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Party at the Palace: Prince George's Birthday Party at Apartment 1A

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What would George's birthday be if we didn't have a little media stake-out?  It had been reported that the Queen would be the guest of honor at a family birthday party for George at Kensington Palace today. In the morning, however, Kate drove George herself (accompanied by Nanny Maria) to Buckingham Palace to see his great-grandfather Prince Philip. Reports are that the Queen's guards played a "Happy Birthday" tune for the baby prince. Then it was back to KP and by approximately 3pm, guests began to turn up at Kensington Palace. 

First to arrive were the birthday boy's grandparents, Michael and Carole, who arrived at KP in separate cars.

The Middletons were closely followed by Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton. Jamie has been a longtime senior staff member to the Wales princes and only just resigned as principal private secretary in the fall of last year. I believe he remains on once a week to help the transition.  He has been with William since the earliest days of Kate and William's relationship, and is one of George's god-parents. Mr. Lowther-Pinerton was carrying a brightly wrapped present for the little prince. (Below, Kate is pictured greeting Jamie at a polo game in 2006)

Uncle James arrived driving what was described as "an F type Jaguar" with conflicting reports about a female companion. If he was accompanied, presumably it was his girlfriend of some time now, Donna Air, since Pippa arrived later. (James and Donna pictured in September of last year)

Kate's school chum and close friend Emilia Jardine-Paterson (née d'Erlanger) also arrived with her son Leo. Emilia has been tipped as the friend who most influences Kate's fashion. While I believe Kate has a very strong sense of her own style, friends often share similar tastes, so I am happy to imagine that these two share a shopping bond. Mrs. Jardine-Paterson is certainly a beautifully dressed woman. Indeed, this afternoon it almost appeared that she was wearing the printed Beulah that we have seen Kate wear before:

A cheeky neighbor enjoyed his front row view as the guests continued to make their way to the party:

Zara and Mike arrived with their daughter Mia. Mike told reporters that George met Mia at Highgrove when she was about two months old. Mr. George wasn't entirely behaving that afternoon, and apparently was throwing his food around while his infant (second?) cousin slept peacefully away.  Hopefully, everyone stays calm this afternoon.

Pippa arrived not long after and it is assumed that Uncle Harry just wandered over to Apartment 1A from his quarters at the cottage that William and Kate occupied when they were first married. Other guests may have included Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and there were reports of a van Cutsem and other close friends of the Duke and Duchess.

But, the looming question hung in the air...would the Queen be arriving, as Camilla Tominey of the Express had predicted?  A first birthday is a big deal, and she did!

The Queen was driven to KP smiling and waving at the well-wishers, and stayed around 50 minutes to celebrate Georgie's birthday. Former royal chef Darren McGrady described the menu of royal birthday parties of the past to People:
Tiny jelly sandwiches, including one called the jam penny — “just bread, butter and jam cut into little two-inch circles, to resemble the old English penny,” McGrady says — are a staple. So are mini egg mayonnaise sandwiches. “We would cut them into horse shapes or animal shapes. And we would add berries, like fresh strawberries to the table.”
Hard to say what Kate and her mother Carole whipped up for this occasion, but I am sure it sprang from the same delightful mix of elegance and charm showcased in George's whimsical birthday shoot. Perhaps it was butterfly themed?


  1. Great post. I am surprised at the level of interest by the UK media in today's party esp. as no one has a clue what happened. Thinkthat it is unlikely that P&Pss Michael were driving to the party - they live in the Palace! Also the passenger seat next to James Middleton was empty in the pix I've seen.

    I love the photos that have been released for George's birthday esp the one with the 3 looking up. That's special.

    Thanks again

    1. Well, I think most everyone was able to get some kind of story out of the guests at least, and with the level of interest in George, I am not surprised. I am grateful they were there. :)

      I don't know about the Kents. I does seem that a lot of people think it is implausible that they would be invited, but honestly I don't see why, particularly since they live on the property. Kate is such a warm person. You know how you have relatives who may not have a ton to do, so you invite them to certain events not because you are super close, but because they are family and it is a nice gesture? I can totally see Kate extending an invite so they were able to join in the joy. AND, then Queen would have someone in her generation... l don't know, that is my speculation. It would have been a nice thing, and I think Kate is a very nice person.

      Eye witnesses said James had a passenger, but I didn't see anyone in his passenger seat, either. Could go either way--maybe she was in the back to avoid press...

      Despite the sparse details, it was a fun afternoon! I am glad you enjoyed the report. :)

    2. If the Kents were attending the birthday party, trust Princess Michael to over dress. Really pearls and diamonds for a 1 yr old birthday?! Thanks for the chuckle!

  2. Great post! Aren't there any photos of James though?

    1. There was! You can view it here:

      Also, one of Mike Middleton:

  3. Oh Jane, you are positively spoiling us with all of these great posts!!! What are we going to do when/if the Cambridges decide to spend most of their time in Anmer? Even if they don't I imagine that we've seen the last of George for a while, :(

    Anyhow, I bet the birthday boy had a great time today! He got to spend time grandma and grandpa, play with Uncle Harry, practice walking with Mia and generally bask in all the attention. I was so surprised to see the Queen spend an hour at the party!! I think to the royals an hour is a life time, so she really paid her great grandson a compliment by being there so long. I love seeing the Queen do the little things that we all do with our families. So much of her life has been spent doing her duty to God and country, it's wonderful to see her enjoy these little family events.

