On Monday, the Princess of Wales made an unannounced visit to the Chelsea Flower Show, where she had bused in schoolkids and arranged for a picnic and photo-op. All week, I believed that Kate brought her own photographers to document the photo-op – she did not. She just made the “picnic” arrangements for Media Day at the flower show, so there were dozens of photographers already on site when she arrived. Of course all of the photographers booked it to her event. Those same photographers didn’t pay much attention to King Charles and Queen Camilla’s appearance at the flower show just a short time later, and it was Kate who appeared on the cover of most of the British papers. This royal thunder-stealing has been a major story all week, with various royal sources going back and forth about whether Charles is seething about being upstaged by his daughter-in-law. Richard Eden’s sources say that Charles IS furious. Robert Jobson’s sources said of course Charles is totally fine with it. What say Tom Sykes’ sources? Well, it’s interesting. Some highlights:
Upstaging the king: “Charles is unlikely to be amused,” a friend of the king’s told The Daily Beast. “Gardens are very much his thing, and given that it was always his mother’s big pre-Trooping the Colour day out, I think he has a right to be annoyed.”
Kate’s friend thinks the whole thing is pathetic: However a friend of Kate’s disagreed with that characterization. Referring to a report in the Daily Mail which quoted a Palace source as saying it was “a shame” that Charles and Camilla’s visit “received less coverage than might have been expected” and suggested they might be “disappointed,” the friend told The Daily Beast: “It’s pathetic. It’s the media whipping up another feud. Kate has been going to Chelsea Flower show with her family since before she was a royal, and she often used to go as well as the Queen [Elizabeth] in recent years. It wasn’t a secret that she was going.”
But Kate didn’t coordinate the visit with Buckingham Palace: Asked if that meant the visits would have been actively co-ordinated between their offices, the friend said not, but added: “William and Kate are now very senior figures as the coronation made clear. Charles wouldn’t have needed the queen’s permission to attend the Chelsea Flower Show and Kate doesn’t need Charles’ permission to go to the Chelsea Flower Show. It’s a massive storm in a teacup. Charles couldn’t care less.”
Kate insists it was a “private visit,” lmao: Kate’s camp have been keen to stress that the unannounced Chelsea visit was made in a private capacity, but this has cut little ice with the media as she attended on the official press day. One photographer, Richard Pohle, who wrote an entertaining account of the chaos and panic that attended Kate’s last-minute trip to the show in The Times, addressed this when he said that a rumor photographers would be prevented from photographing Kate had irked them. He wrote: “This was press day, our day. We had been invited to photograph everything that happens. Now a royal was arriving and we were supposed to ignore it? Thankfully this rumor was quickly crushed.”
The real story is that the two royal courts aren’t communicating: Intriguingly, however, Robert Jobson did appear to suggest, at the same time as smoothing ruffled feathers, that the Chelsea double-booking was a situation that would not ideally be repeated, writing: “The Palace is conscious that with less so-called ‘working royals’ the grid system of engagements must complement each other.” This is the real point here, and it is an eloquent example of the lack of communication between the different individuals’ offices.
Why Charles is irritated: The lack of communication between Charles and Kate’s people, another friend of the king and queen told The Daily Beast, is probably the most irritating thing about the events of this week for Charles. “It just looks ridiculous if they both turn up separately to the same event, and Charles understands that. It gives the media the chance to stir things up. But after everything he has been through with Harry over the past few years, Charles has an enormous appreciation for William and Catherine and the work they do. No-one thinks this is the beginning of a new war between their courts.” Maybe not, but it would be unwise to allow the existential silliness of a story about rivalry at a flower show to occlude the simple truth that Charles would have rather Kate had not been at Chelsea on the same day as he was.
The Wales court is leaner & more fancam-happy: Their courts are distinct; Charles’ operation is more wily, grand and formal, while William and Kate run a leaner, call-me-by-my-first-name operation, and one that is, as the recent post-coronation Instagram video showed, significantly more clued-up when it comes to online. Their staff are youthful, with a smattering of digital natives who would find using the very term “court” to describe themselves almost hilarious.
[From The Daily Beast]
“It’s pathetic. It’s the media whipping up another feud” – don’t you know that’s Kate’s job??! Kate is the only one who gets to whip up feuds, which is why she arranged for Black and brown children to be bused into the Chelsea Flower Show ON MEDIA DAY, knowing that the king and queen were scheduled to appear as well! Call me crazy, but I actually think Charles and Camilla have every right to be irritated by Kate. Perhaps it is petty and jealous, but it’s also just, like, girl, be real. Kate knew what she was doing. Kate didn’t even inform Buckingham Palace about her plan, because she knew they would try to shut her down. Kate is feeling herself, that’s the real story – she doesn’t care that she upstaged the king and queen. And that alone is hilarious.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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