Friday, 21 July 2017

Royal Visit Germany: Kate in control

The royal tour of Germany built to a crescendo in Hamburg and as the final curtain fell, we were left in no doubt who is in charge of the Cambridges. Kate took control as the European working visit came to an end. There was something rather symbolic about the Duchess of Cambridge taking the baton and the lead on a royal trip to the Elbphilarmonie in the city. Kate rules when it comes to these royals.

The Duchess of Cambridge stepped into the spotlight as the royal couple visited the Elbphilharmonie, one of the biggest concert halls in the world. Kate led the way as she and her husband arrived and it was the duchess who was handed the conductor's baton to make some royal music on one of the headline events of the tour.

It didn't really matter how good, bad or indifferent the duchess was at controlling an orchestra. What was striking was the focus on Kate taking the baton. In this partnership, there is a star and that's not necessarily Kate's doing. Her every move is followed and a photo of her will sell far more than one of her husband. 

This musical interlude was the second engagement of the final day. Earlier the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had visited Hamburg's maritime museum to hear about its seafaring history and to see a model of the Queen Mary made of lego. Again, more questions. Given that the royal children had accompanied their parents on this visit and only been seen at airports, would this part of the Hamburg trip have been a good place to introduce them to royal engagements?

We didn't have long to wait to see them. After a walkabout (the couple have attracted big crowds throughout their visit), Kate and William headed to Airbus for their final stop. The royal couple met apprentices from the UK and Germany and saw the assembly line of the A320 - the wings are made in the UK and brought to Germany where they are attached to the planes.

Speaking of planes, if it's an airport then that must mean George and Charlotte. The little prince and princess joined their parents for a quick look at some helicopters which thrilled the third in line to the throne but left the fourth on the floor, quite literally, as Charlotte made like a two year old and threw a tantrum when she was asked to do something not on her priority list.

Not to worry, George's thrilled little face as he got on board a helicopter kept everyone happy. After that brief appearance, it was time to head home. The Cambridges made this tour at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It's been talked about as a way of promoting Britain as Brexit takes shape. There's no doubt it's been a success, with good turnouts for the royal visitors and a busy agenda of engagements. It's also a sea change for the Cambridges who return to the UK to prepare for their little boy starting school and the family moving to London as William quits his role as an air ambulance pilot and the couple take on more royal duties. And it's clear that as this new phase in their royal lives begins, when it comes to the House of Cambridge, Kate is clearly in control.

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