On August 4, 1914, after a tense summer of an assassination that led to backroom deals being called upon and will-they/won’t-they troop movement, Germany invaded neutral Belgium and attacked the city of Liege, prompting Britain to declare war on Germany, starting a four year war that ended with millions of deaths and many more millions of injuries. World War I has the highest death toll of dead and injured servicemen. World War I changed the face of Europe, resulting in the collapse of monarchies and empires: Austro-Hungarian Empire (collapsed and was dissolved in 1918 after their defeat); Ottoman Empire (wasn’t officially abolished until 1922, but due to the defeat in 1918 it was partitioned and weakened); Russian imperial family, the Romanovs (Russia’s partaking in WWI led to the Russian Revolution in 1917, causing Russsia to exit the war); German empire, House of Hohenzollerns (in 1918 the German empire was abolished and replaced by the Weimar Republic).
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, Belgium held a number of ceremonies in Liege and Mons, attended by numerous heads of state and other dignitaries. Britain’s representatives were Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. Prince Harry joined the commemorative events in Mons. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium presided over the events.
The day began with William and Kate arriving in Liege at the Saint-Laurent Abbey and were greeted by Philippe and Mathilde.
[Service communication Province de Liège, via Facebook]
There was a commemorative event at the Cointe Inter-allied Memorial at which many of the world leaders and Prince William spoke (you can read William’s speech in it’s entirety here). Below is a Telegraph video showing Will and Kate greeting Philippe and Mathilde–Philippe and Mathilde outrank Kate, and so she had to curtsy–and a part of Will’s speech at the end. William mentioned Ukraine, and the crisis there with Russia, saying that the instability that led to WWI still exists in Europe. I’m surprised he mentioned it, but he’s not the first to mention the happenings in Ukraine in relation to the World Wars. We’ll have to see what happens there; fingers crossed it doesn’t end poorly.
At the event, Kate sat next to French President Francois Hollande. I wonder what they talked about.
There was a lunch reception afterward.
The next stop of the day was Mons Town Hall where Will and Kate were joined by Harry. They viewed pictures and exhibits of World War I. There was a balcony appearance as well. Below is Kate signing the Town Hall register and a balcony picture.
Then they went to Saint Symphorien Military Cemetary, where military dead from both sides are buried. Philippe, Mathilde, Will, Kate, and Harry were joined by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Kate curtsying to Philippe. I don’t know why, but I get a kick out of it whenever anyone curtsies.
Kate laying flowers in tribute.
The group walked through the war graves before attending another event with more speeches.
There was an evening ceremony in which Philippe, Cameron and William laid flowers on an obelisk memorial. Kate, Harry, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, placed lamps on the memorial.
As far as clothes go, Kate wore an Alexander McQueen cream coatdress, Jane Taylor hat with a ruffle in the shape of a flower, her trusty LK Bennett sledge shoes, grey Alexander McQueen clutch, and Annoushka pearl drop earrings.
There were a number of other events to mark the centenary across Britain, which the other royals attended. I’m not sure why the Queen did not attend the big one in Belgium with the other heads of state. Either the Queen or Charles should have attended, rather than the second in line. But Will and Kate needed to do something, and I guess since they get more media coverage than the Queen or Charles, it makes sense to send them to the event that should have gotten the most coverage.
I’m including this picture because I just love it, don’t know why.
27 thoughts on “Kate, Will and Harry mark the 100th anniversary of the start World War I in Belgium”
Dare I say that she was okay? No hair twirling, flirting, or insipid grinning. Glad to see that she had some respect for such a solemn event.
haha.. I thought about the hair twirling too.
Actually I saw a clip from German news showing her picking at her fingernails during one of the speeches.
There are also photos of her playing with her hair and acting in a less than appropriate manner.
she constantly was grinning and joking with william and harry, the laying of flowers was horrible, she looked stupid, and her total look, she still looks likes a little girl playing dress up and aimless (why was she there the consorts were not invited) sophie would have done a much better job, waity and baldy have no gravitas!
Oh snap! I stand corrected. Good catch!
Mathilde was there and she’s a consort. Also, Sophie is a consort as well. I agree that they need to stop joking and laughing so much at these types of events. They may be trying to be nice and stuff, but those are the photos that will get printed and it just makes them look bad.
Wow. That last picture of Kate is really good. I think it has more to do with the photography than Kate but, it is good nonetheless. And Kate’s curtsy is so filmsy. She doesn’t even bow her head a little.
I’ve been impressed with some of the photography I’ve seen of Kate lately; a real testament to the photographers to catch a great photo in the moment.
I love the coat. Finally something that my eyes pop and go wow and not just er..ah..
It’s not my favorite, but I like it a lot better than some of her more recent coats.
Kate represented herself well. She seemed to be very engaged and she really charmed the French President. I thought her coatdress was appropriate for the occasion and she looked beautiful. I agree with you on the 2nd curtsy to King Philippe, not sure why? Maybe PW made some type of move that she thought was a bow so she followed him with a curtsy. PW really needs a speech coach. He also looked happy and engaged. Happy to see them working!!!
