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Kate Up-Date: Flower Market, Visit to Santa, Board Meeting...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Does anyone have time for Kate the Saturday before Christmas? If you are taking a break from shopping or frantic cleaning, the Kate Up-Date is now going live to the world, and happily, there is some news for us to sip hot-coco over. While I have a general rule: no picture, no post, the Duchess has been pretty active in London, so I thought we would run through it all, even without the fun of photography. 

Today, the Cambridges arranged for a certain little man to have a private meeting with Santa. Both William and Kate took George to the Thursford Christmas Spectacular to chat with Father Christmas. Can you imagine? One of the elves reported that Kate was wearing a beige coat and black boots, and, of course, that "she looked amazing!" Well, natch. Kate has a number of beige coats, and my mind immediately went to her pinky/grey Max Mara, although I don't know how the fit would be at this point. 

She may have been wearing this trench she was spotted shopping in when pregnant with George, or she could have been in an entirely new piece. With really no details other than a general color, it is very hard to guess.  All reports suggest that the couple were only there for their private audience with St. Nick and not to stay for the actual performance. 

Kate has been having a busy week, as I suppose we all are in the run-up to Christmas. On Wednesday, locals at a London flower market reported seeing Kate shopping for festive blooms. The Princess was accompanied by her personal protection officers who, according to the witness, kept onlookers at a discreet distance.  That same day, Kate attended the Queen's pre-Christmas lunch at BP.

Thursday, William and Kate hosted their annual staff Christmas party at trendy Bumpkin's South Kensington location on the Old Brompton Road. The royals are very fond of the cosy atmosphere and locally sourced food, because in 2012 they hosted their staff at Bumpkin - Notting Hill. Bumpkin's menu is mouthwatering, with starters that include Pan-Seared Scallops in cauliflower cream and Roast Squash with poached quail eggs, foraged mushrooms, and tender stemmed broccoli. Entrées (as we gauchely prefer to refer to main courses) include Salmon Wellington, Roast Pheasant with skirlie and Bury black pudding, and Pearl Barley Risotto. They have a compressive dessert list, but I will stop before I ruin your pre-Christmas diet. It looks like a great restaurant! 

The same day, William, Kate, and Harry attended a private board meeting for their umbrella charity, The Royal Foundation. The meeting was held in Kensington, and no photos have emerged. It seems very possible this was a post-mortem on the very successful New York trip. 

Obviously, unless you are a fly on the wall in Kensgington Palace, it is hard to say for certain what Christmas has in store for the Cambridges. They spent the Christmas of 2011 with the Queen at Sandringham, 2012 they were in Bucklbury with the Middletons as Kate battled hyperemesis gravidarum, 2013 saw them back at Sandringham. If they are establishing an every-other-year pattern, 2014 should be Middletons in Bucklbury, but with only three Christmases to the pattern, there is no way to know if extenuating circumstances dictated their 2012 stay in Berkshire. This year, too, is their first Christmas with their newly renovated Norfolk home in full operational order. For obvious selfish reasons, I am hoping they will be in Norfolk for the walk to church Christmas Day. For many other reasons, I think our money is safe on Sandringham. All will soon be revealed... 

The Lady Wore Red: Kate Attends Pre-Christmas Lunch

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We only ever get the most minuscule of peeks inside the window as the royals drive into the Buckingham Palace gates, but for some reason I particularly love the annual pre-Christmas lunch that the Queen hosts in London for her family. Perhaps it is the routine of it all, or the big smiles they flash on their way in, or maybe the close proximity to the holiday that signals that Christmas truly is almost here, but I find this event so festive and look forward to it every year. 

The Queen spends Christmas at Sandringham with the immediate members of her family. As her children have had children, and now some of those children have had children of their own, the numbers have swelled and it is, more than ever, impossible for Her Majesty to have everyone on the actual day. This lunch allows the more extended family to gather together, see one another, and celebrate the season before the Queen leaves for Norfolk. It is a lovely gesture of inclusion, I think.

William drove the couple to the lunch, wearing those glasses that look so great. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that the two brought baby George. (Soon, I really need to stop calling him Baby George.) I guess the rambunctious little guy was relegated to the nursery for this one. Although, relatives will probably be disappointed to miss out on his mischievous antics, I imagine his parents were happy to enjoy the break.  Very interestingly, although George was nowhere to be seen on arrival, he left the lunch in a Range Rover with his parents and Nanny Maria. I assume this means that William and Kate did not want George photographed, and attempted to minimize his exposure by sending him in discreetly with Nanny Maria. I am happy to hear they did in fact bring him!

