Duchess Kate made a surprise visit to a university to check in on the Covid situation

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on a visit to the East London Mosque today to visit volunteers who have supported members during COVID 19 Lockdown.

As I’m writing this, there are no photos and I’m not sure there will be any photos, but the Duchess of Cambridge did an unannounced visit to the University of Derby today. The point of the trip was to talk to students about how coronavirus is affecting their student life. Which is bizarre on so many levels. Obviously, none of this is ideal – the reality of students returning to schools around the world in a middle of a pandemic, and the fact that these campuses and school zones have become viral hotspots, leading (at least partially) to another coronavirus wave. And there’s Kate, doing drop-bys in a mask, disrupting a university which is already under strain. Whew. Why couldn’t THIS have been a Zoom call?

The Duchess of Cambridge surprised students at the University of Derby on Tuesday, as she visited the campus to hear how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted university life. Kate spoke to first-year students, sports societies and nursing students about the effect that COVID-19 has had on them, and the ways in which the university is supporting their mental health and wellbeing.

At the University of Derby, initiatives such as peer mentoring are provided as part of a whole university response to mental health. For example, nursing students are ‘buddied’ up with fellow students in the year above to provide them with peer support during challenging clinical placements, and the University has given training to its sports societies that will enable students to support their teammates’ mental health.

Kate’s visit comes ahead of World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10 October, which she and the royal family have long supported. The Duchess’ visit on Tuesday came as Universities UK, which represents 139 institutions including the University of Derby, published a new checklist to help universities support student wellbeing during the autumn term. Universities should ensure that students have access to basic necessities during self-isolation, including food, laundry services, cleaning materials, bin bags, tissues and toilet rolls, the guide says.

A surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks has led to thousands of students having to self-isolate in their halls at some universities, with some hanging signs out their windows saying they did not have food. More than 50 universities in the UK have confirmed cases of coronavirus as students return to campus, with students self-isolating at Manchester Metropolitan and Glasgow University.

[From Hello Magazine]

I just… I mean, I get that some people in the palace probably thought it would be good to send out Kate to deflect from the barrage of headlines coming out of Robert Lacey’s book. But they literally sent her into a (likely) coronavirus hotspot! And all for what? Was this even a photo-op? She literally could have talked to students over Zoom and achieved the exact same thing without putting herself, her staff and university students in any danger.

She did wear a mask. Still, this was… unnecessary.

Update: Some photos from her visit… what’s up with the blazer?? And she’s insisting on wearing that gifted necklace everywhere now (it breaks royal protocol).

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Another update: She removed the mask when sitting indoors and speaking with students.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.

Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

72 Responses to “Duchess Kate made a surprise visit to a university to check in on the Covid situation”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. kelleybelle says:

    At least the mask will spare us some of those insane manic grins, which I’m sure will happen despite the purpose of the visit.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      The purpose is to get the numbers up for the end of the year tally. Now is the time they usually push (End Sept/beginning Oct through 1st/2nd wk. of Dec.). Then they break for the holidays (and to wipe the sweat from their brows).

      All predictable.

  2. Becks1 says:

    Is that a blazer or more of a coat? It seems too big for a blazer, unless oversized blazers are in style and I missed the memo? (entirely possible.)

    At least she got a new mask, even though it still looks too small.

    Her eye makeup actually looks good here, a little bit lighter than normal.

    This visit could have 100% been a zoom call, but I guess the whole “need to be seen to be believed” is driving this.

    • Noodle says:

      She tamed the maniacal eyebrows for this visit.

    • Love says:

      Agreed with everything you just said… and just to add that necklace does not go with that top.

      She needs a jewellery stylist. Someone to help her wear the pieces well. She has access to the best jewellery aaaaaaaaand…. nothing. Give us something girl. We “try” to root for you

      • Becks1 says:

        She’s 100% wearing the necklace as an “eff you” to the press since they got the press to shut up about the free gift/protocol story.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        @Becks1 – the Fail makes a point of talking about the necklace in the article about this visit, it even has its own close up. They are trolling her.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      She loves to theme dress

    • BeanieBean says:

      Can we talk about the trousers? The not skin tight, good length, trousers? Very nice. But totally agree, this was a completely unnecessary visit.

