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Did Kate Plan to Marry William?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A month or so ago, we were chatting about Kate and William's relationship...you know, the way people normally sit about contemplating other people's business and all.  The rather perennial question arose: Did Kate have her sights set on William when she went to St. Andrews? Let's chew the fat leftover turkey about this lovely topic. I am going to jump right in and say exactly what I think, (what a surprise) and you can let me know your position. In my opinion, yes and no. There are a lot of different rumors, stories, reasons, and timelines that people invoke to support their opinions.  I will try to lay out the evidence for why I believe what I do.




First of all, it has been told that Kate met William in high school (American lingo there, my friends, bear with me) presumably as proof that she was out for the kill from an early age. Way, way back, I believe that Kate did meet William socially. Were they buddy-buddy? No. Would William have necessarily remembered her if he passed her in the street? I rather doubt it. Nevertheless, I suspect they met, obviously she had more reason to remember him than he would have to remember her, and perhaps she thought about him in the dreamy way that girls are given to think about boys. Did she dream the impossible dream? Maybe, but it doesn’t really matter. Kate isn’t a magician. She isn’t God. She does not speak and bring about reality.  I dream of a sunny apartment in the 8th with lazy afternoons playing tennis in the Luxembourg, and guess what, kids? It does not just appear. So, what we dream about, what Kate dreamt about, isn’t very relevant to the issue. They met. That is relevant.




She did turn down a place at Edinburgh, this is fact, and it was bold. She took a gap year, during which she re-applied to St. Andrews and awaited word. It was super risky, certainly, but it is still hard to say why she did it. By that time she would have known that William was going to St. Andrews and she would have also known that the competition for the slot she was applying was all the fiercer. St. Andrews saw a 44% increase in applications after it was announced that the most eligible bachelor in the United Kingdom had accepted a place.  That is intense. I don’t know if Kate changed places because of William. If we are all honest, no matter what you think of Kate, you have to admit we don't know




My gut says it wasn't just for William. The odds for any given girl to date, let alone marry, Prince William, were radically not good. Like, you would not take that bet...ever, that's how bad the odds were. It wouldn’t have even been a long shot, and Kate is a smart kid. Even if she were considering it, she knew the deck was stacked against her.  That being said, she’d met him, and her calm exterior hides what I believe is a very bright and ambitious woman, so, if somewhere in her heart she harbored thoughts about William, that may have been an element that played into her decision. But, I stress, an element. I truly believe that the overarching reason must have been something else. It could have been any number of things, but if I know Kate, and I know her about as well as anyone who doesn’t know her can know her, William wasn’t the only reason she risked her academic achievement, letting go of her place at Edinburgh, to try for St. Andrews. I do suspect that William was a very welcome extra. A tantalizing possibility…the hypothetical romance that keeps life interesting while one presses forward with the practical. Had you asked Kate at the time if she were going to marry Prince William, she would have laughed, and it would have been a genuine response. The likelihood was just too ridiculous. 




Kate spent the first half of her gap year in Italy studying Italia, art, and eating pasta...what their European neighbors would term, la vie en rose.




She did go to Chile during gap year, as William was leaving the same project, but although they almost overlapped, Kate applied for the program long before it was announced that William would be undertaking it as well. It was pure chance, or as I prefer to term it, Providence.

19 year-old Kate in Chile

While Kate could have had no earthly idea that William would do the same gap year program that she did, the fact that it happened meant that when they met at St. Andrews, they had just one more point of mutual interest, background, and compatibility to build a romantic relationship. She didn’t orchestrate that; something bigger made that happen. I think it is very important to highlight that the two found themselves on the same program the way they did. Kate and William, naturally have shared interests and passions, an excellent indicator they are a good match and likely to be successful life-partners. 




