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Kate Banishes Portsmouth Gloom in White Max Mara for The 1851 Trust

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A busy day for The Duchess of Cambridge. In a white and blue ensemble, Kate brightened up the overcast weather in Portsmouth this afternoon as she made her first appearance since Mustique in support of Ben Ainslie and The 1851 Trust, of which she is also patron.  In the morning, Kate was in Whiteley on a  private visit to Ainslie's offices to hear all about his new yachts.



Kate's first stop was the construction site of the initiative's new hub. Waiting for her was this mural, painted by pupils from local schools, in addition to some 70 youngsters excited to see the Princess. 

@QueenVicMirror

I love shots of the waiting photographers with their high-powered cameras! This snap shared by royal photographer Mark Stewart. 

@RegalEyes
After greeting her hosts and some of the students, Kate added finishing touches to one of the sail boats, providing the white detailing you see here: (I have to admit I haven't the faintest notion what that might be...)



And, as you can see from her finished product below, some red striping to the sails...all without getting any on her beautiful Max Mara coat! Richard Palmer reported that Kate told students that Prince George loves to paint, and the two were painting together just yesterday. 

@RoyalFocus1
As mentioned, the mural was at the construction site of what will be Ainslie's new racing hub. Press Association, via the Daily Mail, reports:
The headquarters of Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), which was granted £7.5 million of Government funding, will initially employ 90 people and act as a focal point for the design, construction and development of the team's boats for the America's Cup as well as provide a visitor centre showcasing the sport.
Kate graciously undertook an impromptu walkabout before joining more students and guests waiting for her at the Spinnaker Tower, a 170 meter building designed to look like a billowing sail. A Spinnaker sail is a particular kind that balloons in front of a boat, catching wind blowing at a 90°-180° angle off the bow.  As a girl with sailing background,  I am sure Kate very much appreciated the clever architecture. 

James Franklin 

Portsmouth is a British town with lots of fun history. King John established it as a naval base because of its advantageous proximity to France. John had his eye on Normandy, and while Henry III and Edward I used the port as a launching point to attack France on multiple occasions, the French got a bit of their own back a few reigns later when a French raiding party torched the town almost entirely to the ground. You can easily see why there is such warmth between the two nations. France continued to raid and harass the port until Henry V--that glamazon of the 100 Years War-- began permanent fortifications. Henry VIII established his Royal Navy in Portsmouth and then my knowledge in history ambles across the Channel to Versailles for a couple hundred years.  My interest picks back up again with Nelson and Wellington, but I haven't finished the bio I am reading on that period, so further fun facts on Portsmouth must wait until the next time Kate visits...and I have finished my book. 

@KensingtonRoyal

So much for sailing and history; let's jump into the fashion. Kate tapped Max Mara and debuted the 100% wool Villar, featuring a fitted bodice and flattering flare. The belted coat was £580 and is currently reduced to £345.

House of Fraser

This coat is marching in lock-step with the successful Séraphine from last month. I absolutely love it. I think Kate's tan, enhanced right now thanks to two weeks in Mustqiue, always looks fantastic paired with whites and creams. 

@1851Trust

It is so very similar to the Emilia Wickstead Kate has worn twice to St. Patrick's Day. This is a style that really works well for Kate when not pregnant, and now we find it works exceptionally well in the maternity department, too. 



Looks like boys are being boys in this shot below. I can see Kate giving George this face...


As has been widely reported, Kate is not the first royal to wear this coat. Her cousin, Princess Eugenie, wore it on Christmas morning at Sandringham and looked absolutely lovely. I remember thinking I wouldn't mind Kate in that coat...voila. Kate does seem to like to take inspiration from her relatives. As we have discussed, Zara Phillips favored Madderson while pregnant with Mia, and Kate had a very successful appearance in their Naomi dress. 



