doing.”
The source went on: “Refocusing . . . means less individual royal activity than there has been in recent times . . . big things like Heads Together [the mental health campaign launched by Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge] might be too much. As successful as that campaign was, it might be that soul- baring isn’t what Buckingham Palace is looking for . . . that must be secondary to the business of state.” It escaped no one that Geidt was obviously speaking with the full authority of the Queen.

A key challenge ahead lies in modernising the monarchy whilst maintaining its traditions and core values. I personally feel Heads Together, particularly in the weeks leading up to the London Marathon, is a fantastic campaign. Seeing our young royals get out there and speak openly about breaking the stigma, stamping out the shame element so many still feel when it comes to getting help and having the courage to speak about their own struggles, I felt we got to know them all much better and it was wonderful seeing them put their energies into such an important, often swept under the carpet area. For the immediate future, there are plans underway to continue and expand on Heads Together, which I think is very important. There's plenty of room and time for more traditional engagements whilst continuing very worthy campaign work. It's all about striking the balance within "the firm" and marrying it with forging their path. William, Kate and Harry showed us more of themselves throughout the campaign than we had previously seen in years - it truly resonated with the public and now, more than ever, the monarchy must connect with the public.

Camilla Tominey reports that, as she will be taking on more duties, the Duchess has been modelling herself on Prince Philip, telling aides "she want to emulate the way he supports the Queen while also championing the causes closest to his heart". A source said: "If you look at Kate’s approach you will notice that it is very much in support of William, first and foremost, but also about carving her own charitable path, as he has done with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and his long involvement with charities like the WWF."

I expect we'll continue to see a focus on mental health and young people but on a much larger scale alongside a more diverse range of engagements. Kate will undertake her second solo overseas trip to Luxembourg on Thursday. As part of Brexit soft diplomacy, the Duke and Duchess will visit Germany and Poland in early July before they are expected to participate in the Spanish state visit with King Felipe and Queen Letizia. These types of events will appear on their schedules with much more frequency than they have in the past. It was announced today, Prince Harry will host his first solo garden party for current and former members of the military at the annual Not Forgotten Association Garden Party on May 30. The royal trio will also host 'Party at the Palace' at Buckingham Palace, to honour the children of those who have died serving in the armed forces on 13 May.

Camilla Tominey also reports a well placed source told her it is now unlikely the Duke and Duchess will have more children:

'The Sunday Express can also reveal that the royal couple are unlikely to have any more children now they are poised to increase their official workload on behalf of the Queen, 91, and her 95-year-old husband. I would be very surprised if they have a third child. They have got a boy and a girl – there is a sense that their family is now complete and they are moving onto the next chapter in their lives.'

The latter half of 2017 will undoubtedly be a period of significant change for the Cambridges. After William and Kate married they enjoyed relative normality in Anglesey, Wales and from there Anmer Hall offered the same privacy and country life they adore so much. During a visit to Farms for City Children, Kate revealed they have hens at home and lots of eggs in an incubator: "George and Charlotte are so excited that they come down each morning and peer inside to see if anything has happened." It paints a picture of their life in Norfolk which they will no doubt miss terribly. KP has said Anmer will remain their "home" but it will become more of a weekend bolthole than their day to day residence. Prince George will begin school at Thomas's School, Battersea in September, with Princess Charlotte expected to be enrolled at the kindergarten on the same site. The "school run" will take a good 30 minutes each way. William and Kate are reportedly planning to take the school run in turns to provide as normal a routine as possible.

On the royal front, for those of us who have been following the Cambridges for years, it's very exciting to see this transition in their royal careers. They have the potential to effect positive change and bear a spotlight on causes close to their hearts like few others. It's not unthinkable to ponder the notion William could be king not many years from now, and the intervening time will allow them to fully grow into their roles supporting the Queen, and later Charles, at home and abroad. I look forward to seeing what the future brings both for the Cambridges and the monarchy.

As for Prince Philip, while he is stepping down we will still see him occasionally at events such as Trooping the Colour. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see him driving a head of state around again, as he did with the Obamas. :)

*By the way: there's been quite a large amount of coverage concerning Prince Harry and Meghan Markle over the past week. For those interested in following Meghan, I started a blog, 'Mad About Meghan', last month; it's been great fun thus far. Click here if you wish to pop over. :)*


  1. Truly the beginning of the end of an era, as you said, Charlotte.

    I hope I misunderstood what the "royal source" with the "full authority of the Queen" meant by pulling back on personality-led engagements...the monarchy can't seriously think they can continue to be aloof and removed going forward? I thought everything W, K, and H said and did for Heads Together was wonderful and enormously important for the future of the monarchy. It just seems asinine to drop the veil completely again, so to speak, especially at such an important transitional period. The monarchy has a chance to really gather itself and move forward with relevancy. I think they should come together, certainly, but if that means staying stuck in the way things have been, I believe that is a mistake. Like I said, hopefully I just misunderstood the meaning behind that whole bit.

    As it stands, it is very exciting to see the Cambridges moving into full-time royal duties.

    1. Rebecca - Sweden9 May 2017 at 22:20

      That is how I understood it as well. I hope I read it wrong, or that the source injected some of their own feelings. The younger royals certainly need to do more of the traditional stuff, or they risk losing what separates them from the other famous activists. But they also need their campaigns and that modern approach or the monarchy will loose touch with the public. It's a balancing act.

    2. No I don't think that you misunderstood. I think that the statement was the Queen putting it to WKH that she is not behind the HT campaign and wishes for them to step back, have the Crown be the face of the institution rather than the personalities themselves. All the things they seemed to object to, in the case of Diana as well.
      And I agree with you and Charlotte as well. It would be regressive to go back to the days when the monarch was an expressionless mannequin. And a mistake.
      I think it shows how old fashioned the institution really is. They are completely out of touch with modern life and the modern world.

    3. Completely agree with you, Rosman.The Heads Together campaign has been building a great momentum and is being received with incredible positivity. It makes the young royals highly relevant and it would be a great mistake to curtail the initiative. I don't know why the royals can not do things like this and the more traditional duties as well.

    4. Just a thought... If this is the way the BRF wants to go, MM might run away as fast as she can. I get the impression that she would want to have a platform for substantial issues and not just a ceremonial role.

    5. No, I think you understood correctly. I thought the same thing and was quite insulted on behalf of the trio. It might be one thing if they tried it and had little success. You could argue then, 'well, you tried, it didn't work, back to the norm.' But there was tremendous success and momentum and RELATABILITY to the royals as they walked through it. Somebody pointed out(I think here on the previous post) that the reality is, most of the 'Firm' is comprise of family members that are older and will be stepping back sooner rather than later. Why would you not capitalize on the success and support that the young royals just garnered?!

      Though, (please don't kill me) once the Queen is gone(though she is amazing) it might not be an issue. I am sure many of us have worked at a company where those at the head might not be as in touch as others might be.

    6. Erika, that's a very real consideration for Meghan and you might be right. I can't believe the palace would issue a statement like that. It is kind of surreal that they would do something like that.
      And rf, it certainly plays into what you've been saying these past years. Incredible that they do that. I hope Heads Together gets stronger and stronger by leaps and bounds. I hope they don't hold back one bit. They are the Monarchy when the Queen passes, in my opinion. And just like the public reacted when the Queen delayed her response to Diana's passing the public might react to the palace statement. Granted the Queen was using that time to console and strengthen the boy's. There is no excuse to not support Heads Together and give kudos to all who worked on the initiative.

    7. Rolling my eyes at people who believe what the media writes. Whoever wrote this article is forgetting the existence of Prince Charles, THE HEIR TO THE THRONE, who has more personal projects than the rest of the family put together. The Queen has never stopped Charles from working with things he's personally passionate about. Even though Charles has always been criticized for a lot of his projects like the environment, ect. the Queen has always bees supportive. So why would the Queen stop Will, Kate, and Harry from their own projects? Is Charles going to have to quit all of his projects too???

      This article contradicts itself...
      1. More traditional duties less personal projects
      2. Then it says Kate wants to follow in the Duke of Edinburgh's footsteps, starting her own Duchess of Cambridge Awards would be a personal project.

    8. I guess I have a slightly different take on the comment, or maybe I don't; not sure. My understanding was more along the lines that it's OK to do that sort of thing, but that it not be the ONLY thing they do. Kate's schedule is almost all her patronages. William does investitures, but neither one of them have done much in terms of opening hospitals, libraries, rail stations and the like. The boring bread and butter royal work. I think that's what she wants them to now step up and do. Harry as well. He doesn't do much of that either.

      And that everyone attend that Commonwealth service!! :)

    9. Surfer Girl, I don't think they issued that statement it is from a "source" that was at the emergency meeting. That is the source talking, not BP officially. If this is what was discussed at that meeting, I do hope others will speak up, particularly W and H to try and persuade the Queen that their efforts in Heads Together were definitely worthwhile.

      But take all the stuff from "sources" with a grain of salt. A lot can be lost in a game of telephone!

    10. SG, it certainly seems that they are using PP's retirement to give W/K/H a royal smack. And did you catch the reference to Heads Together: "...as successful as that campaign was..." WAS?!?

      Everyone involved in the charities and causes that the royal trio has embraced, should write to BP (with a cc to CH!) and offer a reality check.

    11. I agree with all of you above, I think it's astonishing that the crown wants to pull back from what the young royals are currently doing. And I echo what Erika said, I think MM makes an awesome fit for where the young royals have been going. If the crown wants to pull back and be a wall of history only doing non-essential, historical fluff then I can't see MM feeling like she has a place. I just don't see her doing ribbon cutting and tea parties with no activism.

    12. I completely agree with all of you. The obvious dig about missing the Commonwealth service was absolutely merited (and I wonder whether that was what this statement was really all about) and there is no doubt they need to step up and carry out more engagements of all kinds, but the young royals have started something special in Heads Together. This campaign has resonated with the public like nothing else for some time - the day of the London marathon was as exciting and joyous as a royal wedding day for me! If W, K and H (and M?) can really make a difference in this area, and maybe even contribute to saving some people's lives, then nobody should be trying to stop that from happening. What on earth is the point of being in a position to change things for the better if all you ever do is unveil a plaque?

      I don't think this is even about 'upstaging' one another. This is the type of initiative they should all be engaged in, together, as a family. There is nothing to stop Charles, Camilla and even the Queen getting involved in a campaign started by the younger royals. Supporting each other should go in both directions, not just upwards. I think you're right Rosman, we're beginning to see what Diana came up against. Let's hope her sons and their spouses can finally consign the stiff upper lip, stand-offish attitude to the dustbin of history.