Like clock-work, Kate wore red. She always recycles some scarlet piece from her wardrobe, and this year it looks very much like the Katherine Hooker from EACH's Capital Appeal Launch got the nod. 

Earlier today, William visited Centrepoint where he made headlines by telling a girl training to be a hair-dresser she should try managing Kate's "nightmare" hair. This prince certainly likes to shoot the occasional teasing comment across Kate's bow. Remember when Kate's hair met the humidity of South East Asia? She probably thought that was nightmare hair, the rest of us, William included, knew it was gorgeous...

Post to be updated...

A Christmas Surprise for Scouts as Kate Pops in "Unannounced"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It was only announced yesterday that The Duchess of Cambridge would be making a surprise visit to scouts in East London this evening. As the members of the 23rd Poplar Beaver Scout Colony arrived for their evening meeting at Old Ford Primary School in Bow, they were looking forward to earning a new badge, but none suspected they would receive it from Princess Kate in person. 

Not even all the parents were in the loop, as one tweeted shortly before Kate's arrival:

She went on to remark that her daughter's picture was all over Twitter and it was a good thing they brushed her hair... Apparently, #BetterPrepared truly was the lesson of the night. 

Scouts UK Facebook

Kate has been very involved with the scouts since becoming a royal. From formal events, such as her trip to Nottingham in 2012 when the ducal couple (attending the Queen) partook in scout activities including games and tent building. (I don't think flirting was an official activity, but I am sure they got brownie points.) more rugged and woodsy activties such as her visit to Cumbria for a leaders' training session while pregnant with George... 

...Kate has really been a faithful patron and role model to Britain's scouts. Bear Grylls penned a piece in The Telegraph just this year paying tribute to Kate, and gave a us a little peek into more of the work she has done, including a beach party during her tenure as a volunteer leader in Anglesey!
During the time she lived in north Wales, she would help out a couple of times a term with her local Cub Scouts. She would run games, leader activities and even threw a party on the beach for the young girls and boys in her pack. Despite her travels and commitments, she still adjusted her diary to make time regularly to help young people grow and develop.

Tonight, the Beavers were learning about life with disabilities, and educational activities included icing cakes blindfolded, learning the Scout Promise in sign language, and cutting up chocolate with a boxing glove!  

I think we say it every time, but, Kate was just glowing this evening. She couldn't be more natural and charming with children. These kids were all relatively young, and you are assured a variety experiences when working with kids in this age-group. During the guided cake decorating, apparently one of the children just wandered off leaving the good-humored Kate blindfolded. As she arrived, one beaver caught sight of the royal visitor and shouted, "Oh my gosh, it's Princess Kate!" according to Rebecca English. Suffice it to say the children were delighted by the evening and so was the princess. 

Kate dressed in what I imagine is par for her course when volunteering with the scouts. An iScout hoodie from Scout Shops, the Beavers' neckerchief, and her Russell & Bromley ChargeIt boots. Kate was wearing black skinnies, and given her frugal attitude toward maternity wear, I rather suspect they are the J. Crew toothpicks from the Nets game in New York. 


We should be seeing Kate shortly for the Queen's annual family lunch at Buckingham Palace. Expect a car shot or two, before the royals then decamp to Norfolk for the holiday. 

Kate Recycles DVF Zarita Gown For Weekend Wedding

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Funday has finally lived up to its monicker. We had lots of news about The Duchess of Cambridge today, including new pictures!  William and Kate attended the evening wedding of friends  this weekend, and Kate recycled her DVF Zarita from the Royal Variety Performance. It was fun to see how different the ensemble was in a more relaxed setting. Rather than the glamorous up-do of the debut wear, Kate left her hair in her signature loose locks.

Kate carried the same clutch that she paired with the Zarita the first time: The Vintage Magrid bag, which was remarkably IDed by a WKW reader fairly recently. I was interested to see that Kate bundled up in a cashmere tartan shawl from Really Wild Clothing, which added color, and a cozy warmth to the ensemble. 

She wore this same shawl last Christmas morning, when the Royal Family attended the private communion service they do every December 25th before the public walk later in the morning. 

The wedding was at Chelsea Old Church. This is on the same road (Old Church Street) that the Middletons bought Kate's flat, where she and Pippa both lived for periods of time, so the princess was in her old stomping grounds.

Although Kate looked much different in the Zarita tonight, one constant was the elegance She was perfect for an intimate Christmas-season wedding.  It seems Kate wore either her "Round-toe" Prada heels or her Episode "Angel". Feel free to weigh in if you have a strong opinion. See  the full story on the wedding, with big pictures at The Express here


Apparently, Kate slipped in some Christmas chopping at Peter Jones on Friday before, according to, People, she took George to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park where the two rode one of those ghastly twirly-cup rides. Apparently, George loved it--presumably, so did Kate. I would have been ill in Kate's place, but I think everyone is charmed by the normal joy and fun Kate was able to experience with her toddler. See People's full story here.


