The Duke and Duchess visited the RAF Cadets Squadron in East London today.
They were there to hear more about how the Air Cadets support young people in developing vital life skills.
The couple were given special permission by the Queen to attend the engagement during royal mourning to honour the Duke of Edinburgh’s links with the air cadets and the DoE awards.
Kensington Palace notes the couple spoke to “…a number of the young people who are preparing for their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Each year, the Air Cadets receives approximately 3,000 Duke of Edinburgh Awards across the scheme’s Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels, amounting to over 193,000 Awards since the programme began in 1956.”
The Duchess of Cambridge holds a DofE gold award. More from this Hello article:
Kate completed the DofE programme during her time at Marlborough College and was presented with the award at St James’s Palace some 25 years ago – long before Prince Philip became her grandfather-in-law.
In a press release later shared by the Palace, the mum-of-three described receiving her award as “one of the most memorable experiences from growing up”.
She said: “I started my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award while I was at Marlborough College, completing my Bronze before getting my Gold Award while I was in the sixth form.
More from The Telegraph’s story by Victoria Ward.
Established in 1941, the UK-wide cadet force boasts more than 32,000 members aged between 12 and 19 and is sponsored by the Royal Air Force.
Prince William, who served in the RAF himself, was asked by Cadet Sergeant Roberto Afrasinei, 13, if he wanted to try on some of their kit. “Maybe not today. I’ve got enough webbing at home,” he joked.
The Duchess tried her hand at a flight simulator.
From The Daily Mail’s article by Rebecca English:
The Duchess of Cambridge reconnected with her family’s long history in aviation today as she tried her hand on a flight simulator during a visit to a cadet centre while Prince William held her handbag.
William, who learnt to fly with the RAF and piloted the service’s search and rescue helicopters, joked ‘this is going to be interesting’ as he watched Kate, 39, take the controls of the light aircraft simulator during a visit in east London.
The prince, 38, said, ‘I’ll hold the handbag!’ and then stood leaning against a wall with Kate’s elegant clutch in his hand.
Rebecca English shared a video.
William gamely volunteered to hold his wife’s clutch bag while she tried her hand at the simulator pic.twitter.com/IvWrGNdO3k
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) April 21, 2021
The couple also heard about the Air Cadets’ Pre-Duke of Edinburgh’s Award ‘Blue Badge’ scheme, which is aimed at cadets aged 12-14 years old and allows them to start developing skills and take part in activities before they are of age to take part in the Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels.
We return to The Daily Mail article, quoting Prince William as he asked the cadets questions.
He added: ‘What did your friends think when you joined up? Do you guys see a career in the forces? Did you think of that when you joined cadets?’
When one young boy told him they hadn’t originally, but were now keen to do so, he remarked: ‘Interesting. Changes your mindset.’
Kate added: Do you enjoy getting the leadership skills? Do you think you would have got these leadership skills outside of cadets. Gives you a bit of a head start, doesn’t it?’ said William. ‘There’s a satisfaction there.
You may recall that Kate was made Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Cadets in December 2015, receiving that patronage from Prince Philip after his 63 years as Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps. In the 2015 photo shown above, you see (left to right) Cadet Sergeant Tommy Dade, the Duchess, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Cadet Sergeant Bronwyn Jacobs.
Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty retired last year. You see her below left at the ceremony last July as she hands over the baton of command to the new Air Commodore, Tony Keeling (right); Group Captain John Lawlor is in the center of the photo.
There was a rousing cheer for the Duke of Edinburgh as the visit wrapped up.
A moving three cheers for the Duke! pic.twitter.com/dtl9gCHwhw
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) April 21, 2021
Shifting gears, there was a message from HM today as she marks her 95th birthday.
And this from Buckingham Palace.
On a happier note, ten years ago today, HM gave formal consent to Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s marriage.
Per the British Monarchy site, “Under the Great Seal of the Realm, The Queen signed a notice of approval which proclaimed, in transcribed calligraphy, consent to the union of ‘Our Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, K.G. and Our Trusty and Well-beloved Catherine Elizabeth Middleton’.” Many thanks to Regal Fille for her tweet about this; I would not have remembered the announcement on my own.
UPDATE APR 22: There is some understandable confusion about the date of the document (February 9, 2011) and the verbiage used in the April 11 news release and post on the Monarchy’s website. Per the Royal.uk site, in a post published 21 April 2011: “Her Majesty The Queen gave formal consent to Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s marriage today.” A more accurate statement may have been, “Her Majesty The Queen announced her formal consent to Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s marriage today,” but there are probably reasons I am unaware of that the Palace’s news release and website documentation are worded this way.
We now turn to our look at what Kate wore for today’s engagement.
She repeated the Collarless Long Coat by Dolce and Gabbana. The garment is made from a silk/wool blend. It features a round neckline, fitted bodice, pleated waist, and front pocket flaps. It has long been sold out.
The Duchess first wore the coat for Remembrance Sunday 2017.
At that time, she was expecting Prince Louis; today’s fit was looser than that seen in 2017.
We saw the return of the black suede block heel pumps by Tod’s.
And the oft-carried Bayswater Clutch by Mulberry.
It looks like Kate brought back the Silver Jubilee Diamond and Pearl Earrings, a lovely touch with HM’s birthday today. They were first seen on the Duchess during the 2016 Canada tour and showcase a circular diamond atop a pearl.
The Duchess often wears the RAF Dacre Brooch for Air Cadets’ engagements. Below, an image from 2016.
My guess is that the piece is not considered mourning jewelry. On this same topic, I received a question about Prince William’s wardrobe today from someone curious if he wore black or navy to the engagement.
It looked like it was both; his jacket appears to be a navy and black checked pattern. His tie was black.
One more photo from today.
I have also received some questions about the possibility/likelihood of new photos of Prince Louis with his approaching birthday (this Friday, the 23rd). My fingers are crossed we’ll see a new image or two, but I don’t know if that is likely. We’ll have to wait and see.
- Learn more about the Duke of Edinburgh Awards at this site; the organization’s Facebook page is here, its Twitter feed is here, and Instagram page here.
- Victoria Ward’s piece in The Daily Telegraph is here; The Daily Mail’s story is here; The Mirror’s piece by Russell Myers is here.
- Emily Nash’s story for Hello is here;