The Duchess of Cambridge only wore a mask for the first time at a “public event” last week. It’s August! She’s been doing “public” events now for a few months, and it’s ridiculous that her events last week were the first times she was seen wearing a mask. She didn’t even wear one the right way – she entered a building (the baby bank) without a mask, and removed it inside when she was still inside. She and William also wore masks to visit a nursing home, when they were around seniors, but failed to wear masks when they were on a boardwalk and inside an arcade on Barry Island. My point? While it’s great to see the royals FINALLY wearing masks, it’s ridiculous that it’s taken them this long. Especially since, guess what, it does make a different:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that anything the Duchess of Cambridge wears sells out. In the past week, the so-called “Kate effect” was put to public health use when she was photographed, for the first time, wearing a face mask.
The £15 mask, from the London-based childrenswear brand Amaia, swiftly sold out, while the digital fashion aggregator Lyst reported a 185% spike in searches for “floral”, “Liberty print” and “ditsy print” face masks within 24 hours.
The cheering pink and cream face covering seemed carefully chosen, its delicate Liberty floral pattern recalling 1940s tea dresses, cucumber sandwiches and bunting. The overall optics were carefully choreographed, too, the mask being paired with a colour-coordinated cream dress for a visit to the Baby Basics charity in Sheffield on Tuesday, and with a rose-printed pink and blue dress for a visit to a care home in the city. There Prince William also wore a mask, in a complementary shade of cornflower blue.
Wearing jolly, upbeat masks, and coordinating them with an outfit, has become something of a trend. Celebrities and instagram influencers have been experimenting with the visual possibilities of masks for months, sometimes to encourage others to do the same – posting pictures with the hashtag #wearadamnmask, often for the purpose of showing off rather than in the interest of public health.
So once again, Kate is trying to position herself as a trendsetter when really she’s a bandwagoner. And her late adoption of (selective) mask-wearing merely highlights how she should have been wearing a mask in public this whole f–king time. CB and I talk about this in this week’s podcast – William, Kate and all of the royals are important public figures with a huge amount of symbolic power. Mask-wearing should have been so f–king easy for all of them. I don’t care if this or that locality didn’t have mask mandates – this was an opportunity for all of them to go above and beyond for the public health and they’ve all been failing (except for Harry & Meghan, who have worn masks every time we’ve seen them in public).
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.