The Royal Fix
Duchess Kate at University of Derby
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Kate Makes a Surprise Trip Back to School

Royal engagements have, of course, been a bit thin for the last nine months or so. The Cambridges have emerged from their hidey-hole in East Anglia a few times in recent months, though. It seems like Kate and William are ramping up to get back to business as usual.

The Duchess of Cambridge made a trip to the University of Derby this week to talk to students there. Although Kate usually focuses on early childhood development, she’s still passionate about education in all its forms.

Her visit was not announced beforehand to the students, presumably because administrators didn’t want people crowded into the building unnecessarily. The purpose of the visit was to talk to students one-on-one about the challenges they’re facing during the pandemic.

One student shared a video of Kate arriving with the caption “The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton made me late for my lecture.”

Kate spent Tuesday morning at the university, where she chatted with freshmen about their mental health and how the school was helping them navigate this challenging time.

Should Kate Be More Cautious?

Kate wore a mask while entering the building, but she took it off during her conversations with students. Groups of three first-years sat with the duchess in seats spaced around a central table. Given that her father-in-law had the virus early in the pandemic, you’d think that she would be more careful.

Cynically, you might wonder if she removed the mask for the photo ops. She also went maskless during at least two previous events. The entire family recently met with Sir David Attenborough in the gardens of Kensington Palace.

Although they appeared to maintain social distancing in the photos, Sir David is 94 years old–the same age as the queen. He’s in an extremely high-risk demographic. You’d think that the royal family would want to do better about modeling safe behavior.

Controversial Fashion Statement

The duchess recently came under fire for accepting–and wearing–several pieces of jewelry that were gifted to her by the artisan. She wore a gold chain with three discs stamped with the initials of her children for the second time in public during this visit. The necklace was made by an independent Irish jewelry company All the Falling Stars.

Royals are not supposed to accept personal gifts like that, and they certainly aren’t supposed to wear them. That’s some pretty serious royal protocol to break. After commenters pointed out the faux pas, a “source” placed a story in People about the jewelry.

Allegedly, the pieces were not a gift directly to Kate from the jeweler, but were commissioned by a fan of the duchess who met Kate during the Cambridges’ Irish tour.

That’s a technicality at best.

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