    13. Rebecca - Sweden10 May 2017 at 13:30

      Andrew Persona5 02.20.06

      Pricilla, I don't belive everything the press write, as most people know. But this is written by Roya Nikkah, one of the most reliable of the royal reporters. I have no doubt that this is a legit source. What I do wonder though is how much of that sources personal feelings is reflected in the statement and how much is actual things that was said in the meeting. I'm also pretty certain the traditional duties article and the DoE ones are two different articles.

      Bluhare, I hope that is what they meant. But it doesn't sound like it only... But let's hope so.

    14. Rebecca - Sweden10 May 2017 at 14:44

      WHoops, the first line was not supposed to be there :P Ignore that :P

    15. rf. wow. Everyone writing to BP like that would be very effective. The cc to Charles most effective. Granted they need to also diversify and I believe they will if not inundated with taking over Prince Phillip's workload in addition to the one they each have already and later the Queen's also. Even though the Heads Together hadn't solved all mental health situations it has been a great movement to act as a catalyst for that. That is what it was intended to be. It gave people hope. Let's pray that BP doesn't dash those hopes.
      And, what is it about 'baring their souls' that bothers the palace anyway? Does it scare them for some reason? hmmmm.

    16. Zora from Prague10 May 2017 at 19:51

      I would say that it's just not the way they (at least the older/oldest generation of royals) do things, surfer girl. "Baring souls" is in stark contrast to the Queen's typical behaviour in the public. She has always tried to be reserved, not to show her personal feelings, even in very difficult situations. I don't know if she has ever been more personal than in the "Annus Horribilis" quote. I think she doesn't believe in showing emotions in the public, uncovering or discussing what is inside. She was deeply shocked by the emotional reaction of the people following Diana's death. I don't think she meant to stop W&K+H from doing things, just from going too far themselves or focusing more on e.g. HT campaign than on traditional royal duties. I believe her attitude is understandable, considering her age and lifelong customs. Of course the younger royals will have to decide for themselves how to deal with these things and I believe their way will be different.

    17. Rebecca - Sweden10 May 2017 at 20:27

      Oh, Zora. Her reaction (if it is hers) is perfectly understandable and I get where it's coming from. Doesn't mean I have to agree with her :P

    18. Zora from Prague10 May 2017 at 21:34

      Of course, Rebecca. I was rather referring to surfer girl's last two lines above (what is it about ,baring their souls...'). And I agree, we don't know if this really was her reaction.

    19. Helen H, I agree with you entirely.

      Yes, of course there should be balance, it just really sounded like the crown was giving W, K, and H a rather shocking slap for something that was really quite remarkable. The young royals are the future, so I hope they don't put a damper on such relatable events while also still doing the typical "royal" duties. I understand where the Queen is probably coming from, I just don't agree with that viewpoint. Being a stick in the mud will hurt the monarchy and its future, not help it.

    20. I wouldn't categorize W/K/H's actions/statements as "soul-baring". And in no way are they jeopardizing or replacing the more traditional aspects of monarchy; quite simply, they are acknowledging a subject that has not been discussed openly. And what they HAVE shared, IMO, just makes them appear more relevant to people. (A threatening concept, apparently.) This trio is quite capable of being straight-faced and cutting ribbons with the best of them. Unfortunately, this ability to act both royal AND human is something that "others" are incapable of; and if they cannot do it, no one should be seen to be doing it.

    21. Rebecca - Sweden10 May 2017 at 23:08

      Exactly Becca H. I agree with them needing to do more traditional stuff. That is not what I was arguing against, and I don't think most others were either. Just that it seemed like a clap back on something that I think deserve praise.

    22. Oh yes, Rebecca, I agree with you! I was more so expanding upon my original thought.

    23. The information in the article is still at least third hand. Remember the party game telephone or gossip" Originating ( Allegedly )from Queen or her assistant to "source," likely CH- it had the ring of another recent story about Charles's sons and their lack of acknowledgement of Charles's role as a father; or perhaps the source is an assistant to HM; finally we have the reporter, who has been reliable in the past but does not have a perfect record.There is a lot of wiggle room in there for slant and personal opinion and just plain mis-understanding. A reporter's story is only as good as the source.

      I cannot imagine the Queen making some of the statements. They almost have a bitter,sour grapes tone.Possibly someone who lacks in the personal charisma department. Alexandra has it radiating from her. HM has had in the past. Only a person who lacked the ability to attract personal respect and affection could dictate such words. Only someone who is rooted in the past and traditions that serve to elevate the royals as a separate entity. This simply won't fly in the future.
      I think the days of royals spending endless hours at expensive luncheons and dinners may have to be re-assessd.I was going over Prince Phillip's remaining schedule. It seemed at least 50% of it consisted of lunches and dinners. I think the Garden Show is marvelous. Charity and hospital visits can be encouraging and up-;ifting. I think with the cast of players dwindling, it is unrealistic to simply say WCH, do more stuff. The stuff needs to be thinned out. Surely there is a more efficient way to recognize various clubs and groups and encourage business.
      Rebecca, I appreciated you point about the source's possible bias. Priscilla, Charles does indeed have his finger in innumerable pies. He and most of the other senior royals have missed important functions. Obviously the source was one of those who attended Commonwealth Day. That ought to limit the possibilities.
      Finally, regarding work of WCH, this was already announced as their plan in January. I don't understand why this source comes out now and makes it sound as though this was a decision being forced upon them. There should have at least been an acknowledgement, such as: "As The Duke and Duchess have previously announced their intention..."
      The whole thing seems a PR ploy and part of a jockeying for power that will continue until someone or something puts a stop to it.

    24. I think Sir Christopher's intent at that meeting was to put a stop to it, Marie. Sir Christopher works for Her Majesty, not Charles.

    25. I think I got two different articles confused, bluhare. SG and I had that sort of day yesterday. I blamed it on the moon.
      Was it your impression that each senior royal had a rep at the meeting? And it still seems oddly timed to me, as far as what prompted a royal staff meeting to be so publically discussed-via leak, apparently. I did not see Sir C.'s name, just "a source," which may have added to my confusion. Otherwise, I stick to my opinions.
      I also was not sure what "Household staff" included. Not the chambermaid, then?

    26. Hi Marie, from what I understand staff from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Buckingham Palace were there. No household staff like maids, etc., but office staff. If I'm wrong about all three houses being there, someone please correct me. If that's true, then Charles, WKH and HM were all represented.

  2. thanks for the great post! I had a feeling you would write a new Kate Loves, and this is a great topic for it! I sent you and WKW a DM on Twitter the night the news was reporting that Price Phillip died. I was very sad when I went to bed. He seems like he is the Nation's grandfather and he will be very missed when he is gone.
    I can not wait when they officially step up their game. This has been a very quite month. I was hoping more engagements will come to lite, but maybe with Pippa wedding coming up Kate is helping with her prepare with that.

  3. The Duke of Edinburgh deserves the rest. God bless the Queen and Prince Phillip.

  4. Julie from NC9 May 2017 at 22:07

    This is a very interesting post and definitely a lot to consider for the future.

    It irritates me that someone thinks "heads together" campaign was 'too big.' I mean what kind of comment is that. It's too big that it engaged a lot of the community within the UK and aboard? Too big that the impact is to change society on a much needed topic that has for far too long been in the background? What about personal agendas are no longer the focus, then sir, you should change your perception of Heads Together.

    I completely agree Charlotte that the way they opened up to the public definitely makes them more relatable and can only help to promote the monarchy going forward.

    Enough of that, time to focus on the second half of 2017. I anticipate that the changes we have seen already will only continue in the months to come. I agree with the perception that the Cambridges have been afforded many years to focus on their family, strengthen their marriage and provide the next generation with George and Charlotte. It is wonderful that they have had this time to do so as it shows how strong they are and how much in love they are every time we see them together.

    The timing seems right for them to have this transition, kids off to school, senior royals getting older, etc. No one lives forever and the immediate future must be considered. I am looking forward to the changes after the summer break and starting on the next chapter with them.

    Charlotte I hope you are ready because that means you are going to be even busier than you are now. I wouldn't want to follow the next chapter with anyone else except you through your exceptional blog and with all the other posters.

    1. Tammy from California9 May 2017 at 22:57

      Julie, I agree with you! It almost sounds like the staunch "old" way of doing things instead of a blending of the past and the future in a way that meets today- if that makes sense. Agree with you 100%!

    2. "Charlotte I hope you are ready because that means you are going to be even busier than you are now. I wouldn't want to follow the next chapter with anyone else except you through your exceptional blog and with all the other posters." HEAR HEAR, JULIA! :)

      And, I would add that Harry and Meghan's future will also keep Charlotte extra busy with her new blog about Meghan.

      Thank you Charlotte! You're my main and go-to source for my royal family hobby. :)

    3. Rebecca - Sweden9 May 2017 at 23:18

      THat is what makes me wonder if the source might not be one of those "men in gray suits" that is always talked about around the british royals, Tammy.

    4. Julia from Leominster10 May 2017 at 06:29

      Thank's for the mention Florida Girl. I'll continue to be my opinionated self. I hope Charlotte and all of us will be very busy starting in the coming months.

      I don't think "too big" is the right description for Heads Together - more too single interest. Mental Health is unquestionably a wide cause but it can't be the only one - there needs to be a connection specific to the nation - and that's what's lacking. Hence the mention of floods and the like - William and Harry did help in the past but we have never seen Kate at anything but a memorial - unlike Diana for instance who visited those affected by the Harrods bombing. Kate didn't even appear at the 7-7 memorial. Whether one who wears her heart on her sleeve as Diana did, and the Queen Mum did, or wears it quietly like the queen does, a royal princess must represent the heart of the nation.

    5. Yes, completely possible and plausible, Rebecca.

  5. Well deserved retirement indeed! I hope there is a lot time left for him to enjoy it!

    I look forward to seeing more of William and Kate, the only sad thing about it is the unlikeliness of a third (or even more) child(ren). I really hope it's not true and that they want more children! The queen had two more children when she already was a queen, so there's hope... ;)

    1. I'm not happy about no more little Cambridges either. I was hoping.... but I'd be surprised if they do. They definitely want and should parent differently than the Queen. I suspect that with a significant increase in workload they will struggle to spend enough time with the children they already have.

    2. I'm a little sad about that bit too Anon. I used to be so sure that they would have three children, but lately I've become convinced that it's not going to happen. What with Kate's awful morning sickness both times, their changing royal roles and them both admitting recently that they've found parenting tough even with help, I think we might have to wait for Harry to provide the next royal baby (in due course, obviously) or maybe Zara (I very much have my fingers crossed for a sibling for Mia).