Once Kate got to University and met William, the game was upped a notch. At that point, I absolutely think she was wanting to marry him, but it is wrong to frame this in some kind of a predatory angle. Kate was (is) a beautiful and accomplished woman, and William was (and is) a handsome, intelligent, well-educated, young man. They were each a catch and they both had the right to fall in love. William had the right to fall for Kate just as much as she had the right to fall for him. Once they had established their friendship, no one can say who fell first and who hoped for more before the other. Again, it doesn’t really matter. It certainly isn't as if Kate was the only woman who decided she wanted to marry William...she is just the only woman who actually did. Furthermore, those who want to paint some picture of Kate as the impetus aren't being entirely balanced.




People either fall in love or they do not. More importantly, a man may date a woman and say or promise all number of things, but proposing is a whole different picnic. Given how long these two dated, William had several opportunities to walk. Many would have found it natural, even preferable, that the prince detach himself from his university “fling” and go on to sample other possibilities before settling on a more suitable and aristocratic match.






Indeed, William and Kate had several rocky periods in their relationship and not just the very famous 2007 split. They had tough patches in college and afterward, that tested their commitment to one another. Any one of those rough patches could have provided William with the out he “needed” had Kate simply been a conniving social climber. William and Kate made it work again and again because they loved each other. Because Kate couldn’t imagine her life without William, and William couldn’t live without Kate.  Because they fit. They are a wonderfully compatible and complementary match.




In 2007, certainly we saw Kate do everything in her power to win William back, although she did it her way: discreetly and silently. Far from being a low moment, this was an excellent study of Kate and the royal relationship. It was the greatest test of her character and she more than rose to the challenge. Kate weighed her privacy and her pain with her love for William, and instead of following the natural inclination to hide, she fought for him--which is no small thing. She had every right to fight, and she did it with finesse and panache.




There was one question dictating Kate's reaction to the 2007 split: was it worth it? A woman (should) only fight for a relationship that is worth fighting for, so William must have loved Kate enough for her to justify the 2007 struggle.




She didn’t scramble for William simply to hold on. She didn’t pursue their relationship despite negative signs and inclinations. Had she felt that he didn’t love her the way she loved him, I think she would have been woman enough to admit it and walk away. She toughed it out through the rough, accepted the struggles as they were presented, she held it together through the hard times, because she saw something in them, as a couple, as a team—that was beautiful enough to warrant the emotional investment and risk that it took to give their relationship the best she had to give.  




There seems to be a lot of judgement connected with the question, did Kate go to St Andrews because of William? Perhaps it is because we intuitively understand that every woman wants to be charmed. Every woman wants a man to pursue her and value her and love her for the unique and precious person that she is. It also presupposes that to be a lady means not chasing. But, not chasing does not mean not providing opportunity. I believe that Kate chose St. Andrews for a reason I do not know, but it was a reason sufficiently compelling to her that she risked her position at Edinburgh to roll the dice. I do think that a portion, although not the majority of the decision, involved William. I think we would all agree to that. She knew he was going, she had met him in high-school, she knew the risk...he factored into her choice. 




Kate "got" William because fate—if we choose to term it such—played the largest role; the rest, as is almost always the case in life, was left to her. She is the Duchess of Cambridge because despite her placid exterior, Kate is a feisty, intelligent, and driven woman who chose to gamble a bird in the hand for two in the bush, and I think this daring is part of her magnetism for women today. It is certainly a significant factor in my interest. She is Carole’s daughter. She was raised by an entrepreneur, and has a spirit of opportunity in her blood. No one put boundaries on how far she could go or whom she could love. That energy which propelled her toward the unknown, rewarded her with a crown, but more importantly with her soulmate, her helpmeet, her spouse.




For William's part, and this seems to be an element often overlooked, he chose her, as well. It takes two to tango. He had his pick. The Prince could have married any number of stunning, landed aristocrats. He could have dated Kate and called it a nice time and moved on. He didn’t. They met, they formed a friendship, and they fell, very deeply, and entirely mutually, in love.




