Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Paris for a two-day visit that British officials hope will help smooth the way for Brexit. According to The Guardian, Britain’s upcoming exit from the European Union is causing headaches for British leaders and for their European counterparts.
As tensions heighten, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are supposed to bring their own unique charm to the unofficial Brexit discussion. There are many levels in the “delicate and complicated” negotiations that must take place over the next two years if Britain is to emerge successfully from the European Union.
Middleton and Prince William won’t be talking politics and the nitty-gritty of Brexit economics with the French head of state, but they will be carrying on a long-standing tradition of royals stepping in during a political crisis to offer “soft diplomacy.”
As part of the soft diplomacy charm, Kate is expected to “dazzle,” and she did not disappoint on the first day of the Paris trip. Throughout the day, Middleton wore three different outfits, all by British designers.
She arrived in a Catherine Walker deep green coat as a nod to St Patrick’s day and later changed into “an elegant, sleeveless, long black Alexander McQueen dress.” In the evening, the dazzle came out in a big way with Kate appearing in a jeweled silky silver gown at a glittering dinner.
Middleton and Prince William were driven directly to the Elysée Palace from the airport. At the palace, they met with French president François Hollande and after a photo op on the steps of the Elysée, Hollande invited the Duke and Duchess inside for a meeting that set the tone for the rest of the visit.
The Cambridges will carry out a series of cultural and popular engagements in Paris, but they also serve as a reminder of the good political relations between the two countries. Beginning the royal visit with a high-level private meeting is a good sign that those relations will continue unimpeded by Brexit.
“They [the royal couple] are very grateful that the president has invited them to the Elysée Palace for a meeting at the very start of their trip, which gives you an indication of the importance and status of the visit.”
After the Elysée meeting, Kate and Prince William headed to a special event to continue the theme of France and England relationship building. The two countries have a long history together, and with Brexit looming in the near future, it’s the perfect time to celebrate the many Anglo-French links.
According to the Mirror, Les Voisins – The Neighbours – is a full year of celebration to honor the shared values and years of friendship between the UK and France and to “champion the cultural ties” between the two nations.
Both Middleton and William spoke at the launch. Prince William made it clear that he is taking his job as Brexit ambassador very seriously as he “reassured” the audience of young French leaders that the enduring bonds between the UK and France will not be broken. The Duke said that although the two countries vie with each other in rugby or football games, “always our two nations continually inspire one another” in every way.
“This partnership will continue despite Britain’s recent decision to leave the European Union. The depth of our friendship and the breadth of our cooperation will not change.”
Prince William’s speech was very well-received, and he and Kate appeared to be very much at ease with each other and with their diplomatic roles. This is the first time that Middleton and William have appeared in public since Prince William’s ski-trip dancing video during a “lads only” club night.
Although many people considered the slightly inebriated dancing video to be a perfectly normal and well-deserved break from the Prince’s often formal life, he did face some “media backlash” for the ski trip and his dancing. Any concerns over Prince William’s ability to do his job have been laid to rest by his very royal demeanor on the Cambridges’ first day in Paris.
Queen Elizabeth has made five state visits to France. The Queen sent a message for her grandson to read during the formal dinner Friday evening at the British Embassy. The message emphasized Queen Elizabeth’s “enduring affection” for France.
“Although much has changed since my first visit, the ties between our nations have stood the test of time and will, I am sure, continue to prosper.”
There are those on both sides of the Brexit question who remember Queen Elizabeth’s second state visit, in 1972. She and Prince Philip went to Paris as French leaders attempted to improve relations with the UK when Britain was entering the European Economic Community. Now Prince William and Kate Middleton are at the other end of the long journey, helping to smooth Britain’s road out of the European Union.
[Featured Image by Fanny Trang/British Embassy Paris/Getty Images]