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Kate Joins William Welcoming Singapore President and Mrs. Tony Tan to London

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kate made her first public appearance today since she fell ill with hyperemesis gravidarum. It has been exactly 11 weeks since she placed her poppy at the Tower of London before her August holiday commenced, and it feels like an equal eternity since she was pictured returning to London at the end of August days before her pregnancy was announced. Although, there had been concern that Kate might not be able to make this event, after she was spotted smiling and well at an evening visit to her doctor, followed in a few days by a visit to a pub with William, it was clear that the princess was finally going to make an appearance in public. Suffice it to say, this morning held far more excitement than many other royal appearances.

Kate and William had a pretty strict timetable, to which they adhered with clocklike precision. The ducal couple arrived at the Royal Garden Hotel around 11:40am to greet Singapore President Tony Tan and his wife Mary. Kate commented on the markedly different London climate, saying it was much colder than the last time they had met. The heat had been a bit of a concern on Kate's visit to SouthEast Asia, and I remember being amazed at how she kept her cool while so many others around her seemed to be melting. When Mr. Tan remarked that he was glad Kate could make the morning, she had a heartfelt reply: "So am I. I've been looking forward to getting out of the house, that's for sure."

The troops had assembled at the Horse Guards and it was time to head to meet the Queen. 

William and Kate accompanied their guests by car to the Royal Horse Guards where the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were waiting with a ceremonial welcome.

From the Horse Guards, the royals travelled by carriage up the Mall to Buckingham Palace. Kate and William travelled in the Scottish State Coach. This historic coach was built in 1830 for Prince Adolphus who was the tenth child of King George III. Prince Adolphus also happened to be the 1st Duke of Cambridge. The coach has made the rounds, leaving the royal family for a period before it was gifted back to Queen Mary. It has undergone renovations and Scottish symbolism was added in the 1960's, including the thistles along the top, and the crown of Scotland. The Queen rode in this carriage from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace at the Royal Wedding. From its original occupant, the 1st Duke of Cambridge, to its current association to the Order of the Thistle (in which William was invested) and its dedication to Scotland where William and Kate met and fell in love, it is certainly an appropriate carriage for the two.

William stayed for lunch, but Kate slipped away.  I imagine she would like some downtime to rest and prepare for her evening appearance tonight at the Natural History Museum, but it is also probable that given her pregnancy she would rather avoid situations where a host of sights and smells, appealing enough to the average individual, could make her feel unwell.

Of course, the big questions was...what would Kate wear? Naturally she was going to debut something new, since this is her first appearance in such a long while, the public attention is so heightened because of her pregnancy, and very importantly because of the formality of the occasion. Kate has never taken part in a diplomatic welcome of this nature, so it is certainly a royal milestone for her.

She wore a custom Alexander McQueen coat dress for her comeback to royal duties. Kate chose material used in McQueen's collections, but had the dress designed just for her.   It is very much in her preferred style and McQueen's specialty: fitted bodice, full a-line skirt, and folds to the coat. These are details that McQueen used in both Kate's wedding dress and the white Trooping coat that she subsequently wore to the Order of the Garter ceremony.

Most of all, however, this dress strikes me as the tartan McQueen 2.0. They have the same marks of a shared point of inspiration, which probably springs from the collaboration between Kate and McQueen.

I was thrilled to see that Jane Taylor's stunning hat designed for Kate's sunny Easter morning in Australia was getting a second wear. 

We were just discussing this hat recently and musing on possible recycles that would do it justice. Pairing it again with grey and black accessories was a smart move on Kate's part and I think the two worked together well. I had wondered if this hat, which is a bit of an attention grabber to begin with, would clash with anything beyond the simplest of coats, but it played quite nicely with Kate's plaid this morning. The Duchess completed the ensemble with black Prada pumps, an as yet unidentified clutch, and chose her Mappin & Webb Empress pendant and Annoushka Pearl Drops to add some sparkle. [Update: What Kate Wore readers have identified this clutch at a Jenny Packham piece-the Roxy style. I think this is the first time she has carried a clutch by Jenny P, but I could be overlooking something...]

Kate looked fantastic today. While she wasn't very visibly showing, (the construction of the dress was just suited to minimize without deliberately trying to hide, her status) it was still quite clear that she is pregnant. Frankly, she still looked a little unwell to me. While she seemed in high spirits, she has been sick for many, many weeks and I imagine it will take her a few more weeks of normal routine before she has fully kicked the lingering fatigue. But, all around, a fashion hit. Kate was able to successfully recycle a tricky hat with her new McQueen coat and I always love the soft greys and neutrals on Kate. By pulling her hair back into a low, elegant ponytail, she added just enough of the "exotic" to make the whole look really pop.

I am sorry this was so slow in getting up. Oddly, I found myself very slow out of the starting box this morning: seeing Kate, processing her outfit, and transitioning back to a real-time post. August 5th was the last time we had an actual appearance--that seems so long ago and also just like yesterday. It's good to be back in the swing of things... Don't forget we will be seeing Kate very soon as she attends the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards this evening at the Natural History Museum. 