    3. I wonder if William and Kate may have another baby when Pippa and James begin having children. Kate and Pippa are close in age but there are several years between Pippa and their brother James. I am hoping for one more baby, and remember the Queen had Prince Edward at 38 years of age!

    4. Erika I usually like Camilla Tominey's work, she's incredibly solid, which is why I found it preposterous that she even included that. She's a mother of 3 herself, and knows full well that no one can speak to such a personal intention.

      It's usually the woman alone frankly who makes that decision. Yes it's overwhelming right now with two little ones, but as George starts school and Charlotte turns 3, turning the corner into independence, those pangs may start again ;) They may never have went away, or the door may be shut! No one knows that but Kate alone, and perhaps William! So for any "source" or reporter to write about it is laughable in my opinion.

      I desperately tried for more children, but it was not to be. But if anyone asked, I always said "oh no, I'm fine with the two I have" until it went away, because the questions became too heartbreaking. So what people *say* and what people *do* are often two different things :)

    5. Claudia, I know fully what you mean. I chose to stop at two because a third would mean a big hit to my career at that time - I did not want a big age gap between my children. So I stopped. But I feel the pangs every day. I don't regret the choice I made because my career is as important to me and I would have regretted not being able to do what I have been able, but I still feel sad about it.

    6. Julia from Leominster10 May 2017 at 15:14

      That's all true, Claudia, and another child wouldn't surprise me. But we also have to consider this could be a way for William and Kate to try to stop the endless speculation. Whether they've decided on two or may choose to have another, constantly hearing that Kate is pregnant has to be annoying and distracting (think how Diana felt constantly hearing that when she and Charles were actually estranged) so this could be a way to put a stop to such articles. Because it's almost impossible for William and Kate to come out and say they aren't having a third child. (For one thing, Kate would then fall accidentally pregnant the next week.)

      I feel for you in not having more - as someone who ended up childless - as you say it is what fate meant to be - I had a number of friends who argued with fate and tried o overcome it, some successful, more not, but I didn't. But I can only agree on questions - most tiresome, as I'm certain the speculation is for William and Kate too. This way whether they don't plan to, or think they might but want to wait a bit, they won't constantly have articles about it.

    7. Tominey's name made me sit up and take notice, Claudia. Otherwise, I wouldn't have paid it any mind considering the subject matter. Like Julia, it felt like an unofficial official announcement, if you will. Certainly best laid plans go up in smoke all too often, so there is hope. My youngest is seven years younger than his brother, so I know all about that:)

    8. Julia that's a very good point and possibility, and actually makes a little more sense now that I consider Tominey's involvement.

      Up to a year ago (as you probably know) she always played the devil's advocate with the family, particularly the Cambridges and Harry. She was really the consummate journalist, questioning everything that was put before her, not taking any information blindly. She called herself "an ardent realist" :)

      Within a year that changed somewhat, she's still a professional of course, but has been very much "Team Wales" - promoting any store or defending any dust up from the Wales point of view. Now, I should point out, that includes Charles, Camilla and William and Harry. So the family seems to be using her, and it's possible putting this out there on Kate's behalf, for the very reason you suggest. (Thank God I didn't live in the iphone/social media stage, the baby bump fever every time someone has a good meal is absurd!)

      The other interesting thing (to me) is I've thought her source was someone close to Camilla, they got particularly chummy during a tour last year. (Though the entire press corps adore Camilla.) And it definitely counters the suggestion that someone at CH wants to make W&K look bad, whoever is leaking is promoting EVERY member of the family. Tominey was one of the few to defend William quite vociferously after Verbier, with quotes that clearly came from someone quite close. (that one really shocked me to be honest)

      So maybe Camilla's trying to make peace within? Not sure. I know you don't like her but someone is feeding Tominey and whoever it is wants to see Charles and BOTH his sons painted in a good light. Take a skim through her articles for the past few monts, you'll see what I mean.

      Of course we know Gary Goldsmith has been a leaky sieve since the engagement and I believe he continues to chat and leak to the reporters, but that's another long comment for another day ;)

    9. Erika, you and Julia definitely made me rethink the Tominey involvement and look at it from another angle, and I think Julia is correct. It was probably put out there on Kate's behalf to stop the speculation and questions, at least for a little while.

      And I love your story :) What a delight that must have been!

    10. I don't think any family member trusts Uncle Gary with private information anymore, not for a long time. I doubt he is a reliable source and I doubt any reporter worth his press pass would trust him. ditto for James's brother.

    11. Once we recovered from the shock, Claudia, we were quite delighted and felt truly blessed. Of course, he's a bigger handful than the other two put together.

    12. Erika, we also had a "caboose." Seven years after the youngest. He was a handful as well, but I take complete responsibility for that. I spoiled him rotten. His sisters alternated between teasing him and mothering him. He turned out to be my rock and a joy in my old age. But still a bit spoiled.

  6. Susan in Florida9 May 2017 at 22:31

    I have a frail 92 year-old father-in-law, so I understand why the Duke of Edinburgh would like to step down. I too was puzzled by the remarks about Heads Together and ' personality driven' charities. How else are most causes brought forward ? I think Prince's William and Harry have the heart of their mother and the ability of their father to see an underserved section of society and create a program to help. I'd like to see more honest communication from the Royal Family, it doesn't lower them as humans but allows people to relate to them and their causes.

  7. Tammy from California9 May 2017 at 22:41

    A really good post Charlotte, really, really good. It really is an end of an era (and I sigh long saying that...). I don't know many people getting close to 100 years old that could carry the pace Philip has. In the US, presidents serve not even 1/8 as long as he has and enjoy secret servicemen and many other perks for the rest of their lives. He has certainly done a great job in service to his country and deserves to enjoy what he likes to do in the rest of his "Golden Years". God bless him, best wishes to him and may he carry on with a long life!

    It will be very interesting to see what roles different family members take on. I agree with what was said about tradition and stability, but I too would hate to see what the princes and princess have started with Heads Together, go by the wayside for, instead, only tradition. I agree with you Charlotte, it is a subject that has had great success because it affects everyone, not just some. I also think a reason it has had success, is because the monarchy (the princes) and the people can relate to each other (I am speaking of the princes being vocal on losing their mother and the aftermath they felt) and as you and many others have said, the monarchy has to be not only a champion for charities but also something the average-working-non-charity person can relate to, or the general public will not see a reason for it's existence. It will be interesting to see what roles Charles and Camilla take on, Will and Kate and Harry (and possibly Meghan Markle- wink, wink). It will also be interesting to see what they start to fade out and what family members will be affected.

    1. Zora from Prague10 May 2017 at 21:21

      I agree a 100% with your first paragraph, Tammy. And your wink, wink remark made me smile :).
      Thank you for a great, well-balanced post, Charlotte!

  8. On a sweet note, is anyone sending wedding wishes to PIppa? She is so pretty! And, if so, where would you send them?

  9. Theresa, from Paris9 May 2017 at 22:59

    Excellent post, dear Charlotte ! Thank you.
    I don't see why the Duke and Duchess would refrain from having a third child because of their royal duties. I would have thought the only reason why would be because of the Duchess feeling so poorly at the beginning of her pregnancies. Many other young royals have had several children (three, four ...)

    I'm delighted you mentioned your blog "Mad about Meghan" and I have already read all the posts...
    Great fun ! I am hoping for a wedding next year :-)

    1. I agree Theresa. If they want another child, they should have one. Other people manage it!

    2. Zora from Prague10 May 2017 at 20:12

      + 1, Theresa and bluhare. We had our first 2 boys 3 years apart, then a 5-year break and our 3rd boy. Once he was born, we couldn't imagine how it had been without him. I mean, feeling your family is "complete" can be relative.

    3. I don't think there's many other couples that work as much as William and Catherine and have so many extended foreign trips. I I can't imagine that Catherine as well as William really want to work as much as they do and having another child would add so much more work. Not to mention W&C are probably thrilled to be mostly out of the toddler and diapers stage and actually having more time to enjoy doing fun activities. Plus George and Charlotte are close enough in age to play well together and be there for each other when their parents are away. A third child would be at least 3 years younger if not more. Not to mention the child might not have the same docile and easy going temperaments as G&C. Not all siblings get along well, some not at all. Girls also tend to be maternal towards younger siblings. Even the queen had another child quickly after Andrew, so they grew up together.

      I would imagine that W&C have confided in Prince Charles and asked for his opinion and advice in planning their family. He seems to be firmly in W&C's corner, fighting for their desire to be hands on parents and spend as much time with their children as possible.

      I hate that W&C have to increase their already busy schedules and face so much negativity, especially in the press, for everything they don't do perfectly. Remember when Kate stepped back from her appearances when Charlotte was younger? The media and 'sources' in the palace weren't understanding at all.

      I do hope that this announcement will at least reduce the amount of 'baby bump' speculating. It's infuriating that Catherine as well as other paparazzi victims like Jennifer Anniston are monitored so closely that any absolutely normal change in their abdomens from eating and their monthly cycles is thought to be a possible pregnancy. Any woman would be embarrassed and outraged if anyone commented on the appearance of their abdomens. I can't imagine what it must be like to have to deal with shit like this all the time.

  10. "...soul-baring isn’t what Buckingham Palace is looking for." How unfortunate.

    Stiff upper lips and "keep calm and carry on" worked well enough in a pre-television world. In a post-television milieu where social media reigns and everything depends on a like and a click, BP needs to recognize and validate that its survival depends on human emotion.

    If there is no reason to be emotionally invested in the royals and the work they do, all you'd need is a strong republican government to vote them off the island. A strong contingent of them is waiting for their chance to attempt just that the minute HM expires. However, if the people are connected to and invested in the royals soul to soul it's less likely to happen.

    It's most important that the younger royals build on their present popularity and any star status they have while they are young and attractive. The Queen (and Prince Phillip) did. Now she reaps the benefit of that respect. And no, it's not the Crown the people love, it's the woman.

    1. Annette New Zealand10 May 2017 at 00:54

      Queen Elizabeth is certainly respected but she is a very limited person in some ways. Her only interests seem to be horses and dogs and I don't think she has ever been very identified with serious charities like the Wales are. I think she probably does believe that landmines campaigns and Aids charities are not "nice" and that Diana should have stuck to more ceremonial duties. I always thought that the Queen's inability to relate to people was due to shyness and the way she was brought up. The only time she has ever shown real emotion was at the decommissioning of the royal yacht! I have never seen a photograph of her hugging a child (including her own.) Other Royal families seem to have no problems revealing their affection for each other and their children or even crying on sad occasions. It makes them seem more human and we can better relate to them. What a pity that the Queen can't do the same. The new generation is a vast improvement in my opinion.

