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Kate Attends Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards in Custom Jenny Packham

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

This might have been the longest, nail-biting wait we have had to endure before seeing a picture of Kate's arrival anywhere other than the steps of the Lindo Wing. That's a lie. I thought as I sat at Reagan International glued to my live stream that I would die waiting to see her deplane in New Zealand. So, this comes in third place. After multiple written descriptions from reporters on the scene we finally got our first visual and it left me completely...surprised.



I kind of want to just talk about the clothes, but let's do a quick gallop around the surroundings to get our bearings before we dig in deep on the fashion analysis. Kate was attending the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards at the Natural History Museum in London. The Duchess is patron of the Natural History Museum, and as I noted on an earlier posts, pops in "often." Her previous visits have included a recycle of her popular lace Temperley:



The green Mulberry:

And, of course, Baby Georgie's 1st birthday photos:


As you also know, the Natural History Museum is an absolutely stunning building architecturally. Built between 1873-1880, it is striking in its interior detail.  Decorated for the night of the awards ceremony, with candles flickering along the vaulted ceilings, it must have been quite impressive in person.

Before the Party... @NHM_London

One guest tweeted a photo from his table, giving us a sense of the atmosphere once "lights, camera, action" had been applied.

Jetske van der Greef Twitter 

To the dress. First just the facts. Kate wore a bespoke Jenny Packham evening gown in baby blue. With 3/4 length sleeves, the dress was a wrap style that looked ordinary enough at rest...


...but in motion revealed a slit that ran to the waist exposing a shorter underskirt. Love it, or hate it, this had va. va. VOOM. 

With a dress that showcased her legs so thoroughly, Kate wore possibly her loudest evening shoes. These LK Bennett stilettos, with their prominent bows, could not be described as wall-flowers. She debuted them on her first formal evening after her marriage with another striking Jenny P, the ARK Gala dress.



She also showcased a new clutch--the second new clutch of the day--this time a McQueen that seems to have been customized.

McQueen Clutch via Splash News

Kate debuted some new bling, wearing Monica Vinader's Riva Diamond Cluster Drop Earrings (£745) and the matching Riva Diamond Cluster Bib (£2,000). While the company has now announced they will be selling the necklace on their website and it is available for pre-order, when Kate debuted the piece it was available exclusively at Harrods. So, perhaps we know where Kate got this...or maybe she received this lovely set as a gift from someone?

Monica Vinader 


This is not an ordinary Kate Middleton dress. I am thinking of times when she wore something that left me similarly "thrown for a loop" and I am not coming up with a lot of options. Maybe the silver, one-shouldered Packham... For its time, it was a little unusual.



I don't know. Don't (virtually) toss anything at me for saying this, and it isn't a necessarily negative reflection, but the underskirt and the shoes with the straps make me think '90s. I know that usually isn't good, but in my mind the '90s vibe is mixed with Princess Diana--more specifically this stunning Jacques Azagury. This is one of my favorite cocktail dresses on Diana... 





I was just thinking about Kate and slits this morning. She seems to really like the trend, probably because a slit "ups" the ante on the sexy factor, but in a subtle way. (yes, those two can go together!) Unless, you are Angelina Jolie and you pose with an outstretched limb, which is pretty straight-forward, but in other instances, it is relatively subtle. 



Tonight might have been a little less subtle, but no less stunning. I would say that in terms of evening apparel, this is the most unusual that Kate has worn to date. In the end, though, it actually isn't all that out of character for Kate. At first blush, the dress is extremely minimalistic and very reminiscent of the white Roland Mouret, especially noticeable from the back. The jersey like texture of the fabric and the folds around the waist where the wrap meets is also reminiscent of her earlier preference for Issa wraps. It's a lot like Kate: demure on the outside and super sexy on the inside.



If I could change one thing about her appearance this evening it would be to sweep her hair up. It fell into her face a little too much, despite its bouncy perfection, and up it would have really made this quite an eye-popping look. I am going to kind of amuse myself and call it a hit. It is not my favorite. I will not be pining for a recycle, nor will it hit the SuperStarLook category, but it was bold and fresh and it knocked the socks off of people, which is exactly what a princess who has been sick for over a month should do. I liked it because it surprised me and because she looked so darn good in it.




