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Kate's Feeling Under the Weather/Bucklebury Farm Park Restricts Photos/Kate & Sophie

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Tuesday to you all! I hope everyone is basking in the glow of a royally spoiled weekend. Three Kate events is pretty rich fare after the weeks and weeks without her, but I am happy to acclimate as quickly as Kate wants to fill her calendar! This week we will see Kate on both the 12th and the 13th. In the meantime, some quick new updates and a few light discussion topics, pertaining to Her Royal Highness.

You may have noticed that at the end of the post on Saturday, only William was pictured at the tea-party reception following the rugby match. Many fans commented on Kate's absence, and in an updated article from People yesterday, Simon Perry confirmed that Kate had indeed been unwell:
William revealed she was feeling a little "under the weather" on Saturday, when they were at the rugby international.
Kate had been wreathed in smiles earlier in the day as she met and chatted with workers at the Valero Refinery in Pembrokeshire, but she seemed to flag a little during the match. I think this news is particularly interesting in light of the ongoing discussion about Kate's absence from The Charities Forum event on Friday of last week. 

The event was held in the morning, and while William and Harry both attended, Kate was not present. In the afternoon of the same day, she was seen shopping at John Lewis. While some have found this seemingly contradictory, Saturday's rugby disappearance should highlight for us all that while Kate has thankfully recovered from her debilitating hyperemesis gravidarum, she is still prone to the ups and downs that accompany the incredible physical changes and strains of pregnancy. It has even been pointed out that there were moments Sunday where Kate seemed to struggle, particularly at the very start of this video. She may have been unwell the morning of the forum, but needed air and activity in the afternoon. It is hard to say, but it seems, for lack of a more modern word, indelicate to pry to closely into her justification of her absence. There are some things to which even the keenest of royal watchers should not be privy. It would probably reflect better on all outside observers to give Kate whatever leeway she needs to navigate the rest of the pregnancy in whatever way she feels necessary.


Also reported over the weekend is the news that the Bucklebury Farm Park where Kate often takes George to play, has issued a new policy banning photographing other guests without their permission. As you would expect, the farm park has denied this rule has been implemented for the royals, but the timing makes it pretty evident. 

As you can imagine, the news has met with mixed responses. Royal reporter Emily Andrews spoke to a particularly disgruntled local, via the Daily Mail:
'Every photo we take there, even of our own children, could unwittingly capture other people and their kids,' said the local. 'I took my daughter there the other day and saw Kate's mother with George and his nanny. I thought about taking a photo and decided not to. But protection officers still came over to us and challenged us. They were quite difficult about it.'
Others think it is an entirely reasonable rule. Newbury Today reported positive responses:
“I wouldn’t want someone taking pictures of my daughter. Why should they stay at home with George just because some ill-mannered people can’t resist getting the phone out and clicking away?”
I have mixed feelings about it. I can see the panic that the owners of the park must be feeling after the photos of the royals made the rounds. From all stories, it seems Kate and the Middletons take the little heir to the throne to the petting zoo often enough to pay property taxes. That is some pretty awesome royal patronage and has to secretly boost their prestige among locals. Imagine, if you lived in the area and there was a park where your child could pet animals and possible have a run-in with a royal--you might go a little more often. So, I understand why they are anxious to indirectly make it clear to Kate and her family that they are doing their best to keep it a welcoming zoo for Baby George. 

On the other hand, the photo that was snapped this summer was the first and only to have been circulated, and if the Cambridges are there as often as is claimed, then hundreds of guests see the royals regularly, yet this sort of incident is extremely rare. Indeed, we have almost never gotten candid snaps of the Middletons anywhere in Bucklebury. The residents and visitors are incredibly respectful of their privacy. So, it is not entirely unreasonable to also argue the odds of the little zoo suddenly ballooning into a paparazzi park are infinitesimal, and that the new rule is a bit of an over-reaction on the part of the farm park.

In the end, what will determine this rule's viability will probably be the local patrons themselves. If people feel suffocated or intimidated by the PPO's with the royals, Bucklebury Farm Park could face some unpleasant blow-back. But, if the locals are pretty low-key about the rule and are comfortable capturing their own "Kodak moments" without feeling guilty or looking over their shoulder, all should be well. As I have described in the past, in my mind the royals and the paparazzi play a game, a never ending battle over the same piece of common ground. Each side snatches the opportunities that pass by to capture what they can of the space they are all working with. Some days the Royals are up on the score board and other days the paparazzi get a few points in. The only problem with this scenario is the public have been added to the game in a very real way and it may rest with them to determine who ultimately has the last say on this play. 