    2. Pam from Boston10 May 2017 at 11:44

      I agree completely.

    3. Please forgive my ignorance as I am not British but I have been wondering as to where William and Kate will live when William becomes king? Does that sound silly? My apologies.

      Im just wondering if it is required for a head of state to reside at Buckingham Palace or could they choose between any royal residence?

      Also, I am so happy about the new blog! I have loved Meghan ever since I started watching Suits 5 years ago. And then I loved her even more when I started following her lifestyle blog and personal Instagram account. She has such a zest for life and does wonderful charity work :)

      Love Avee in SA

    4. I also agree with you Annette. The Queen probably finds a lot of WKH's talk at HT very outlandish indeed. I don't know whether she is shy or not, but she seemed to have a very different attitude towards her children.

    5. Julia from Leominster10 May 2017 at 15:24

      I believe where they and Charles will live, remains somewhat up in the air right now - but that Buckingham Palace will remain the ceremonial location for the monarchy - as well as the business location - neither Clarence House nor Kensington Palace has that sort of room to take on that. (Not to mention the expensive renovations the palace is about to undergo would hardly be worth it, if it wasn't used for guests.) There is much talk that Charles may stay in Clarence House though, as a personal residence. It's probably too soon to speculate about William and Kate as they've barely lived in London.

      I have to disagree a little about the queen - she came to the throne so early that the whole diplomatic-ceremonial part of monarchy took over for her - all monarchs must embrace many causes and she has. However, she is very reserved, and I would like to see the sort of openness we see with other monarchies - multiple generations together -with the children involved more. However, I don't think William and Harry have that closeness to Charles - we'll see them together but how relaxed it will ever be is hard to say.

    6. I have a feeling that if the statement meant what it sounds like it meant, that W/K/H won't necessarily abide by that. William and Harry are two very strong willed men and I have always heard that William gets his way. I have a feeling that we will continue to see personal projects but they will be balanced with the ribbon cuttings.

    7. Queen of the South10 May 2017 at 21:22

      Avee, when Elizabeth became queen she wanted to stay in Clarence House (I think) and only use BP for ceremonial duties. But she was told by the government that it is important that the head of state live in the palace.
      The world has changed in the mean time, so who knows.
      Also remember that even though BP is the queens home, she seldom spent more than 3 nights a week there. So my guess is officially they will move to BP but might also prefer to spend more time elsewhere. Also depend on their childrens age.

    8. Thank you Julia and Queen of the South for explaining. It would certainly be interesting to see where they choose to live.

      I was just wondering because I see that the queen spends a lot of time at Windsor castle and hosts heads of state there. It even resembles BP a lot.

      Thank you ladies for explaining so kindly :)

      Love Avee in SA

  11. Well, well. In plain English, this means the Firm cannot afford to have the youngest and most appealing members of the family out there stealing the limelight.

    I can fully understand an announcement regarding W/K/H taking on MORE responsibilities, but one doesn't need to read between the lines to realize they are being reigned in, and certainly NOT for the long term benefit of the monarchy. It's the short term timeframe that is at stake as the emphasis will, and must be, on C&C. Let's face it, the ribbon cutting and ceremonial duties are more THEIR cup of tea and they cannot compete against what is seen as the very real and relevant causes that W/K/H have taken on.

    While I'm shocked that the statement was so blunt, the necessary strategy (as it pertains to C&C) does NOT surprise me at all. I have argued this "reasoning" on more than one occasion! :-(

    1. P.S.

      Is it a mere coincidence that W/K/H have embraced causes and a way of life that is/would be near and dear to Diana's heart? AND that, as we approach the 20th anniversary of her death, "someone" is anxious to point out that the monarchy must go in a different direction?

    2. Ha, that is spot on Royalfan. And, I wonder who that "someone" could be? LOL!

    3. rf, what you have been saying is playing out. Disgusting stuff, yeh? Like high school or junior high stuff. Uber immature, petulant and divisive.
      How will William and Harry cope with more stupid, unnecessary drama?

      Oh by the way, is the recent BBC production of "Charles III" part of all this muck? I read that it doesn't put Kate in a very good light. Do they truly think people are really going to buy that? Giving or not giving the peace sign is one thing, but to portray her as subversive is silly. What do you think about that production and the timing of it. How could Charles possibly be that insecure? Or is it all Camilla? If it is, what will she do about Meghan do you think. This silliness is unbelievable. Does anyone really want a king and ........... that do not play well with others?

    4. Rhonda - Wisconsin10 May 2017 at 01:47

      What a great post Charlotte. I really hope that the inside source is wrong about them not having another child. They make such beautiful babies!!! It will be nice to see them more, but they will really miss the country life. We will see how it all unfolds I guess.

    5. royalfan, I agree with you to some extent, but not completely. Yes, it would seem that they are being reigned in. And perhaps C&C are behind it. But I think don't think that they want the young royals to disappear. That is not what the statement says. That is not what the Queen or Charles has been saying for years. Both BP& CH have been consistent in saying that they want WKH to be doing MORE bread and butter engagements and take on Charle's own Trust.
      What this statement says are two things :

      1. Stylistically they don't want WKH to ape Diana, but rather follow the Queen's style. I think that would be a grave mistake.
      2. They don't want WHK's foundation to siphon attention and money from other royal foundations - which is what HT has been doing, is my guess. So they want HT to slowly fizzle away. Perhaps BP sees some problem with the revenue model of HT, which, frankly I have never quite understood..

      For what it is worth, there have been many many confirmations of the fact that W&K have been happy to be in the background hiding away in Wales and Norfolk. This is their first true engagement with the public. HT probably is threatening other royal ventures .. that is my guess. Hence this very public reigning in of them.
      Respectfully, I don't think that the plot is quite as nefarious as you suggest, royalfan. I know you think that Kate and William's lack of work ethic is an outcome of Charles' policy and preference but there is really no evidence of that. In fact there have been public statements to the contrary. This statement is also consistent that the grays want WKH to WORK but do the work on BP's terms, not their own.

    6. I agree Royalfan. There was an article that Charles felt left out of the Heads Together campaign because he didn't get any credit for helping his sons grieve. The article didn't get much attention. Philip was not a Diana fan during the divorce and his wish that she no longer be HRH makes me think he has gone ahead with his retirement in light of the success so far of the 20th anniversary events of Diana's death. It is clear we agree with William that the stiff upper lip approach is less helpful. I wonder if you have suggested all of this a control of younger royals is correct. And, unfortunate in my view. Personality-based sounds like Diana's approach and is considered wrong now. Thank you Charlotte for this space and your excellent approach to it all. Katherine USA

    7. Julia from Leominster10 May 2017 at 06:21

      The problem is at the end Diana was not in the monarchy so could take a different direction. When she was, she was far more active in state duties than William and Kate have been - whilst still embracing causes of the day. Diana during her working princess days would be the ideal royal role model - but it does mean doing more. She had a wide range of causes she was involved with - covering all ages, many separate issues, and many parts of the nation.

      If there is a fear of the anniversary of her death (besides the effect on Charles) I think it is the fear of questioning the need for a monarchy. I don't believe that's at all what she wanted - she wanted William to be king.

    8. Well now that explains it perfectly rf. I think you are 100% right. Very interesting.

    9. That was the most frustrating thing about her for me Julia, that she did so many things to undermine and attack (out of pain) an institution she truly revered and wanted to be part of. And obviously wanted for William.

      I remember reading a quote from someone who was at dinner with her that final year, and they made a dig about Charles, and she shut it down immediately, saying the only quarrel with him was hers, that he deserved respect and so did his position. I need to go get that so I have it exact.

    10. Royalfan nothing wrong with embracing those causes, but *not* at the exclusion of all others. Diana herself wouldn't do that, she held tradition and duty very dear. No accident that I Vow to Thee my Country was a beloved hymn since her childhood.

    11. Rosman, are they threatening "other royal ventures"..... or royal polls? ;-)

      Julia, even when Diana was married to Charles, she had a way with people that others cannot buy. To survive, the monarchy must be seen as being relevant. The traditional and ceremonial aspect of it is only half of the *modern day* equation.

      Claudia, I do not believe they have/would embrace these causes at the exclusion of others. To me, it made perfect sense for them to focus on something that was "their own" while they were allowed a few years to have a family and create a foundation for themselves. This trio, like Diana, is quite capable of doing the traditional and the not-so-traditional; the problem appears to be that this ability is threatening to those who don't have it.

      And I am more inclined to believe that *CH* objects to the trio's causes because they are impacted most directly by the younger generation's popularity and success. IMO, the Queen, at 90+ *has* learned lessons from the past and she has a better grasp of the long term success of the institution. Perhaps, once again, she is allowing Charles to have his way and going along with his wishes. It has happened before...

      Again, I fully expected and can understand a statement regarding the younger generation taking on more responsibilities, etc. But there was no need to dismiss the causes they have embraced, and successfully!

  12. It will be an interesting transition, for sure. I'm sure that all of this weighs heavily on the Queen's mind. I'm torn on the whole "personality-led" vs. "state functions" debate in terms of the role of the modern monarchy. I'm 30....and Heads Together was very appealing to me, and made me feel very connected w the monarchy, much more so than I do with a glimpse of Kate and William in a car on the way to a State Dinner that we barely get pictures of. So I think that it is important for the royals to get personal...to be personable.

    I don't like to play the comparison game, because the UK is incredibly unique (I'm American, for what its worth), but I think that the Swedish and Danish royal families have created a really wonderful balance. I feel like we know Crown Princess Victoria as both a person and as a member of the RF. Same with Crown Princess Mary. And I think it is because we see them A LOT....both at state functions AND with their families (photos, videos, events, etc.). I think we need a ramping up of BOTH state functions for W & K AND personality/family functions that let us glimpse their lives. Give us a video of George and Charlotte playing....or the Queen or even Charles taking a walk w George. Nothing groundbreaking here, but I do think they need to pull back the curtain just a little bit. And I think they can still do that while giving their children a "normal" life. No one is saying they should parade George and Charlotte around in front of paparazzi. But even William and Kate have a hard time speaking to the media. I think that is where the disconnect is. So it doesn't matter how many functions they attend for the UK, it is really about rebuilding their trust w the media and through that, the people.

    So we shall see what happens. Sorry for the long post! And thanks for this was Charlotte, it was a very interesting read. Also, am loving the Meghan blog!

    1. Hello Nina, I think that's a really good post and very well said.

    2. Nina, I your "long post". :) (short by my standards, lol.) And I agree with what you said. I think they had really tried to be more sharing recently and look what happened. They will get it sorted out. I pray they don't back down and that they do diversify also as time goes by. Again, the palace statement, to me, seemed rather surreal regarding content. Incredibly bad timing and very rude.