58 comments:

  1. I love it! The dress is a knockout and she looks stunning!

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  2. This is a hit for me. Maybe not perfection, but pure Duchess in its' simplicity, but youthful and sexy without being over the top. She has taken much flak in recent times for being boring and staid in her fashion choices. This says, "back off grandmother-in-law. I'm young and pregnant with the spare, so back off".
    Love it.

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    1. Agree. Not the absolute best ever, but she not much to complain about here. :)

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  3. FAB-U-LOUS!! Love love love it!

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    1. Va. Va. Voom. :) Glad you liked it!! :)

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  4. I'm thinking that her Vamp Jimmy Choo sandals would have made the look complete. Probably would have been even more va va voom, but not sure that her shoe choice really matches. The dress also seems to be dragging just a touch too much so the added height of the vamp would have helped. Regardless, it's so nice to see her doing well.

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    1. Those would have been really fun, I agree. I don't know what I would have thought of them with this slit. I think I would have to see them on her...

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    2. I thought about those too, but I am glad she didn't wear them since they are her go-to evening gown heel. What about those Jimmy Choo's that she wore in Malta? She wore them with the beautiful gold/white evening gown. We never fully saw them, but from the heel everyone thought they probably were, I think they would have gone nicely. Also, they have a lower platform, so they are a little more elegant. I think they would have gone better with this than the pink heels and elongated her legs even more (since people seem to think she has short legs and a longer torso).

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    3. I agree with you Anna, the Vamp sandals (or something similarly stroppy and sexy) would have made this look work much better. My first thought at seeing the bow stilettos was that they weren't a good fit with the dress - the big bows would be amazing with a shorter hemline - they're made to be shown off! Her jewellery was sparkly but understated and with a simple dress such as this she could have gotten away with a little more flash in her footwear.

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    4. I agree with you Anna, the Vamp sandals (or something similarly stroppy and sexy) would have made this look work much better. My first thought at seeing the bow stilettos was that they weren't a good fit with the dress - the big bows would be amazing with a shorter hemline - they're made to be shown off! Her jewellery was sparkly but understated and with a simple dress such as this she could have gotten away with a little more flash in her footwear.

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  5. I like the dress because it is a little different for her:). One thing that I appreciate, and it is a small thing, but I like that she does not wear nylons with open toed shoes. So many other royals do and it always drives me nuts. You should never wear nylons with open toed shoes. I am always shocked when she doesn't wear nylons, since she always has to wear them-it is nice to see her real legs. I am happy that she never wears nylons/tights with heels like this:)

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    1. Yes! Thankfully, she avoids that fashion faux-pas. Thankfully, she has such beautiful legs, she doesn't need the stockings to look gorgeous.

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    2. LOL, thanks for the chuckle Erin. I've never seen a royal wear nylons with open toes shoes, thank goodness, or I would be writing them a very stern letter of reprimand. :) I so agree with you, Kate has great legs so I am all for her ditching the nylons! When she wore them in Singapore all I could think of is Ugh, she must be miserable.

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    3. Jane, this piece is so well done! Thank you for your thoughtful comments and saying what I've been thinking: "I miss seeing Kate!" So good to have her back. I agree with others that you did a tremendous job when Kate news was little to none. Each time a media release came about her--when there was one!--I check in here, and you had it covered! Thanks so much. Katherine USA

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  6. Are the shoes pink or beige? The first time she wore them I thought they were pink, but other sites like the DM said they were beige (not that the DM is always right). The picture of her on the steps make them look pink, where as others look beige. I like the heels, however, if they are pink they are an odd choice with this dress.

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    1. They are pink... Sometimes the DM gets a little carried away. :)

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    2. Thank you Jane. I thought they were pink. I love the style of the shoe, more of a statement for her. But very odd color choice. Kind of reminds me of Easter with the light blue and light pink. More spring colors, but not necessarily together.

