More than a stiff upper lip. Prince William and Duchess Kate seemed to be in high spirits on Monday, January 20, as they hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II while the royal family grapples with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s decision to step back from their royal duties.
Photos from the event show William, 37, and Kate, 38, smiling and laughing as they welcomed 21 African delegations to the palace for the start of the UK-Africa Investment Summit, according to the Daily Mail.
Harry, 35, did not attend the event but did participate in the summit, meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of Morocco Saadeddine Othmani, President of Malawi Arthur Peter Mutharika and President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi on Monday, according to a Buckingham Palace press release. Meanwhile, Meghan, 38, is spending time in Canada with the couple’s son, 8-month-old Archie.
During a speech at a dinner for his Sentebale charity in London on Sunday, January 19, Harry shared his emotions about his and Meghan’s transition to life away from the monarchy, telling guests he feels “great sadness” about the precipitating factors.
“The decision I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly,” he said. “It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges and I know I haven’t always gotten it right but as far as this goes there really was no other option.”
He continued: “Our hope was to serve the queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible. I’ve accepted this knowing that it doesn’t change who I am, or how committed I am. But I hope that helps you understand what it had come to. That I would step my family back from all I have ever known to take a step forward into what I hope will be a more peaceful life.”
For his part, William seemingly alluded to his younger brother’s decision as he expounded upon life’s obstacles in a speech he delivered in West Yorkshire, England, on Wednesday, January 15. “It’s sometimes trying to get people to understand that it’s OK to have these challenges,” he said at the time. “We just need to deal with them and we need to move forward rather than just be stuck in paralysis and pretend they don’t happen.”
Scroll down for more photos of William and Kate at Monday’s reception.