Lastly, before I run off, I will be seeing you tomorrow, because Kate has a scout event. Do I hear an Alleluia? I hear an Alleluia chorus! As we have recently discussed, Kate visited the scouts while pregnant with Georgie-porgie, and I am hoping for another great visit tomorrow. À demain.

Christmas Photos of Prince George Released by Clarence House

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The radio keeps saying "It's the most wonderful time of the year..." And that would seem to be justified, because this morning Emily Andrews of The Sun and Paul Harrison of Sky told me royal watchers had a surprise coming our way. Needless to say, it immediately became a day of anticipation. I was actually very much hoping that William and Kate would release a family Christmas photo, which they have never done in the past, but to live is to change. When the photos were released, they were solo shots of George. I was a little disappointed, but it is hard not to love these absolutely, drop-dead charming snaps.

The mischievous tot is pictured sitting on the steps of Kensington Palace is an impeccable ensemble doubtless put together by his picture-perfect mother. He really is a bright-eyed boy and obviously full of spunk. William and Kate didn't waste any time jetting home to their little prince, whom they had left in the care of his grandparents in Bucklebury.

I have to say, I far, far prefer these shots of George to the first set. His little ensemble is classic and traditional yet still hip. (He will have no cause to reproach mom in later years...) Kate has done very well. These beautiful photos are quite worthy of the history books and museums in which they will one day be displayed. Of course, below we have the photo that is destined to be a viral-meme. I will get the ball rolling and say the caption needs to discuss his thirst for power and world domination. Relax George, you have a throne coming your way, and there is plenty of time left in your life to demand fealty from France... 

While Kate doubtless cuddled with George and recovered from her busy three days and two trans-atlatinc flights in less than a week, William got right back into the spotlight at the unveiling of a new monument at the National Memorial Arboretum. As the president of the FA, he was on hand to dedicate a memorial to the Christmas Day truce of 1914, where the German and British troops called a ceasefire and came together to celebrate the birth of Christ. They exchanged gifts and, iconically, played football (aka: soccer, oh Americans) together. 

Sainsbury's Christmas ad this year dramatized this event, and it is well worth a watch. William commented that the 1914 truce, "remains wholly relevant today as a message of hope and humanity, even in the bleakest of times. Football, then as now, had the power to bring people together and break down barriers."  He is the president of the FA... I hope you are wearing waterproof mascara and that your tissues are nearby:

Back to the boy of the hour: in chatting after the ceremony, William remarked that George cannot fall asleep if there is any noise. I think our cutie-prince is still a handful. This is a lucky week for royal watchers. It was December 12th of 2010 that William and Kate released their engagement photos. At the time, we were inundated with computer generated extrapolations of future children the royal couple would produce--all the while the two had probably yet to even choose their wedding cake flavor, God bless them. 

Thankfully, four years later, this handsome little boy looks nothing like those odd pictures we could not escape, and instead he is that beautiful blend of both parents, and both families.  I still think that George more closely resembles his mother. Those big brown eyes and strong eyebrows are very much of the Middleton side. Still, in the magical way that features mix, he strongly resembles his handsome dad and I suspect that will be a resemblance that grows as the years tick by. 

Dazzling Duchess of Cambridge Repeats Jenny Packham For St. Andrews 600th Gala at the Met in New York

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tonight was the finale of the Cambridges' visit to the United States. From the moment the events were announced, the St. Andrews 600th Anniversary Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was the subject of the greatest excitement and the highest expectation. The evening was slated to be the most formal of the planned events and with tables selling for over 100,000 toward the end, it was sure to be a royally glitzy affair. Of course, how can we discount the romance of the charity's connections? William and Kate met at St. Andrews University and fell in love there over the course of their four academic years. 

What Kate would wear was the question that hung over the entire trip. Would she wear American? A favorite Yank label, such as Ralph Lauren? Would it be Oscar de la Renta to pay tribute to the late creative genius? We knew that whatever Kate chose, it would be a dazzling appearance. But, did anyone guess HRH the Duchess of Cambridge would recycle? Stepping out of the car this evening, in a Jenny Packham she has already worn twice, Kate drew gasps from royal watchers around the world. Not, however, from disappointment, or boredom, but admiration. She looked magnificent!

The Duchess has recycled evening gowns only several other times. One gown twice, and one thrice. .. The three-peat we have seen is, bien sûr, the Temperley London Amoret. That dress debuted in 2011 at the War Horse premiere... saw its first recycle, interestingly, for a St. Andrews 600th dinner in London...