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    3. The entire ensemble surprised me... Ultimately, I decided, for me, the bold nature of all aspects was what made it all work. :)

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    4. The shoes are the palest pink, first worn at the ARK charity event iin 2011

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    5. Marion from GermanyOctober 22, 2014 at 9:07 AM

      My first idea was just WOW, when I saw Kate in that gorgeous dress. I really love it. I saw nothing else but that dress. At a second glance I also realised the odd combination of a light blue dress and light pink shoes and clutch. If you take into account that a pregnant woman wears that and the whole world seems to be discussing the “boy or girl”-question, then the colour choice does make a lot of sense. Unfortunately this is not my own idea, I read it somewhere else, but this theory convinced me immediately.

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  7. I am not sure about the dress. I had hoped for something a little more.... flashy? evening-gown-y? I don't know. I do think her hair looks absolutely perfect and she sure has that lovely glow. :)

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    1. I was expecting something more serious, but I think the mile long legs gave it the flashy without needing the dress to do much at all. It was unexpected, I had to process, but...wow. :)

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  8. This is amazing! Beautiful and unexpected and perfect.

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    1. It's a HIT! :) Stoked others agreed it was a success!

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  9. WOW, this was not what I was expecting!! This dress is perfection on Kate, the cut, the color and the slit with the short skirt underneath really gives it the wow factor. To me, Kate's style had become a bit boring, a bit like she wasn't sure what look she was going for, but this reminds me of her pre-royal days, fun, flirty and a little daring. I agree with you Jane, an updo would have been better, but I think she likes her hair down, almost like a little safety blanket of hair. :) I am also loving her accessories, the shoes are beautiful and I can't wait for a good look at the necklace, looks like pave diamonds to me. Maybe a gift from Big Willy for enduring so much to bring forth an heir and the spare. :)

    I have to say, I think she looks a bit better this evening than she did this morning, Maybe like most pregnant women, the nausea is worse in the am and then starts to subside as the day wears on. Also, this is probably a bit more of a relaxed event for her rather than a formal state visit in the company of the Queen.

    Can't wait to see more pictures of this evening! By the way, any word on future engagements?

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    1. I completely agree Lauri. This is more like she used to wear before coming a royal. Far more fun and yet still elegant. She is only 32 and she has great legs, so it is not wrong to still dress fun and accordingly to your figure. With her first pregnancy, she showed more leg I think to counter balance the bump. She is not showing yet, but I wonder if she will do the same thing by showing more leg (shorter hemlines). She certainly did tonight. But the whole thing worked!

      I was thinking she looked better tonight as well. Maybe because this morning was so early she still had the 'just woke up' look in her eyes? I don't know about you but my eyes always appear more tired in the AM as opposed to the PM. Maybe that is what happened to her, she had bags this morning to, where as tonight she looked refreshed and youthful.

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  10. I love her jewelry. It is nice to see something new. I think she looked great. And on a side note. I like that on the picture of her walking up the steps there is a small scuff on the inside of her shoe. I like seeing stuff like that, since she always looks perfect. It is a nice reminder that even a Duchess' shoes get dirty. :)

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  11. OH, I love this dress. I think that it is sort of a statement " I am tired of feeling sick and I am doing whatever it take to burst out of this miserable time - I AM going to do anything I can to feel better", It's a breath of fresh air !!

    When I first saw the shoes I thought they were more of a tan-ish color, but in some photos they look pink. Baby blue/ baby pink - just to keep people not jumping on a "it's a boy" or "it's a girl" band wagon. My second thought was "I hope these shoes please all those poster who are constantly negative on her sledge pumps. Oh Well,l we all have different tastes.

    I do think she looks like she feels a little better tonight than she did this morning. She also looks better tonight than she did on her first appearance when pregnant with George - even though I really loved that green gown as well.

    As far as her hair, I like it either way. I think maybe if it were up it would give her a more sever look and maybe not looks as good if she has lost wt. Some of the pictures this morning made he look a little more gaunt - which is normal given what she has gone through over the last six weeks.

