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Down Under Tour Day 8: "Princess Catherine" Recycles Luisa Spagnoli in Christchurch

Sunday, April 13, 2014

And the sun rose, and the rainbow came out...the 8th Day. Hello, and welcome back to Down Under Tour 2014!  All the royal reporters were posting about the stunning sunrise in New Zealand this morning. It truly was breathtaking. All you NZers who have been bemoaning how badly your country has been portrayed thanks to rain, do not fear. New Zealand has me besotted. William and Kate spent the night away from George at a luxe resort near Queenstown. What do you get when you cross world class professional photographers, Twitter, and majestic landscape? Magnificence:



The Cambridges flew to Christchurch, with royal photogs in tow. Emily Andrews reported that every flight, William and Kate are served tea with a silver service. Now that is the way to travel. So refined. I think the Dowager Countess of Grantham would frown on flight, but this would doubtless allay her discomfort.



Also on the plane? Kate's stash. Flowers and gifts for George are stuffed into overhead bins. The flowers will be taken to Government House where they will be donated to charity, while the gifts for George? They go back to KP with Cheeks himself. 


When William and Kate got engaged, they undertook a tour of the United Kingdom to greet the excited British people. They flew to Scotland on February 25, 2011 and visited their alma mater, St. Andrew's University. It was an incredible engagement given their history.  To see Kate Middleton return to St. Andrew's as William's fiancée, after all the years and the ups and downs that had passed, I think it was a very emotional trip for her and for her loyal fans. It must have felt almost surreal to be walking the paths she had as a student, unsure of her future with William, so much to get through before her life was settled. Then to be back, about to cross the threshold into royal life, on the brink of an HRH, staring into the past at the girl she had been. Sorry, but, goosebumps.  



These pre-wedding engagements were the start of the massive Kate-mania, and where she began to build up the cohort of labels for which she is now famous. Notably, she wore Aquatalia Rhumba boots to St. Andrew's, and they have since become synonymous with her name.




But, her joyful, and may I say triumphant, return to St. Andrew's was immediately juxtaposed against the pain of the Christchurch earthquake when William and Kate immediately flew to London where they signed the book of condolence for the victims. Just a few months later, and cutting it quite close to his wedding, William toured Down Under to commiserate with the people of New Zealand and attempt to raise spirits after the crushing devastation. I have heard that sentiment toward William is very strong thanks to this thoughtful gesture during a busy time. 


Today, Kate recycled the same Luisa Spagnoli suit that literally caused a physical altercation in a boutique in Italy, I think, after she wore it at St. Andrew's. That was the birth of the "Kate Effect." Kate switched it up a little today. It isn't blustery Scotland in February, so she ditched the turtleneck (Praise the Lord, you know how I feel about turtlenecks) and she also deep-sixed the black stockings and boots. The hem is most certainly longer than the first wear, but I do not believe this is different from the St. Andrew's piece.


I am entirely unperturbed by this. I think Kate herself obviously has been choosing longer hemlines for this tour and the reasons could be legion. One obvious concern is sitting down. She was sitting here and the skirt as originally hemmed would have ridden fairly high up her thigh when seated. Knowing the cameras that would be trained on her, lengthening the hem was the wise move. (see below) She has grown in her savvy as a royal and a public figure. 


In recycling this suit Kate seems to be communicating several things. Clothes can carry memories and emotions from particularly poignant wears, and I am sure that she associates all the emotions of that busy Scottish day with this suit. In wearing it to Christchurch, she joins her previous connection with the tragedy to this visit, but she also brings the sense of hope and happiness that accompanies that visit to St. Andrew's as the whole world prepped with excitement for her royal wedding. I love the symbolism that is attached to this recycle. I also love her hair today. So lovely:


William and Kate met with families who had lost loved ones on the 2011 quake:





A heartbreaking 185 chairs were positioned to mark the lost lives, including this baby seat for an infant:


The royal couple placed stones to commemorate the dead:


The couple stopped at the Transitional Cathedral. This church is a provisional place of worship after the 2011 quake. Their website explains:
Cathedrals usually stand as enduring monuments to human skill and inventiveness, and magnificent pointers to the presence of God among us. Their websites will tell you how they are the oldest, the largest, the tallest or the most significant of their kind. ChristChurch Cathedral is slightly different. The original Cathedral was badly damaged in the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011. We are now open and operating from our new temporary home, the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square, Christchurch. It is the world’s only cathedral made substantially of cardboard.


Kate blended perfectly with the choir. 


Doesn't that man standing next to her look like my favorite prelate, the Bishop of London? What a dude.



A darling little girl was anxious to give Kate her ballon flowers. She has made the internet rounds thanks to this very precious video in which she calls again and again, "Princess Catherine, take my flowers!"  Excuse me, Princess Catherine!




The couple met five pairs of twins:



Locals quickly began expressing their excitement at meeting Kate. I don't know who her security guard is, but I like him. He is IN-tense. As he should be:


Then it was off to the next event. Crowds had gathered to watch the royals try their hands at cricket:


Kate took a whack:



I don't think she did as well as you might have at field hockey, but she was a star with the facial expressions. When Kate sees the stills from this, she is going to have a laugh. Those faces!





