It may have only been a small notice in the Court Circular, a record of all duties by Britain’s royal family, but it caused editors and photographers to block off the date on their calendars, for it has the making of a photo-op unlike any other in recent royal history; on March 1, the Queen, Camilla, duchess of Cornwall and Kate, duchess of Cambridge will visit Fortnum & Mason, one of London’s most exclusive department stores, where the Queen will unveil a plaque marking the regeneration of Piccadilly.
So three generations of Windsors, aged respectively 85, 64 and 30, will be out and about together. And given Fortnum and Mason has a fabulous restaurant, there is speculation that they will have tea; an historic tea for a Queen and two future queens.
It isn’t the first time Camilla and Kate have attended engagements together. After all, the two Wales women are so close that Kate is often seen wearing a gift from Camilla; a bracelet that has a single large gold circle drop with her own cypher on one side and Camilla’s on the other. But aside from when the Queen accompanied Kate to inspect her wedding dress, on display last summer at Buckingham Palace, this is their first joint engagement. It’s certainly the first one for all three of them.
But, of course, it could just be the latest in a new trend of royal engagement, one in which multiple generations share duties: in early December Charles, Camilla, William and Kate all went to a charity concert. And next week, the Queen and the duke of Edinburgh will kick off their Diamond Jubilee tour by taking Kate with them to Leicester. There, the duchess of Cambridge will pick a winning shoe design from students at the De Montfort University. They’ll make the pair and she’ll wear them at a future event. That’s definitely something the Queen has never done.