  1. I absolutely adored Catherine's outfit this morning! I loved the coat dress and the black clutch and the shoes were a perfect touch with the gray coat dress. I do love this hat and I did when she wore it in Australia, but to me, it looks completely different this time around. I think the outfit in Australia was about the hat and this time, it was about the coat dress. I noticed she was wearing a hat, but it didn't stand out as much this time.

    Excellent post as always Jane!

  2. Hi Jane,

    Thanks for such a great post!! I agree with you, Kate looked lovely today but still a little under the weather. I noticed in some pictures (on other sites) that she wasn't smiling as much as she usually does, I bet she gets tired easily and is hoping to take a nap before this evenings event.

    My first thought with this outfit was, Oh No another dreaded coat dress! LOL After all the coat dresses she wore during the Aussie/NZ tour I was really hoping for something different. However, considering the windy and chilly weather this seemed to be the best choice. As usual, Sarah Burton did a lovely job and this coat dress looks very nice on Kate. I wasn't totally wowed by it, it might have been nice to have something contrasting in the breast pocket, but on the whole it had a very "Kate" look to it. The hat was lovely, you are right it worked very well with this outfit. I would have liked to see her wear another pair of earrings though, she has worn this pearly pair quite frequently and I am missing the egg earrings she wore during her engagement. Lastly, I liked her hair style today, having it back prevents her from fiddling with it and shows off her features so well.

    Thanks for all the information on the Scottish State coach, given it's history and W&K's history it was great that the two were put together.

    Looking forward to this evening!!

  3. Jane, as usual, great photo selection. I loved the history of the Scottish State Coach! What a beautiful carriage. Thanks for your hard work, we don't mind waiting!

  4. Great post, with Catherine and the history of the Scottish coach.
    Love the outfit, particularly the coat. The pleats are gorgeous, making it swing so nicely when she walks; she has quite a long , athletic stride. The hat was already a favourite of mine,
    Usual lovely smile, but did not think she looked completely well. Hope the evening "do does not become too much.
    The coat does well to conceal her pregnancy, but had there been no announcement, I doubt we would have missed the subtle changes.
    She's been missed.

  5. How lovely to see Kate again! You could tell in the non-smiling photos that she was still feeling unwell, so I am very impressed at how there was no indication when she was smiling! Love the jacket and hat, especially the "recent" hat recycle. Can't wait to see her again tonight :-)

    I do not love the ponytail. While I understand it was probably very practical when feeling unwell and windy, I do not like this casual look with such a formal look. I would have preferred all up, if she wanted her hair out of the way.

    Disappointed in the quality of the McQueen coat dress. It was blowing up and didn't have a lining. I expect more when she represents the monarchy, and tax payer dollars (via Charles) pay for working attire. I do not believe the black we see underneath the jacket is a can see black peeking out at her chest too, so I believe she is wearing a black dress underneath.

    Surprised that for London (at this time of year) that the coat dress has a lower neckline and/or she wasn't wearing gloves. She even commented on the weather (in contrast to Singapore in the summer, albeit). So I wasn't convinced this was the right jacket for this occasion, and I understand a scarf could have looked too casual, so my vote would have been a more appropriate dress underneath that has a high neckline and covers the chest. Especially given the culture and age of the people she was welcoming/entertaining. I think a bit more modesty would have been appropriate.

    1. Nothing immodest about this outfit, nor does it cost any "taxpayers' dollars". Prince Charles foots the bills for her working clothes from the income from the Duchy of Cornwall---the property of the heir to the throne for almost 600 years---and there is no tax relief as clothes can be worn off duty.

    2. I didn't say immodest, just that I thought the neckline could have been a bit more modest for these guests and the weather - I'm entitled to an opinion, as are you :-) This coat dress on a number of other occasions would have worked really well, I think. I LOVE the coat dress.

      It's income from land holdings, which too me isn't too different than taxes. It's essentially a cash cow that was created so the heir could have an income (he doesn't work for), and many think it should be abolished. But this brings up an interesting topic - Jane is excellent at research and laying things out. I'd like to request a blog post (when things are quiet on the Kate/Middleton front) about what the actual benefit is to these relevant titles. Especially since Prince William will one day, in the not-so-distant future (most likely), inherit his dad's title and income. It's my understanding Charles foots the bill for certain things for Will/Kate/Harry. Makes me wonder what will happen to Harry when his dad becomes King...will he inherit a title one day with income? Or live off the generosity of Charles/Will? I know he inherited from Diana and mind went off on a tangent, but something I'd be interested in Jane! (sorry to put you on the spot :-))

  6. Jane great post. Kate looked beautiful but a little tired. That is to be expected since she has been so ill. In some photos William looked concern for Kate. I wonder if he kept asking her if she was ok. Loved the photo where he has his hand on her back. It is like come on sweetheart it will be over soon.
    Her hair and dress was great looking too. I just hope she is not over fling it today with two engagements right out of the box.
    Can't wait for your post later today.

