Wednesday, 22 June 2022

The Cambridges Recognise "Huge Contribution" of Windrush Generation

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out engagements today to recognize the "huge contribution" made to the UK by the Windrush generation and their families.

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It follows a private family weekend spent celebrating Prince William's birthday. In lieu of the traditional portraits for landmark birthdays we usually see, a photo of William and the children taken during the Cambridges holiday in Jordan last autumn was released for Father's Day whilst his work selling the Big Issue was highlighted. It was incredibly low-key. There have been reports suggesting both William and Kate will still hold a joint birthday bash over the summer.

William and Kate's first engagement in Brixton saw the couple visit ELVATE where they met younger generations of the British-Caribbean community and other diasporas, who represent the next generation of British creative talent.

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Kensington Palace said: "ELEVATE is an innovative youth programme led by the London Borough of Lambeth which aims to open up the creative and cultural sector to every young person in the borough, working towards a future where everyone can benefit from a rich, dynamic and diverse cultural environment. ELEVATE works with a network of schools and colleges, training organisations and employers to build strong pathways from early years through to adulthood to ensure that young people are able build skills, access opportunities and achieve successful careers within the creative industries."

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They spent time with young people involved in creative arts, and keen photographer Kate was delighted to get in on the action.

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Hello reports:

'Davinia Clarke, 22, an illustrator and visual artist who learnt how to use the camera during a course, said of Kate: "She wanted to understand how to put it on and move it around.

"I thought, 'Let's try and put it on her.' She was up for it! She did better than me. At one moment it literally just dropped off my arm. I was like, 'Oh gosh' She said it was really heavy, and you need a lot of upper body strength."

Davinia and Kate.

A video from the engagement.

The Duke and Duchess joined the group for a conversation about their career aspirations.

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Chatting with film students and future editors. 

The visit took place at Brixton House, a newly renovated building in the heart of the community that will serve as a home for a new generation of artists, creatives and audiences.

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More on Windrush and its significance from BBC:

'The scandal, which broke in April 2018, saw the UK government apologise for deportation threats made to Commonwealth citizens' children.

Despite living and working in the UK for decades, many were told they were there illegally because of a lack of official paperwork.

People arriving in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries have been labelled the Windrush generation.

It refers to the ship MV Empire Windrush, which docked in Tilbury on 22 June 1948, bringing workers from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other islands, to help fill post-war UK labour shortages.

The ship carried 492 passengers - many of them children.

It is unclear how many people belong to the Windrush generation, but they are thought to be in their thousands.

They are among more than 500,000 UK residents who were born in a Commonwealth country and arrived before 1971, according to University of Oxford estimates.'

The treatment of the Windrush generation in the UK is nothing short of a national shame. The story of Michael Braithwaite is a glimpse into the appalling racist treatment the Windrush generation endured.

'Michael Braithwaite, who moved to the UK from Barbados when he was nine, was let go from his 15-year job as a special needs teaching assistant after his employers ruled he was an illegal immigrant.

He said: "I fell to pieces inside. I didn't actually show it externally until I came home and I sat and I cried. My whole life sunk right down to my feet. I was distraught."'

 

More from the Guardian on the racist legislation which led to Windrush.

'A suppressed report on the Windrush scandal has concluded that its origins lie in three decades of racist immigration legislation designed to reduce the UK’s non-white population.

It found that the “deep-rooted racism of the Windrush scandal” had roots in the fact that “during the period 1950-1981, every single piece of immigration or citizenship legislation was designed at least in part to reduce the number of people with black or brown skin who were permitted to live and work in the UK”.

HMT Empire Windrush.

Below, Windrush passengers at Tilbury Docks on 22 June 1948: boxer John Hazel (21), case maker Harold Wilmot (40) and John Richards (22), a carpenter.

First officially recognized as a day of celebration in 2017, Windrush Day takes place on 22 June each year to mark the anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush on 22 June 1948. On this day we recognize and thank those who arrived and their descendants.

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More from the Combat Stress organisation:

'Patrick Vernon was the first to call for the commemoration of Windrush Day to recognise the contribution of the Windrush Generation to UK society on the day when the first big group of post-war migrants arrived – 22 June.

Vernon launched a petition for this in 2013, which was followed by a campaign in 2018 (at the height of the Windrush Scandal).

Official backing was given when the Government announced that ‘Windrush Day’ would be celebrated on 22 June each year, supported by a grant to recognise and honour the contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants and to keep their legacy alive and celebrate the diversity of Britain's history.'

