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For Auld Lang Syne....

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


I did not write a "Best of" 2018 post (although I did put one together on Instagram Stories). Some posts are easier to start than others, and this is one of the harder ones. In legal writing you are supposed to start with the conclusion and then work through the reasoning, so I will begin with the heart of the matter, which is that I am hanging up my blogging hat. I will no longer cover the royals here on From Berkshire to Buckingham

When I started this blog, I never imagined it would grow to this size, and certainly never anticipated the creative satisfaction I would get from writing FBTB, or the many wonderful people with whom I would be privileged to royal watch. I have been very proud to write this blog, and its success is due to all of you who have come to the blog, enjoyed the content, and kept coming back.

I can't think of a worse time to quit blogging about royals. The Cambridge children just get cuter by the day, Kate is about to expand her charitable endeavors, Meghan has injected a new dynamic into the BRF, a baby Sussex is on the way, and the transition of the old order to the new is providing a continuing, fascinating saga to watch and chat about--in short, the blog is booming and royal-watching is more fast-paced  and fascinating than ever. 

But, the blog is a significant investment in time, and I always wondered at what point I would no longer be able to devote that time to this space. I was in prayer toward the beginning of the month and I was struck with a thought that sat in my heart for a few days, and that thought ripened into the very clear realization that it is time to transition to a new chapter. I love this blog, but I want to spend more time reading, thinking, and writing about the law and policy. As bittersweet as it is to stop blogging here, I am excited for my new horizons, and I know that by depriving myself of this creative outlet, that energy will be redirected toward these other areas. 

I can't quite cut myself off entirely, so for the moment, I will try to continue on with my Instagram, account, and I do plan to update and continue to operate Kate's Clothes (www.katesclothes.com). I am not foreclosing the possibility that I will circle back to royal blogging in the future, and if and when I decide to start the blog again, or launch a new royal initiative, I will be in touch here and on Instagram

I will miss this space tremendously, and miss all of you--those who comment and those who have silently, but faithfully, followed over the years. You all have enriched me by your participation and I am grateful for the fun we have enjoyed together, but also for the serious and thought-provoking discussions we have all engaged in via the comment section. I feel very blessed to have listened and thought about the perspectives on life, motherhood, culture, and much more, that so many contributed from so many varied backgrounds and positions. 

I will think of you all often, and pray God's blessings are on you always,

Jane Barr 

P.S. I can't write a final post without a YouTube video to accompany it, right? I think the theme song of this holiday sums up my mood pretty well. Also, if you need to know more about the origin of this song, this is an great video explanation. Ok. I think that's it from this end. I am signing off. Be well, all y'all. ;)





Middletons Enjoy Family Lunch on Boxing Day in Berkshire

Saturday, December 29, 2018

While the Cambridges celebrated Christmas at Sandringham in Norfolk, the Middletons gathered together in Bucklebury for the family holiday. Carole, Mike, James, Pippa and James Matthews, and their baby Arthur, were spotted out and about on Boxing Day for a relaxed lunch. 


I love a Middleton sighting, and it is particularly fun to see the whole gang (minus Kate, of course) out together. I am also getting very excited to have our first proper peek at Arthur. The Daily Mail has a great selection of photos, so pop on over to see them here

Royal Christmas 2018

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The royals have walked to church. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined senior members of the British royal family today for the Christmas morning service. The two couples walked together to St. Mary Magdalene, and in contrast to last year, we got lots of fabulous photos.


This is a great video of the two couples and Charles leaving the gates of the estate and walking the last stretch of road up to the church.

And a fun video of the them emerging from the church. Kate looked quite commanding and regal this morning. Her streamlined silhouette helped, but that aura of authority she has taken on since she remerged after Louis's birth, is still going strong. I think she has really embraced her future queen consort role thanks to the addition of Meghan to the family.



Kate always gives the crowds lots of love on Christmas, and this year was no different. The Cambridges mixed with Norfolk locals and were as charming as ever. 

Kate has continued her penchant for "variations on a theme" ensembles. She has ordered the same style from Catherine Walker on multiple occasions, and for Christmas this year she had her green St. Patrick's Day coat made in a red colorway. She also dropped the hemline a little, which gives her an even longer and leaner silhouette than ever.


