Tuesday 21 August 2018

Portrait of a modern family: why we're still obsessed with those candid pictures of Kate, George and Charlotte

Kate Middleton enjoys a sweet family day out with Prince George and Princess Charlotte
Kate Middleton enjoys a sweet family day out with Prince George and Princess Charlotte
The Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George and Princess Charlotte and Autumn Phillips and her children, Savannah and Isla, as her husband the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge (top right) with Prince George and Princess Charlotte and other members of the royal family, as her husband the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge and her son Prince George as the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George and Princess Charlotte in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Prince George plays with a toy knife as he sits with his mother the Duchess of Cambridge, whilst his father the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Kate (left) with Prince George and Princess Charlotte at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Prince George plays with a toy gun as he sits with Kate, whilst his father the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Prince George plays with a toy gun as he sits with his mother Kate. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Prince George plays with a toy knife as he sits with his mother Kate Middleton, whilst his father Prince William takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Prince George plays with a toy gun as he sits with his mother the Duchess of Cambridge (left), whilst his father the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 10, 2018. See PA story ROYAL Polo. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Prince George plays with a toy gun as he sits with his mother the Duchess of Cambridge and other members of the royal family, whilst his father the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Prince George plays with a toy knife as he sits with his mother the Duchess of Cambridge, whilst his father the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge and her son Prince George as the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George and Princess Charlotte in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Prince George plays with a toy knife as he sits with his mother the Duchess of Cambridge, whilst his father the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George and Princess Charlotte and Autumn Phillips and her children, Savannah and Isla, as her husband the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge (left) with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as her husband the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge (left) with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as her husband the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Princess Charlotte plays as her father, the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Princess Charlotte plays as her father, the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Princess Charlotte plays as her father, the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Princess Charlotte plays as her father, the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury Polo. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Princess Charlotte plays as her father, the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge watches as her husband the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Duchess of Cambridge in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge at the top of a helter-skelter, as her husband the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge and her daughter Princess Charlotte, climb a grass bank as the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge and her daughter Princess Charlotte, as the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 10, 2018. See PA story ROYAL Polo. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge with Princess Charlotte, as her husband the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday June 10, 2018. See PA story ROYAL Polo. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge (left) with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as her husband the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge (left) with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as her husband the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

They are the kinds of pictures that would normally command exponential fees: a set of genuinely candid shots of Kate Middleton with two of her children, looking relaxed and unquestionably happy as they watched Prince William play a polo match.

Much of their value is based on its sheer authenticity, offering a snapshot into the lives of what is paradoxically, one of the most public and private, families in the world. 

The Duchess of Cambridge (left) with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as her husband the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge (left) with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as her husband the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury

Kate, who gave birth six weeks ago, is running around the grass in a pair of three inch Russell & Bromley wedges, wearing a €70 Zara summer dress, while George and Charlotte separately climb all over her and display their burgeoning personalities.

George, for a pleasant change, isn't dressed like a little Victorian boy in starched shorts, and is instead wearing a navy blue polo shirt and khaki shorts. Charlotte does cartwheels and jumps around in a pretty pink dress with confident glee.

The two-year-old, who could give lessons in securing public adoration thanks to some enthusiastic waves to the waiting press, bounced around the grounds of the Beaufort Polo Club barefoot, holding a pair of pink sunglasses, wearing the type of dress your mother would have put you in when you were young for a Sunday out with the family.

They were the picture of a very modern family, one to which royal rules and regulations didn't apply, and you got the feeling that we got just the tiniest of glimpses into their lives behind the gates of Kensington Palace.

Princess Charlotte plays as her father, the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury Polo. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Princess Charlotte plays as her father, the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury Polo. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Their breezy nature echoed a time over a decade ago when Kate was often pictured looking (and dressing) more relaxed as she and her sister Pippa would often watch William in polo matches, during the early days of their relationship, before she married into 'The Firm' and life became one rigorous schedule.

We haven't seen pictures like these since the couple lived in Wales before and after their 2011 wedding, when there was a steady stream of frankly iconic photos of Kate, always clad in skinny jeans, regularly taking trips to Tesco to stock up on groceries.

Occasionally, grainy pictures of Kate with her mother Carole and her children are published online, but there is an agreement with most of the British and international press not to publish these types of pictures - for the Brits, its to preserve their relationship with their royal family; for the rest, it's courtesy.

Britain's Prince William mistrust of the media can be traced back to the mistreatment of his mother, and the ever-increasing fascination with his wife, Kate Middleton, has brought its own complications. For example, in 2012, they successfully sued French magazine Closer for invasion of privacy after they posted topless photos of her sunbathing on a private property in the south of France.

Duchess of Cambridge in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
Duchess of Cambridge in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury

During the early days of their relationship, Buckingham Palace had successfully arranged for a moratorium on paparazzi pictures of William in college to ensure he had privacy, in the same way that the press agreed not to publish pictures of them on their Seychelles honeymoon (except for Australian tabloid Woman's Day) and the same ongoing arrangement is ongoing for their children Prince George (four), Princess Charlotte (two) and little Prince Louis (one month).

In return, they share pictures of their little ones on occasions like their birthdays, first days of school and Christmas cards.

But there was something legitimately carefree in these pictures, an effortlessly relaxed demeanour that we haven't seen, particularly in Kate, in years. Always the consummate professional, she takes her royal duties seriously and has an appropriate stoic expression when the mood requires or a seeming genuine laugh to charm a nervous invitee or member of the public.

Some publications have over-analysed the pictures, likening, as usual, Kate to a carefree Diana, and most recently, guessing what her neckline could possibly be telling us about her friendship with Meghan Markle. As someone who appreciates the nuances of celebrity fashion more than most, I am confident in my assertion that sometimes a neckline is just a neckline.

The only thing worth speculating was that perhaps Kate now feels a little relieved, that the heat is finally off her, at least temporarily, while Markle is the public's fascination du jour and she's enjoying it while it lasts.

The Duchess of Cambridge and her daughter Princess Charlotte, climb a grass bank as the
Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury
The Duchess of Cambridge and her daughter Princess Charlotte, climb a grass bank as the Duke of Cambridge takes part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club, Downfarm House, Westonbirt, Tetbury

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