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Down Under Tour Day 4: Kate Wears McQueen to Blenheim Wreath Laying, Walkabout, and Afternoon Omaka Aviation History Centre

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Today is Thursday, April 10th in New Zealand, and technically the 4th day of the tour if you count the day off. So, I am calling it day 4. Although, we have been easing into this tour, today is a full schedule. The couple left George with Nanny Maria in Wellington while they took a short flight--a veritable puddle-jumper--to Blenheim.






The wreath laying ceremony at Seymour Square's War Memorial was first on the agenda at 11:30am local time. There has been talk that the royals have only received a lukewarm reception in a country with very strong Republican movements, but in fairness to the beloved royal couple, it has been wretched weather and they have yet to undertake any engagement where they were actually accessible to the general public. Who wants to queue for hours to see a car whizz by? Today, the local paper reported that crowds began gathering at 4:30am to gain prime positions, and a royal reporter tweeted that the crowd was gathering in healthy bunches.





William and Kate were zoomed to the airport in a chaffier driven car where their transportation awaited them. @DuchessSpotting was on the ground giving all the bloggers great to the minute updates. 


Off they flew, into the wild, blue grey yonder, with a helicopter escort.

The crowds gathered in excellent numbers....


And the red carpet was rolled out:


Happy young fans who love the monarchy...

And we were off and running. William and Kate arrived to the cheers and waves of the crowd. As she stepped out of the car and around to join William, Kate was wearing a cornflower blue McQueen coat. You can usually count on Kate to wear McQueen for these formal and ceremonial occasions. Burton makes the kind of clothes that really step up to the plate in the style stakes. McQueen has gravitas. Also, as it not unusual, Kate had her McQueen customized from various other styles. She did this with the gorgeous blue military coat:

Kate's McQueen Here was a mixture of two different coats
She also had this red McQueen customized:


Today's blue coat incorporated those pleats and flawless tailoring that Burton does so exquisitely.


Not all the stills, like the one above, do this piece credit. In stills it sometimes looks a little heavier and bulkier and so not as flattering. In motion, you could see the fabric was delicate and moved fluidly with her. I am still waiting for the picture agency to come through with better photos...those will be in the update. The couple laid a wreath at the War memorial, which I really liked seeing them do together! They looked great!



After the ceremony, William and Kate undertook a walkabout, where the crowds were in a frenzy to see the Duchess and where she gave generously of her attention, as always.


I mentioned this little girl twirling on Twitter, and as promised, here is the video. I knew it would get its own spot, it was very cute.

Youtube Video Here

Some fans got some great shots of the smiling Duchess:



Kate was wearing her Princess of Wales sapphire earrings which I love soo much!  Unusually for Kate, she had her hair in a very contained pony.  Clearly, it had been carefully styled to stay just so, and in the closeup below you can just barely see the pins holding everything in place.


William and Kate are at their afternoon event now, and I will update when that has concluded and better pictures are available. I am going to wait for a few more pieces, but we have now seen two longer coats in a short period of time... Let the conspiracy theories commence. :)

The event at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre must have been a particularly fun event for William, a former RAF pilot himself. The ever extremely hairy Peter Jackson was on hand to chat with the royal couple and show them around his exhibit Knights of the Sky WWI. Many old and historic planes had come in for the show and I think some of the royal reporters may have been a little distracted by it all. :)

William ultimately couldn't resist and hopped into one of the cockpits, while Kate stayed on terra firm and just peaked into the cockpit.


You can find raw footage here in which William invites Kate up into the cockpit. It is pretty cute and it almost seems like she is legitimately trying to figure out--for just the briefest of seconds--if climbing up there is possible. Obviously, it isn't. While she is surveying the plane, Peter Jackson walks up behind her and starts snapping away on his iPhone. Kate turns around catching him at it and there is this flirty awkward exchange. It is hilarious. Don't miss this video.