    3. I agree with you. I love the balance the whole Swedish Royal Family has created - a mix between traditional royals and modern people.

    4. Agree with everything you said, Nina! I'm on the cusp of turning 30 and I found the Heads Together initiative really resonated with me, also. I understand & appreciate the importance of state events, but I, too, would like to see a more 'personal' side of the monarchy.

    5. I agree with everything you say Nina.

    6. Julia from Leominster10 May 2017 at 06:17

      First of all, I agree completely - they need to give a vision of the future through the royal children. They need to demonstrate why a monarchy is good for the nation.
      I also believe they need to be seen throughout the nation and embrace a much wider range of causes that speak to more people - I've long suggested a "tour" of each county for William and Kate - the few areas they have visited have led to very successful results - because as worthy as Heads Together is, William and Kate are going to be king and queen of just young people, as worthy as foreign tours are, they aren't going to be king and queen of those nations, hopefully but possibly not even of the remaining Commonwealth nations who still have the queen as their monarch- they need to connect with the United Kingdom in a broader way - not just the home counties - not just an occasional visit to a school - truly connect. Because that's where interest is fading - amongst the young all over.

      As for whether there will be a third child - who can say - it's possible that William and Kate put that message out there because they don't plan a third child and want to tamper down expectations - it's about the only way they can do that without coming out and saying so - but it's also possible it's just another press speculation. I do think Kate's difficult pregnancies and motherhood took a lot of sparkle out of her - so it could be two is the right number for this couple (it's what William said once) as it is for many families. But two was expected for the queen and she ended up having four. (I think four is most unlikely for William and Kate because of the environmental issue with over-population which both Charles and William have embraced.)

      I agree that more open state affairs would be an excellent thing - the times are wrong to hide things away from the public who needs to understand what the monarchy is doing - I'm hoping we're seeing the start of a change there, but time will tell.

    7. I also agree with everything you said Nina.

    8. Nina NYC, your comment about seeing W& K in a car going to the state dinner made me thing. Do you remember recently the pic that was released of W & K, C & C, and HM & DoE at that event that is held every year ( it escapes my memory the name of it) They were in their black (or white) tie and tiaras. They had never released a picture before like that of this event. It makes me wonder if that was a message that the younger royals would be moving more towards the traditional functions of the monarchy but at the same time would be giving the public what they want, more pics of the younger royals.

  13. Any idea what plans are for Prince Charles? Camilla?

    1. Julia from Leominster10 May 2017 at 15:30

      My guess is they will increasingly take over the queen's ceremonial role - that at least has been the speculation. Charles already has a very full schedule so, I think the transition there will be more gradual, based almost entirely on the queen's health. For now, I believe the extension of Charles' duties will mean more overseas tours as a direct representative of the queen and taking on more of the away duties she does.

    2. Annette New Zealand10 May 2017 at 23:57

      The trouble with that scenario is that when Charles and Camilla visit countries like New Zealand, it is noticeable that they don't attract crowds of people as the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh used to do. The more youthful royals definitely attract more attention especially from the younger segment of the population. Perhaps the Prince of Wales should concentrate on Britain and the more ceremonial duties there and in Europe and leave touring elsewhere to his family. it will be interesting to see if Andrew's girls are given more of a role now.

  14. Great post! As an American, with British family it brought tear and a smile at the same time. I love that it was more than what she wore, even though I love that also. Thank you for a great post.

  15. I think one of the biggest issues will be for the two of them to spend two hours a day, 5X a week in a car ferrying kids back and forth from school. I suspect pretty rapidly they might end up driving one way once or twice a week at most but delegating driving duty to others. I drove three kids to school for over 20 years and it is a huge time expenditure. I could do it as my commute was shorter and we could combine many of the trips with going to work but for K and W with their schedules I just do not see it working for any length of time.

  16. If the monarchy is to thrive in the 21st century, and beyond, they had better not regress to waving from afar, and ceremonial duties. It was a breath of fresh air to hear William and Harry discuss their own problems in dealing with their mother's death. To be muzzled now is an unfortunate decision, and one that will resonate into the future. The monarchy should move forward, not backward into the shadows.
    Prince Philip's retirement is much deserved, albeit sad. As Charlotte said it is the end of an era, and it signals the beginning of a new transition towards the inevitable reign of Charles and Camilla. How I wish I could have said Charles and Diana. What a Queen Consort she would have been.

  17. He deserved that retirement a long time ago he deserved that good rest. As much as he do he great support From the queen For the duke and duchess cambridges and prince harry Question is the queen Is suggesting that they will have more official enagement As full time royal
    I hope meghan will step as role as not just a royal girlfriend t do some charity and not just attending polo and fliming

  18. That did not seem at all realistic to me either Ali. Couple in the fact that that daily routine is not the most secure thing to have known by the public. (not speaking anything bad over them, btw) And, since their schedules will be busier that, like you pointed out, will add to the practicality aspects. Their newbies. They don't have a clue. :)

  19. Mailing address for Party Pieces

    North Wessex Downs AONB
    Child's Court Farm
    Reading, Berks, Ashampstead Common,
    Reading RG8 8QT, UK

    Mailing address for St. Mark's Church

    North Wessex Downs AONB, off The Street,
    Englefield, Reading, RG7 5EN, UK

    If anyone wants to send a card to Pippa and James.
    Hope that helps, Anon @ 22:43.

  20. Lots of interesting points.

    I still think there's a possibility that Kate will try to get pregnant again after Pippa or Harry's wife has passed her first trimester (and the risk of miscarriage is reduced). This would allow for cousins close in age. "Cousin-twins". I think this would be very meaningful for both families.

  21. I believe there still is a chance that William and Catherine will have one more, because it has been several times Catherine wants three children.

  22. Very thought-provoking post, Charlotte, thank you. Sincere gratitude to Prince Philip, for both his amazing work ethic & witty one-liners! I will miss chuckling at those ;)
    I think it's disappointing to hear a 'source' making dismissive comments about the HT initiative. I don't want the younger royals to appear as celebrities, but I did enjoy seeing a more dynamic & 'human' approach to their roles, reminiscent of Diana.
    I don't think W&K stepping up their royal duties will affect their plans (if they have any) for more children down the line. The Queen did. I would like to see them add to their brood, but if it doesn't eventuate, I'm perfectly happy with sweet G&C. Considering Kate's age & HG, it's probably unlikely.
    I look forward to seeing the monarchy change shape & become modernised. With all due respect to Her Majesty, who has done an exemplary job of showing dedication & service to her country & the Commonwealth. I will miss her when she goes, hopefully not for a while yet :(
    Also, thank you for your Meghan blog, Charlotte. I've enjoyed reading the posts, especially about the recent developments in her & Harry's relationship. Keep up the great work & I'm sure you will get busier as time goes on. x

  23. Alejandra Campos10 May 2017 at 04:46

    Excellent post Charlotte!
    Love all your views!
    It didn't dawn on me until now, that Catherine will be Queen one day.
    Imagine that! It wasn't until now that the notion sunk in so all I have to say is Wow! OMG!
    I just cannot imagine how she must feel! :o

    Thank you for all the amazing coverage! Looking forward to many more years!
    Congratulations on every thing you do! :)

  24. Hello. Enjoyed the post, Charlotte.

  25. Julia from Leominster10 May 2017 at 06:02

    My views for what they're worth - whilst there is certainly old guard at the palace - I think these statements have been motivated by a true unease - fear may not be too strong a word about the future of the monarchy. Because it is decentralised (the competing households have always been an issue but good luck changing that) the monarchy has often been slow to sense trouble. And there is trouble: the workshy paradigm has spread from people who don't like the monarchy - to cautious monarchists like me to everyone - it should have been stopped before - and must be now.
    I believe Heads Together is a worthy and wide cause I completely support but it is only one cause - and many in the nation won't feel it speaks to them, and also it really doesn't need royalty to be a cause. That's why the diplomatic/ceremonial part is so important and it's so important William and Kate especially embrace it - without it - there's no need for a monarchy - celebrities can do what the royals did for Heads Together.
    Here's where I would love William and Kate to look to the European royals who are achieving a good balance of personal and traditionally royal causes and activities - one doesn't preclude the other but it does mean hard work.
    That's where William and Kate haven't stepped up with his private employment and her holding back. That's the trouble I've warned of repeatedly - if they had focused on royal duties and worked steadily - an engagement a week - never out of the public eye for long periods - they would be in a good position - but not doing that - coming in late - it means a huge amount more will be expected of them to shatter the reluctant-workshy William image. It's what we all face - pay now or pay later, but the payment is always due and financial interest rises as you pay later.
    I really don't believe, with respect to royalfan anyone things William and Kate have been getting too much attention - frankly they've gotten too little and gaps have led to bad publicity. If the press doesn't have royal news by engagements - they'll create it.

    1. Not surprisingly, I completely agree with you Julia.
      Both BP and CH have repeatedly said that William and Kate's schedules are up to them. This statement says that BP wants them to focus on a certain type of engagement. It is trying to control them, for sure. But it is not, anywhere insisting that William and Kate disappear. That is not what C&C want. They just don't want another Diana.

    2. I agree with you Julia and could never understand why William and Kate were so unexploited. The logical thing would have been to associate them to all State occasions from the beginning. I think it is amazing that their first State dinner was one year ago and only because Charles wasn't there. When will they be allowed to the opening of the parliament, or a common wealth meeting? I don't know the reasons for that, protocol, maybe but it wasn't a good move for the BRF not to use their popularly. I don't believe for a moment that it has to do with reluctance or laziness. They have been confined in the role of representing the Queen and government abroad by doing 1or2 tours a year.

  26. Thank you for the very informative post Charlotte!!

    I hope and wish the Duke has many more years to come and he can enjoy his retirement!!
    Meanwhile, he could have a nice conversation about what full time royal duty means with William. He could shed some light on the subject!

    I think the Heads Together campaign and putting their names and faces always help no matter what cause the royals pick. They are all worth it. Saying that it is too much, I would argue with that. Maybe the topic itself and Diana's commemoration do not help the case within the royal family.

    But I have another reading of this, what if someone wants the young royals not to cherry pick but get down to work, even if it is ribbon cutting, constant hand shaking, not just premiers, receptions or rugby.In the last 5 years, although they did both but had a lot of time on their hands too. Of course, I don't doubt they were busy with the kids and William's job. We shall see what they are up to from September.

