As Prince Harry departed the UK to begin his “new life” in Canada, Prince William and Kate Middleton stepped out on Monday evening for a reception at Buckingham Palace. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hosted the gathering on behalf of Queen Elizabeth. The reception was held for heads of state and government and their respective spouses and partners, in addition to delegates, members of the UK government, and UK and African business figures to mark the UK-Africa Investment Summit.
Kate sparkled in an eye-catching red dress by Needle & Thread for the occasion. The ever-stylish Duchess accessorized the scarlet design with her red suede Gianvito Rossi pumps, a Jenny Packham clutch and Soru Jewellery earrings. Meanwhile, William looked dapper in a navy suit and tie.
Following Meghan Markle and Harry’s decision to step back as members of the royal family, the Cambridges were joined at the reception by another royal couple, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, as well as Princess Anne. The function coincided with Sophie Wessex’s 55th birthday. The Countess and Kate, who coordinated in red, were seen laughing and chatting. At one point, Princess Charlotte’s mom told her, “I need to practice my French, Sophie.”
During the reception, Prince William delivered remarks, opening up about his younger brother Harry and his 2010 proposal to Kate. He said, “The African continent holds a very special place in my heart. It is the place my father took my brother and me shortly after our mother died. And when deciding where best to propose to Catherine, I could think of no more fitting place than Kenya to get down on one knee. Throughout my life, I have been lucky enough to spend time in many other parts of Africa.”
William continued, “I’m also honored to be the Patron of the Royal African Society. And as Catherine and I have said to several of you here tonight, we hope to have the chance to visit many more countries in the future and share our mutual love of your continent with our children.”
After a day of meetings, Harry left his native UK on a commercial flight to reunite with his wife and son, Archie Harrison, in Canada. Over the weekend, the palace released a statement regarding the Sussexes’ future. Under the terms of the arrangement, Meghan and Harry will no longer receive public funds, nor use the style HRH. The pair will also no longer formally represent the Queen and are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments. In a statement the monarch said, “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.” The Queen added, “It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”