Regardless of it being her first major charity engagement and Prince William having arrived straight from a gruelling shift as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge looked relaxed and at ease during a visit to a children’s cancer ward last Thursday.
The stylish Duchess wore a simple dress and her favourite LK Bennett shoes whilst William took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves as soon as possible, bending down to the children’s eye level, as was his mother’s approach. Both of the young royals appeared comfortable in there surroundings and were genuinely interested in the young patients of the Royal Marsden Hospital in South London as their visit ran on for much longer than scheduled.
Prince William took the presidency of the Royal Marsden over from his mother, and on their visit it was impossible not to see her legacy in both him and his new wife. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge present an irresistible mix of empathy and style — just as Diana did. And just as Diana did, the couple are consistently overshadowing certain other members of the royal family.
As Palace advisers are acutely aware, Britain’s new golden couple are currently treading a fine line between trying to maintain the privacy and normality of their daily lives while having become dazzling uber-celebrities. There is an insatiable appetite for Kate, the newest Royal star. Her face is ever present on magazine covers all over the world, from Grazia to US Weekly to People magazine, prompting an editor to comment that any image of her has the ‘Diana effect’ on sales.
Despite being next in line to the throne, Prince Charles was never able to communicate with the public in the way that Diana could, he never managed to step out from her shadow and now it looks like the limelight is being snatched from him again, by his own son. The dazzling effect the couple have on the public puts Charles and Camilla in a rather uncomfortable position, as future King he should be wooing the public but his advances are clumsy and faltering.
In fact, the popularity of the newlyweds is becoming rather a delicate matter for the whole family - the more high profile that William and Kate are, the more the other members of the Royal Family are put in the shade. The more at ease the young couple are, the stiffer and more antiquated the others appear.
Other younger Royals have started stepping up to the mark and the roving public eye has been focusing on them, most recently Zara Phillips and her new husband Mike Tindall, who has been receiving some rather unwanted public attention of late due to spending rather too much time with a blonde who was definitely not his wife.
With a deadly combination of good looks, compassion and glamour, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge look set to usher the monarchy into one more in touch with its people; they are setting an example for the rest of the Royal family, and it is a high one. The British, and indeed the global public, has a seemingly never-ending obsession with the royals and despite a strong cast; Kate and William are still the stars of the show.