5 ways Will & Kate embody the true spirit of the modern family (PHOTOS)

From Princess Diana-inspired acts to a taste for tradition, Will and Kate’s visit to Canada showed us new and meaningful insights into the royal couple (besides what Kate was wearing).

Princes William and George at a children’s party for Military families during the Royal Tour of Canada on September 29, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Chris Jackson | Getty Images

After their eight-day visit, Canada has finally bid bon voyage to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their two adorable children, George and Charlotte. It’s the first time the whole family has undertaken such a major trip abroad, representing the Queen for numerous public engagements. It was also the first time the world got to see how this young family has grown together, with seemingly mutual respect and affection, and of course, love. While there were many highlights of their tour (including some stunning Kate outfits and a chance to admire the sweet Princess Charlotte and a very curious Prince George), there were a few moments that really stood out because they captured the very essence of this modern royal family.

A very tender Prince William

Physical affection is rarely demonstrated within the royal family. In fact, the Queen was often criticized for not being affectionate enough with her children, and her son, Prince Charles, has always seemed a little awkward when it comes to displaying his feelings. The very rare times the royals have shown a token of affection are those fleeting chaste kisses on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after a royal wedding. However, during this trip Prince William demonstrated a very sensitive, loving quality, not too dissimilar to that of his mother, the late Princess Diana. Whether it was reaching out his hand for his beautiful wife, holding his children close, or crouching down to reassure his children or chat with mini-royalists, Prince William seemed in his element embracing his role as loving husband and father, as well as respectable future king.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the Official Welcome Ceremony for the Royal Tour at the British Columbia Legislature on September 24, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Sam Hussein | WireImage
Prince William and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge at the children’s party on September 29, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Chris Jackson | Getty Images
Prince George holding his daddy, Prince William, very closely. Chris Jackson | Getty Images
Prince William chatting to well-wishers at the Cridge Centre for the Family on the final day of their Royal Tour of Canada on October 1, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Chris Jackson | Getty Images
The Cambridge family enjoying the party together, September 29, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Chris Jackson | Getty Images
Prince George proves there’s nothing quite like bubbles. Chris Jackson | Getty Images
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte enjoying the children’s party, September 29, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Chris Jackson | Getty Images
A delighted Princess Charlotte heads straight for the balloons at the children’s party, September 29, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Sam Hussein | WireImage
Mother and son time at the children’s party on September 29, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Sam Hussein | WireImage

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The power of two

The trip also revealed how well William and Kate work together. From the moment they descended the steps of the plane we could see a couple unified and confident in their roles. On the occasions when they were out and about with their children, both took turns in chasing after, playing with, or reassuring their little ones. When meeting members of the public, they both took on their fair-share of handshaking and chatting with the excited crowds. But what we really appreciated during this trip is that the couple both gave each other moments to shine. When Prince William gave a speech in front of Canadian dignitaries in a well-practiced French, Kate looked delighted at the crowd’s warm reception. Equally, William was more than happy when his wife stepped out in her Alexander McQueen ensemble, wowing onlookers and the fashion press alike. They appear to have a solid partnership, enjoying each other’s company, working in unison, and providing a loving harmony for George and Charlotte.

Tradition wins the day

We often see the children of stars and public figures dressed in designer clothes that cost more than our own monthly (or in the case of Kim Kardashian, maybe annual) income—and that are often totally age-inappropriate. With Prince George and Princess Charlotte we were treated to the looks of yesteryear, and oh how sweet and practical they are! Clever Kate stuck to color-coordination, low-key designers and a staple wardrobe for her youngsters: Prince George donning his shorts and knee-length socks combo (no ripped knees there) with woolen sweaters, and Princess Charlotte in pretty subtle dresses and little woolen cardigans (sometimes handed down from big brother) in shades of reds or blues. They both looked regally adorable, but also fawned over by the media for the right reasons: for their bashfulness—remember a timid George refusing to high-five Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?—their happy natures, and their tantrum-free behavior when meeting the crowds.

Yet it was not just their traditional attire or impeccable behavior that impressed us. When the mini royal duo attended a garden party in their honor, we saw how they were genuinely thrilled by the simple things in life. An excited Princess Charlotte ran towards a display of balloons, with big brother not far behind, and then a very impressed Prince George enjoyed blowing bubbles. These little acts are a reminder that we don’t need to over-complicate our children’s toy boxes, or our lives. Simply spending time with our children, whether we’re blowing bubbles or running in the grass, can bring the most pleasure.

Highlighting causes

William and Kate are seen leaving the MacBride Museum on September 28, 2016 in Whitehorse, Canada. Danny Martindale | FilmMagic
The young royals visit the island of Haida Gwaii during the Royal Tour of Canada on September 30, 2016 in Haida Gwaii, Canada. Arthur Edwards | Getty Images
With a team effort the couple arrive at the Haida Heritage Centre and Museum on September 30, 2016 in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada. Karwai Tang | WireImage
Kate meets children and families at the Cridge Centre for the Family on the final day of their Royal Tour of Canada on October 1, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Chris Jackson | Getty Images
Kate takes the helm of the the tall ship Pacific Grace in Victoria Harbour on the final day of their Royal Tour of Canada on October 1, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Chris Jackson | Getty Images
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, meets members of the Canadian public after disembarking the ship Pacific Grace in Victoria Harbour on October 1, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Danny Martindale | FilmMagic
The royal couple arrive by Sea Plane in Vancouver during their Royal Tour of Canada on September 25, 2016 in Vancouver, Canada on September 25, 2016 in Vancouver, Canada. Phillip Chin | WireImage
University of British Columbia team shirts, perfect for team Cambridge! September 27, 2016 in Kelowna, Canada. Karwai Tang | WireImage

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This trip was an opportunity for William and Kate to meet with some charities and associations working for some very worthy causes, as well as to strengthen bonds between Britain and host nation Canada. And it seemed that the Duchess of Cambridge took her role to heart, looking her element whether playing with children or paddling a canoe. So it was perhaps fitting that the Duchess put her duties before her wardrobe, wearing very low-key refined pieces so that the focus would be on the important issues she was involved in and not what she was choosing to wear.

Although Kate managed to wow us with some beautiful ensembles, the simplicity of much of her tour wardrobe also made her approachable to members of the public, especially when she favored popular brands such as Zara, or J Crew. This tour has given her the opportunity to show the world that yes, she has style, but more importantly she wants to use her position as a senior royal to help those in need.

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Fond farewells

Whatever an individual’s status, sometimes it’s the basic things in life that prove we are, at heart, one and the the same. And one of those basics? Manners. Little Prince George won us over yet again with his goodbye waves to Canada—his parents have obviously taught him the importance of saying goodbye properly—and he did so with heart-breaking aplomb. (Plus, we all know how important learning the royal wave is for a prince or princess) But his little face pressed against the plane window as it was about to depart was perhaps one of the cutest moments of the royal trip.

If you have a favorite moment of the royal tour to Canada let us know in the comments below.

 

Cerith Gardiner
Cerith Gardiner

Cerith Gardiner was born in London and has been living in Paris for 14 years. She spends her time working as an English consultant, acting as taxi driver to her four children, and wondering if she’ll ever be as stylish as the French.

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