The Princess of Wales has made a dazzling statement in a red sequin-embroidered gown – putting aside the turbulence of Meghan and Harry’s Netflix documentary ahead of her royal Christmas carol concert next week.
Kate, 40, will host the service on Thursday in Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II‘s honour, in what will be her first Christmas Carol service since she was given the Princess of Wales title.
In a newly released palace portrait, the princess wowed in a show-stopping sequin gown, with sheer embroidered sleeves and a cinched waistline.
She wore her hair in loose waves and kept her makeup fresh with a glossy nude lip, letting the bold dress take centre stage.
In the background, the Christmas tree was lit with fairy lights, draped with golden and red bows and baubles.
The service will recognise the selfless efforts of communities throughout the UK, highlighting the importance of coming together to support one another.
William, 40, is said to be angry about the disrespect he feels Harry showed to their grandmother when she was alive during the Megxit saga.
And sources believe the bombshell documentary – which it is understood the heir to the throne has not watched, but is likely to do so at some point – will do little to change his mind.
In a newly released palace portrait, the princess wowed in a show-stopping sequin gown, with sheer sleeves embroidered with sequins and a cinched waistline
Harry and Meghan described Britain as racist and appeared to take aim at the ‘formality’ of the royal family – even behind closed doors.
Meghan said: ‘Even when Will and Kate came over and I was meeting her for the first time I remember I was in ripped jeans, I was barefoot. Like I was a hugger, I have always been a hugger I didn’t realise that is really jarring for a lot of Brits.’
The Prince and Princess of Wales have reportedly not yet watched the documentary, nor have they addressed any of the stories the Sussexes shared in the first three episodes.
While nothing particularly salacious was revealed, William is said to be distrustful of Harry’s motives given he has a book coming out early next year.
A friend said: ‘The prince is a very private man and what Harry is doing is the anathema of everything he believes. On that alone, many believe it is unlikely he will ever be able to repair his relationship with them. Too much water has gone under the bridge.’
But royal insiders say the firm are particularly upset with any criticism of Queen Elizabeth and her Commonwealth legacy, which was dismissed as ‘Empire 2.0’.
In the first three episodes of the six-part series, Harry has accused the royals of having a ‘huge level of unconscious bias’ and colluding with a media that wanted to ‘destroy’ Meghan.
The Princess of Wales has not addressed the comments. Instead, she got on with royal business.
The upcoming carol service, spearheaded by the Princess, will combine both traditional and modern elements, reaching people of all faiths and none.
It is also set to pay tribute to the late Queen, and will see Westminster Abbey flooded with festive decorations as the world renowned Abbey Choir sing carols and special guests deliver special readings.
The King and Queen Consort will join the Princess of Wales for the service, which is taking place on the same day as the second instalment of Harry and Meghan’s documentary airs on Netflix.
Kensington Palace confirmed that ‘The New Fab Four’ as they have been dubbed will attend the ceremony together.
The Prince and Princess of Wales pictured arriving at Buckingham Palace for the annual Diplomatic Corps reception last week
The Princess of Wales stunned in a scarlet Jenny Packham gown as she stepped out at Buckingham Palace alongside the Prince of Wales for the annual Diplomatic Corps reception last week
Last year, the Princess’s event was attended by her husband Prince William, as well as Zara and Mike Tindall and Sophie Wessex.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were also in attendance and were pictured singing along to the carols and hymns.
It was also a family affair for the Princess, with her parents Carole and Michael Middleton, as well as her siblings James and Pippa, also in attendance.
For the annual Diplomatic Corps reception on December 6, the Princess of Wales wore a gem-embellished scarlet Jenny Packham gown and the Lotus Flower Tiara alongside her husband, King Charles, 74, and Queen Consort Camilla, 75.
She showed off the Queen’s Diamond Frame earrings, which she teamed with Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Family Order and her blue Royal Victorian Order sash.
The Prince and Princess of Wales have spent the week focusing on parenting duties and sticking to ‘business as usual’ as royal watchers around the world eagerly awaited Netflix’s ‘global special’ on the Sussexes.
The duke and duchess signed lucrative deals, thought to be worth more than £100 million, with Netflix and Spotify after quitting as working royals.
An insider said earlier this week the royals are reluctant to engage in a tit-for-tat battle over the series.
In the first half of the series, which was released this week, Meghan recalled her first ever encounter with Prince William and Princess Kate.
Radiant: A glamorous Kate speaks to guests at the Diplomatic Corps reception at Buckingham Palace this evening
The Prince and Princess of Wales, pictured at last year’s event at Westminster Abbey, which was also broadcast on Christmas Eve
The Duchess of Sussex, 41, said she did not know the ‘formality’ carries through behind closed doors and that she is a ‘hugger’ – which she did not realise was ‘jarring for some Brits’.
She admitted she was ‘surprised’ there is a ‘forward facing way of being and then you close the door’.
‘I started to understand that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside, that there is a forward facing way of being and then you close the door and think ‘OK we can relax now’. But that formality carries over on both sides and that was surprising to me.’
Harry has accused the royals of having a ‘huge level of unconscious bias’ and colluding with a media that wanted to ‘destroy’ Meghan, as well as slighting his father and brother about their choices of bride.