This Jane Taylor hatband is winning in every category for me. Kate's other hatbands have been quite tall, which might be what has some of you shying away from the fan club. This one has a more subtle outline and from the front or side could have been a low pillbox. I also love the color and the cute detailing at the back that completes the circle. So, unlike the other headpieces she has worn, this is more hat than hatband, and the greater subtlety makes it a little more sophisticated than her other hatbands have been. I already liked the general hatband look, but this more mixed piece is an even bigger hit with me. A+!


Kate finished off her ensemble with her beautiful Asprey oak leaf earrings and a brooch she has worn a few times over the years. I have seen some speculating the brooch is a loan from the Queen, but I wonder if it isn't a gift from her family. It features a large golden oak leaf with delicate little acorns made of, I think, small pearls. She first wore it to a reception at Buckingham Palace in 2012...


And she wore it again in 2015 for Christmas at Sandringham. It is exquisite. 


The Duchess of Sussex wore Victoria Beckham from tip to toe. She caught some flak after her tour for not wearing enough British labels, so it was a nice gesture on her part to fly the British flag on Christmas. I hear all of you who want to see her wear more color, but I am wearing a very subtle black and brown animal print today with a black sweater, so I don't know that I can judge her on this one. ;) I am wearing a burgundy bow in my hair, though....



There has been a lot of speculation about the Cambridges' decision to spend Christmas at Sandringham rather than in Bucklebury. I am among those who think this was a change in plans, and not the original arrangement. Meghan has been the subject of some punishing media headlines over the past month, and I think the family decided that a united front on the holiday would be in everyone's best interest. 


Again, there is a bizarrely prevalent idea that tension somehow means that the Cambridges and the Sussexes can't be civil to one another, let alone attend an event in a group and look composed. Obviously, families all over the world function under varying degrees of tension and disagreement, and the Windsors are no different in this respect. I thought this was a pretty successful display of unity. The girls worked overtime to chit-chat like old-home week and the resulting pictures are full of warmth and Christmas cheer. 

Hubbard
I expected nothing less than the full battery of togetherness, although I will say the boys got mixed grades on this. I don't think the event does anything to change the reports that all is not rosy in private, but it is a nice antidote for the front pages of the papers. This picture taken by a local has made the rounds:

@at.home.with.harriet
This is a video that shows the exchange:


I know this isn't the narrative everyone wants, but at the end of the day, I think this Christmas walk was very obviously a choreographed photo-call to generate positive PR (nothing wrong with that). It doesn't prove the papers are wrong, it just underscores what I have been saying all along, which is that families can have internal tension without internally combusting. The Christmas walk accomplished the goal of generating positive photos, and I am sure that they all went back to the main house and enjoyed a wonderful Christmas luncheon together. But, I don't think the press, public, or the royals themselves, are under the impression that a happy holiday erases the problems of day-to-day life, or the friction that can be generated in the ordering of a modern monarchy. What today did tell us is that the royals can push forward despite their differences, and that's certainly a good Christmas message. Speaking of messages of unity, the Queen had a similar theme in her annual address:



I had such a hectic run-up to this holiday (thank you for your patience on late posts), I have hardly had time to slow down and soak in the silence and the reason for the season. I hope you all have had a chance to do that over these past few weeks, and that today has been filled with family, fun, and much love. I am going to catch up with you all this week. ;) The Queen mentioned that 2018 has been a year filled with centenaries, and last night was the 200th anniversary of the debut of the sublimely beautiful "Silent Night," so that is my chosen carol for this year's post.


Silent night, holy night
Son of God, oh, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth


 A Merry Christmas to you all, wherever you are in the world!

"Sneak Peek": Christmas at Sandringham

The royals have walked to church. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined senior members of the British royal family today for the Christmas morning service. The two couples walked together to St. Mary Magdalene, and in contrast to last year, we got lots of fabulous photos. 


I will do a full post a little later in the morning. In the meantime, Kate was in a Catherine Walker coat and Jane Taylor "Halo band," which she paired with her Asprey leaf earrings and that beautiful oak leaf brooch of unknown origin. Meghan is wearing a coat from Victoria Beckham's line!