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Final Day: ANZAC Day 2014 at the Australian War Memorial

Friday, April 25, 2014

Well, here we are at the very last day, indeed, the very last public engagement of Down Under 2014. Even I, as ready as I am to wrestle my life back from this tour, felt a little forlorn this morning. All endings are hard--I mean unless you are quitting your job and have always hated your colleagues, or finally breaking up with that guy who has always held you back, but in general, endings are tough. 

The royal convoy arrived for the 10:30am ANZAC events at the National War Memorial in Canberra and William and Kate stepped out. Collective gasp of pleasure. This is lovely. Such a win for me.

This was perfect, but I have one very small complaint. The hat was a little too quirky for me. Kate, I love you. You know. But, this hat? to put this. A picture is worth a thousand words:

Before the sun sets on this hat's 16th--day birthday, I want it burned with all the other spinning wheels in the land. And if you don't see the connection, Georgie will in three or four years if he watches the right cartoons. The only other association striking me is Mercury:

Now, Mercury was the messenger of the gods and so the patron of travelers, but subtle messaging aside... The origins of the hat have been reported differently, but if I may try and interpret the conflicting stories, my sense is it started bespoke and now is sold to the general public, which is absolutely a smart move. You can purchase it online:

The hat is by Aussie milliner Jonathan Howard. In fairness to this chapeau, it isn't dreadful at all, despite the easy jokes at its expense, it works. It also didn't ruin her ensemble. It wasn't terrible, she looked a-mazing today. The hat just kind of invited these comments...It sits very well on Kate, and is a beautiful deep blue, Duchess Blue, that echoes Kate's iconic sapphires.

Kate's coat gave quite a bit of trouble in the identification department, and to my knowledge has yet to be positively confirmed. One of my readers, Ashley Marie, shared with me a picture of an Emilia Wickstead she thinks is quite a good platform from which to start one of Kate's bespoke pieces. I agree it is as good a match as I have seen:

It is still tricky, because this style is frankly quite in keeping with Catherine Hooker...

And Catherine Walker...

Hard to say. I certainly won't be the one who untangles this mystery! In the meantime, though, unclaimed, it hits perfection.

This is really the end of the road for the screen shot posts, so I will give it one last hurrah and present the morning to you through the live feed. William and Kate arrived, and God Save the Queen played.

They sat and had a brief moment:

For some inexplicable reason, William was the only one given a program, so they had to share, but no one minded because we got some cute sharing shots:

Do you see what I see? Ahhh, I am going to miss this tour. Mr. Security, you are a DUDE.

And then, another car showed up. I thought, what?! Who shows up after the Princess? The Governor-General, that's who:

Then it was time for William to stand and watch the parade. In his short walk from his seat to his standing position he adjusted his button on his jacket about four times. It is definitely his nervous habit. I rub the tip of my nose.

This is not the same adjustment. He stopped and then fiddled with it again:

The Riderless Horse with a boot backward in the stirrup signifying the fallen:

Huge crowds:

Afghanistan vets:

Kate missing William. (Notice that if those horns were gone, all would truly be well with this otherwise lovely hat. It would not be as fun, though...)

This is blurry, but I left it in because...William got tired of standing and returned to his seat. I am sure there was some protocol. The man can obviously stand for an hour if necessary.

Vive la France:

USA Representing! 

The men in plaid finished it off:

These two kept being super cute together. Shameless.

As a TV commentator pointed out, the tone of the event changed at this point. From the ra-ra of the parade, to a more somber sense of remembrance, mourning, thanksgiving, and prayer.

This precision drill was very impressive. I have to say, look out Silent Drill Platoon, you have competition!

Various dignitaries were then called upon to lay wreaths, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge:

 The crowd then concluded with the hauntingly beautiful and plaintive, Abide With Me.

William and Kate then moved to the Hall of Memory:

Where they laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown:

The Roll of Honour was perhaps their most beautiful stop. Hundreds of poppies were stuck in the wall honoring the dead.