      • Becks1 says:

        I just watched the video to see them, don’t know if there’s a better pic out there. they look fine. Basic, nice work trousers. Which in and of itself is something, because so often her trousers/jeans, when she wears them, are not……fine.

    • RoyalBlue says:

      she is cosplaying Meghan with her oversized coats. Just not pulling it off as well.

  3. Tealie says:

    I know it’s COVID, but see how there were no cheers crowds or excitement like there was for Meghan 🤭

    • kelleybelle says:

      There never is. She’s only doing something because she should, I’m sure.

    • Nic919 says:

      I’m sure some were annoyed that they couldn’t get to class because she needs to way cleared from all peasants.

  4. heather muntean says:

    Her hair looks shorter? Very cute!

    • molly says:

      That’s what I thought too, but if the blazer photos are from the same day as the walking video, it’s as long as usual. The blazer photos must just be the face-framing layers coming in front.

  5. Elizabeth Regina says:

    I sigh in royal. This right here is the problem. The total randomness, the lack of consistency, follow through and the totally impersonal nature of the visit. She could have been specific in speaking to a bunch of students over zoom for instance and that would have done the same job. The fact that she’s had nearly 10 years on the job and I can’t think of one specific thing she’s achieved is quite a worry.

    • Love says:

      You know, that’s a good point. Do we know if the royals ever Follow up on these visits? So they keep in touch to See how the people they speak to are going? Or do they really just do photo ops?

      To quote a Queen who sometimes moonlights as a duchess… “what’s the call to action”? Are visits enough with this mob?

  6. What’s eating you says:

    Can she get a mask actually fits her? That looks like it’s meant for a child.

    • Wren says:

      It is. She buys kids ones from Amaia Kids. Adult sizes on website are much bigger in comparison.

      • Mel M says:

        I just checked that because I thought her mask looked tiny the first time she wore it but surely it’s not a child size and it 100% has got to be. There is a two centimeter difference between the child and adult size, width wise. I guess she could have a crazy wide large face but I highly doubt it.

    • Millenial says:

      I was wondering why the mask was so small! Like she borrowed Charlotte’s on the way out the door.

    • Fallon says:

      This drives me nuts. It looks ridiculous and it’s cutting into her face. I’m glad she’s wearing one, though.

      • Nic919 says:

        Except she isn’t at one point and she’s indoors. It really makes no sense to take those risks.

  7. Jane says:


    I’m a university lecturer and believe me, university staff have far better things to do with their time at the moment than serve as props in a royal photo op.

    • TeamAwesome says:

      I’m a college instructor and my music department is completely shut down. I haven’t seen an in person class or held an actual rehearsal since March. How nice for her.

    • windyriver says:

      I’m sure the other organizations she visits feel the same way. How much coverage is she getting anyway? Thought I read very few outlets are covering these things she’s doing. So, extra work for the organization, with near zero benefit for them.

    • TQ says:

      Yep, my UK university is having a surge in student covid cases right now but they STILL haven’t cancelled all face to face teaching. It’s absolute chaos. Kate going to a university right now is not a good look.

  8. RoyalBlue says:

    the seams on the shoulder of the coat are much too low. it does look odd on her.

  9. Sofia says:

    This doesn’t apply to everyone of course but universities (especially undergrads) are /mostly/ filled with gen-z now with some millennials and they don’t… really care for the royals. They’re not going to see Kate and feel reassured or whatever. They’ll just “ooh” and “ahh” and they’ll move on.

    This really could have been a zoom call.

    • Mignionette says:

      I think you hit the nail on the head.

      This is a clumsy approach at getting down with the kids who DGAF.

      Kevin and Karen Middleton need to concentrate on their middle aged, Tory stronghold DM gammons.

      • Nic919 says:

        I doubt university students would find her relevant at all. She also is silent on all issues they focus on.