This is one heck of a romance. William is clearly very proud of Kate and ridiculously in love with her. It is manifestly evident in the way he watches her, cares for her, protects her…Kate is lucky that William saw beyond all the pretty faces vying for his attention to her heart, her spirit, her essence. He saw and loved the qualities that make her who she is and he chose her rather than any other woman. But, William is just as, if not more, fortunate. She didn’t just get him, he got her; or as Kate put it, "he is lucky to be dating me." Somewhere, somehow, probably by his sheer luck, he sparked a flame in her heart and he will never be able to fully account for his good fortune in winning the love and loyalty of such a woman. She will continue to be a blessing to his life ‘till death do them part.  They are a very blessed duo...well, now a quartet. 




Nothing like a Treatise on romance to kick off the Christmas season. I hope they are both celebrating a little Thanksgiving in their beautiful new home in Norfolk today. A very happy weekend to you. See you in December!

N.B. Input is welcome, as always, kindly remain on topic and refrain from straying into a discussion of Kate's job history. 

Kate Shopping in Holt, Norfolk/William Heading to China & Japan

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thanksgiving Surprise! Kate was spotted shopping today in Holt Norfolk, by Chloe Nelson, the co-owner of an optician store in the town: Nelsons Eye Patch. Kate was out shopping for antiques in her skinnies, boots, and that Zara cape with which she loves to hide her baby-bump.

Kate Shopping in holt, Norfolk
via Chloe Nelson of Nelsons Eye Patch

As mentioned in an earlier post, William and Kate's Anmer Hall home has at last been finished and the couple moved in several weeks ago. Apparently, the house needs a few finishing touches. Local media EDP24 reported:
Chloe Nelson...spotted the Duchess of Cambridge in the town’s High Street just after 1pm. She said: “She looked lovely in a tartan cape as she left the Antiques Emporium and headed up the high street, what a great ambassador for shopping in local independent shops.”
Kate Shopping in Norfolk via Chloe Nelson

In late January of 2013, after recovering from her early and intense morning sickness with George, Kate shopped central London in this same cape, pairing it with her Really Wild Clothing boots. At the time, US Weekly reported the Duchess had been shopping at Boots:

Kate on January 30, 2013
vis US Weekly and Top Star Pictures
Around the same time, she also popped into a Pret A Manger (does it bother anyone else that there are no accents??) in the cape for a little pick-me-up.


I can only imagine the couple's relief at finally moving into Anmer! This has been in production for so long!  Kate was spotted in Holt antique shopping while pregnant with George!  At the time we were relatively certain that she was also in the neighborhood because of Anmer Hall.

Antique Shopping in 2013

What better time to be able to settle in than the holidays, just before the royal family celebrates Christmas at Sandringham. With a rambunctious George ready to pull the house down, and pregnant with her second, it is doubtless a relief to Kate to be able to remain in her own space this year and not have to pack up and be a guest.  Sandringham House is just a few miles down the road, which should make it far easier to balance holidays with little ones and BRF family traditions. 


Anmer Hall has had extensive renovation done. From window replacements to a whole new roof, the property has been given a thorough overhaul and interior design makeover, and it set to be a delightful country house for the Cambridge family for years to come. 



Last year on Thanksgiving Day, we got to see Kate under an official pretext as she attended the SportsBall on behalf of SportsAid in a laser-cut Temperley dress.



SportsAid is putting on their gala again this evening, and while we gave up hope of seeing Kate there at least a week ago, it is fun to see her out and about despite her absence at the London event. 

Nelsons Eye Patch, Holt, Norfolk

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Before I leave you for some celebratory turkey, it was also officially announced today that Prince William will undertake a visit to China and Japan in early next year. He will spend three days in each country, leaving the United Kingdom in late February and arriving home in early March. It should not be hard to determine the approximate dates with that window. No mention of Kate is made in the press release whatsoever. At first, it seemed they would keep their options open, but the nature of statement makes me think it has been absolutely ruled out that Her Royal Highness will accompany William. I imagine a number of reasons for that decision, all of which seem wise. 


