Was the great royal Burgundy parade a cheeky swipe at Meghan? AMANDA PLATELL wonders if it was a subtle, long-distance riposte to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after their attack on the ‘racist’ Royal Family
When the Princess of Wales arrived at Westminster Abbey last week with daughter Charlotte in matching burgundy-coloured coats, we all thought ‘how sweet!’ Mother and daughter touchingly co-ordinated for Kate’s Together at Christmas carol service.
Hot on their heels came Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Tindall, her blonde hair shining under the camera lights and wrapped up against the bitter cold in a smart coat of similar hue.
Oh no, I thought, a fashion faux pas! Would Kate be cross? But Zara was followed by Kate’s sister, Pippa, beaming for the cameras in a belted, military-style coat – in yet another variation on the shade of the moment.
An unfortunate coincidence, surely…On closer inspection, however, it transpired that Prince William was wearing a tie perfectly attuned to his wife’s colour scheme, as indeed was Mike Tindall complementing Zara’s choice.
Catherine, Princess of Wales, wore a deep raspberry coat as she attended the ‘Together at Christmas’ Carol Service at Westminster Abbey on December 15
Princess Charlotte also wore a matching deep burgundy-coloured coat at the carol service
Even Kate’s dad, Michael Middleton, had opted for the appropriate neckwear, although his was more of a deep strawberry tone as befits a man whose hallmark is measured understatement.
Curious and curiouser. Had Kate sent some colour edict out to the in-laws and her own family or had they all become simultaneously besotted with fifty shades of burgundy?
Well, at first glance, it certainly looked a little strange. In fact, it reminded me of a Christmas card from Coleen with all the Rooneys in matching pyjamas.
Yet since that royal outing last Thursday, at an event which was being filmed for broadcast on ITV on Christmas Eve, I’ve been wondering that perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence after all. That what we were witnessing was a subtle, long-distance riposte to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after their attack on the ‘racist’ Royal Family.
Let me explain. That very same day, the last three episodes of the Netflix whingefest that is Harry & Meghan sharing their ‘truth’ with the world had been released and the content was far more devastating than what had gone before.
Meghan appears to perform a deeply exaggerated curtsey recounting what it was like when she first met the Queen, while her husband Harry watches on awkwardly
Prince Harry with his wife Meghan during their Netflix special, as she becomes tearful while recounting the online ‘hate’ campaign against her and their relationship
In her Netflix interview, Meghan said: ‘So I was like, “Well, what’s a colour that they’ll probably never wear?” Camel? Beige? White? So I wore a lot of muted tones, but it also was so I could just blend in’ (Pictured: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Sandringham in 2017, alongside the late Duke of Edinburgh)
The Prince and Princess of Wales with their two eldest children Prince George and Princess Charlotte leaving the Together at Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey last week
‘Kate’s sister, Pippa, beaming for the cameras in a belted, military-style coat – in yet another variation on the shade of the moment’
‘And what was the Queen Consort, Camilla, wearing that night? A brilliant white coat with a neat collar’
‘Sophie, Countess of Wessex, opted for varying shades of winter white and caramel, too’
Hot on their heels came Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Tindall, her blonde hair shining under the camera lights and wrapped up against the bitter cold in a smart coat of similar hue
Zara’s husband Mike Tindall also sported a tie which complemented the colour of the moment
Prince William, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Princess Kate head to their seats inside Westminster Abbey during the Together At Christmas concert on Thursday night
Harry accused his father Charles of lying, his brother of bullying him and, intentionally or not, painted a picture of his grandmother, our late Queen, as a puppet-like figure, controlled by courtiers and advisers.
This outburst followed the Duke of Sussex’s claim in earlier episodes that William, unlike him, had not married for love but had, in Kate, found a woman who simply fitted the royal mould.
The Prince and Princess of Wales had every reason to feel bitterly betrayed by the brother who was once so close to them both. Of course the response of the Firm is to say nothing, to keep calm and carry on with lives of duty, but I like to think some members – the women – decided not to take it entirely lying down.
The clue to their co-ordinated response may lie in Meghan’s seemingly trivial comment in the documentary about how the restrictions of royal life impacted her sartorial choices.
‘Most of the time that I was in the UK, I rarely wore colour,’ she said. ‘There was thought in that. To my understanding, you can’t ever wear the same colour as Her Majesty, if there’s a group event. But then you also should never be wearing the same colour as one of the other more senior members of the family.’ Well it seems some senior royals didn’t get that particular memo, Meghan.
Singing from the same hymn sheet: (Front row left to right) King Charles III, the Queen Consort, the Prince of Wales, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, the Princess of Wales and the Countess of Wessex during the ‘Together at Christmas’ Carol Service at Westminster Abbey
Prince George of Wales, William, Prince of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of Wales depart from the ‘Together at Christmas’ Carol Service at Westminster Abbey
Kate gives a high five to a young boy inside Westminster Abbey during her annual Christmas carol concert
Princess Kate places a loving hand on Prince George’s back while Prince William and Princess Charlotte hold hands as they put on a united front upon arriving to Westminster Abbey
Prince George of Wales and William Prince of Wales depart the ‘Together at Christmas’ Carol Service at Westminster Abbey
But there is more. ‘So I was like, “Well, what’s a colour that they’ll probably never wear?” Camel? Beige? White? So I wore a lot of muted tones, but it also was so I could just blend in. Like, I’m not trying to stand out here. So there’s no version of me joining this family and trying to not do everything I could to fit in. I don’t want to embarrass the family.’
And what was the Queen Consort, Camilla, wearing that night? A brilliant white coat with a neat collar, while Sophie, Countess of Wessex, opted for varying shades of winter white and caramel, too.
So was this a show of sisterly support –endorsed by those menfolk in the know – for Kate on her special night after the battering she and William suffered at the hands of H&M? I like to think so. Those mischievous grins to the cameras as they entered the Abbey suggest to me there was something going on.
Interestingly, burgundy – or as fashionistas prefer ‘viva magenta’ – has been hailed by the fashion colour bible, Pantone, as the colour of 2023. It is described as ‘audacious, full of wit, and inclusive of all’.
There surely could be no better statement to make in face of the salvoes from California. Yes, the royals must maintain a dignified silence over accusations made by the Sussexes, but I believe the burgundy-fest we witnessed was a carefully calculated act of solidarity by women who love and support the institution the Sussexes so despise.
Or in less refined language, one giant raspberry directed at Harry and Meghan!
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