Will really needs to stop playing at being a pilot and start focusing on his speech-giving abilities.
I think the coat was appropriate for the occasion, very conservative and the skirt looks stiff enough not to blow around and reveal anything.
Hey, she did pretty good! (IMO) Finally. I like her outfit and hat, her hair was under control, she did not flash any body parts (that we know of) and she generally behaved. If she would just lose the heavy “hooker” makeup she would be a solid A. As for her curtsy, I notice she NEVER bows her head, or even her eyes. She insists on keeping eye contact at all. Not sure what that is about.
Now, can I assume these two will be taking a few “well-deserved” weeks off? (Sarcasm)
I love, love, love the hat. Yes, the makeup is far too heavy, but the coat was appropriate.
Yes, I think they’re taking the rest of the month off, and into September until Kate goes to Malta. They really need that break, you know, it’s not like they took most of July off or anything *eye roll*.
Kate will never be a solid A.
Doors to manual daughter.
That’s a classist argument. Willy’s insufferable trust fund titled friends used to make that joke about Waity’s Mummy when they first started dating; it was lame then.
I thought they did do a reasonably good job of representing the Family. I think they went because it’s August, which is a “golden” time for the Queen: She goes to Balmoral and if her ex-daughter-in-law doesn’t die suddenly, she won’t be back to London until the end of September or later. Balmoral is the one place she can totally relax and just ‘be’. Usually she spends Tuesday-Thursday at Buckingham Palace and then goes to Windsor for a long weekend. At Balmoral she sleeps in the same bed for two months straight, which may not seem like a big deal to most of us but is for her b/c she’s going back and forth between London (which she and all the royals seem to dislike) and Windsor. And the Queen’s a country girl at heart who’s mother was Scottish, so to her, Balmoral is a slice of heaven on earth. It’s quiet, peaceful and completely private. She can drive her Land Rover herself (which otherwise she can’t do) and generally is able to live something resembling a semi-‘normal’ existence for an upper-class British woman of her generation. And the Palace definitely want to showcase the Unholy Trinity as the ‘next generation’, so it makes sense they sent them to Belgium rather than the pensioner who talks to his plants and wants to be his second wife’s tampon.
Yeah, nothing short of public outcry/image deterioration is going to get the Queen out of Balmoral during August and September.
Speaking of, I don’t know why the royals seem to hate London so much.
It may be a privacy issue. In London there are paparazzi behind every bollard. It’s very hard to live your entire life in the public eye. Your every move is catalogued by the public. Your hobbies, your tastes, your dislikes; everything is open to the public. Willy and Waity’s wedding wasn’t a wedding, it was a production. Every step, every word was carefully choreographed for weeks, even months. If Waity had slipped on her way into the Abbey, if someone had to cough, it was there for 1 billion people to see, live. In contrast, Windsor or Balmoral or Anmer Hall are much more secluded. They can live without being in a fishbowl. Like Christopher Hitchens said, royalty takes normal people, puts them on a pedestal and then punishes them for cracking up by being normal people.
True. But the Queen and Charles seem to manage their preference for the country with all their royal duties, so I don’t see why Will and Kate can’t.
I really have to wonder if the public want/need for info on Will and Kate’s private life wouldn’t be satiated if they did more royal duties. If the public saw them regularly, would the public still be so hungry for random sightings? It’s such a big deal when Kate goes shopping or walks in the park because we hardly ever see her. If we saw her all the time, I feel like it wouldn’t be that big a deal when people saw her out getting coffee.
That’s what I’ve thought for quite some time. The news media continuously runs file footage of them attending events that may be months old, b/c they drop out of sight. Also according to the DM, Willy is now a helicopter pilot for East Anglian Air Ambulance, so it’ll be at least another two years before they take up royal duties.
Well, that last picture is the only one where you can’t see her face. This is the first time I realized Kate has no curves – when you see her in a photo with Matilda, Kate looks like a school girl. The sending of the younger generation was strategic – identify Kate and William with WWI so that when everyone who knew people from that era are dead – which will be in a couple years time – they can continue commemorating it as if they have a connection. People will have been conditioned to seeing them do it. How many events a year do they do that involve war commemorations, military parades, and whatnot? At least 3 every year – Irish Guards Parade, Trooping the Colour, Remembrance Sunday, — and this year WWI and WWII anniversaries — Starting to come across a bit one note – War!
Could the “Kate looks like a schoolgirl next to Mathilde” thing come from the outfit? With the structured top and flared bottom Kate’s coatdress does seem a bit school uniform-y.
While I’m glad she seems to have had less hair twirling and giggling, I am not a fan of her outfit- specifically the Peter Pan collar, and that detail really did make her seem like a Schoolgirl Duchess.
Other than that, I thought her color choice was safe, but didn’t like the floral detail on her hat, nor her LK Bennett hooves.
Yeah, that Peter Pan collar doesn’t look good on anyone over the age of four.
danish royal family have some seriously cute kids both boys and girls, soo lets wait two more years to see how george really looks like, as for kate having a girl, gosh can u imagine a mini pippa no!
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