William pitched the ball to Kate, before taking the bat himself.




William and Princess Catherine moved on to the Botanical Garden...



The most beautiful interpretation of a red ribbon was waiting to be cut:


Apparently, the freesia made it smell divine:


William and Kate then moved to the Wigram Airforce Base for a luncheon with "Future Focus: Christchurch Redevelopment" where William addressed the 500 assembled guests, remarking on the hospitable welcome shown to him and to Kate and obviously touching on the 2011 natural disaster. 


Simon Perry of People Magazine shared the lunch menu on his Instagram, @sperrypeoplemag. Looks like it was more salmon. Great for Kate. Fish is the best meal to eat on vacation and away from your home gym...



After lunch, they moved outside and walked to the Wall of Remembrance where they unveiled a plaque in honor of New Zealand Air Force members who have served in peace-keeping missions.


William and Kate then flew back to Wellington to baby George, whom they have not seen for two days. William told someone that, "he misses George all the time." The New Zealand Herald reported that Kate revealed while visiting with a woman:
"she'd had breakfast with George every morning of their trip then put him back down for a sleep. She'd also been back in time to bathe him and put him to bed each night, except for last night - their first away from the Prince during the royal visit."
I am sure they are anxious to be back with him tonight. Tomorrow is their day off--every Tuesday is off during these three weeks. We will have a wrap-up post here tomorrow, so check back in! 


31 comments:

  1. I love the behind-the-scenes look at the tea service and the gift stash! I also love Kate's ensemble today. Thanks for the wonderful post.

    Victoria, Oregon

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    1. She looks fabulous today! this is one of the best recycles I have ever seen! Glad you enjoyed it. Check back, as it will be heavily updated by the end of the night. :)

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  2. Hi Jane! Now that is a power suit! She looks fabulous! How wonderful it could be to travel and be served tea on a silver service but alas "that luxe just ain't for us, we crave a different kind of buzz"! Lol sorry I couldn't help myself!

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    1. Haha, Elizabeth, I had to Google the reference, but I love that you threw some lyrics in here. I have a song for just about everything, I just try to subdue it. :)

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    2. Love this connection, Jane and Elizabeth!!!

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  3. I don't think the skirts are the same. There is some detailing on the sides (on her hips) that don't seem to be on the skirt that she wore at St.Andrews.

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    1. Hi Mandy,

      I agree with you on the skirt, I popped over to Popsugar and you can see that she is wearing a black camisole tucked into the red skirt and apparently the first time she wore this it wasn't a skirt but a sleeveless dress.

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  4. I have always been on the fence about this ensemble when first debuted at St. Andrews. I ADORED it today. The changes to the outfit today were perfect and I thought HRH was stunning. Thank you for your divine coverage, as always.

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    1. Heartily agree! It was very striking today! Thanks for reading! I am so glad you enjoy the posts!

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  5. It was actually a fitted dress (not skirt) and jacket that Kate wore in 2011 and perhaps the dress was altered near the top so it became longer for the outfit this time. I saw a picture of the dress/jacket on the HRH Duchess Kate blog citing it originally from the What Kate Wore blog. :)

    Victoria, Oregon

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    1. Hey Victoria, I am sorry if my wording was confusing. By skirt, I did not mean to suggest a separate piece, but merely the skirt of the dress. That may have come out a little clumsily. I have seen the pictures of the original dress, and of course, I believe that the dress Kate wore when signing the book of condolence was the Spagnoli without the jacket, although I do not think there is yet consensus amongst the Kate bloggers on that point, but it has been busy and I have not checked. As to how she lengthened it, I don't know, it sounds like your information is more up-to-date! That it was lengthened is certain. I would say a good two inches at least. I will ask Charlotte for details on how she understands it to have been lengthened!

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    2. Woah, ha. There is some major confusion on this. I think she wore the dress in '11 and is now wearing a skirt. I see some people think it is the dress altered to be a skirt and others think it is an original skirt. Ouf. Obviously, this will have to wait for tomorrow's update...

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  6. It's worth mentioning she's chosen the local (Canterbury) colours of black and red. After the earthquake, much of New Zealand dressed in those colours in a show of solidarity.

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    1. Judy, great observation! I had been told this on Twitter and forget when writing up the post. It wasn't something I had really thought of on my own, so it didn't stick in my mind, but it is a lovely detail to include!

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    2. P.S. I added it to the wrap-up!

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  7. Off all the things I thought she might recycle I was not expecting this! But what a stunner, first off all red really suits her, and second so does the pencil skirt shape! I also love her hair so lovely when some of it is off her face, she should wear it like this more often.

    I must say she has looked like a real princess on every part of this tour! Even though I have not loved every piece, such as the packham and blue coat, I can't deny she has looked regal and very elegant. I'm excited to see what she wears in Australia, where the weather is expected to be a little warmer and less rainy.