...and Kate really made jaws drop by wearing it a third time last December to the Natural History Museum for the 3D Alive gala. 

Each was a lovely appearance, but other than the red accessories Kate added for the first recycle, nothing significantly changed to mark one wear from another.  

The other evening gown that Kate has given a second moment in the spotlight was the the white sheath from French designer Roland Mouret. That was an example of a fantastic recycle. By changing her hair and accessories, Kate made a very clear distinction between the two events, and I frankly still prefer the second wear. A stunning, stunning appearance:

Tonight's Jenny Packham has already had opportunities to dazzle. Kate debuted this in October of 2013, just after giving birth to George. She wore it to a Kensington Palace reception for a 100 Women in Hedge Funds gala. 

We saw it again just this February when she wore it to the Portrait Gala at the NPG. While I wished at the time she had changed her hair more, adding a priceless and huge diamond necklace from the royal family vaults, definitely made it easy to distinguish the two wears. 

This dress seems to be lucky in jewelry, because the only accessories Kate chose to add to the ensemble tonight were these huge, and massively expensive looking earrings, and a matching bracelet. Apparently, they are a private gift. (I need this woman's friends...) They are so big, that in the first grainy pictures, I was horrified that she was wearing anything so dangling and huge. All was forgiven, of course, when I saw that instead of garish chunks of common silver, they were stunning jewels.

A better look:

This was the dress's finest appearance. Pregnancy seems to be its making. Of every evening gown Kate has, this one and the lilac McQueen from the BAFTAs, would be most beautiful as maternity-wear. I don't think this dress has ever had a great chance to really shine, and tonight it certainly did. With her hair in a side-chignon, the graceful bodice finally uninhibited by her long locks, the flowing layers of the skirt....magnificent. Really, she looked so glamorous. Only Kate would have known a recycle would hit the spot.

St. Andrews knows how to celebrate, that is certain. When William and Kate first announced their engagement, they undertook a tour of the United Kingdom: Wales, Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland all got a visit from the glowing couple and a chance to more personally share in their joy. Certainly, the most evocative visit, was their appearance at their alma mater, St. Andrews. 

Having left St. Andrews barely out of her teens, in love with a headstrong prince, and years of uncertainty in her future, to come back at last with a sapphire ring on her finger and her prince by her side, must have been quite a powerful experience for Kate. It was for fans. St. Andrews was celebrating their 600th then!! Their website says that the 600th celebrations span between 2011 and 2013, but since William and Kate attended their first celebration in 2010, and this evening's event is knocking on 2015's door, I think they take boundaries loosely. Which is fine; 600 years merits plenty of partying.

My first thought when reviewing the schedule for the royal visit was: no Metropolitan Opera component? It seemed a small crime. Sting had been scheduled to perform this evening, but withdrew. The marvelous Renée Fleming took his place. Could the elegance factor be raised anymore? The soprano sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."


Kate's cousin-in-law Princess Eugenie was at the party, as she currently lives and works in New York...I think she still does. I only follow one princess super closely...

I love a good continental greeting...

The venue, as mentioned, is relatively legendary, and it didn't disappoint up for this evening's Scottish shindig:

William and Kate are now heading back home to baby George, who has been staying with Granda Carole and Grandpa Mike in Bucklebury. When are we going to get a photo of those two playing with him, by the way?

What a whirlwind trip!  A mini-tour...anyone miss April? A big thank-you to the London press pack and royal photographers, all of whom kept us updated, and flush with fabulous photos. As always, you are all invaluable. It has been America's pleasure to host you; a safe and restful flight home to the UK!

 If you are not familiar with Ms. Fleming, I leave you with a melodious and magnificent rendition of  the farewell from Taïs. I have been ODing on this for over four months now, and I am still not tired of it. Goodnight!

Kate Wears Mulberry, Séraphine, and Cartier for Final Day In New York

While media and fans were disappointed, not to say inconvenienced, by the torrential downpour that marred this morning's visit to the September 11 Memorial, to my mind there was something fitting about the mood the weather leant the occasion. I am sure most Americans would agree that September 11th still aches in our hearts. Every year, no matter the weather, it is a dark day, certainly nowhere more than in New York City.

The couple arrived in the rain, and as one person pointed out, using The Carlyle's umbrellas. (The Carlyle and Chevy Truck are getting some fantastic product placement miles out of this trip.) They made their way to the reflecting pool and at the panel commemorationg United 93, while William held the umbrella, Kate layed a wreath with an accompanying note:
In sorrowful memory of those who died on 11th September and in admiration of the courage shown to rebuild.
The names of victims are etched into the panels.  Kate remarked on the size of the memorial, and that she particularly liked the ability to trace the names with her fingers.