The two (William and Kate) looked to be having an absolute ball together. I do love these joint engagements they have when hey are obviously really enjoying themselves! Not that they look unhappy ever, but some events are clearly more fun than others. You could see this was a treat.


They wrapped it all up a little after 2pm local time and flew back to Wellington. We have one more event "today" and that is the state reception this evening at 6:30pm local time.  I am very much looking forward to Kate's dress tonight! I will write a separate post on that since it will be a new outfit.

P.S. In our wrap-up tomorrow, I will weigh in on the hemline issue that I sparked. :) We must have something to discuss... 

40 comments:

  1. I thought she looked beautiful at the play date and the Blenheim wreath ceremony. I would have liked to see the dress underneath the McQueen coat. Hair pulled back is a welcome change. I, too, have noticed the lower hemlines,

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    1. Yes, there was speculation we would see the dress in the afternoon, but she kept the coat on. Which, I guess isn't too surprising. I imagine we will see it one day. :)

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  2. Darn that girl! She looked great! Flawless.

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  3. I really like this coat, the color, the cut and fit are superb! But of course, since it's a McQueen, also it is very appropriate for this solemn occasion. It's lovely to see Kate and William together, they are such a handsome couple.

    I love seeing her hair up in a neat ponytail! I think wrapping the hair around the band gives it such an elegant look. I thought that maybe she might have worn her hair up for the play date engagement, as it seemed to hold some fascination for George. :)

    My only comment would be how she constantly holds her hands in front of her when she walks. I just think it makes her look a little insecure and maybe unsure. I keep thinking back to the engagement that she attended with the Queen in Leicaster and her arms were down at her side and it made her appear so confident and sure of herself.

    Thanks for the great post, Jane, I can't wait to see what she wears tonight!

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    1. She has been walking a little awkwardly in her heels recently, and in the stills it can sometimes look like a slight slouch, and think holding her hands in front contributes to that. I agree about the Leicester event, but free hands can be tricky. She might take a clutch depending on her mood.
      I am stoked for tonight, too! Half an hour to go.

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  4. Hi Jane,

    Loved the colour, loved the cut of the coat and I really loved the hair up! Yes she has envious hair and it looks great down but I enjoy the rare up-do. I think she should wear her hair up more often. I think it was weather and event appropriate and looked lovely. It showed off her face and those stunning earrings well.
    The colour of the coat was beautiful and suited her well. Loved the photo of her greeting the veteran and the video of the girl twirling was precious.
    I tend to agree with Lauri from Ca about the way she holds her hands and the unintended effect of looking less confident however I think that 'hands' can be awkward looking and it gives her something to do with them and keeps them busy. Hence why she carries a clutch or evening bag because their certainly isn't any practical reason as to why she would with her assistants always present and everything she would need in short reach.

    Thanks for the updates and I'm looking forward to reading about the workout post that you're working on (as mentioned in another posts comments).

    Kind regards,

    Nerida

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    1. I agree, Nerida! The occasional updo is very exciting and flattering, both because she has a beautiful face and simply the attraction of the unusual.
      I thick hands can be awkward as well. As I mentioned to Lauri, maybe she decides whether to bring a clutch based on how she is feeling. There was a lot of solemn standing today, which might have been tough without the clutch to hold on to...
      I am excited, too! Glad you are going to keep an eye out for it!

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  5. Hi again Jane,

    Just another thought about the length of the hemlines (loved the line about the conspiracy theories!) but pre-pregnancy didn't Catherine usually have rather conservative hemlines finishing at or just above the knee? There might have been the occasional exception but I thought this was more so the case. I believe during her pregnancy she raised the hemline and was wearing shorter dresses and coats in what I thought was a smart move to avoid looking 'frumpy' in the latter stages of her pregnancy. I don't think it's easy to dress a pregnancy. I've heard about rules for when people are carrying more weight to not cover everything up as it makes you look larger and I thought she was applying that rule with the shorter hemlines in her pregnancy (and don't forget it was the height of summer) and now she's reverting back to her previous style with more conservative hemlines - I'd be interested to hear your opinion :)
    Kind regards,

    Nerida

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    1. I think you could be onto something!