  7. Marion from GermanyOctober 21, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    Dear Jane,
    although I have been a Kate-fan for some time, I have just stumbled over your blog the other day. I must say it is great, I like it so much and I will definitely read it regularly from now on. From what I have seen so far there is a lot of background information included which I really like. I am looking forward to reading more in the coming days – and tonight, of course. :-)

    1. A very warm welcome to you, Marion! I am so happy to hear you found the blog! I hope you come back often and royal watch with us!! Can't wait for tonight...


    1. Hi Mary-Ellen,

      Please turn off the caps lock, it's like you're yelling at us :) I too was glad to see the dress underneath the coat when the wind caught it. I can't wait to see what she wears tonight!

  9. A Marilyn Monroe moment doesnt occur with a pencil skirt nearly to the knees. It only would have been a flub if she wasn’t wearing anything underneath. The coat is not her dress, the dress is her dress, and we saw nothing scandalous. The red coat in NZ was different, because it WAS her actual dress.

    Nah, not a big deal today. The winds were apparently fierce today, it looked like a heavy coat anyways. I wouldn’t get disappointed over that.

    She looked lovely if a bit worn today. Loved the coat :)

  10. I thought Kate looked very professional today, and, of course, very pretty. Her coat caught the wind again, but this time, all that was revealed was a black skirt/dress. True, the coat resembled some she has worn before, but, when compared to the coats worn by Mrs. Tan and the Queen--both were shapeless and boring IMO--she was a standout; it would never do for her to be a knockout. Protocol, people, protocol.

    I also think that Kate looked bloody tired altho very happy to be able to greet President and Mrs. Tan. Kate has a smile which transforms her, but when her face was at rest today it was impossible to miss her pallor and the dark circles under her eyes. I am not surprised that she passed on the Queens idea of lunch--quality food, I expect, but often laden with rich sauces guaranteed to send Kate straight to the nearest loo

    All in all, this was a consummate performance by a lovely young woman who probably still felt a tad under the weather.


  11. Well, it has been a long time but you kept me busy with your recent posts ;-)
    I LOVE this dresscoat! I'm absolutely wowed! I love glencheck and I've got a pantsuit in a similar pattern. Maybe I would have loved it even more with a black hat to support the pattern, but the grey one is no miss. Shoes and clutch - perfect!
    I like her new hairdo but I'm not sure if I would have chosen it for this event.
    Great to be back! I'm looking forward to your opinion about the JP dress - it's quite sexy.

  12. Just this week found your delightful blog (it was mentioned on another well read blog). It is good to have another perspective. The story of the Cambridge (Scottish) carriage was so interesting. I am not a plaid person but Kate can pull off most anything and she looked regal (the hat helped). Other than wishing Kate would go lighter on eye makeup, she looked beautiful, as beautiful as she could even though the under current of being not totally well was quite apparent. I liked everything including the coat dress and hair do. Thank you.

    1. Hi Kat: Thanks for your message and welcome! Glad you found the blog and are enjoying it! Plaid seems to be one of those tricky fashion areas...everything can go wrong very quickly. Somehow, as you say, Kate seems to pull it off. Glad you liked today's outfit; I really did, too.
      Hope you come back and royal watch with us in the future!

  13. She's back, hooray! You're right, Jane - she may not be showing yet, but dang, she's definitely pregnant! As someone else mentioned, you can see it in her non-smiling photos. I know that look well: fatigued, sick, probably slightly dizzy, and probably even more sick after riding around in a carriage (ha!). But I love her look today, and can't wait to see what she's wearing tonight! Most importantly, I'm so glad she's recovering from HG enough to come out of the house. Yay! Thanks again for another great post, Jane. Anxiously awaiting the next one! ~Katie :)

  14. love her evening look Jenny Packham robins egg blue and wonderful necklace and clutch well worth the 6weeks wait ...

  15. I'm glad to see her back, but she is definitely not 100%. You could see it in her face. I have to say though I am tired of the coatdress. This style is so dowdy on her. I did not like the fact that she pulled her hair does not work with that hat. She looks much better in the evening...both hair and dress.

  16. Thanks Jane, I really loved the information you gave on the Scottish Coach. I am so thrilled she has been able to make both the events. While she looked tired, she also had the radiant pregnancy look (if that is possible)

    I liked the coat dress and the way the material was angled under the pleats. Hair pulled back in a wrapped pony tail also complimented the coat dress and helped in the windy weather. Wondered if there was a lining or a dress under a light wt coat. Either way loved the over all professional look. Can't wait to see your post on tonight's event !!

  17. Hi Jane what a treat to come back to! She looked quite tired, however still beautiful, elegant everything she usually is. I love Kate in grey and the coatdress in the check print was so smart. I hope she will continue to feel better and hopefully enjoy some more engagements. Thank you Jane! :)

  18. WOW! She looked incredible! Talk about knocking them dead. Gorgeous. Also, any one else think we may have gotten a little taste of Kate's humor with the color scheme? I sure did! LOL A little blue, and a little pink and no one can speculate that she is hinting at the sex of the baby. oh how very cheeky of her royal highness.

  19. It was so exciting to see her!! I thought she looked beautiful at both appearances. I am glad she at least looks like she feels better :)


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