The Royals have released a positive new family portrait to kick off 2020: Her Majesty the Queen looking happy and robust with a ubiquitous stiff handbag resolutely planted in the crook of her left arm, standing with all the future heirs to the British throne, Princes Charles, William and George.
📸 To mark the start of a new decade, a portrait has been released of Her Majesty The Queen and Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince George.
The portrait was taken by Ranald Mackechnie in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace. pic.twitter.com/ER5nqBMpz0— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) January 3, 2020
Unlike those other contemporary royals, Harry and Meghan, who posted a wonderful video of last year's highlights, set to a Coldplay song, Buckingham Palace sent a clear message the firm is conducting business as usual, indicated most succinctly by little George’s Richie Rich outfit.
We have all been enjoying the quaint royal wardrobe of William and Kate’s children since their birth; especially the crisp Peter Pan collared shirts and shorts matched with polished shoes and socks worn by the adorable George.
The Peter Pan collar is also a constant in Princess Charlotte’s wardrobe, a symbol of purity and tradition and very sweet on babies and little ones.
George has now progressed to long trousers, as in the new portrait he is sporting a pair in blue and green tartan pants. On investigation I discovered it is not the royal Balmoral tartan, which is a lovely murky grey, black and red designed by Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert in 1853, but more a sort of regulation Ralph Lauren-style Lord of the Manor plaid, usually worn by types I would cross rooms to avoid talking to.
It’s always a disappointment when fashion designers plunder tartan as an inspiration, because it’s hard to make it look as good as it does on a Jacobite rebellion Scotsman.
The fashion media keeps looking to the royals to deliver some sort of style message to the rest of us, but more often than not it falls into a hole of unique ordinariness – “Meghan wears sustainable brand jeans” or one of my faves from last year, “ Kate show us how to rock a bright puffer jacket”.
The princesses are in a difficult place. If seen to be overly interested in fashion, the critics would go in for the kill. Yet the opposite also applies, especially to Meghan, when taken to task if they dress too casually and then accused of phoning it in.
It's ironic the “pretty as a princess” trope is still a relevant one for little girls in their Frozen dresses, yet if Kate or Meghan decided to go the full skirted ball gown and jewels path, there would be a media-led revolt about a blatant display of privilege.
Maybe little Prince George enthusiastically attacking a bowl of Christmas pudding mix with a spoon while wearing Edwardian attire is the royals' attempt to take our minds off the fact that Uncle Andrew is under deep scrutiny for his involvement in the Epstein affair.
But as long as there are cute babies in pin-tucked blouses and frock coats and the sensible wrap dresses that sell out the minute Kate wears them, we can ignore the anachronism.