    Maybe if the Cambridges do spend more time in Anmer and there aren't as many engagements for Kate, Jane might, just might be able to post a little ditty about Carole and her fabulous fashion sense?! If that happened then I might be able to make it through the rest of the summer :):)

    1. Well, I think that the Cambridges will move to Anmer, but I think that they will continue this recent uptick in engagements, although I am sure we won't see as much of George as we would like. ;) Still, we will not be entirely destitute.

      I was QUITE excited that the Queen came to the party. That really electrified the excitement level for me. I agree with all your observations. She deserves to enjoy the simple pleasures.

      I feel like a guilty middle-schooler who has not done her homework. You have been asking for that post, and I have been promising. I will do and not make you ask again. I have the pictures, I know what I want to say, it is only a matter of actually doing it. I will! It will probably be that second week of August. Hopefully, it is worth the wait... :)
      xoxo, Jane

    2. Oh yes! Please do the post on Carole Middleton. Because I'm more her age, seeing her brands would be very informative. I love almost all of Catherine's outfits but would look silly trying to copy her style at my age.

    3. Wouldn't it be fun to know who baked the cake? James has his cake decorating business and Kate took a cooking course. Wonder if either one of them baked it themselves. Or do William and Kate have a chef on staff now? Haven't heard of them hiring more staff. Still just their personal assistants and nanny Maria..

    4. Hi Kathy,

      I can see Kate baking the cake herself. In an old interview, she stated that one of her fondest memories was of a bunny cake her mother made for her, so I could see her wanting to replicate that for her child. On the other hand, I've read reports that Nanny Maria wanted to make George an Spanish style birthday cake. Either way I'm sure it was made with lots of love.

    5. I am pretty sure that they have staff at their disposal, should they need someone to cook, and as you say they have Nanny Maria and, etc. It would be fun to know about the cake! I agree with Lauri that Kate probably wanted to make the cake herself, but maybe Nanny Maria taught Kate her Spanish cake. :)

    6. I daresay there was at least one chocolate cake--The Queen is said to love it and William had one for his groom's cake at the wedding.

  4. Thank you for this post to keep me up to date! You invest so much time in writing and therefore giving us the newest information! Thanks a lot for that, Jane!
    I would be interested in party snapshots ;-) Looks like there was a big party going on. There were many guests for a year-old - even for a prince ;-). I hope George sleeps well after the hustle and bustle!

    1. Oh, thank you, Vicky! Glad you came and read the post. I would LOVE party snaps, too. Let's not hold our breath, though, eh? I am sure Kate put a lot of work into the party, so I hope that George sleeps, too, so she can get her rest. It must have been a very special and fun day for them all!

  5. How can three people, in this last picture, be so beautiful ? They are a walking advertisement for healthy living, good genes, love and .. privilege. Thank you for your lovely comment on my last post; it went right to my heart. xx

  6. Having read half a dozen different reports on the guests at this birthday party, I have concluded that all of the Middletons (Mike, Carole, Pippa and James) were present, as were Zara and Mike Tindall, and the Queen. As for Harry..who knows? It is known that that Prince Charles was absent, just as he was absent at Williams first birthday. No change there then--duty and self-interest remain paramount.

    What interested me was which godparents bothered to show up. Zara did, and hats off to her. Emilia Jardine-Paterson did, and an even bigger hats off to her, as she came sans husband, and was clearly not ordered to--maybe Zara was. Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton was there, a simple confirmation of the decent man he seems to be.

    That is three of the seven. Where were the other four? Where was Oliver Baker? I would have thought he, of all seven, would have been present. After all, he lived with Will and Kate at university and Kate is godparent to his only child. Where was Julia Samuel, much-touted friend of the late Diana, Princess of Wales?

    I was unsurprised to note the absence of the remaining two. First up, William van Cutsem, almost certainly proposed as godparent by Prince Charles. Lest we forget, his father Hugh was once a tenant at Anmer Hall, and during his tenancy, Charles and Camilla, both still married to others, made use of Anmer Hall as a place to party and get it on. Chances are, William is as deprived of morality as his parents clearly were. His absence could perhaps be considered a blessing. Second up, the Earl Grosvenor, a young and very rich guy, heir to the Duke of Westminster; he was recently pictured on a hunting trip in Spain, accompanied by HRH Prince William and Jecca Craig. His absence was without question a good thing.

    Knowing Kate--having watched her over the years--she probably invited all seven of these godparents, not that I believe that she wanted to, but manners come into play. She was lucky,IMO. that William van Cutsem and the Earl Grosvenor were indifferent and rather unlucky that Oliver Baker was a no-show; I suspect that she nominated him as a godparent, just as I suspect that she nominated, or strongly supported, the three godparents who actually did attend this birthday party. William could perhaps learn from this; his wife seems to have a good nose for the genuine, as opposed to the hangers-on.

    1. Anon,

      Yawn, same old, same old.


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