    Any way so good to see her out and about.

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  12. Great post Jane.
    Kate was just so stunning tonight. The only thing missing was her handsome hubby on her arm. Hopefully he was on George duty and not the nanny.
    That dress might have knocked the socks off of William when he laid his eyes on her. I always wonder what he thinks and says to het when she is all dressed up.
    She did looked more rested tonight then earlier.
    I sure hope she rest now and we see her and William doing engagemts

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  13. GOR-JUS!
    Just love the whole look and the baby pink and the baby blue colours together :-) keeps us guessing!
    Thanks Jane!
    Sim

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  14. At first impression I was disappointed the dress didn't have more evening gown pizazz, that her hair wasn't slightly pulled back to show off the jewelry, and I was surprised at the amount of skin. But my next thought was "who cares?!". Hot mama!! haha. Pre-engagement she was known to bring her sexy when needed. Plus, I think she is aware that her legs are, quite honestly, probably her "best" feature (she's more of a straight boy figure and more flat chested - not an insult, just body shape). So she might as well! I just think it's a bit comical to imagine what the Queen might be thinking. Especially since many of us thought the NZ/Oz trip showed that Kate got the memo about longer hemlines. While it is a floor length dress, when she walks there is substantial leg!

    I'm glad she had the confidence to try it out with the bow shoes, and I'm sure William approved :-)

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  15. LOVE IT! Breath of fresh air.

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  16. I agree with you, Jane. Definitely not her best look, but I will say that if she had worn her hair up it would have completed her look, and shown off that beautiful necklace. Clearly, Kate does not like her hair up as much as *I* like her hair up. Honestly, the most important thing is: Kate looks well and it was wonderful to see her smiling. She did not look like she felt as well this morning. Also, I think she is showing sooner this time, yes, it's normal to show sooner. :) So when will we see her again?

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  17. Wow--she looks amazing! Love that she is wearing something a bit daring and different.
    As a side note, her eyebrows seemed to be shaped just a bit differently now. It struck me when I saw the closeup photos of her from this morning in the carriage. Maybe I am imagining it. Does anyone else think so?
    Thank you for another great post, Jane!

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  18. I think the color of the gown is lovely and very flattering; the higher neck and creative skirt are great. I like the shoes; they seem more Cressida Bonas than Kate;) I think the hair stayed down for safety - she still looks a little tired to me. Two in one day, yay!

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  19. Nice to see Kate feeling better with a smile on her face. I bet the last couple of months, were probably much worse than many of us could image, and I am sure it was difficult on many level. Loved the jewelry, but not my favorite gown.

    She can carry off sexy looks, but I like some of this designers other looks better, or her famous Issa gowns.

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  20. I like everything else but the dress. I find it boring - sadly. I agree, hair up would have given us a lovely view of her necklace which looks great. But the dress is just ho hum for me.

    KiwiNic

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  21. I was completely caught off guard as I was expecting a dark long gown (absolutely loved the green gown). It was like night from day versus the subdued pale morning look. If she had on a pair of glasses this morning it was an almost librarian look (in a good way). She just seemed to come alive in this daring subtle outfit. I am mainly in the minority but I do love her with the long hair look (even longer would be great). What an atmosphere to be that glowing in. Kate, you go girl!!! Your description was so well written, Jane. Thank you.

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  22. Love, love, love this look. Youthful, fresh and fashion forward but still respectfully conservative. Well done Kate.

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  23. Wow! Just when you thought she was going to wear something dull again, all of a sudden she comes out and bam, showing off those legs! I don't really like the underskirt but I like the way the dress falls open, it's quite sexy for her. I like that she did something a bit daring. I love, love, love the shoes and the colour of the dress (my favorite colour). And it's an unusual choice for Kate, which is what I love to see her do more, to shake things up a bit more.