      • Lady D says:

        I finally looked up the word gammon, just to be sure we had the same definition. The first thing google showed was a picture of a ham from the hind leg of pork after curing. I thought nope and looked a little further. I found this, ‘white, middle-aged, furious-faced men heavily concentrated in the Brexit heartlands.’ LOL

  10. Eleonor says:

    Her hair looks good!
    Is it possible the are making her do this event to distract the press from the book?

    • Lemons says:

      If it’s unannounced, definitely a distraction from something!

      I’d like to see if there is video of this discussion and what Kate had to ADD to the conversation. I’m not sure she would be able to add anything of substance after her years of research in the mental health space…

    • Kalana says:

      Her hair color is too light. It dulls her face. The haircolor she had when she was gardening was perfect for her.

  11. Jc says:

    Her blazer is professor cosplay. Kate is in her tweed blazer when she delivers her lecture. Her tailors just did not have time to add the patches on the elbows.

  12. Digital Unicorn says:

    Top CEO still hasn’t figured how to wear the mask the right way up – its upside down again. Plus am surprised she’s wearing that necklace given that the piece in the Fail about it over the weekend and how they walked back on it being a freebie (when the designer said it was).

    Stupid is as stupid does with these 2.

  13. Amy Bee says:

    This is just a weird engagement considering that way that universities have handled the return to campus has become a national and political issue. Students are being forced to return to school so that universities can get their revenue from the renting of student residences and then the students are being forced to self isolate on campus because of the spikes in covid. It’s good she’s doing something for World Mental Health Day but she probably should have gone somewhere else instead of a university. It should also be noted that this is the only day she could have done her engagement because most the week is geared towards William becoming a global statesman which includes his TEDTalk which is on the same day as World Mental Health Day.

  14. Lizzie says:

    Blazer – someone’s idea of collage wear.
    Rewear of gift – Kickback each time.

  15. Lemons says:

    I think the necklace probably has something to do with her 3 kids.

    But this isn’t the right time, Kate!
    I hope the right measures were taken for her arrival, but if there’s no follow-up, what’s the point? You don’t really care, so why even show up?

    • Lizzie says:

      It goes in the Big Book of Hours I Worked This Year.

    • Becks1 says:

      It definitely does, it has a G, C, and L on it (and another layer to it that I guess is hidden under her sweater?)

      The issue is it was given to her from a fan (which apparently is okay, but the original story is that it was given to her from the designer, which is not okay.)

  16. Lizzie says:

    I am not in the UK or in university but still I could probably tell her how covid is affecting their lives. WE ALL KNOW. AHHHHH.
    This feels very thrown together last minute photo op.

  17. The Duchess says:

    Here we are yet again with the vanity engagements. Things never change, do they? This just looks like one wasted morning on a university campus that has bigger things to be worrying about right now than to escort an inept woman around, just to nurture her own ego. Does anyone know what more Keen will be doing after this? Any ‘Top CEO’ actions that will actually help students suffering from mental health issues during this awful pandemic? Absolutely anybody can see the impacts all of this has had on people’s mental health. Again, another opportunity fallen flat for a Cambridge.

    Also, her child mask is upside down again LOL!

  18. Hannah says:

    The wool coat had potential, had it fit properly (shoulders) been lined and could have been a bit more snug. I would’ve had it tailored. I did check the website and it is just an odd, shapeless coat, even on the model https://www.massimodutti.com/gb/women/collection/coats/handcrafted-checked-wool-coat-c1736936p8934832.html

    • Watson says:

      I love the coat styled like in the link!! It looks super cool with a shorter skirt. I could see zendaya wearing the hell out if it!

      As for the way kate styled it, it just looks average. Nice sweater. Nice slacks. Stuff anyone would wear. *shrug*

  19. Mignionette says:

    Someone is trying to off Kate bc the North and Midlands i.e. university towns are currently a HOTBED of Corona.

    Why on earth would she visit now? How does that even begin to make sense in the era of Zoom?

    This was clearly a Diana-esque moment for Kate. Problem is there is like zero empathy impact bc it’s clear she don’t GAF….

  20. souperkay says:

    The small, child-sized mask is making her face look bigger and wider when it isn’t, such a confusing choice to not use an adult sized mask.