This is my favorite photo of the day. It looks like a very reflective moment between the two and is imbued with the peace of the memorial:

Final conclusion on the fashion: beautiful. One of my favorites. I have given the hat a very hard time of it, and I have to say that had I been at the table when planning I would have asked for a few alternative sketches, but for some inexplicable reason, perhaps due to friendly fairy magic from Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, this Princess pulled it off. All together, this will be one of my favorite ensembles of the tour, I think.

In terms of the day, I have already commented on the Dawn Service post about how very important I think these events are. It was very special that William and Kate exposed so many around the world to this day of remembrance and thanks. Nic from New Zealand shared this in the comments, but I want to draw more direct attention to it:

Dawn service is so very special to ANZACS. A very moving ceremony of remembrance in which many of the men who served in past wars, including WW2. You hear their footfalls coming out of the darkness in a haunting reminder of those who have not returned in these terribles wars, and when they come into the light, we can acknowledge the survivors and the sacrifices they have made too. We are lucky in that the Turks recognise the huge loss of our men and boys and treat them as though they are theirs
"You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. There is no difference between us, therefore, rest in peace. Mothers, who sent your sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom, are in peace, and have become our sons as well."
- We will remember them -
My favorite reflection of the day: "We do not glorify war, but we honor the best and noblest in human nature...May we and generations to come prove worthy of their sacrifice" And of course, to live up to that commitment, we can always use some help, as requested in the hymn that Kate, William, and the assembled crowd sang today...

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.


  1. Thank you for such wonderful coverage throughout the your voice and your dedication to fashion as much as to history/political commentary and playful humor. Silvia

    1. Thanks, Silvia! i am so pleased you enjoyed it. I had a ball with all of you! Looking forward to all the royal activity coming up this summer!

  2. Hello, Jane, what a beautiful post. I'm sure you're going to experience a bout of post-tour blues now that it's all over. I think the hat was a reference to WW II fashion but it should have been worn a little bit more on the side and with a coat that emphasized more the style of that era; then it would really have formed a more coherent look. But my Gosh, Kate is up there in the Pantheon of well-dressed women ! Thank you for that coverage ! x

    1. Agree. Can't really get behind this hat, hope it disappears but if it doesn't, hope it migrates to a different position, possibly back or slightly to the side. Winged Victory is best left an item on an art history test, not worn.

    2. Hello Ms. Silver Bunny! I hope beautiful France is treating you well! :) I wish she had worn the hat a different angle, too. Somehow, she still managed to look a dream. :) Thanks for reading. Now that I am not tied to the tour I am stoked to pop by your place and see what has been up...

    3. Haha, Anonymous, I certainly love this hat's partner in the Louvre. ;) We will have to see if this hat shows up again. She does recycle her hats.

  3. Thank you Jane for your time and effort of keeping us up to date. I particularly loved the private post of Kate and Wills in Canberra. You have done a fantastic job and I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment. I look forward to see future Kate posts and having a chat about them.

    ANZAC day is special to us down here and a lovely way to finish it all off. I do not envy them with the long flight they have in front of them but there is no place like home. I hope it is not too long before we Kate again. Im sure I will have withdrawal issues.

    Kiwi Nic

    1. Thanks for all your lovely input on the local front, Nic! It was very fun, indeed! As you have probably heard, the Cambridges are planning very busy summer, so after a short break, we will all have plenty to enjoy on the royal front!

  4. Jane, you made me laugh and cry in the same post! How do you do it?! Thank you so much for all the great coverage of the tour, for your interjected humor, and for your open opinions on the Duchess's sartorial choices. While I agree with you most of the time, it was refreshing to see times when we did not, as I appreciate your perspective. As for the ensemble today, you and I are in complete agreement - marvelous!! ~Katie

    1. Oooh! Well, yay! I am so happy that the post was something you enjoyed. It was a very moving day for me. Filled with joy and also with noble sadness. I am humbled I was able to convey that. :) I appreciate that you read the blog!

