A troll through “Kate blogs” reveals lots of stories about possible fashion options from the latest Alexander MacQueen and Erdem collections, or tidbits like she’s celebrated her husband’s 30th birthday with a big group of friends at the Russian-themed restaurant Mari Vanna, or has volunteered again for her Welsh Scout troop—this time a barbeque on the beach—and has been spotted looking at home decor items. There just aren’t any new pictures from public events.
That’s because Kate has done a grand total of one official event in the last month. Since the Order of the Garter service on June 18, she’s only popped up on duty on July 5, when she watched her husband get the Order of the Thistle in Edinburgh. (Her last photographed outing was on July 8 when she and her sister Pippa watched Roger Federer win his seventh Wimbledon title by defeating Andy Murray. However that tennis event, and the one with William to Wimbledon four days before, was deemed “private.”)
And that puts her right back to where she was in late September, when rumour mills were swirling because she’d completed just two engagements in the previous two months, after finishing her Canadian and U.S. tour.
As I explained in my “disappearing duchess” story:
While gossips postulate Kate’s seclusion is because she’s either pregnant with twins or depressed because she’s too thin to conceive, the reason is more prosaic: it’s a long-term strategy by the royal household to ease her into a life of duty and unceasing attention by a curious world. Earlier this year, Judy Wade, the royal editor ofHello!, said, “We were told she’s not going to do much in the way of official engagements at all in the first few years because they want the marriage to work and they want her to have a gentle introduction into royal life.
However, since the new year, she’d upped her pace, ever so gently, averaging a public engagement a week. Indeed, according to the Court Circular, the official account of royal duties, the duchess of Cambridge has done 27 this year. Sometimes, like during the central Diamond Jubilee weekend, she’d do several in a week. In the space of six days in the middle of June she went to Nottingham with the Queen, took in a theatrical production benefitting her Art Room charity, visited a sodden outdoor school camp for a princely charity and also got in two mandatory royal duties: going to Trooping the Colour and the Order of the Garter service.
There doesn’t seem to be an obvious explanation behind the precipitous drop off. After all, she’s the royal everyone is clambering to see. It’s too early for a family vacation—royals gather at Balmoral in August and September. Other members have been cranking out the engagements, including those well into old age. And while Prince William has been working—his fulltime gig is a RAF search-and-rescue pilot—Kate has done solo engagements in the past year. And certainly, after more than a year into her new role, she could handle cranking out at least one day of public work a week.
Still, the drought will be over soon. She’s expected to take a prominent role as an Olympic ambassador during the London Games, which start on July 27. Maybe she’s storing up her strength. Because a more negative take on her public inactivity would be, “Hey, I did five gigs in six days. That gets me out of work for the next month!” And for a member of the workaholic Windsor clan, that’s not something you want people thinking.