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    1. Neither did I! I honestly never thought to see this again, but I get the sense more and more we will see most pieces at least twice as long as they stay in fashion or can be altered. She doesn't like to be a spendthrift!

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  8. It didn't catch me in 2011 (maybe because of the turtleneck) but today it looked awesome! I think the longer hem suits much better to the jacket (is this the right expression? I'm not sure... :-/ )
    Her hair is amazing!! I wish I could do my hair like that :-)

    Wonderful pictures of the cricket event. Natural and relaxed as I expected. Really funny facial expressions of Kate! I love her for her kind of humour.

    Well-deserved day off tomorrow. Like to read from you again, Jane. But get some rest!! ;-)

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    1. Yes, that's correct! :) It did suit it very well, it made it very sophisticated!
      Kate's hair is so naturally beautiful Lucky, lucky girl!
      I am going to bed early tonight to be ready to start another fun week! :)

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  9. She looks stunning! Love her hair like this!

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    1. I really liked this hairstyle very much, too! It was good not to have it blowing about, I think.

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  10. Theresa, from ParisApril 14, 2014 at 2:04 AM

    Hello Jane ! Just to say I have been following your blog since a long time now, but I have never posted before. I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful work. Your choice of photos and videos, your comments, your writing style are fantastic. Thank you so very much for the hard work... And the Duchess is wonderful on this tour :-)

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    1. Theresa! I was so happy to get a message from Paris! :) Thanks for coming out and commenting! Sometimes I look at the stats form around the world and anytime I see Paris on the blog I get a little distracted dreaming of the Seine and the Latin Quarter. :)
      I am very glad you read my blog and quite pleased you like it! Hope you enjoy following the rest of the tour with me!
      À bientôt! ~Jane

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    2. Theresa, from ParisApril 14, 2014 at 6:08 PM

      If you have never been yet, I'm sure one day you'll get over here to us in Paris, dear Jane ! And it will be a pleasure for me to invite you someplace nice for lunch or drinks :-) I follow not only the tour but all your news. As I said before, your blog is one of my favourite with Charlotte's "Duchess Kate".
      À bientôt, bien sûr ! Theresa

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  11. Beautiful sunrise----matched by beautiful Catherine.
    It is so touching that she remembered what she was wearing when they first heard of the disaster which had struck Christchurch and brought out the re-constructed suit for her visit there to see the reconstruction. Thought was given to that.
    Thank-you for the great posts---hope you get a good sleep tonight in preparation for Australia.

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  12. The people of New Zealand have nothing to worry about, since the initial rainy part of the tour could not alter how stunningly beautiful their country is to the rest of the world.
    Catherine has looked so pretty during the tour, but this lovely red jacket/skirt (dress?) is my favorite. The seaming detail is fabulous!
    Jane, thanks for the great post...the behind the scene photos were unexpected, but VERY appreciate.

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  13. Finally... That's what I wanted to see.. A perfect, elegant and stunning ensemble.. I think today (or yesterday!?) she has the best tour look so far.. She's classic but stylish, without those shapeless coats.. it really suits her, gently accompanies her silhouette without being too reveiling.
    I also prefer this shade of red compared to the coat she wore the first day.
    10 to this look!!! hair too!!!

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  14. Hi Jane,

    The Duchess looks great. Love her hair sometimes this way. Don't forget girls u hardly see royal woman with long hair. This is something the Duchess has brought new into the royal family. I don't know about girls fashion and stuff so I won't say much on that topic Lol. To me kate looks great all the time.

    William is not a natural sports person unlike Kate. That is clear to see. He can't naturally kick or throw a ball properly, (I know these things), but he makes an effort, which is most important.. William is more into riding and shooting. I can also tell also kate works out (probably gym & swim) and is super healthy and correctly. Her hair, figure and complexion are looking great. Looking at videos of her, she's growing in confidence. She is the new generation of the monarchy, and William and Kate are genuinely in love. they will go from strength to strength It's almost like Kate is William's missing rib. People love seeing them together and the baby. When she get's pregnant again, I predict it will be fever pitch again because this time people are hoping they have a girl. The world will go through the roof with excitement.

    Keep going Jane

    love the blogpost
    .

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  15. What a wonderful blog - beautiful clear photos and lovely comments. We have so loved having this beautiful family here and well, lots of people would love them to just "hang around" - forget the fact its costing a fortune, its really pushing people's spirits up a huge amount. I'm older and I remember Williams mother dying and feeling so much for those boys - and I guess seeing William so very happy with the love of his life who loves him in return - well its clear to see, and then their little beautiful son - I forget they are royalty - its just another young, happy and seemingly genuinely lovely family. Good story all round.

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  16. The picture of the Duchess with baby George on her shoulder and William in the background is my favourite picture. My heart is bursting with happiness. I can't stop looking at it.

    I will have a special enlarged photo of it made, and put into a frame in my home.

    Thanx Jane.

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  17. A fantastic blog!

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