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  6. The longer hemlines could just be a matter of practicality. She squats down to talk with the children and that would be difficult with a shorter skirt.

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    1. That's a good point! I included it in my post on her hemlines: http://fromberkshiretobuckingham.blogspot.com/2014/04/kates-lower-hemlines-down-under.html
      Hope you enjoy!

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  7. I totally love the whole ensemble, she looked radiant, amazing. Even her hair is perfect no fidgeting. Awesome! Thanks Jane for the quuick and lovely posts!A.

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    1. Thanks; so glad you enjoyed it! Her hair was really great. It was a lovely day!

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  8. So great to see her hair in this style. It takes 5 years of her face. The coat colour is gorgeous and I love this pleats in the back. Not as in love with the front though..pockets are a bit to big IMO. Although Kate is slim they seem to swallow her a bit. Will be interesting to see the "hemline debate". Lara, Canada.

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    1. Hey Lara, I have to say that i agree on the pockets. They are a little too big to me as well. Well put, swallows her... This wasn't my favorite, but I thought it was pretty darn good, and I am in love with those pleats!

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  9. OMG her hair was UP! I wish she would do this more often. I love the colour of that coat but the pockets.. At first I thought they were big enough to hold an ipad but I'm pretty sure you could get a laptop into there! I too am interested in the "hemline debate". I noticed this morning that everything she's worn so far has been below the knee.

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    1. Rina. This made me laugh so hard. the pockets are huge. I would never attempt to pull this look off myself, and I have to say, it was a little too much in my mind. But, it was worth it for that observation. :) I have just posted on the hemline debate: http://fromberkshiretobuckingham.blogspot.com/2014/04/kates-lower-hemlines-down-under.html Feel free to weigh in over there!

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  10. The coat is beautiful, although I don't like the pockets. Love love love her ponytail!

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    1. The pockets are getting a pretty low D grade right now. :)

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  11. For me this coat was a little strange. The fabric and those huge pockets made it a little heavy and bulky. The coulour was also a little strange, however her hair was amazing! Beautiful and thick, Im so glad she wore it up for a change I think she should so it more. It is more practical instead of tucking it behind her ears all the time.

    The hemline debate is interesting to me because I am starting to believe the rumour of what the queen said to kate!

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    1. Yes, the pockets seemed to throw the balance off and added weight that obviously isn't actually there.
      I know you have seen the post already, since you have commented on it. I am getting to those comments a little later. So glad you found it and read it!

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  12. Catherine would be beautiful in the proverbial bin bag--but with her hair drawn back and the lovely coat---she's stunning.
    Just seen pictures of the black dress for the evening---glad her hair is loose with that--she has beautiful hair and as both her men folk seem to love it-she obviously will continue to leave it down, especially when she hasn't to cope with wind or rain.
    I think we are beginning to get "Princess" with a capital "P"--elegant, graceful and with lower hems---though hope they don't go too low.

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    1. Agree on that. She can pull things off that us mere mortals could never dare.
      Ok, what about her hair in a dramatic updo for the evening. Someone mentioned that idea and once I visualized it, I LOVED it. I like her wearing her hair down, too, but sometimes it is just what the dress needs.

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  13. When the conspiracies first came out about the Queen calling for her to wear longer hemlines I thought what an exaggerated story. However, since this tour began I have been very surprised at how much longer and more conservative her dresses have been as opposed to the Canada our in 2011. There is a distinct difference. She's always worn dresses that go to her knee but all of these dresses and coats have been well past her knee.

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    1. That was my thought, but I put some thought into it and this is what I came up with:http://fromberkshiretobuckingham.blogspot.com/2014/04/kates-lower-hemlines-down-under.html

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  14. Loved the tour in Blenheim. Looking at the planes and that video they seem like such a young carefree and in love couple. I wasn't sure if you had seen this picture or not https://scontent-b-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/t1.0-9/1901370_656645657716120_1603664669902441180_n.jpg but I love Catherine's face in it. Not sure if it was just a quick capture of the camera at the right time or if she really made that face but to me it just shows how playful they are together.