Because of the rain, they were escorted into the museum quickly, but spent a generous amount of time taking in the artifacts and memorials, including, the walls covered with the pictures of the victims and this mosaic with a quote by the Roman poet Virgil.


2,977 people are killed on September 11th. 12% were foreign nationals, 67 of whom were British. 

@Nickastbury1 via Twitter 
The couple completed their visit to the National 9/11 Memorial and moved to visit The Door to learn about the work this charity undertakes in collaboration with City Kids Foundation. 

Both are youth charities that look for ways to promote achievement. Helping disadvantaged young people is a huge interest of William's, and you may recall in 2009, William made headlines by sleeping a night on London's streets for Centrepoint, in part to shine the spotlight on young homeless. 

Let's talk about what she wore before we move to the afternoon. Kate had hardly stepped from the car before it was announced the princess was wearing Mulberry with a Séraphine dress underneath--both pieces of news were cause for celebration. This is a slightly unusual color for Kate, she wears light pink, and various reds, but this very bright fuchsia--or cerise, as Mulberry terms it--is not as common. Kate contrasted her color with black accessories, and although I usually advise against black and pink, this came across as a crisp combo. I liked it. 

Kate is getting a lot of wear out of her Mulberry clutch, as she carried it again today. She stayed toasty with her Cornelia James gloves, stockings, and suede heels. Kiki McDonough amethysts added some sparkle. Unknown earlier was that she had a lot more sparkle under her coat, but I am getting ahead of myself. 

Kate really scores when she wears Mulberry. Almost every item of clothing she has worn from the label has been lovely.  Perhaps her most successful maternity ensemble, to my mind, was the mint green Mulberry she wore to the scout event at Windsor Castle. 

Today's coat, while not equaling The Mint Mulberry, was GREAT. :) It reminded me of the blue Jonathan Saunders in style. A significant component of the overall sartorial success was the sleek and thick pony in which Kate styled her hair. She wore this same look Down Under, and this morning, as on that occasion, the busy coat was well-served by the lack of distraction:

After watching a performance at The Door, William and Kate made their way to NeauHouse for a GREAT reception. GREAT is a UK government initiative that works to promote Britain in all sectors, from business to art. 

Kate shed her coat at the reception to reveal her black, knit Séraphine dress underneath, and...the $80,000 Cartier necklace we saw in 2012. I was so excited to see this stunning piece make a second appearance! I had begun to worry she had lost it... :) I really wonder why she doesn't wear it more often. The money has been spent, it isn't ludicrously loud... Perhaps it is hard to style.

I do love black in general, and I love it on Kate. Particularly with her hair up. Black intensifies her brunette locks and dark eyebrows and makes her all the more striking. Turtlenecks in general should be shunned by society, but this lovely Séraphine dress takes its place with the Ralph Lauren sheath dress, as one of the genre's major successes...on Kate.

Furthermore, the simple black dress made the stunning Cartier necklace all the more prominent. It truly was the star of the show:

At the reception, Kate met J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons. Dare we hope this means the Duchess will experiment with one of preppy America's favorite brands? My fingers are crossed!  As I wrote this post, it was revealed that Kate wore J.Crew's toothpick jeans last night! I think this could very well be THE fashion moment for many Americans. 

After the reception, William headed to the Empire State building for a second GREAT reception highlighting technology, but Kate returned to the hotel. Turner Classic Movies was playing An Affair To Remember last night and I caught the tail end while I was finishing up my post. So, I got to cry (everyone does) my way through the closing scene. Maybe William and Kate were snuggled at The Carlyle researching his trip to the top of the iconic edifice, too.

ITV News

Both days, Kate was not scheduled to be at the late afternoon receptions, probably so she had the option to back out if she felt she needed to rest. Happily, she felt well enough yesterday to accompany William, but this afternoon she clearly decided some down-time was in order. Keep in mind that she has significantly more prep than William, too, and in addition to a nap, she needs her hair fully styled and make-up done. 

I hope you are excited for this evening's appearance for the St. Andrew's Gala as I am! My prediction is Jenny Packham or Alexander McQueen. It would be fun if she chose a Scottish label, though! I think it is unlikely Kate will wear American, but time will reveal all. See you in a few hours! 

One other note... It was announced today that Diamond Marshall, the precious little girl who met William and Kate on the tarmac in Calgary, has died. Diamond captured hearts all around the globe when she impulsively hugged Kate, and I am sure this has been particularly sad news to the royal couple.