    I can’t believe she’s still wearing the necklace for official events. Where’s the tears for gift protocol not being followed, I mean she cried for pantyhose.

  21. Nancy says:

    Why does she wear such small masks, lol

  22. Ann says:

    She still looks uncomfortable to me. She presses her fingertips together, it looks strange to me. She should learn to relax her arms by her side. Even Charles fiddles with his shirt cuffs in many pictures. But Kate always looks ill at ease. She does not want to make these appearances and, to me, it shows.

    • The Duchess says:

      Agreed. I think she resents these types of engagements that she’s forced to do because it requires many intellectual conversations w/ adults. Something we know she still can’t really do. It’s easy when she’s with kids because she can pull maniac faces, sail through and get away with it all. She always walks so tensely on these types of engagements, which shows to me her body language is way off. She gives off uncomfortable vibes and it’s getting worse. This visit made zero sense and it shows.

  23. LittlePenguin says:

    Could have been a zoon call. She could have still worn an ill-fitting blazer to pretend she is a prof.

  24. Nic919 says:

    I can’t believe she took off her mask in an indoor location just to speak. Most places have mandatory mask requirements for public indoor spaces and this is just another stupid risk.

    Besides what can she say on any of this? She has no medical training, no training in education, frankly nothing of substance to say. She is better off playing outdoors with kids because that’s her level.

    • equality says:

      It was pointless anyway. You can’t hear what is being said on any of the videos on social media because they were filmed from a distance.

  25. tee says:

    I’d 100 percent wear her outfit to work and I love the oversized fit. It’s so not her typical style tho. Hm.

  26. Cookie says:

    Maybe she should have just visited a daycare instead with photographer in tow? Don’t really get the hate here, presumably participation was elective and from the pics everyone kept a wide berth.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Cookie, in the last picture she is sitting inside with someone right next to her and no masks.

      Just, why, and while mental health is important, always, right now physical health is what’s immediately at risk from coronavirus. I have no doubt we will all feel the mental effects of this horrible period for a long time, but physical health, as in, Wear Your Mask, and Socially Distance, should be front and center right now.

  27. Florence says:

    Those glassy eyes… yikes. She looks bored out of her tiny mind.

  28. Ripper says:

    She looks great (except for the ill-fitting mask), but this outfit/hair/jewelry screams Meghan cosplay. I wish Kate could just be Kate – I can feel both she and Will obsessing over Harry and Meg all the way from here.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      No Wiglet! She lightened her hair, chopped it a bit and removed the wiglet. This volume is what her uni days hair looked like.

  29. yinyang says:

    Kate living her best cosplay life. She looks like Queen Letizia in the eyes. I have zero sympathy for her, she is unrelateable and uncaring no matter what event her agents book for her.

  30. Lexistential says:

    Sigh. I want to praise her for working, but this is so random and feels insincere. And this 1000% could have been a Zoom call.

    I like her look here- simpler, no crazy eyebrows, easier makeup, no wiglet. And she looks so much better when she’s not wearing those fugly sister wife dresses. But she totally seems ill at ease and WTF is up with wearing a child’s mask.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      But is this work? Or having an organization cater to your needing a photo op looking like you care before you vanish for a tax funded holiday?

      I loved how Meghan and Harry both worked and produced something. It was never just a visit with pics.

  31. Izzy says:

    Aw. She’s cosplaying English professor. That’s cute.

  32. Mariane says:

    Still wearing kiddie masks!!! I dont understand why she visited a university when the country just reintroduced stricter social distancing measures closing bars and other places. This was so unnecessary. If she wanted to talk about MH she should’ve visited NHS psychiatry departments and MH call centres which are probably struggling with high demand

    Some of the squad on Twitter have been highlighting how she no longer buttons up her coats😂I googled this and it’s TRUE. She used to button up+tie belt wearing often tight coats which looked like a uniform. Since 2018 shes been wearing trousers & Colotts, suits, gold jewellery..etc just like Meghan. If only she could also copy Meghan’s work ethic and ambitions

  33. Its just me says:

    she’s the Ivanka Trump of the UK.