  27. I've been a long-time follower of your blog and love hearing your thoughts and insights. I wonder... can you do a blog comparing Kate and Meghan. I don't mean in a negative, nasty way or in a superficial way. But I'm genuinely interested in how you would view these two coming together as most likely sisters-in-law. I just watched the a video of Meghan Markle speaking on stage and she's such a natural (not to mention an actress) whereas Kate's endearing nerves and rigidness on stage (or even on camera, like in the Heads Together video) is evident. And I actually wonder whether these differences will ultimately be awesome matches for their respective partners. Keen to hear your thoughts one day!

  28. First of all Charlotte, thank you so very much for the very imformative and factual summary of the new direction of the Royal Family. It will be interesting to read all the different takes on the matter that the commentators will have.

    I personally have always believed that the Queen's 90th birthday was going to be a watershed for the monarchy. I have also thought that William and Kate were allowed the time they have had over the last few years for two reasons. Firstly it allowed them time as a family. The Queen and Prince Phillip would have been only too aware of the detrimental effects of a heavy work schedule on family life. Despite a lot a adverse comment, as third in line there really was no pressing need over the last few years for a heavy work schedule for them. The second and probably more important reason is that the lighter work load shifted comment from "William and Kate should be the next King and Queen" to more adverse comments and allowed Charles and Camilla to gain some traction and to start the early phase of the transition period. That has been successful. One can see the results in some of the positive comments regarding Camilla in the media and in blogs like this. It was an essential step in the future smooth transition to a new King. I personally do not like Camilla, but we are stuck with her. I feel she could have walked away from the affair at any time and that she abdicated her responsibility as a wife and mother for status. Unforgivable.

    My belief is that William's new role will be to predominantly be the Queen's plus one, so that he can serve an apprenticeship as a future King. This is as important as ensuring the smooth transition, because I very much doubt that such lessons would be taught by Charles. Camilla loves the status and limelight and the camaraderie with the media etc and she would not give up her place so that William can learn and I expect the Queen is aware of this.

    I would also expect a much broader range of patronages and reasonably large number of patronages to be passed on to William Kate and Harry and that their role will be to meld the passion of Heads Togther and Invictus with the daily bread and butter of the patronages, and the ceremony that is the monarchy. My impression is that the trio is aware of this need. They need to appeal to the young, the old and all in betweenand to appeal in a modern manner.

    As for the rest of the family. I don't expect Charles siblings to be out of a job. To me a slimmed down monarchy has always meant no jobs for the next generation in the Firm. Peter and Zara have led the way in this respect. Apart from any family ill feelings the British government and people have made it quite clear that they do not want to fund an inflated monarchy. And if one thinks about it neither of Princess Margaret's children, who were in exactly the same position as todays young royals, had any official roles. Perhaps if Prince Andrew had managed to keep his marriage together things might have been different for his girls, with a natural progression to some of their parents patronages. It is difficult for the girls to be neither fish nor fowl. Beatrice with her dyslexia will have problems with any job that involves reading. She is is actually well suited to charity work and one can only hope that she finds a position in that area.

    I will be following with interest to see how it all unfolds.

    1. Julia from Leominster10 May 2017 at 15:42

      I tend to agree with you - I think retirement will gradually ease out the Gloucester and Kent cousins (they are all well past retirement age now) and that Anne (try to stop her) and Edward and Sophie will continue to be active. Probably Andrew too - although there has been so much damage to his reputation, that the royals will be wise to accept reality and not push that too much.

      As you say, the next generation - i.e. Beatrice and Eugenie won't be involved. In hindsight, I believe Charles was wrong (as he has been in many things) and that a "streamlined" monarchy has put too much pressure on too few people who may not want to take on that much. As causes aren't embraced by royals as patrons, they will drift to other patrons, such as celebrities (no cause goes away because they don't have a royal patron) and the purpose of the monarchy as representing all the good that is done in the nation may be diminished. Once again, I'll point out like a harping Cassandra that behind every tree planted and ribbon cut, there are people excited to see a royal family member and to have their cause - great or small - honoured. To me, that is the heart and soul of the monarchy - and watching the European monarchies -that's what they're doing - visiting hospitals, attending conferences, meeting citizens. When something goes on in the nation, one of them is there - I see nothing old-fashioned in a broad representation like this - it is a way of being involved in the nation you are head of.

    2. Zora from Prague10 May 2017 at 21:01

      A very good comment, alimai, and very interesting points. Thank you!

  29. Charlotte I wonder if I could ask you if there is any truth in the rumours swirling around social media that Meghan has a deal with the media company involved with Suits and her photo ops are aranged with them and if she has an appearance arrangement with some clothing companies sort of like Zara's with Landrover. It has interested me that the only Canadian photos tend to surface only when Harry is about to be there. One would presume she goes to yoga most days, but no photos most days. Also what role does the British government have in approval of the choice of marriage partner for someone as close to the throne as Harry, who is next in line after the Cambridge family. Could they veto? I would presume there would have to be a secret service appraisal on potential partners, as there are a lot of issues of state outside considerations in a normal marriage.

    1. Julia from Leominster10 May 2017 at 16:04

      Several factors I can think of. Harry will need the monarch's permission to marry. This is a formality normally - although in other nations, there have been instances where there hasn't been approval. This requirement used to extend down the line of succession. Now - I believe due to the Perth Agreement - it just covers the top royals - but it still does affect Harry. I don't see this being a problem.

      As it stands now - Harry and Meghan could not have a church wedding in England as she is divorced - as Charles and Camilla did, they could marry civilly and have a blessing. Or they could have a church marriage in Scotland as Anne did. I doubt exceptions will be made for this because it would offend so many people who have been barred from church weddings because they are divorced. (In practice, parishes aren't always consistent.)

      Behind the scenes - Meghan is going to need to adjust to royal life - because Harry is a second son this will matter a little less - but because of multiple things she's not going to have a smooth ride - being American and being an actress are two huge detriments.

      For now, I tend to think we are jumping ahead - Harry was with Chelsy longer than he's been with Meghan - I think public eagerness for him to marry could push things too fast - that like Sophie, Meghan needs to be a girlfriend for a time before becoming a wife.

    2. Orange County Grandma10 May 2017 at 17:08

      I do believe the British Government does not have a say into who Hsrry can marry. But he does have to get the approval from the Queen.

    3. I don't know, Julia. I fail to see being American or an actress as huge detriments. Not even small ones. A good many Americans added their DNA to the British gene pool and/or their wealth to the aristocracy to good effect.

      Being an actress is no longer a profession for a woman of dubious reputation or to be maligned as it was in Victorian or Edwardian times. In many ways the skills of an actress would help adjusting to the RF enormously--delivery of lines/speeches, improvising, taking a role (full of protocols in being a believable princess) on a global stage, glad-handing and ribbon cutting.

      In Meghan's case, her connections to the UN and other charities would easily dovetail with those of the RF. From my perspective being American and an actress is win-win. Being bi-racial makes it even better. Diversity arrives at Buck House. Awesome.

    4. Amen, Philly. Just hope the "suits" wouldn't stifle her. I do agree, Julia that being a girlfriend for awhile would be ideal. I truly think the palace encouraged William to date Kate for as long as he did. They didn't want anymore divorce drama. But if Meghan wants children, they can't dilly dally around too long. That is, if Meghan doesn't take a copy of the palace statement, stomp on it and bolt. Perhaps they were sending a message to Meghan also, who knows.

  30. Heads Together was a great campaign but I also understand where the Queen might be coming from. The young royals are limited to telling people to start conversations about mental health but they have no say in the public policy side of mental health, for example they cannot decide how much government funding is allocated to the programs they have been promoting. I'm afraid this means that the campaign may not really be able to do much more than it has already done i.e. getting people to start conversations, because that would go beyond the royal role of not expressing any political opinion. Perhaps the Queen does not want the young royals to indirectly highlight to the public how limited their role really is. Just my two cents.

  31. Excellent post, Charlotte! You are doing a great job, as always!!!

    There are times, when a stiff upper lip can prove helpful. It protects me from always having to share my sorrows, thoughts and worries. But it also reminds me that as long as I can dive into the day, take the tube to work - do something meaningful, think occasionally happy thoughts AND comment on Charlotte's blog, then I've already won the biggest prize of them all; no famine, drought, war – no ocean to cross or dread.

    My main issue with the W/K/H sharing project is that what they are sharing are all healthy reactions to life changing situations, and they have all the help (and the finances, and the connections) to get through it. I felt that their talk around that table was too orchestrated – strange, even. Heads Together is a huge project; initiating discussions about Mental Health means following up: is it even possible to get help when you need it? Are we talking about lending an ear, or lending an arm (and a leg).

    Death in the family, unemployment, birth of a first child – all tough processes, but these are not Mental Health issues unless they lead to depression or lack of control. Serious Mental Health issues require serious strategies and funding: housing, health care, trained and motivated staff…. the list is long and expensive. But W/K/H cannot comment or criticise public policies. So they are left scratching the surface; revealing more surface to orchestrate a chat about; stick a pint in each of these three's right hand, and that chat could quickly be called 'having a moan'. I can understand how this easily worries the Head of the Firm.


    1. Rebecca - Sweden10 May 2017 at 13:39

      I get what you mean, but mental health, as they have highlighted, doesn't just mean bad mental health or mental health issues. But talking about how your feeling to prevent issues. Dealing with your feelings and events and be aware of your own mental health, if it is good or bad or if you see any signs. So them speaking without having actual mental health issues, is actually a big part of their message. Having mental health talks be a natural part of your conversations, when it is good and you're feeling good but also when you are low or something bigger is going on. That way, some mental health issues can be avoided, and those that can't be avoided can be supported and shared instead of pushed into the shadows.

    2. That's a really interesting perspective Heidi. Thanks for sharing. I had not thought about it at all. Perhaps you are on to the real reason.

    3. I agree, Rebecca.

      I think you summarized the essence of Heads Together and their thrust behind it PERFECTLY.
      yay. :)

      I think their picnic table talk was very helpful and even though some thought it a little stilted it was a huge first step in being real and showing people their human side more. No wonder the palace apparently wasn't comfortable with it. It lessens their control of the trio quite considerably when you think about it. Think about it. :) And of course it makes the trio very much more relatable in my opinion. Nobody fully relates to puppets. (hopefully)

      They can easily integrate Heads Together with the more "bread and butter" things, opening hospitals, etc. and I believe they will. Those things are not mutually exclusive. The door into the lives and personalities of the Royal family needed to be sincerely opened. I pray it doesn't get slammed in their faces. W/K/H don't let that happen. Fight back. You are your mother's sons. Fight back. Please.

      I think the trio certainly have the intelligence and discernment on how much to effectively share and when without even coming remotely close to being maudlin or endangering national security. The subject of Diana was germaine given the timing of that conversation and given the fact that the boys loss and grief was shared with the whole world. For them to comment on it now seems not only logical but desirable and fruitful.