Prince Harry’s claim that his decision to marry Meghan set him apart from his family because it was ‘from his heart’ and not because she ‘would fit the mould’ is ‘simply not true’, a royal expert has insisted
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk down the steps at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel after their wedding in 2018
He said his decision to marry Meghan set him apart from his family because it was ‘from his heart’ and not because she ‘would fit the mould’.
‘I think for so many people in the family, especially obviously the men, there can be a temptation or an urge to marry someone who would fit the mould as opposed to somebody who you perhaps are destined to be with.
‘The difference between making decisions with your head, or your heart. And my mum certainly made most of her decisions – if not all of them – from her heart. And I am my mother’s son.’
The comments have been perceived as a slight against his brother, while others say it’s clearly an observation on his father’s unhappy marriage to Diana before he went on to marry Camilla, who is now Queen Consort.
Elsewhere in the highly anticipated documentary:
William and Kate tied the knot in 2011 after nearly a decade together. Above: The pair on the Buckingham Palace balcony after their wedding
Whilst still married to Diana, Charles is known to have been romantically involved with Camilla, whom he went on to tie the knot with in 2005 (pictured)
Double anguish for Prince William as he learned his ‘close friend’ Mark Jenkins was killed in Kenya plane crash while processing the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s explosive Netflix series
Pilot Mark Jenkins and his son Peter were flying over Tsavo National Park in Kenya when their plane came down on Thursday.
The Prince of Wales paid tribute to his friend, describing Mr Jenkins as someone who had ‘dedicated his life’ to protecting wildlife in East Africa.
The news of Mr Jenkins’ death would likely have added to William’s anguish as he was already trying to deal with the criticisms levelled against him and Catherine by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the first ‘volume’ of their documentary series.
Mark Jenkins and his son Peter were both tragically killed in a plane crash on Thursday
Mark Jenkins was a friend of the Prince and Princess of Wales and ‘dedicated his life’ to protecting African wildlife
Speaking in the second episode of the six-part series, Meghan talked about her ‘jarring’ first meeting with William and Kate.
She said: ‘When Will and Kate came over, and I met her for the first time, they came over for dinner, I remember I was in ripped jeans and I was barefoot.
‘I was a hugger. I’ve always been a hugger, I didn’t realise that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits.
‘I guess I started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside.
‘There is a forward-facing way of being, and then you close the door and go ‘You can relax now’, but that formality carries over on both sides. And that was surprising to me.’
In his first public comments since Harry’s programme, the Prince of Wales tweeted: ‘Yesterday, I lost a friend, who dedicated his life to protecting wildlife in some of East Africa’s most renowned national parks.
‘Mark Jenkins, and his son Peter, were tragically killed when flying over Tsavo National Park while conducting an aerial patrol.
‘Tonight, I’m thinking about Mark’s wife, family and colleagues who’ve sadly lost a man we all loved and admired. W.’
William is a keen conservationist and last month urged the world not to be distracted by ‘turbulent times’ and lose sight of the importance of protecting the natural world.
In a speech during the Tusk Conservation Awards, William said countries must ‘remain focused on investing in nature and the environment’.
Prince William paid tribute to his friend, describing Mr Jenkins as someone who had ‘dedicated his life’ to protecting wildlife in East Africa
The Prince first met Mr Jenkins in 2001 in Africa. The pair struck up a friendship and had met a number of times since, with Mr Jenkins following the Prince’s work with the Tusk Trust.
The area Mr Jenkins and his son were patrolling had been entered by herders with their animals for pasture, causing conflict between them and Kenyan authorities, a local newspaper reported.
Coast regional police officer Titus Karuri said experts were investigating the accident.
‘Kenya Wildlife Service wishes to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the deceased,’ he said.
The Frankfurt Zoological Society, which previously employed Mr Jenkins, said the pair were killed during a flight for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an NGO.
It added Mr Jenkins was a ‘lifelong conservationist and experienced bush pilot’ who had conservation ‘in his blood’.
A statement on the society’s website said: ‘Passionate, principled, and strong-willed, Mark was never afraid to speak his mind and stand for what he believed in.
‘He was a commanding presence and made an indelible impression wherever he went.
‘Those of us who worked alongside him remember him for his determination, thoughtfulness, his energy, his mischievous smile, and his deep love of wildlife and wild places.
‘We will miss his warmth, his hilarious stories, and his sometimes rather irreverent comments which always made us smile. Mark was a devoted husband and father and leaves behind his wife, and his son.
‘Our deepest condolences go to his family, who tragically lost two beloved family members, to their friends, and to all conservationists who knew Mark and worked with him.
‘Our heartfelt condolences go also to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the NGO for which Mark did yesterday’s patrol flight.’
The Tsavo National Park is the largest National Park in Kenya and home to red elephants
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates an orphan elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation program in Kenya.
The park is almost 22,000 square kilometres and is the largest national park in Kenya – and one of the biggest in the world, according to the official website.
It is made up of two separate parks, Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park, in the Coast Province of Kenya between Nairobi City and Mombasa.
The website states that the park is home to red elephants and large open spaces.