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Princess Charlotte’s latest pictures are out, and she is a goddam adorable munchkin. Posing at Kensington Palace ahead of her first day of nursery school, the British royal is mushy and smiley, and clearly she knows her way around a photoshoot.
But if not for the fact that the photos were released on Twitter (@KensingtonRoyal — start following ASAP), you’d never know this child was born in 2015. Her first day of school outfit is the definition of timeless, from her cranberry overcoat to her matching hair bow and Mary Janes, topped off by a little cable knit scarf. She might as well be a Von Trapp child or an American Girl doll whose story is set in 1953.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to share two photographs of Princess Charlotte at Kensington Palace this morning. pic.twitter.com/dDIOZdA7aM— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 8, 2018
Prince George’s clothes are about the same. The Duchess of Cambridge seems to always put him in short-sleeved button-down shirts, sweaters, and little shorts paired with knee socks. He also wears Mary Janes, a footwear choice that would likely invite stares or even teasing for any other boy this millennium.
And they wear these outfits every single time they’re photographed:
But for the British royal children, the storybook outfits aren’t just fitting for their less-than-normal upbringing. It may be a deliberate strategy by their mother, whose own experience with the tabloid craze over her clothes has prompted a different tack with her kids.
“The Duchess’ own influence is huge, particularly online — it would appear she is avoiding dressing her children in anything too gimmicky or particularly unique to avoid them creating the same stir,” one “expert” told the Daily Mail.
No one (not least the Daily Mail) can exactly know Kate’s thinking. But it wouldn’t be bad logic: By dressing her kids in literally the un-trendiest clothes ever, she’s minimizing the odds of them being looked to as trendsetters. It’s all about controlling the narrative, something the Windsor family has perfected over decades.
Will and Kate’s generation may be even better at it than generations past, as evidenced by the palace’s embrace of social media. Knowing press photos of the family are inevitable, they’ve responded by satisfying the public’s appetite with a generous stream of approved images, from Prince George’s first day of school video to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement photos (the third of which was doled out to the public as “a way to say thank you” for the outpouring of support for the first two).
Now Princess Charlotte’s part of The Firm, which means all eyes are on her; already, some of her outfits have caused a shopping frenzy. Given what’s to come, keeping things old-school in the most charmingly inoffensive, delightfully classic, not-likely-to-start-trends outfits is probably a good idea.