      It isn't just a smack on the hand really. To me, it is about freedom of speech. It is about being a real person and not a puppet.

    4. Hello Rebecca :)

      In my opinion your comment did what they failed to do in the campaign, connect the dots between mental health and mental illness. I said at the time, I felt they deserved a lot of credit, but I believed a bridge was missing, especially when William and Kate spoke.

      Life throws challenges at all of us every day. That doesn't mean any of us are mentally ill. For example: "I had a steep learning curve after George... BUT... fortunately I had a lot of help and close family to talk to so I didn't spiral into trouble as happens to many women."

      If someone with a platform is going to share, it has to be concrete, there has to be meat on the bone. Otherwise it's just celebrity oversharing and becomes noise. And when you try to make *everything* about mental illness, it does lessen the real plight of what truly ill people are struggling with. So it's really counterproductive.

      As I said at the time, William and Kate should maybe stick to the promotion element. Harry's interview on the other hand was very specific and rightfully earned a lot of praise.

      The Times piece clearly stated the Queen was proud of them and their initiative, I think it took an uncomfortable turn for her that maybe she wasn't expecting. It was also frankly a lot thrown to the wall in a short period of time, which was a questionable PR strategy if nothing else. And, I sense the Queen feels the family is there to bring attention to the plight of *other* people, not to showcase your own. (That's a cardinal rule in journalism 101 too, but too often today reporters want to become the story as well.)

  32. Pam from Boston10 May 2017 at 11:54

    I very much hope it's not true that William and Kate will not have any more children. After all, while large families are not as common as they used to be, many couples juggle two careers and several children, and without the financial support that William and Kate have. I have four children and believe me, it's not easy and sometimes I do wish our financial and emotional resources weren't spread so thin, but the joy and love and companionship my children give to me far outweigh any negative aspects of a large family. I would think that because Kate grew up close to her sister, and William grew up close to his brother, that they would want to have at least one more to provide a same gender sibling to at least one of the two children they already have. I just don't happen to believe that that having one child of each gender completes a family. Many people do, I know, but I'm hoping William and Kate agree with me!

    1. Lovely sentiments Pam :)

    2. I was/am hoping they have another child simply to give a bigger support system to their children. George and Charlotte have quite a future ahead of them that only they will truly understand and share. Another sibling would help them even more in my opinion!

      But I also realize my opinions on someone else's reproductive choices are not called for :)

    3. Pam from Boston10 May 2017 at 18:37

      Yes, N from USA..everyone has to make their own choices and do what's right for them. As much as I would love tons of grandkids, two of my daughters have already told me they don't think they want children, and I tell them that they should do what makes them happy. My comments regarding William and Kate are selfish on my part....I am just enjoying little George and Charlotte so much.

      I do agree also about siblings providing a support system. I've had this discussion with a coworker recently...she and her husband have one small child, age 3, and she would like to have another fairly soon so the siblings will be close in age. The problem is that her husband does not want to have another because he loves the child so much and wants them to be able to give their full attention to this one child. However, my belief is that while you may think you are benefitting your child by giving them your full attention, it is far better for them to have siblings, as companions, as friends, as a support, and also as a way to learn teamwork, sharing, and that one is not the center of the universe!

  33. We've been chatting about these topics over at Mad about Meghan, which has been great fun, thank you Charlotte for always accommodating our conversations!

    I am repeating myself, but I think the Heads Together bit wasn't intended as it came across. Typical bungling comment by a royal or their staff, that leaves you going, huh?

    They have had too much mental health in their calendar, I've said that repeatedly. Yes they are down the line so have some freedoms, but in my opinion they can't focus on one thing to the exclusion of all others, and that's what the Queen feels. Their calendars desperately need variety. It's a country of 66 million, there are many things to represent. They need variety and levity frankly.

    I also suspect, because I know the Queen so well ;) that she doesn't care for the feast or famine approach they take to scheduling. Steady, regular work is important for many reasons, the visibility alone is crucial. This could be a bit of reining them in, and a bit overdue really. I think they were given a lot of leeway in the beginning but no one imagined they would take advantage to this degree. They're not kids anymore.

    I don't doubt the Queen *could* be a bit frustrated that Diana never seems far behind, even after divorce and death. But because William and Harry picked a cause that even a blind man could see had to hit close to home, it was hard for them *not* to speak up. BUT... I don't think that was handled very well. Just talking about mental health is good, absolutely, but the message was muddled at times. Harry had a very frank interview, that was good, but too often William and Kate were just mentioning regular life challenges that have nothing to do with mental illness, and not connecting the dots. They should have stuck to basic promotion. Their comments were the ones that often ended up being lampooned.

    They are not the first people to enter a firm and think they can reinvent the wheel ;) There are certain things that must be done to keep the wheel moving. My fear is they don't see that. But they desperately need balance, combining some great new ideas with the traditional roles of monarchy. Those traditions make people feel British! If the public feel the royals are just any other celebrity family, then forget it. We can all pack up now.

    1. Orange County Grandma10 May 2017 at 17:01

      Claudia. So you know the Queen. How lucky you are...lol. I have yo disagree with you regarding W,K & H on their mental health campaign. There is never to much talk about mental health. If you have never suffered from or know anyone who suffered from mental health you don't understand how this helps them. I suffer from depression and have friends that have other mental issues. We all find that the royals getting people to talk about it helps. And for them to talk about their issues lets us all know they are human. I for one do not think the Queen would ever tell them to stop talking about it. There was an article I read the day of the race that said the Queen was very proud of the three royals for their campaign on mental health.
      I think these three did a wonderful job bring this cause to the forefront. I sure hope they continue with this cause.

    2. Annette New Zealand11 May 2017 at 00:32

      I was intrigued by your comment about traditional activities making people feel British. In fact the Queen is the sovereign of very many people who are not British and don't feel the same way as British people do. My own New Zealand extended family is a combination of those with Irish, Scots, Cornish, Swedish, Italian and Polish roots. We have also intermarried into our own Maori indigenous people. So we try to foster an interest in all these cultures in our grandchildren. If the Royal family is concentrating on reinforcing the British traditional role it may alienate itself from the rest of the Commonwealth and it is well known that the Commonwealth is very important to the present Queen. It is significant that it is no longer known as the British Commonwealth.

  34. There are several reports that the Philip announcement is actually a dry run for a similar announcement with the Queen. I've never subscribed to that notion, but these pieces did make interesting points.

    The sense was that the Queen and BP, primarily Geidt, feel a smooth transition from Elizabeth to Charles will be best for continuity, that a sudden death or "retiring" of both the Queen and Philip would be too jarring for the nation. But that the idea was for Charles to be in control by his 70th birthday. An abdication was not entirely ruled out, though Charles becoming Prince Regent was more likely.

    The Queen's death will be like nothing most living Brits have ever experienced, it has repeatedly been predicted to be the most disruptive event in Britain in 70+ years. Just 20 years ago the Queen herself saw how a large national outpouring of emotion was channelled in different directions, how she (unfairly in my mind) became the target. I think she understands there's no telling how that emotion could be swayed at her death.

    So for the first time I actually think there might be something to this. Remove the emotion and you just have a sensible, very business like transfer of "power". That sounds more like Her Majesty frankly, doesn't it?

    And I think the Queen herself might say, I know I declared my whole life whether it be long or short, but honestly I didn't think I'd live this long!

    1. I think that makes a lot of sense, Claudia. HM is the only monarch most of us have known unless you were born prior to 1952, and her death will be a huge shock. Having Charles as de facto regent, whether called that or not, will mitigate the emotion if people are used to seeing him in her stead.

    2. I agree Claudia and will add something that will shock many of you.I think the Queen's longevity ( or the fact she would never abdicate) hasn't been a good think for the BRF. It definitively has been difficult for Charles and indirectly has taken its toll on William. Add to that that the Queen doesn't share much, neither power nor jewels.Compare with queen Beatrix, who did shower her daughter in law with tiaras and abdicated when she felt her son was ready, having taken him by the hand for years, allowing him to participate in her institutional life.

    3. Julia from Leominster10 May 2017 at 16:16

      I don't believe the queen will ever "retire" and the announcement that went with Philip's requirement made that fairly clear - but it is quite possible that many if not most of her duties will be assumed by other family members - Charles presumably taking those closest to being a monarch. If something dire happened, such a stroke or severe ill health - I agree a regency is more likely in my opinion than abdication.

      I also don't think an abdication is likely when Charles assumes - he has waited too long. But I do believe the European monarchies are showing the strength that abdication can give - in Spain and Belgium (where it was motivated in part by scandals but still has proved to be a strong rejuvenating force) and in the Netherlands where it is traditional. There seems also a likelihood in Japan and we know it has happened with the papacy. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Scandinavian families but they all have very relatively young, dynamic and active heirs.

      I would not like to see the queen abdicate - her reign is so closely linked to the nation that it is special - few people can remember when she wasn't queen. However, I think it would be acceptable for Charles (if not too likely) and may be quite likely for William to abdicate for George one day. I actually believe that would be a positive thing - allowing a monarch to take in his or her prime - and getting rid of this long waiting period that has burdened Charles and left an uncertainty about William.

    4. Tammy from California10 May 2017 at 17:00

      That last bit you wrote Claudia was very cute and probably true!!

    5. Natacha, I agree with you and Queen Beatrix certainly represents a blueprint for how it should be done, but I do not see it happening in the BRF.

    6. I have always wondered if, pehaps, Queen Beatrix wouldn't have stepped down had her son not died. She seemed tired and just done after that, rightly so.

    7. I don't think the queen will abdicate in favor of Charles, but I can easily see him taking her place at functions. When people are used to seeing him representing his mother, I think the loss of her will not be as keen.

  35. royalfan, following up on your suggestion "to storm the palace" (with letters), :)

    Prince Charle's mailing address

    Clarence House
    London SW1A, 1BA

    The Queen's mailing address

    Buckingham Palace
    London, SW1A, 1AA

    Kate's mailing address

    Duchess of Cambridge
    Kensington Palace
    London, 1 NC, 4P6

    pens out. ready, set, write....... :)

    Heads Together


    every journey starts with the first step :)

    1. LOLOL. SG, I love it!!! :-) Can you imagine?!

  36. Correction. Please Note. That's W8 4PU for Kate.

    (I was looking at the wrong numbers.)