While men seem to have never understood the problem, it is almost universally agreed upon among women that wearing the same piece as a mother woman to the same event is not ideal. If you end up in the line for the bar at a party, to find that another guest is wearing your dress, you might circle the room and strategically place yourself by the bar in the other corner. No such option was available for the Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex when they arrived at the Cenotaph on Sunday wearing almost identical coats.

In celebrity circles we occasionally do see various royal women wear the same coat or dress, usually on different occasions and a few countries between them. Kate's Malene Birger coat that she wore to the Baker Street tube station had previously been sported by the Princess of Denmark a few years before. 

A little closer to home, Kate recycled her Missoni to a spring wedding where another guest was wearing the same coat. An entirely unforeseeable conflict:

Dr. Mindy Lahiri...cough..cough...Miss Mindy Kaling, wore the blue-petaled LK Bennett dress on her hit TV show just a few weeks before Kate wore it while on tour in Australia:

I will stop here, but this is far from an exhaustive list. Kate has worn items that other women have worn either before, or after (Oh man, Kim K) but other than the Meade wedding, there has been no direct conflict. 

Fans quickly pointed out the almost perfect copies the coats were on Remembrance Sunday. Thankfully from Kate and Sophie's perspective, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. While these are both Alexander McQueen coats, and the design seems almost identical, the coats are two entirely different lengths, are made from different materials, and have a few small detail discrepancies. 

Unfortunately, the limited perspective that the Foreign Office balcony provides does leave the public with a starker comparison than would have been provided had these two been walking to Crathie Kirk several yards apart. 

Since both these women are British fashion ambassadors because of their senior roles in the BRF, they are obviously shopping from a similar selection of labels and pieces. If one or the other favors a label heavily, when they both plan to be at the same event together, I think it reasonable to conclude that each should steer clear of the other's "brand habit." Unless The Countess of Wessex wears McQueen almost exclusively, it would be nearly impossible to wear the label more than Kate does to royal family functions. Conclusion: if I were Sophie, I would't wear McQueen when planning to hang out with Kate.

Again, neither of these women is in the wrong, and neither of them has a "right" or entitlement to a certain label; it is purely a matter of smart planning, and in this case, poor Sophie rather caught an unlucky break, since Kate has worn DVF twice and Temperley once to Remembrance Sunday--this was her first year debuting McQueen at the solemn event.

It wasn't the end of the world, and both women looked endlessly chic, but it is something neither would likely care to repeat, and barring a phone-call beforehand, this is my solution. Conversely, if there is a label that Sophie loves, Kate would do well to not choose it, either.

Stories have since circulated since, claiming the Countess mimics all of Kate's fashion choices. This is far-fetched and manifestly exaggerated. The argument is about as airtight as pictures of Amal Clooney and Kate lined up with only color and silhouettes matching...not very compelling. These sorts of articles aren't logical, but they are rarely avoided at times like these.

That being said, I don't think it is entirely unreasonable to assume Sophie, and indeed all of the royal ladies, take some fashion cues from Kate.  Good heavens, millions of women around the world do, why wouldn't the ladies right in her family circle not do the same? Kate is the preeminent fashion-plate in the family, and a massive sartorial success. It would be foolish not to watch her ensembles and apply the elements you like, or think would be flattering on you. In all human communities, there are women who set the trends. Kate's influence shouldn't be stronger anywhere than it is within her group of peers. And I repeat, why wouldn't Sophie, Beatrice, Eugenie, Autumn...any of those women not take a few pointers?

While the article over-stepped the mark, I really enjoyed the lovely overview of all the pretty clothes from both Sophie and Kate. Finding the silver lining... :)


Finally, we have talked a lot of about Anmer Hall and the renovation work that has been going on and should now be completed. Obviously, I think we are all very curious as to what the final outcome might be, and while we can stitch together a hazy picture from some of the pieces we know Kate has bought, along with our general sense of her personal style from her shopping habits through the years, but we can't really know how Anmer has turned out. This is why I was particularly interested in this short spot on Ben Pentreath, the designer who helped Kate decorate. It is a tour of his home, and while obviously Kate would have put her own spin on her country house, this does give a certain sense of the vibe she must have been looking for when she chose her designer. Enjoy!

Tomorrow, Kate will be visiting with young athletes on behalf of SportsAid.  I look forward to seeing you then, if I don't see you first in the comments... :) 

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