Earlier this week the Palace released the Cambridge’s first official family portrait. In it, Kate’s beaming from ear to ear while cradling her darling son. I have to admit, when I heard rumors Wills and Kate weren’t opting for a professional photographer, I was curious to see how the photos would turn out. As you can see, their stances are natural and relaxed. They look every bit like a normal family you’d see out in public posing for a family picture.
To me, it doesn’t really matter who took the photos, as long as I get to see some endearing snapshots of the new royal. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised when the pictures started popping up on Twitter and Facebook. The rest of the world seems to be divided on the topic.
Kate’s father, Michael Middleton, snapped the candids himself, a fact I’m a huge fan of. Prior to the wedding, the Windsors had built up quite a reputation for being aloof, cold and out of touch with both reality and the general public. Kate’s singlehandedly responsible for changing all of that. And it’s obvious why.
Fact: Kate is a modern, in-the-moment trendsetter and she’s overhauling the monarchy’s image in a positive way.
Much like her mother-in-law, Kate’s beloved by just about everyone across the globe. She continued in Princess Diana’s footsteps by giving birth at St. Mary’s hospital. She’s pledged to be a hands-on parent with Prince William, just like his mother was with him. And most importantly, unlike Diana who was sometimes heavily influenced by her in-laws, Kate refuses to conform to the monarchy’s rigid traditions. She pushes the envelope, but in such a way that encourages catching up to modern times. Monarchies in general are somewhat a thing of the past. By tactfully walking the fine line between following archaic customs and dazzling a global audience, Kate’s breathing new life into the House of Windsor.
This brings me to my second point.
Fact: nearly everything Kate touches turns to gold.
We, the public, simply can’t get enough of her. Everywhere we turn, she’s there, smeared across headlines or streaming on the latest news update. It’s not even that we can’t get enough of her; we can’t get away from her. And I’m not complaining here. I think she’s a fantastic role model for young women, especially the way she dresses.
The Kate Effect, the Duchess Effect. Whatever the media calls it, it’s a retailer’s dream. Every coat, shirt, pants or dress she wears gets sold out online or in stores within hours. The fuchsia twist knot dress she wore for the family portrait? Yup, sold out in under two hours. The British designer, Seraphine, stated that the dress will be on backorder until at least September 15th. Bummer.
Three weeks ago when Kate stepped out of St. Mary’s hospital in a powder blue, polka dot dress, crazed fans eager to replicate her look crashed designer Jenny Packham’s website. Too bad it was a custom, one of a kind frock that no one else could get their hands on. The Kate Effect’s been overwhelming many of the duchess’s go-to designer’s websites. When she met with the Obamas on her trip to North America, Kate’s beige ensemble sent the Reiss website crashing down in flames, not once, but twice, crippling it for more than two days.
So we’ve established that Kate is a breath of fresh air for the British royal family and that she’s not only an international icon, but a trendsetting one at that. What does the Kate Effect have to do with names, you ask? I defer to one of Britain’s most renowned playwrights.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
– Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
Let’s be honest. Shakespeare definitely wasn’t talking about Kate Middleton when he wrote this sonnet for Romeo and Juliet. In fact, if he’d met her, he might have written that passage a bit differently. Clearly, if you’re a royal, and an outrageously famous one like Kate, your name smells much sweeter.
Case in point: When Kate and Wills announced their engagement in 2010, the name Catherine stood at #218 on the UK charts. Less than a year later, Catherine jumped 49 spots to #169. Coincidence? I think not. Thanks royal wedding, constant media attention and impeccable fashion sense.
Two days after his birth, Kate and William released the name of their son, George Alexander Louis, officially HRH Prince George of Cambridge. Much like the name Catherine climbed the charts between 2010 and 2011, I expect the popularity of the name George to soar in the next few years. With a mother like Kate, how could it not?
That brings me to the prince’s future apparel. Much like Kate’s own wardrobe, I have no doubt George’s will be chock full of an array of designers from all price ranges. To date, we’ve seen him in a GH Hurt & Son shawl twice – once when he left the hospital and once in their family portrait. And even that’s flown off the shelves and into the closets of proud mothers across the globe!
I doubt the media will have many opportunities to snap unwanted pictures of the royal family’s newest heir without Kate’s or William’s permission. As George grows older though, my goodness. Whatever Kate dresses him in will most likely sell out immediately as doting mothers try to dress their children just like the future King. Is it too early to call this the George Effect?