  5. Best. Royal. Blog. EVER. Love your commentary.

    1. Best. comment. ever. :) Thank you, Kelly. This definitely made me blush with appreciation. :) I hope you come back often! It is going to be a busy summer...

  6. Best. Royal. Blog. EVER. Love your commentary.

  7. The coat is from Michael Kors

    1. Yes! Wasn't that crazy?! I have to say I was entirely stunned. Haha, I woke up and saw the press release and my jaw just dropped. I needed coffee quick...

  8. Thanks so much Jane for a wonderful 3 weeks!! I so admire your dedication, enthusiasm and most of all your wit! I'm sure going to miss Mr. Security! I bet you are looking forward to being able to have a life now and being tied to your computer 24/7. :)

    I really liked this coat dress, these fit and flare styles really look incredible on Kate. It is surprising to hear that is a Michael Kors creation. I bet she saw it while shopping and fell in love. My first thought when I saw the hat was of the Flash! :) But the more I see it, it's kind of growing on me, kind of.

    This service and your coverage of it is so moving. As Katie said "you made me laugh and cry in the same post". I absolutely love the poppy brooch that Kate wore today. What a special touch to her outfit and how moving that it was given to her by a Victoria Cross recipient, I think one of the last surviving ones. I hope she continues to wear it at other events as her main poppy brooch.

    Well Jane, it's been great spending the last 3 weeks with you and all those whose comments I've so enjoyed reading. Thanks again for all your hard work, now crack open a bottle of champagne and relax!

    1. I have to say, Lauri, I was glad to sit in the garden and feel the gentle spring breeze, and see the flowers. Coming up for air after three weeks and the world had come alive!!
      I am actually holding a flute of champagne now and I would like to toast you and everyone who has trekked throughout his tour with me. :) Totally awesome fun. Come back, though! We have a fun time ahead, too.
      After a little break... ;)

  9. great post as usual. Thank you.

    May I add just one thing, the picture you have labelled as Afghan vets is in fact a picture of 4 Australian service men who are holders of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery that can be given. The medal itself says For Valour.

    There are 2 men in fron. And I dont know who they are, then an older man on his own, he received his Vc in Vietnam I think. then there are 3 soldiers awarded the VC in Afghanistan.

    It is the wife of one of these men that presented the poppy brooch to Catherine at the reception the previous evening.

    1. Thanks Richard!! (Is this truly Richard, or is this CP?? :)) In any case, thank you. :) I am very glad you enjoyed it! The story of the poppy brooch is very special, and I agree with an earlier comment: I hope she wears it again!!

  10. Totally amazing coverage, coatdress, cutie guy, you proved not only you ahve a great sense of style but humour as well. Putting Malifient next to the Duchesss made me laugh for the rest of the day. Iam gonna miss our new James Bond I wonder whether we gonna see him again soon or he was with them for this tour, anyway really cute.Thanks Jane! A.

    1. Thank you, thank you!! I suspect we will see mr. Security in the future. He is obviously quite competent. :)

  11. Many, many thanks for 3 weeks of great blogs.
    Loved today's outfit, including the hat, but all the outfits have been great and suited to the engagements they carries out. Cannot decide which was best.
    They make a fantastic team and George has been the icing on the cake.
    It will be nice to sleep all night tonight.
    Thanks again Jane.

    1. Thank you, Maggie! 100% agree. And gosh, sleep was good... Looking forward to getting back to royal watching after a brief hiatus!!

  12. Ugh, that hat. All I could think was bunny ears...

    1. Definitely could have been improved on...

  13. Hi Jane - I agree that this may have been the best look of the tour - love the coat! I also agree with those that commented above, whom suggested that the hat would have looked much more flattering had it been rotated a bit on her head (as is shown on the hat maker website). A little clockwise rotation probably would have helped Kate look a little less Malificent-like ;-) Thanks for the excellent tour coverage, Jane! All the great commentary, and wonderful pictures... you're the best!

    1. Thank you, Meghan! I think some rotation would do a world of good. We may see it again, and if we do, it will be at a new angle. She somehow managed to still look a million bucks. Kate--Queen of Amazing.


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