The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge opened a new children’s cancer treatment center in south London on Thursday.
The visit received attention because it was Kate’s first official invitation to a hospital and because it’s one of the few scheduled appearances she has made recently. St. James’s Palace has said her public appearances will be limited to roughly one a month for the rest of the year, though she is also making some unannounced visits to certain organizations. The Duchess is using the time to select the charities she’ll be involved with and to get used to her new position as a royal.
The Palace has said the process is “going well,” and the trip to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton seemed to be a success.
Kate met a nine-year-old boy named Fabian who was undergoing a four-hour chemotherapy treatment for leukemia, and she told him she would post a message on his family’s blog.
Fabian’s mother told the Press Association, “Kate sounded like she really meant it, so we’ll see.”
“They were kind,” Fabian himself said of the royal couple. “William said I was brave.”
William had been up working the whole night before the visit. He’d apparently been called in to his search-and-rescue job Wednesday evening and didn’t finish until dawn. “But he managed a cheerful smile as he met patients and staff,” wrote the Independent.
In other royal-related news:
• Sleepy or not, William balances his military job with about 40 official appearances each year as a royal, but he’s made it known that he puts his job as a rescue pilot first.
Prince William has told the Queen that he wants to keep his RAF job for as long as possible. William had been scheduled to end his three-year stint in about 20 months, but he’s decided he’d like to stay on longer if he can. His decision is apparently supported by his father, Prince Charles, and by the Queen.
“She, more than anyone, knows what it is like to take on full-time royal duties at a young age,” the Daily Mail quotes a source as saying. “Both she and the Prince of Wales are very much of the opinion that Prince William should seize the opportunity to enjoy his career in the RAF while he can.”
William himself told the paper that he tries to avoid thinking about his royal future: “As I’m flying along in my helicopter through the mountains of Wales, I try desperately hard not to think about it. That can wait until I’m a bit older.”
• An update on Kate and Vogue magazine. It’s been reported that editor Anna Wintour is making a big push get the Duchess of Cambridge on the cover of the magazine. But sources were also saying that, even with the help of royal fave Mario Testino, a cover shoot would be unlikely.
Wait a minute, says E!’s Ted Casablanca, it may not be that unlikely. “I’m sure it will happen, despite what the palace is saying,” Casablanca says he was told by a source. Actually, let’s be accurate. Here’s how Casablanca attributed the quote: “a source thisclose to the royals spills.” (The italics are his.)
• Whether or not the Vogue cover will happen, people have already had some fun imagining what it might look like. To the right, see the way New York magazine’s The Cut envisions it.
• So maybe we’ve heard the last about the dwarves and blondes that Mike Tindall got mixed up with in New Zealand. As you’ll remember, Zara Phillips flew down and met her husband last week, all to the glare of camera lights. Now, writes New Zealand’s Stuff, “Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall have put the ‘mystery blonde’ drama behind them, but the British press still won’t let it go.” The blonde, however, remains unidentified, despite earlier reports that she was a family friend.
Zara’s mother, Princess Anne, was reported to have been “very angry and upset” according to a report by The Telegraph, citing a “close associate of the Queen’s daughter.”
But this week, it may be more that Zara’s mum feels divided loyalty — over rugby. While she’s the mother-in-law of the captain of England’s team, she’s the royal patron of the Scottish team.
“She did wish me good luck,” said Tindall, according to The Scotsman, “but I’m not sure that came fully heartfelt. She’s very Scottish, through and through in her heart, and she’ll be hoping they win the game.”
Then Tindall added: “I get pride from proving her wrong.”
• Perhaps it was easier for Princess Anne to show unalloyed support for Edinburgh University. Earlier in the week, the Princess Royal was installed as the institution’s chancellor, succeeding the Duke of Edinburgh, who stepped down last year, after holding the position for almost 60 years.
Princess Anne gave an award to J.K. Rowling, who had donated £10 million to fund a neurology clinic at the university.
But it’s a school of higher education, and, as on most campuses, there was some controversy. The Princess Royal faced criticism from protesters opposed to recent tuition hikes.
“Princess Anne has no connection to education,” a group called Party Against Privilege said in a Facebook statement. “She is a symbol of unelected, unaccountable power. She is a relic of an age where education was the domain of a privileged elite.” (via BBC News)