William opened the Dickson Poon China Centre Building at Oxford in the early fall. Kate was meant to have been present at that engagement, as well, but was prevented from attending due to her debilitating HG. In fact, this event was the one that forced the couple to announce her pregnancy, since the princess had already been ill for over a week when they had to explain her absence in Oxford.



A Happy Thanksgiving to Americans and to all reflecting on their many blessings today! 



Kate Wears Katherine Hooker For Each Capital Appeal Launch

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hello, hello! At last we are chatting about Kate's appearance today...I do apologize for the delay. I have been traveling "over the river and through the woods" and experienced some technical issues. But, to the point of the post: Kate was in Norfolk this morning at the Norfolk Showground, to launch East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) capital appeal campaign. The charity wants to build a £10 million hospice near Norwich and Kate was there to lend support to the cause. William and Kate have at last been able to move into Anmer Hall, and so Kate didn't have too far to travel:


To the delight of fans, Kate put her thinking cap on before the event and came up with an idea to help raise funds. She approached Emma Bridgewater to create a pattern line to benefit the appeal.  Emma Bridgewater creates fantastic pottery:
Emma Bridgewater began in 1985, after Emma tried and failed to find a birthday present for her mum. "I was looking for a really special cup and saucer, but everything was either too formal or too clunky. That was my eureka moment. I realised there was a gap in the market for pottery that was beautiful and practical – pottery for a relaxed, colourful, mismatched life."
Kate was visibly delighted to see the display when she arrived, and she took a moment to examine the collaborative brainchild.  I think anyone who loves tea and has ever hosted a tea-party with friends, will appreciate the MASSIVE tea-pot which the collection includes. Apparently, this teapot can hold 16 cups! It's a hostess's dream, but good luck finding a tea-cozy to fit it! You are going to be custom-knitting something... The items will be available for sale in the early New Year, and I suspect they will sell very quickly. 



Guests were seated at tables for the launch, and the tables were all designated by popular children’s names. Kate’s table was called, as you might guess, George. I suppose they had to be careful about seating her at a table with any other name. Like, Table Alexandra, or Table Elizabeth Diana, or Carole Victoria… George was a safe call.  (P.S. Rebecca was looking super chic today, too, in a fitted knit pullover, cute patterned skirt, and black stockings and heels.)



The Duchess penned a letter of support for the appeal, shared by Simon Perry:

Kate's Message for the EACH Capital Appeal via Simon Perry

To the fashion, my friends. I was very excited that Kate turned to Katharine Hooker for today’s event. I honestly wish Kate would wear more Katherine Hooker. She was a steady before Kate married, and of course Kate chose to rework one of her coats for the Anglesey lifeboat christening--her first big event after her engagement.


Katherine Hooker also can claim the credit for the triumphant Order of the Garter ensemble we all loved so very much:



Katherine Hooker confirmed that Kate's dress today was her "Ascot", but that it was a made from custom created fabric. I imagine Kate probably found a style she liked, and requested the rich red that suits her brunette locks so very well. It also is a less extravagant way of assuring that you won't be in the identical piece to another guest, without splashing out for an entirely custom-creation--a smart move. 


Kate accessorized with her Mappin & Webb pendant, Kiki McDonough drops, and Jimmy Choo heels. Today was a win. This particular ponytail is fantastic on Kate. She wore a very similar style with her white Mouret gown to the Mandela premiere, and it was a show-stopper then, too. She adds significant lift right behind the crown of her head which gives shape and a stylistic flare well beyond the average pony. I love it so much. 



Today's loose sheath dress style is something Kate seems to favor for formal events while pregnant. It reminds me very much of the Erdem she wore when pregnant with George. They both appear to be fitted from the front, but are often loose on the sides. I would love if the dress were just a little more tailored, a little more fitted in the back. I don't think it is perfect, but clearly something in the fit and style attracts her, since it isn't the first time she has sported this. 