The second engagement saw the Cambridges attend the unveiling of the National Windrush Monument at Waterloo Station.


The Duke and Duchess with Baroness Floella Benjamin. Born in Trinidad, Floella came to England as a Windrush child.

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More on the Baroness' background and achievements:

'She was Chancellor of the University of Exeter for 10 years and became famous for hugging every graduate imploring them to ‘change the world’. In 2016 when she stepped down as Chancellor the university put up a statue of her in recognition of her contribution to the City of Exeter.

She was the first woman Trinidadian to be elevated to the House of Lords in 2010 and speaks on children’s, diversity and media issues and recently was successful in getting the government to bring in legislation for commercial broadcasters to provide UK made television programmes.

In 2018 she was granted Honorary Freedom of the City of London and the Prime Minister appointed her Chair of the Windrush Commemoration Committee to create a lasting memorial to celebrate the contribution to Britain made by the Windrush Generation.'

Kensington Palace noted: "It symbolises the courage, commitment and resilience of the thousands of men, women and children who travelled to the UK from 1948 to 1971 to help rebuild post-war Britain, and acknowledges and celebrates the outstanding contribution and dedication of the Windrush Generation to British history."

A Palace spokesperson continued: "Designed by renowned Jamaican artist Basil Watson with the advice and guidance of the Windrush Commemoration Committee, chaired by Baroness Floella Benjamin, the monument been delivered with support and £1 million funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. It has been created as a permanent place of reflection, fostering greater understanding of the Windrush Generation’s talent, hard work and loyalty to Britain, inspiring future generations forever."

More from the Evening Standard:

'Jamaican artist and sculptor Basil Watson, who created the monument, said it was a tribute to the “dreams and aspirations, courage and dignity, skills and talents” of the Windrush generation who arrived with “a hope of contributing to a society that they expected would welcome them in return”.

He said: “My parents, along with a great many others, took the long arduous voyage from the Caribbean with very little or nothing other than their aspirations, their courage and a promise of opportunity for advancement.

“This monument tells that story of hope, determination, a strong belief in selves and a vison for the future.”

A service included a musical performance of the 'Windrush Anthem' by Nadine Benjamin OBE, a poetry reading, and a blessing by Bishop of Dover Rose Hudson-Wilki, with speeches from Baroness Benjamin and Michael Gove MP.

Her Majesty sent a message to mark the unveiling.

During his speech, Prince William reflected on the Caribbean tour he and Kate undertook earlier this year: "My family have been proud to celebrate this for decades - whether that be through support from my father on Windrush Day, or more recently during my grandmother's Platinum Jubilee, as people from all communities and backgrounds came together to acknowledge all that has changed over the past seventy years and look to the future. This is something that resonated with Catherine and me after our visit to the Caribbean earlier this year," he continued. "Our trip was an opportunity to reflect, and we learnt so much. Not just about the different issues that matter most to the people of the region, but also how the past weighs heavily on the present."

People reports:

'The couple's visit to the unveiling of the National Windrush Monument at Waterloo Station on Wednesday comes months after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's controversial royal tour of the Caribbean in March. For the first time, the royal couple faced significant backlash on an official tour, having encountered mounting tensions in the Caribbean nations where William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth remains head of state.'

William continued: "Only a matter of years ago, tens of thousands of that Generation were profoundly wronged by the Windrush Scandal. That rightly reverberates throughout the Caribbean community here in the U.K. as well as many in the Caribbean nations. Therefore, alongside celebrating the diverse fabric of our families, our communities and our society as a whole—something the Windrush Generation has contributed so much to—it is also important to acknowledge the ways in which the future they sought and deserved has yet to come to pass."

William closed by saying "Diversity is what makes us strong, and it is what reflects the modern, outward-looking values that are so important to our country. I want to say a profound thank you to every member of that generation, and the generations that have followed. And I want you to know that you can count on mine and Catherine's continued support in helping us achieve a future they would be proud of."

The Duchess wore a crisp white tailored Alexander McQueen trouser suit. 

With many thanks to Middleton Maven, the Duchess repeated the blazer she wore during the Caribbean tour. 

The leaf crepe piece features peaked lapels, long sleeves and four buttons.

It looks like Kate's trousers could be the flared McQueen pair we saw on the tour. 

Kate accessorised with a pair of Florence earrings by Chalk Jewellery, sold at The Cura Co. Cura is a "a social enterprise where the business of fashion and lifestyle is a vehicle for positive change and a force for justice".

