Perhaps, like me, you were surprised to awaken in Victorian Britain last week.

Over here, paupers sleeping on the streets and over there, milk-fed royal children in smock coats posting Christmas cards to the poor.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and the youngest one have been photographed popping envelopes in a special post box outside Westminster Abbey where their mother was hosting her now-annual carol concert.

You'll remember the first of these, in 2021, when Kate Middleton played the piano and dazzled a nation of people surprised that a well brought up gal had been schooled in the essential accoutrements of the well brought up gal.

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The astonishment came from the fact that we don't expect the royals to have any actual accomplishments, which goes in Kate's favour generally because she actually seems to have accomplishments to spare.

Anyway, Friday's carol concert, as mentioned, saw the trio of royal offspring posting cards to whom the BBC enigmatically called "children who may struggle this festive season". Struggle with what? The groaning weight of history? A nation's expectations?

Hopefully not children facing a difficult Christmas because of poverty. If so, it is crass in the extreme for the wealthy offspring of Britain's most privileged family to be sending them cards, unless those cards come with fat cheques inside.

The coverage failed to mention which card specifically was being sent to these children. Presumably not the monochrome joy-sap that is this year's much-parsed Kensington Palace Christmas card.

Nothing says "Cheer up peasants, it's the most wonderful time of the year" like a minimalist black and white photograph of people wearing jeans that cost the same as your monthly mortgage payment.

I love the mottled backdrop to the Christmas card. It looks like a P7 school photo from the 90s. Except ties were compulsory for us, there would have been no getting away with an open necked shirt.

This is clearly an attempt at a pared back, low-key look given almost everyone else is struggling through a cost of living crisis but even in simple jeans and white shirt the Waleses look made of money, like they are going to walk off camera and dive into a vast pool of gold bullion.

William is smiling like a bank manager about to foreclose your home, George has refused to take part in any sort of smiling and the small one looks like he's under extreme duress. He and his big sister have lost their shoelaces.

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I'm not sure if this is fashion or a sign that nanny couldn't get them out the house on time.

There is another, serious side to the annual dissection of the royal Christmas card and that is the increasingly sinister creep of emphasis on what Princess Charlotte is wearing.

Someone pointed out on Twitter/X - with the caveat of "unconfirmed" - that it looked like Charlotte was wearing the same coat to this year's carol concert as she did last year. And I'm not sure why that's meant to excite us. The pretence of frugality?

One publication asked is Princess Charlotte now a fashion rival for her mother?

I have a question in return: Princess Charlotte is eight years old. Who do we think is buying her clothes and dressing her? Perhaps her mother. At the age of eight you are not so much an independent fashion icon but an extension of your mother's tastes.

I'd also point out that the entire family are essentially wearing the same outfit. Are Prince George and the other boy not fashion rivals for Prince William? Of course, no one cares, because they are male.

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On fashion, I'm surprised more hasn't been made of the fact Kate Middleton's style has morphed into that of the Duchess of Sussex since the Duchess exited stage left. The tailored pants, the capes, the block colours, a slight masculine chic edge - it's all classic Meghan.

And it pains me that I've noticed this. It pains me more that Charlotte's wardrobe is already being seen as a thing to be scrutinised as though it is indicative of her personality and choices.

The poor thing - and my sympathy here is genuine - is going to face intense scrutiny as she grows up under the patriarchal gaze of a tabloid media that still can't sort itself out with a mature relationship to either the royal family or to women.

She's still a small child and deserves to be left well alone.