It feels far longer than nine days since I last clicked 'New Post' to write about Kate's Place2Be reception at Buckingham Palace earlier this week. You've all been very much in my thoughts and prayers daily since the unwanted visitor - COVID 19 - became a part of our lives. In particular, I know we have many readers in Italy and I want to express my deep sorrow to all of you. Like all of you, we've watched as countries like Italy, Spain, China and many others have dealt with unimaginable circumstances, losing loves ones whilst embattled in the fight against this invisible intruder. Through so much pain and fear, the power of solidarity and community has been so moving to see.
In the US and over here in the UK, the way we live our lives is beginning to change. We have over 2,600 cases and sadly 72 deaths and this is the calm before the storm by all accounts. The weeks and months ahead will ask much of us, none more so than those on the front lines, particularly within the NHS and other health services all over the world. From indefatigable doctors, nurses, support staff and healthcare assistants to challenges ahead for emergency services and all those involved in supplying us with essential services - producers of food, those working in our supermarkets and shops - how can we help them right now? It's simple. Be kind. Be understanding. Be patient. We often discuss the importance of a momentary act of kindness; it has never mattered more.
I'm worried about loved ones, we all are. It's easy to become overwhelmed by the deluge of news and online reports. I think it's vitally important to solely rely on official trusted channels throughout this and follow all measures such as social distancing. It's a time when social media and our access to so many communication platforms will make such a difference to those in self-isolation. We can all play our part in this. Pick up the phone, send a text, an email, a message on social media. Check on a neighbour or vulnerable person in your community. We're all in this together and we will get through this together.
Royal watching will of course change in the coming months. There's nothing on the Cambridges' calendar, nor do I anticipate there will be in the manner we are accustomed to for some months. Yesterday, Buckingham Palace confirmed several changes to the Queen's calendar and the cancellation of annual events including the annual garden parties and the annual Maundy service at St George's Chapel. Calendar staples such as Trooping the Colour will be decided in due course. It's just been announced plans for Princess Beatrice's wedding will be severely scaled back with their Buckingham Palace reception reportedly canceled. I expect we won't see the Royal family gathering in Windsor for Easter Sunday service either. Certainly any overseas travel, away days or announced engagements which could draw crowds or large gatherings are off the table. I expect George and Charlotte's school will close imminently for the foreseeable future and perhaps a good portion of the Cambridges' time will be spent in Norfolk.
I'm sure palace aides are looking into appropriate ways the Royal family can contribute throughout this period of uncertainty. Will we see them utilising social media more in the weeks ahead? Perhaps sharing more images and information from behind-the-scenes work? Collectively, I expect the royals will want to support and highlight all those whose tireless efforts will make such a difference every step of the way.
We saw the beginnings of this with a video appeal from Prince William today urging people to donate to help individuals suffering hardships as a result of the outbreak for the National Emergencies Trust appeal: "Whenever and wherever adversity strikes, the people of the United Kingdom have a unique ability to pull together. The way that local communities support those affected shows the very best of our values and human nature. The public’s desire to help in the wake of tragedy needs to be managed and channelled in the best possible way which is why the establishment of National Emergencies Trust was so important. I said at its launch last year that I dreaded the day when it would be needed. Sadly, with the outbreak of Covid-19, that day has come faster than any of us would have hoped. But now more than ever, I am grateful that the National Emergencies Trust exists. It will ensure the support reaches those across the UK who need it most as quickly and efficiently as possible. And it will help to ensure that all our efforts to overcome this challenge are channelled in the best possible way."
The trust was established in response to tragedies like Grenfell to ensure funds are placed as quickly as possible where they are needed. William recorded the message at Kensington Palace today. If you would like to support this important appeal please click here.
In our little corner of the internet, this blog will continue to hopefully provide a distraction for the few minutes you pop in. I want to write posts and create content you all enjoy and which are of interest to you. In the comments, please share ideas you would love to see. Perhaps more fashion and jewellery posts? A royal rewind of sorts covering highlights from the past decade? Something entirely different?
The royal watching community, once a safe haven and a enjoyable hobby has taken a toxic turn in recent years and I'm appealing to each one of you: let's stop arguing, fighting and tearing one another and the royals apart online. Let's come together and remember we are all bonded by our interest in following the royals on their journeys. Recent weeks and indeed the ones ahead bear a spotlight on what matters most and the strength of togetherness.
'I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot. Together we can do great things.' - Mother Teresa
Stay safe and I'll talk to you soon,