Today, Will and Kate were supposed to embark on a number of engagements to celebrate the 73rd birthday of the National Health Service (NHS). Will and Kate are joint patrons of the Association of NHS Charities, and celebrating the NHS this year was seen as even more important than usual because 1) of the COVID-19 crisis and 2) because of mass vaccinations, it’s the first NHS birthday during the pandemic that Will and Kate could support the NHS at events in person. The events that Will and Kate were to attend today included a service of commemoration at St. Paul’s Cathedral and a massive tea party for NHS workers at Buckingham Palace. These events were the first events to take place after Queen Elizabeth bestowed the St. George’s Cross award on the entire National Health Service late last week, along with a handwritten letter of thanks:
However, earlier today, it was announced that Kate would be unable to attend any scheduled events in person because she came into contact with a person last week who has since tested positive for COVID-19. From what I understand, Kate interacted with the person last Wednesday, and was notified that she was a close contact last Friday evening, after she had made an appearance at Wimbledon.
The Good News
- Kate is following health guidelines and taking self-isolation seriously. It shows that she’s taking this seriously and keeping others safe.
- She is also fully vaccinated, so she has substantial protection from the virus and likely won’t become infected (and if she does, COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective at reducing the level of symptoms/chances of hospitalization).
- She is allowed to isolate at home with her family unless she starts showing symptoms.
- Currently, she is not showing any symptoms.
- In terms of optics, this is about as normcore as it gets. Duchesses – they have to quarantine just like us! It shows that she’s not above the rules.
- It’s probably nice for Kate to have a 10-day break. I know that she will still be working from home, but maybe she can do some of it in sweatpants. I want that for her!
The Bad News
- Kate won’t be able to attend any more of this year’s Wimbledon :(. A bummer for royal watchers, fashion bloggers, and the people who love compilations of Kate’s stressed out tennis watching faces (me, I’m talking about me).
- She also won’t be able to go to any in-person events for the rest of the week. I’m sad about the amount of planning that went into probably really worthy causes and now those events will have to be hugely modified or rescheduled.
- It’s strange and a little shady that Kensington Palace didn’t inform the press about her close contact and entry into self-isolation on Friday evening/Saturday morning. It’s clear from press social media accounts that the press had been briefed about Kate’s engagements for today to celebrate the NHS, and until the early hours of this morning the press was acting as if those events were still a go. Couldn’t a KP press person have issued a short press release about Kate’s isolation on Saturday rather than waiting for Will to show up to the commemoration service at St. Paul’s alone today? And putting that news out on the weekend would have meant that it was old news by today. It also would have given Kate a day or two to write some letters to be hand-delivered to various organizations to apologize for missing in-person events, and to film a couple of short social media videos for orgs like Wimbledon to post. We will likely see these things later, but it would have been better coordinated for us to see something from Kate today, as it would have given the feeling that she has everything under control and has pivoted to working from home already.
- Kate interacted with the now-COVID-positive person last Wednesday. Did that happen at Wembley Stadium during the England-Germany match? And if so, why don’t Will and George have to isolate?
- It’s likely that we will get some selfie/laptop videos from Kate for events that she was supposed to attend in the coming week. Maybe we’ll get a video wishing the men and women playing in the Wimbledon finals luck? Maybe we’ll get a voice over during the finals weekend coverage? Maybe we’ll see some handwritten notes delivered to charities and then posted on social media. It’ll be interesting to see how Kensington Palace handles the next five days.