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  24. Stunning! Age appropriate and I thought she flawless from the top of her shining head down to her toes. Perfect and just loved the dress - subtly sexy

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  25. Ok wow where to begin! This was unexpected but I love it! The icy blue, the slit and those fabulous toned legs! Amazing! Love the shoes as well, my only complaint is that it would of been better with her hair up in and elegant chignon. But other than that she looked stunning! Good to see her back thanks for the post Jane, your the authority on all things Kate

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    1. Thanks, Simmy. :) I agree, had she put her hair up it would have electrified this whole look. Oh well, maybe on a recycle?

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  26. Love this! I watched some videos and the gown is really beautiful, but I don't like that she is always adjusting her hair. That is why an updo would have been much better. So, I love the outfit but... wasn't she freezing? I am currently in London and yesterday evening it was very cold and windy.
    Charlotte

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    1. Yes. I think she looked cold tonight, too, but thankfully for these events she doesn't wear a coat. If she did, we would never get great outfits of her clothes. I think if they can, royals try to pop in and pop out sans coat, giving the public the best viewing. The venue is heated, and the car is heated, so I think they do ok. :)

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  27. Kate blew me away. This outfit is stunning. It's sexy, fresh and young but elegant and timeless and the jewelery is awesome. But above all I was so happy she had worn again my favourite pair of sandals. I love love love love love the LK Bennett Agata!! I would like to own a pair myself :-)
    Oh happy day!! :-)

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  28. Hi Jane,

    Completely off topic, but I was responding to a post on the engagement earlier today and had to prove I'm not a robot before my comment would post. Is this something new?

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    1. Hmm, that should not be on... I will check the settings. Blogger has been a little squirrely this week. One day it would barely load and one afternoon it was entirely unavailable. I will try and fix the comment...

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  29. Loved this evening gown, not just for itself but for the tease--boy(baby blue gown) or girl (all accessories--shoes, clutch, jewellery had a pink undertone). Go, Kate, go. JC

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  30. I don't like this look. In the photos where the shorter dress is revealed, her bare legs and strappy sandal type shoes look very casual.

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  31. Now that's a dress!!

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    1. That's a dress is right! Wowza. With the colors and fabrics from the morning coat dress and this gown, I wonder if these clothes were largely the ones Kate had made for and would have worn in Malta where the temps would have been warm. Jane, do you think that's possible? Unlined coat dress, a gown with a short skirt underneath, bare legs, open-toed shoes. We know Kate's keen on making good use of her clothes budget. Nothing wrong with her wearing these pieces now, and it seems much like a Kate decision to do so. Katherine USA

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    2. Hi Katherine: Yes, many people have speculated on this, since obviously she had a wardrobe ready and didn't get to use it. As I just hypothesized in my most recent post, I don't think the McQueen was slated for Malta because the plaid is too suited to cooler climates. The Jenny P would have been amazing in Malta, I just don't remember if there was an event at which it would have been appropriate. After she cancelled I didn't really follow it. :( But, it would have been amazing. We may see more, or since she is now pregnant, she may shelve them until next year when the southern winds blow. :)

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  32. Sausage curls. 90s Prom style dress. Day stilettos. I'm not a fan of this look.

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  33. Oooh! She bringin' sexy back! I feel as though she is poking fun at her Marilyn moments by wearing a dress that is *intended* to waft like that. Love it! And perhaps poking fun at the boy/girl possibility by her color choices. It's great! Gotta say, though, I would have loved a non-ankle-wrap on the shoes. Her stems are amazing, and these just seem to make her loooong legs look shorter (if that's possible, ha!). But I love me some Jenny P, so whatevs! THANKS JANE!!! ~Katie :)

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    1. I am with you on ankle straps! Almost never a fan for that very reason. I kind of love these shoes, though, so I make exception. The long skirt added the length that the shoes cut, which is how I think it worked. But, usually, yes, I avoid straps like the plague.
      Thanks for reading, Katie!!

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  34. I like the dress and thought the modesty panel was a smart way to get by with the wrap style. I thought it was charming of her to wear pink and blue for her first appearance after the pregnancy announcement and illness that kept her out of view for awhile. Pink and blue for a baby boy or girl. I don't know if she even thought of that but maybe she did.

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