Back to work. Prince William and Duchess Kate are back to business as usual with their first royal engagement since the death and funeral of Prince Philip.
The Duke of Cambridge, 38, and his wife, 39, paid a visit to the Air Cadets of the Royal Air Force on Wednesday, April 21, less than one week after Philip was laid to rest at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. William and Kate stood by each other’s sides as they chatted with members of the 282 (East Ham) Squadron, Air Training Corps in East London. The royal couple matched in all-black ensembles and Kate paired a chic, military-style coat with a simple black clutch.
During their excursion, the pair looked on as the group of trainees gave a three cheers salute to the late Duke of Edinburgh, who died at 99 on April 9. Philip previously served as the Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for more than six decades until December 2015, two years before he retired from his royal duties. The military patronage was passed on to the Duchess of Cambridge during an official event at Buckingham Palace.
Wednesday’s outing marked the first time William and Kate stepped out for an official engagement since attending Philip’s funeral on Saturday, April 17. The service was intimate, with only the late royal’s closest loved ones gathered to pay their respects. Queen Elizabeth II sat inside the chapel by herself as mourners — including William’s dad, Prince Charles, and younger brother, Prince Harry — said their final goodbyes.
The funeral was the first time that William and Harry, 36, reunited since the Duke of Sussex relocated to California in March 2020 with his wife, Meghan Markle, amid their step back from the royal family. Harry arrived in London days after news broke of his grandfather’s passing, but the pregnant Suits alum, 39, was encouraged by doctors to stay home. An insider told Us Weekly exclusively that Harry was “really missing Meghan and Archie,” the pair’s 23-month-old son, while abroad.
Though the relationship between William and the Archewell cofounder has been distant in the past few years, the brothers were able to connect at the memorial on Saturday. The pair were caught catching up with Kate outside of the chapel and showed each other support with a simple gesture.
Body language expert Elaine Swann exclusively revealed that the way William leaned in toward his younger sibling was a “very hopeful [sign] for these two young men” who have seemingly grown apart. “William did his best to open his body language toward his brother,” Swann explained on Monday, April 19. “You have to look at the fact that he turned it toward him. And so, in that opening, that’s saying, ‘Come on in. Let’s talk, let’s chat.’ He didn’t walk side by side, but he actually turned toward his brother.”
The loss of the royal family’s patriarch has been challenging for them all, but his wife of more than 70 years has grieved the hardest. On Wednesday, as the queen marked her 95th birthday, she acknowledged that the milestone was bittersweet without Philip there to celebrate with her.
“While as a family we are in a period of great sadness, it has been a comfort to us all to see and to hear the tributes paid to my husband, from those within the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world,” she wrote in an Instagram statement on Wednesday. “My family and I would like to thank you for all the support and kindness show to us in recent days.”
The monarch added, “We have been deeply touched and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life.”
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