More from the product description:

'Ornate obsession overload. The Florence Earrings are inspired by the auditorium ceiling of the Royal Opera House in Central London. A beautiful neutral pair with gold, bronze and regency green tones.

Chalk Jewelry, by architect Malaika Carr creates unusual, geometric, jewelry all handmade by Malaika in her London based studio. Chalk's collections are influenced by architectural elements, everyday objects and bold colorful, cultural patterns. Materials are sourced from small UK based shops.'

Kate carried her white Mulberry Amberley bag.  

We'll see the Duke and Duchess tomorrow for the first-ever Cambridgeshire County Day at the July Racecourse, Newmarket.

29 comments:

  1. Zora from Prague22 June 2022 at 19:57

    I'll take time to read all about the Windrush Generation later - it is new to me and it looks like something profound that can't be done in a hurry. Now just a quick thank you, Charlotte, and well done Kate, she looks great! "Crisp" is the word! :)

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    1. You are right Zora, it's a beautifully 'crisp' look, visually impactful. As I am not knowledgeable on the Windrush Generation either, anxious to learn, and very glad that William and Kate were able to be present at this unveiling, which appears to be a long overdue tribute. Was particularly moved by William's speech.

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    2. Basically the UK brought people over after the War from The Commonwealth (former Empire) to do jobs where there wasn’t enough workforce for. But of course them having a different skin colour made this very controversial in the beginning and they weren’t treated correctly. This is my view of it as someone not being from the UK

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  2. These McQueen suits are so versatile! I loved it on the Caribbean tour with the orange blouse, open jacket and cropped trousers to highlight the shoes. This is another very professional look in all white and buttoned jacket. I’d prefer a pop of color with the purse or shoes, but she looks very elegant. Glad she had an ornate earring set.

    Thank you for providing us with such a detailed recap so we can be informed about The Windrush experience. I’m glad it is getting the proper attention with the day and monument. Not sure how you even begin to fix some of these wrongs. Thank you Charlotte! Sue

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  3. I adore a simple white suit during the Summer season. For my taste I think the break in the flair leg of Kate's trousers need to be shortened by a quarter inch. It is approperate to see more then just the smallest tip of her shoe toe and the back should not be almost kissing the ground. I find it humorous that the British press are referring to pants suits which have never gone out of style for business wear "power suits". Hilarious how the British press constantly puts their own spin on
    fashion as if they have discovered something new. But, as most of us know they often create their own world of reality.

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    1. I thought the length of the pants was perfect!

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    2. I agree Chayce, thought the length was perfect and the entire look very impressive.

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    3. I agree that they could be shortened just a touch. Proportion is all, and it's amazing what a difference to proportion even a tiny alteration can make.

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  4. The Windrush history is worth a close look by everyone, and I followed the scandal as it began to develop some years ago with real distress. These engagements were therefore of immediate interest to me; I enjoyed reading the details. I must say that Basil Watson's monument at Waterloo is a nice piece as modern representational works go and superior to the Kensington Diana monument, which unfortunately is not a success. Ian Rank-Broadley is a fine sculptor, but I don't think he was the best choice for that commission.

    As for the Duchess's outfit, I have to say that this was a bit too much white for me. I would have liked to see it enlivened by a little color, such as a pale blue top and bag, for example. I've also felt that the McQueen jackets I've seen on the Duchess lately have looked a little stiff and skimpy. They've lacked the luxurious drape and fluidity that I always look for in an expensive jacket. I suppose that's because my all-time favorite designer is Giorgio Armani, the undisputed god-emperor of jacket/blazer design.

    I love the unusual statement earrings, though, and am delighted that they were inspired by the ceiling of the Royal Opera House. All I can say is, Bravo!

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  5. Her hair was just beautiful today -- so glad she's gone this direction, away from "caramel" highlights. She looks very pretty and I like the earrings. The little white purse really takes away from the outfit. I would prefer no pucker at the bottom of the pants (it was not always there) and would love to see a larger, more swinging jacket. The Windrush situation sounds very sad.

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  6. This is a great look. A big NO for the earrings though. It did not go with this look

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  7. Very good engagement today! I had never heard of the Windrush generation and this engagement shows the work that has gone on to right this wrong. I am glad there was a Royal highlight to the day and to the issues involved. I agree that a little pop of color somewhere would have been nice, but Kate still looked polished, appropriate and professional.