  37. P.S. That address for Buckingham Palace can,
    obviously, be used to send a "Thank You/HappyRetirement" card/note to Prince Phillip also.
    (hint, hint, :) )

  38. Who is Geidt? And is The Times accurately interpreting whatever he said to a gathering of royal staff? If so, why preach to the staff? Also, wouldn't the strictures The Times describes also apply, for instance, to the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and projects of The Prince's Trust and the Duchy of Cornwall? If opening tea shops is the chief purpose of royal public outings, why do the members of the family lend their patronage to so many hundreds of charities and other associations?

    I suspect the Queen will hold onto her responsibilities as long as she is able to, especially the constitutional aspects of her reign. She might cut down on standing and walking.

    1. Rebecca - Sweden10 May 2017 at 20:33

      Exactly on the questions, Patricia. Which is why my speculation that these comments are more the interpretation from the staff that was the source (based probably with a few of their own thoughts) rather than quotes that were actually said at the meeting. It was probably talk about realigning the houses and probably also talk on how they should divide up things (more traditional stuff to the younger ones etc) but the way it was said sounds like interpretations made by the staff who is the source. At least that sounds like the most likely case to me.

    2. Zora from Prague10 May 2017 at 21:17

      "Sir Christopher Edward Wollaston MacKenzie Geidt KCB KCVO OBE (born 17 August 1961) has been the private secretary to Queen Elizabeth II since September 2007." (Wikipedia; I didn't know either :) )

    3. I think you have to remember a couple of things. First, parsing the comments is particularly counter productive in this instance, he is clearly trying to send a larger message, look at the bigger picture of what he's trying to say.

      As Charlotte said, Geidt speaks with the full authority and knowledge of the Queen, it might as well have been her on the dais. From everything I've read, which is quite a lot, the quotes are fairly accurate.

      It's not that opening tea shops is the "chief purpose", note everything he said:

      "Let’s make sure we’re all at the Commonwealth Day service, opening tea shops, attending flood disasters" and MOST IMPORTANTLY THIS LINE: "things the public expects the monarchy to be doing.”

      Opening tea shops would be what has been often been belittled and dismissed as "ribbon cutting". This is a pet issue of mine, I find it incredibly insulting. This is how you connect with the communities across the UK, support local charities, instill good will. It's why a US politician goes all over creation and shakes hands and eats BBQ and all the rest of it. It is CRUCIAL for the royal family to be in the communities, attending events that are important to THAT community. I cannot stress this enough.

      The Commonwealth Service, well, that speaks for itself. That was a colossal, fool hardy mistake for all the obvious reasons, as has been said to death.

      And flood disasters - Charles is usually excellent with this, William stepped up after the Westminster attack as well. The royals MUST MUST MUST embody the national mood. I am tired of typing this :) but they must console in times of grief, be cheerleaders in times of pride, and always fly the flag to promote Brand Britain.

      This is the most basic formula for royal work and the success of a taxpayer funded family. It's what the public expects of the monarchy. ( I don't doubt like politicians Geidt has internal data that confirms all this ) Many of the things mentioned come under these umbrellas, the Prince's Trust promotes communities and local business, same with the others. That's not to say new work, different work can't be added, but you cannot forget the key acts that the taxpaying public expects. As I said in another post, if that fails we might as well all pack up now.

      Speaking to the staff is so they go back to work at their "base" and know what is expected from HQ. So whatever role they have in contributing, whatever influence they have at base, they keep the "mission statement" from HQ in mind.

      Also I found William's comment in that interview ridiculous, right up there with "whatever in love means" - of course he knows what full time royal life looks like, he has excellent examples all around him.

    4. Claudia, totally agree. They have to do the work; that's what was being communicated and any intra family competition/whatever you want to call it needs to stop and everyone be united in support of the monarchy as a whole and not just your individual projects.

    5. Thanks, Rebecca, Zora, and Claudia. You can perhaps imagine that I am more than distracted by all that is in the news on my side of the Atlantic, but still I am trying to follow this discussion. Your explanations are excellent. I am a bit surprised that criticism of Heads Together is implied, or that is the interpretation, after all the praise. It is a slightly heavy subject, but one would have thought so much needed that criticism from the palace would not be immediate and public. That seems a bit heavy handed, and both unkind and unproductive.

      There are lovely pictures of Sophie Wessex in Norway attending the King and Queen's 80th birthday celebration. Apparently the Wessexes will continue to attend to royal social events on the continent, while William and Catherine are being asked to undertake diplomatic missions over there. Interesting.

    6. Claudia. I hate it when I get ready to publish I lose it all. I would make this short and sweet. Your many post have been excellent. Well done. I hope you are one of those who writes to all of those provided addresses.

  39. My very personal opinion is that one of the hidden reasons that W & K haven't done more engagements is that then there really WOULD have been a strong movement to have Charles bypassed for William. For a long time many people (well the people I was aware of) in Great Britain and even the Commonwealth did not want Charles as King period. But he has been so visible the last few years that he and Camilla have worn people down. And as William hasn't stepped up, people have said "oh well, Charles will do for the royal duties."
    However I do think that once he does become King there will be a much stronger scrutiny of the monarchy. He has no mystique, no positive history like the Queen (bravely carrying on through tragedy and all that.) And for a younger Great Britain and the Commonwealth, that could be problematic. The Brexit issue is a real unknown but my U.K. friends are more concerned about how the politicians will handle it than the monarchy.
    C & C will be in Kilkenny tomorrow and I have no interest whatsoever. If it were W & K or Harry I would have braved the traffic closures. And of course if it were the Queen. I saw her about 60 years ago when I was a child. Have never forgotten that experience. But personally I feel that C & C are neither exciting nor majestic. I saw them in Edinburgh several years ago. So that is fine by me.

  40. Lynn wearing rose colored glasses10 May 2017 at 18:23

    I want to bury my head in the sand and totally ignore the fact age is taking its toll. I am no where near ready for the big changes that are coming even if that means seeing more of Kate.

    I want Queen E. to be Queen forever. ;-(

    1. Zora from Prague10 May 2017 at 21:37

      Lynn, I share your feelings. 😥

    2. Love the handle again Lynn :)

      And I agree, though the changes are coming whether we're ready or not!

    3. Me three. I hope the Queen has her mother's genes...and then some!

  41. Queen of the South10 May 2017 at 21:48

    My opinion is that either the source or the journalist was reading way too much between the lines. If the queen wanted to reign WKH in, she would do it in private, so I would bet it doesn't come from the queen.
    However, it could still be true that she is worried that everybody in the family is having their pet projects. One thing that always bother me of the BRF is that it actually doesn't seem like a family. Everybody is doing their own thing.
    Even with HT, it was a WKH project not a BRF project. I would have loved to see the rest of the family show some support, but also see WKH support some of the other projects like DoE awards.

    1. To me "family" does do their own thing and people have their individual pet projects. The Queen herself said separate interests were a key success in her long marriage. They also need separate interests to cross the breadth of society.

      Also, keep in mind H&W have no cousins working for the BRF. And I don't think B&E will support things if they aren't being $upported.

      However, I will say it would have been nice for Charles to do *something*, even small, to publicly show he supported the HT initiative. It shows him supporting his sons's & C passions, as well as supporting his kids being so honest about their struggles. But he didn't

    2. Having different interests does make sense to me when you consider that THREE generations qualify as senior royals. The more interests, the more causes they can help. Ideally, anyway. ;-)

    3. Perhaps the Queen has tried to do so in private and it hasn't succeeded. This reads to me like they haven't taken the hint, and it is now time to make a public declaration that things must change. The fact is she had her right hand man at that meeting talking to staff. Philip is retiring, the void needs to be filled and petty infighting needs to stop.

      Isn't that normally how you address problems? Try to work it out with the person; hope it does. If it doesn't and the person still doesn't get it, you lay it out in clear terms. If THAT doesn't work, you have a staff meeting that reiterates company policy and indicate a crackdown will be happening.

  42. Such a simple concept and so perfect QoS.

  43. Late to the party but here's my take - there isn't anything else William, Kate, and Harry can do for Heads Together Campaign. I thought Harry's conversation with Byrony was HUGE. But he can't keep having those conversations. The whole point on reaching out to get help is to move on and grow. Further, they were helped along with the attachment to a major sporting event - they won't have that link in the future and they can't top it. Finally, it is my understanding that the NHS has cut funding for the very thing they are promoting. This has huge political implications and they may have created a demand problem, where the supply can't keep up. And they never considered the consequences of that. So this announcement, gets the three off the hook, and the Queen is taking the hit for it. That can't keep campaigning for a cause, the government has cut the budget for.

    Everything else is just distraction. The "personality" projects are not in line with the government agenda. That's a problem. That can end the monarchy pretty darn quick.

    1. I think you are quite right, Moxie. And I agree about Harry's participation.

      Plus I understand there are parameters for charities to get the Heads Together money, like matched funding.

  44. It's a known fact that the courtiers, or "men in gray suits" have historically had tremendous influence on how he monarchy is run, and particularly on the Queen herself. In watching "The Crown" it was a rather sad and alarming theme. The queens secretary was portrayed as a rather diabolical and hateful man who basically ran her life, and was responsible for the Princess margaret heartbreak, among other things.
    My question is "Can't these people be fired??" As soon as the Queen is gone,maybe the whole lot of them should go with her.

  45. It is my hope that with the retirement of the DofE that this doesn't signal a downturn in his or HM's health. They both have good genes but the need to go do things for the country also gives them the exercise, both physical and mental, to remain fit. I hope they can enjoy more down time with each other. As for the others, Charles has always been busy. I believe William and Harry have been given the space to stretch their legs a bit and be a bit more normal. But, the time is nigh to put away childish things, and fly their flag. You have been given immense privilege- if you want to keep it, you gotta work it. I thought the Heads Together campaign was brilliant. Mental Health can be a niche for the younger generation. What's wrong with that? If you are passionate about the charity, you're that much more engaged. I do wish the Cambridges would have one more baby but they still have time. I am excited for the future. Change is scary but necessary. But sometimes you come out the other side in a much better position!

  46. I'm thrilled that Prince Philip is finally 'retiring'. He has definitely earned some rest. I know that Queen Elisabeth promised to serve her country for her entire life, but I wish that she, too, felt like she could step back as well and enjoy her and his remaining years together in peace. I'm American, but my mother's family is originally from Britain, and I have always loved the British royal family as if they were my monarchs.

    I think that the rest of the royal family can take over and do a splendid job. I think being more open, like WCH were with the recent mental health outreach is the best way for the royal family to evolve and thrive in the 21st century. I also wish that the Queen would take a page from The Netherlands and other European royal families and step down while she's still living, which I think would make the transition smoother and allow her to share her invaluable advice.

  47. God bless HRH Prince Phillip for all he has done to serve Britain and the Commonwealth. I love him and hope he has many more good and healthy years.


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