All in all, though, though, I was really thrilled. I think the ponytail, the deep red against her coloring, her flawless make-up, and, of course, her baby glow, made her radiant. All day I watched striking shot after striking shot. A very successful event. 



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Perhaps almost as exciting as Kate's appearance this morning, was the new family photo of the Cambridges that surfaced. This picture was shared by HotMonarchy, and pictures William, Kate and George in a posed family portrait sent as a thank-you to people involved in their successful April tour. 


Kate is holding Baby George, who is wearing a charming sweater top, and blue pants that look to be the mini-version of his daddy's blue chinos...


...which means it is official: these are George's first pair of French Boy Pants. :) Rebecca English confirmed this shot was taken in March, before the Down Under tour, at the same time as the previously released portrait of the three with Lupo from the KP window. Kate is wearing the Rebecca Taylor suit she subsequently wore on the last day in New Zealand. I think it is very nice that suit got a third showing, since Taylor is an NZ native. 


Ok, that is it for today. Again, many apologies for the delay!  It doesn't seem that Kate will attend the SportsAid gala on thursday, which isn't terribly surprising, but...it would have been fun. At the moment, the next confirmed event is her New York trip. Given how close we are to that, I doubt anything will be announced between now and then. But, you'll be kept in the loop on any developments... 


Dress Like The Duchess: Girl Fabulosity Made to Order RepliKate Hats

Monday, November 24, 2014

I have been waiting over a month to share this Dress Like the Duchess edition with you, and I am so very excited to at last be able to publish! Hats can make or break Kate's outfit and I know we all are often awestruck by the beautiful creations that she debuts. RepliKating them, however, can prove tricky, since the milliners the Duchess patronizes often sell a single hat for hundreds and hundreds  of pounds. For those who will not get much wear out of a hat, but are often buying for a single special occasion, the money can be hard to justify. Brandi at Girl Fabulosity loves making hats and is inspired by Kate's style; a winning combination! She makes striking repliKates of a broad range of Kate's best loved hats.



Brandi sent me what she terms the Dulwich hat, shown below in deep teal. I love this hat for it understated elegance and its versatile style. I asked Brandi to make it for me in black, as seen on Kate, and when it arrived I was so, so pleased. The hat attaches with an elastic band, and the care and time that Brandi puts into the development is clear. You can order this hat in teal, back...or, any color you like. 



You will recognize the hat as a pretty authentic repliKate of the Whiteley Kate first debuted in 2010 when she paired it with Libélula's Dulwich coat for Harry Aubrey-Fletcher's wedding. She wore this gorgeous chapeau again in 2013 while pregnant with George, when she visited the Baker Street tube station with HM and the DoE.


Girl Fabulosity will repliKate a number of the Duchess's hats, including the Jane Corbett from her first Remembrance Day ceremony in 2011:


Kate's striking Rachel Trevor-Morgan from the Order of the Garter comes in a lovely repliKate, and I have just been told that Girl Fabulosity now has the matching "waffle" material in which the original was made:


Kate's Gina Foster topper that she wore Christmas morning is available in a beautiful deep green, but again, you can order any of these hats in the color you prefer, or to match the rest of your ensemble:


The Jane Taylor sequined cocktail hat worn for The Queen's Thanksgiving service in 2012 is available in repliKate form:


Brandi also makes the hat that first made headlines: the Vivien Sheriff from Anglesey, in addition to the brown Locke & Co. hat she wore to Aldershot. 