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  8. This is a very striking look and really liking how much wear Catherine is getting from the suit coats and trousers! I love the column of white, and am very happy to see her side part, which I think is more flattering when she wears her hair straight like she has been. Have to say though that the earrings are the big win here for me! Wow, what a lovely mix of metals and a hint of green, very attractive.

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  9. I have lived in the US for a while now so for me it was a joy to see Baroness Floella Benjamin. I well recall watching her show as a kid. Lovely look for Kate today but agree too much white and the pants are too long.

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  10. I love everything about this engagement and celebration. From HM's message, to William's speech, to the National Windrush Monument at Waterloo Station which is spectacular. I wasn't familiar with the Windrush history and so it's wonderful to hear of the progress and the leadership.

    I think a beautiful, well tailored white suit is perfect for this engagement (and a great summer wardrobe staple) and happy to see a repeat! I would have preferred Kate add a bright pop of color given the event celebrated people from Caribbean countries. Of course the earrings were definitely unique and perhaps Kate wanted them to standout.

    Hopefully we'll Kate at several Wimbledon events. If she chooses yellow again, I would love to see the Roksanda dress from Jamaica or the Packham dress from the Germany 2017 tour. If the choice is green, the green polka dot dress from the Ireland visit or could we see the DVF dress from the US tour? And for something different the LK Bennet periwinkle dress, or the McQueen Fuchsia dress with Jill Biden, or even the polka dot blue dress worn during the Jubliee lunch. Maybe the McQueen white eyelet suit dress - would love to see it styled differently. :-)

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  11. This white pantsuit looks outstanding. I love the white top under her jacket. The pants and jacket are the perfect fit and length. The white shoes and small bag, I love. The earrings in this instance work in well with the outfit. She looks businesslike, but at the same time chic and stylish. This would have to be the nicest white pantsuit I have seen worn, It ticks all the boxes.

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  12. Beautiful the suit pieces worn together look smart and very classic, the only thing I would like to see different is the shoe, the ones she wore with these pants in the Caribbean look much nicer than the plain white worn today or a coloured shoe.

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  13. These McQueen suits are so versatile! I loved it on the Caribbean tour the was one of my fave outfit in Caribbean The Windrush history is worth a close look by everyone i love the history of it some of it your close one

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  14. Wow Kate hit a home run with this outfit!!! Sleek, modern and sexy, just how she should look at her age!!! Enjoy your beauty and youth Kate and never cut your beautiful hair!! It’s gorgeous…LOVE the earrings, I am on the lookout for a similar pair!!!

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    1. you can find the earrings here: https://www.thechalkhouse.com/product-page/florence-earrings-regency

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  15. Ok so after another look over the entire outfit, the all white is perfect although I think the purse is too matronly and frumpy, I would have styled Kate in a sleek clutch, perhaps a silver tone to blend with the earrings.

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    1. A matron is a “married, dignified woman” - not quite sure the meaning behind your “purse” comment. You seem to be trying to use the word matron in a derogatory way, but that would hardly make sense.

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    2. "Matronly" is, in fact, often used in a pejorative way, to mean "frumpy" or "staid". It's a quite common usage, though perhaps indicative of a national language divide. Some anglophones may not use it that way.

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  16. As I am not in the UK I did not know about the Windrush generation. After hearing about this engagement I looked it up on the BBC site and read here, I am glad I learned about it. This proves these engagements really have a result: making people aware of issues, worldwide. Kate's look is fresh and impeccable. Maybe I would have liked a dash of colour on the shirt beneath the jacket, but still she looks really elegant.

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  17. Such refinement, grace, and humility - out future Princess of Wales!

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  18. Great look for Catherine. I love the earrings.

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  19. The Duchess looked beautiful. The white suit is very smart and stylish for the occasion. I really like her new earrings. It is only right and proper that Prince William acknowledged the way the Windrush people were treated. Shocking and so unfair. Hopefully the government will get a move on with their compensation before more of them die. S. ☺

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  20. WOW, I have just seen the new portrait of The Duke and Duchess. It's beautiful and the artist did a great job capturing their likeness. The day has finally arrived that we see The Duchess of Cambridge wearing jewellery from the former Duchess of Cambridge. I has hoped all The Cambridge jewellery would be set aside for her use. The pearl brooch looks beautiful on the Vampire dress. It would also go very well with the other pearl jewellery she has been given. S. ☺

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  21. Lovely summer look. I also love the picture of William with the children. Perfect.
    Tedi

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