The duchess, 39, and Prince William attended their first royal engagement since the death of Prince Philip on Wednesday, April 21, visiting the Air Cadets of the Royal Air Force. During the East London event, the Duke of Cambridge, 38, and Kate matched in all-black outfits.
To top off her subtle look, Kate wore the queen’s drop pearl earrings for the event, as the perfect way to honor her on her birthday.
The birthday marked the first time in over seven decades that the queen celebrated without Philip by her side. The Duke of Edinburgh died at 99 on April 9 and was laid to rest on Saturday, April 17, at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The queen shared four children with Philip — Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Princess Anne — each of whom took part in the procession leading into the church on Saturday during the somber funeral service. William and Prince Harry also trailed behind their grandfather’s casket as the family gathered to pay their respects.
William had not been in the same place as his younger brother, 36, since the Duke of Sussex’s final engagement as a senior royal in March 2020. Harry now resides in California with his wife, Meghan Markle, and their son, Archie, 23 months. He traveled back to the U.K. earlier this month without the Suits alum, 39, who is too far along in her second pregnancy to fly safely.
Before Philip’s funeral took place, royal expert Ingrid Seward predicted that the brothers — whose rocky relationship was only exacerbated by Harry’s decision to step back from his senior duties — would “put their differences behind them” for the sake of the family. Inside the chapel, Harry sat alone while the Duke of Cambridge was joined by Kate. The trio were caught catching up outside as Philip’s loved ones exited the church.
For her part, the queen left her late husband with one final parting note placed on his coffin. Handwritten on official palace stationery, the queen wrote “I love you” and signed with her childhood nickname, “Lilibet,” which Philip often used in his own love notes to the monarch throughout their 73 years of marriage.
Elizabeth and the former naval cadet were the longest-married couple in the history of the British royal family — and their “enduring” romance blossomed under “unique” circumstances.
“It was a partnership, a very unique partnership,” Seward told Us Weekly exclusively following news of Philip’s passing. “He was always there, always there two steps behind, deferential. … He was just sort of eagle-eyed and vigilant and there.”