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    1. They look so happy together. I love it. So darling. :) I just saw it late last night on Tumnblr. I laughed so hard. Kate makes the funniest faces!

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  15. I also thought that maybe this was a conspiracy and that the Queen would not be dictating what she would be wearing for this tour. So far, the hemlines on her coats have been longer. As was the Jenny P dress that she wore to the state banquet last night. Very interesting...Perhaps the event is dictating that considering the first was de-plane-ing and the other was a ceremony. And last night, being a formal banquet. We are developing a trend and I wonder if it will continue. She has looked impeccable so far this tour, however. The McQueen hit all the right notes!

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    1. She has certainly developed since the first tour, although, she is wearing coats, which she didn't do in July in Canada... I want to see this tour's dresses before I make a more thorough judgement.
      I posted on it here: http://fromberkshiretobuckingham.blogspot.com/2014/04/kates-lower-hemlines-down-under.html

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  16. Thank you, Jane, for your always enjoyable posts! The Duchess has been beautiful so far, as expected! Regarding the hemlines, isn't the current "style" for longer hemlines? I thought that I had seen that in the fashion mags for spring? Perhaps she is just on trend?

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    1. Thanks! Very happy you read the blog! Good point, it has been reported as a trend, the only problem is, this isn't the first year it has been reported a trend and Kate doesn't seem to follow mainstream trends. It seems the royals kind of create their own fashion microsystem based off of the same designers they frequent. But, we know she reads the fashion glossies, so there may be something to that!

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  17. Her hair looks so much better up. I disagree about her hair looking best down. I think she parts it too far to the middle and the curls are a bit much with little variation. I like the coat minus the almost purse size pockets. Interestingly, her coat looks similar to the coats worn by French officers in WWI as seen on HBO's Parade's End. Same collar and color.

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    1. I certainly want her to keep parting it on the side. I do like it down, but she doesn't seem willing to put it up enough to me. So, I guess I am 50/50 on it. I think she should stay true to her style and look, but know when a dress or an event needs the hair up. I haven't seen that show, so now I am going to Google it! Wish I had done that before the wrap-up, but thanks for the tip! :)

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  18. I'm not a fan of this outfit.. I mean, I love the colour, I love the ponytail, very chic, but I don't like the line of the coat.. expecially the huge pockets. I would prefer her in a tailleur.. I mean, on Valentine's day this year we have seen her just with a 3/4 sleeves dress.. and this morning she wore a coat. I would like to see her in a blazer or a in a chanel jacket.

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    1. It isn't a SuperStar look, I will give you that. The pockets, by universal agreement, seem to be a problem.
      She wore blazers in Canada, maybe we will get a few this trip!

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  19. Great info Jane, thank you so much. As always, the Duke and Duchess look wonderful. Catherine looks elegant with her hair back and her fashion so far on this tour has been great for the occasion of the day.
    The hemline issue has been coming up, so I wondered if she opted for a somewhat longer length due to all the children in the crowds. It would be hard to get down to speak with the children in dresses which were on the short and form fitting side.

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    1. Thank you, so happy you like it!!
      The children could have played into it, yes. She is learning the do's and don't's of the walkabout wardrobe needs, and that may be something she determined. I wrote a little something on hemlines here, if you care to read it: http://fromberkshiretobuckingham.blogspot.com/2014/04/kates-lower-hemlines-down-under.html

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  20. Lovely post Jane, thank you. It's lovely to see them doing joint engagements, so evident how deeply they enjoy each other's company. I think Kate is knocking it out of the ball park on this tour. She looked stunning today in McQueen and I loved the chic ponytail, so elegant x

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    1. I had forgotten how much I love their joint engagements. This has been such a treat!

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