Brandi was one of the thousands of women who were immediately struck by Kate's fascinator on the morning she christened the small life-boat in Anglesey. She began making hats not long after, and the Anglesey fascinator was her first creation.  Brandi orders the supplies from Engalnd and Australia to make the most beautiful repliKates she can, for the best price. I love my Dulwich. It really is a very beautiful rendition of Kate's hat and is sure to complement multiple outfits and occasions. Girl Fabulosity ships internationally and will work with you to make the hat of your dreams. See Brandi's Etsy store here, if you are in the market for a royally inspired chapeau!  

A Week of Royal News: American Journos Revitalizing the Spirit of 1776, Jack Whitehall, and New PR Man Jason Knauf

Saturday, November 22, 2014

There has been a bit of a hubbub over the supposed guidelines that Buckingham Palace issued to American journalists hoping to cover the royal tour. The Daily Beast implied, whether deliberately or through genuine error, that a specific "communiqué" had been issued by the Palace on this topic. As a result, certain members of the American media responded with a host of sarcastic and rebellious tweets and short op-eds. Vanity Fair ran a piece highlighting some of these responses, here



It then slowly became apparent that no communiqué of any kind had been released, and a host of "updated" articles ensued. The general guidelines on the BP site, for journalists covering overseas tours, reads: [emphasis added]
Journalists wishing to cover Royal engagements, whether in the United Kingdom or abroad, should comply with the dress code on formal occasions out of respect for the guests of The Queen, or any other member of the Royal Family. Smart attire for men includes the wearing of a jacket and tie, and for women a trouser or skirt suit. Those wearing jeans or trainers will not be admitted and casually dressed members of the media will be turned away. This also applies to technicians.
This is primarily a tempest in a tea-pot. It was an easy piece to run with, and an even easier issue to add some snark in 140 characters or less. It is hardly representative of the American public, or even the American media as a whole. That being said, it would behoove those members of the media who prize clever comments and witty ripostes, to check facts before sounding off in the public forum... 

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Some cute stories have filtered out of the Royal Variety Performance. Jack Whitehall, as you may remember from the post on the Royal Variety Performance, is the comedian who went to Marlborough, several years behind Kate. At the performance, he joked that the Duchess was the "one who got away", and has since been milking his night with the royals. This has been to our advantage, because Mr. Whitehall is quite humorous and I have really enjoyed both these little stories.



People quoted Whitehall being interviewed about the evening of the performance on the Jonathan Ross Show, describing William's reaction afterward:
"William came over and he was very funny, he was very nice but very passive aggressive [and said] 'Oh, so you were flirting with my missus? Oh no that was very funny!'
While William is not a professional comedian, he is a very witty man, and I am sure they were both having a good laugh.  This wasn't the only story that Whitehall told. Although obviously taking some creative license, he recounted urging Demi Lovato to rub Kate's pregnant tummy. E! reported: 
"[Demi] was very nice, very sweet, but American and didn't necessarily buy into my sense of humor," Jack told the host. "Everyone is very nervous when the royal family is coming around and she asked me what the protocol was with the royal bump, 'Can we talk about the baby and stuff?,' and as a joke I said 'The Duchess of Cambridge I think would be offended if you didn't have a little feel' as a joke."...
..."She takes [my suggestion] completely at face value, and as Kate Middleton is coming along the line, I suddenly realize that we've got a situation here where either I need to step in and tell her that it was a joke and look like an idiot or potentially Demi Lovato from Frozen is about to get taken out by a police marksmen, so I told her," he recalled.
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Last piece of news that is piquing my interest: William and Kate have at last replaced Ed Perkins with, surprisingly, an American: Jason Knauf. Knauf will take on the office of Communications Director for the royal couple in January. The PR guru was educated in New Zealand (as well as a masters from the London School of Economics) and worked for various government officials in NZ, in a variety of roles, before he came to the UK to work for the Royal Bank of Scotland. He is only in his thirties with a reputation as cool and laid back. Already, members of the press seem excited to see how his style will effect the relationship between press and Palace. As many of you know, that relationship has been a strained one over the years, and this could bode very well for the future. Gordon Rayner's full report is here