Inside the Spinnaker Tower, Kate took off her coat. In the past, Kate has almost always left her coat on, but just recently, we have seen her start to take it off more often. Today, she revealed a Somerset by Alice Temperley dress underneath, with a very appropriate sail-boat motif. 

via Emily Nash 
The dress is very much in the shift style Kate favors while pregnant, and I found the dress particularly flattering. It was only £99 and available in all sizes this morning when it was IDed, (remarkably, from just the smallest peak by the talented @LiveLoveLaughvr) but quickly sold-out entirely. Kate rules the fashion faves!


[I am going to amend this: after looking at hi-quaility photos, the pattern of the dress is such and the sky is sufficiently overcast, that next to the dark navy of her accessories, I think she got away with the color clash...because it didn't clash. On a purely conceptual level, I don't like these colors together, but in practice, today I wouldn't have noticed.] The minor "but" I would inject here is that again, Kate mixed her blue and black in a way I don't love.  Her arrival ensemble, if we can split the outfit in two, was white and navy. She accessorized with her Georgia pumps from Jimmy Choo, her Frome clutch from LK Bennet, and her sapphire and diamond drops. It was nautical perfection, and echoed the summer ensemble she put together for her first appearance for the America's Cup initiative:



Once inside, though, and we were dealing with a black dress, the shoes didn't quite match. Is this nitpicking? Yes. And I would rather have the blue with the white, to the detriment of the dress later in the engagement, but I mention it as the only issue with a flawless appearance. It was a fun day, and I am sure Kate has plenty to tell William tonight. Below, she uses a simulator to virtually look over one of the yachts:

@KensingtonRoyal

As always, George made off with plenty of gifts, including this BAR shirt from Ben Ainslie, which Kate was pictured holding with her clutch. An excited fan snapped this photo of the moment:

@sophaloph_
Kate has already had a busy week. She made a private visit to a hospital that caters to disabled children, and followed that up the next day by hosting an afternoon tea reception at Kensington Palace to meet with professionals in palliative care. Both events were private. We will see her again shortly, as she has a busy day of engagements on the 18th! 

Post will updated with more pictures...


40 comments:

  1. It's possible, I suppose, that the coat is borrowed from Princess Eugenie? I'd guess that PE's size would equate to DofC's pregnancy size?

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    1. While Kate looks quite petite even now, from the right angles it is clear she is a pregnant woman. In fairness to Princess Eugenie, she has a slimmer waist than Kate right now, so I think this is a separate coat that Kate bought in a larger size.

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    2. I agree with Jane. Plus, I don't get the vibe that Kate is very close with Eugenie. I think we've only ever seen her swap clothes with her mom and sister, which makes much more sense to me. Valid question, though. It's a good thing Sophie and Kate wore the McQueen jackets the same day, otherwise we'd be curious about that too.

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    3. As Eugenie (and presumably her wardrobe) are now in New York, I would say no.

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    4. Her job with Sony in NYC ended in December. DM is reporting that she is on a ski trip right now. No word if she brought along her white coat....

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    5. Her job was not on New York, it was in London. Her sister works on New York.

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    6. Eugenie had been working in NYC this past fall for auction house Paddle8. Not sure if she's still there, she was in the New York Post quite a bit.

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  2. While I was disappointed with the colors (or lack thereof), she made it fun with the dress pattern and being so hands-on at the event! Win! And she's not that tanned, so I think she was wearing a hat and plenty of sunscreen!

    It looks like she is carrying quite low, so the poor girl and her bladder I wonder if she was given scheduled breaks.

    I mean this with no malice or negative gossip, but don't you think Sir Ben has a crush on Kate? *giggle* In several photos of this and past engagements he always seems so attentive to her. I think he's married, so I know there isn't anything inappropriate, it just looks cute and fun. Sometimes I'm like "the only other man that looks at her that way is William!". LOL.

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    1. I was thinking this the first time she went to an event for The 1851 Trust! His smile is so geuine, perhaps he is just a big admire and tickled that he gets to talk with her, I know I would be smiling ear to ear and watching her like a hawk if I was in her presences. I'm glad I'm not the only one that noticed. :)

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    2. He married just this past December, actually. I think they are good friends. Ben works with William on United for Wildlife, and Kate works with Ben on racing. They all really support the various causes really well. They make a handsome pair, even if they are just friends and colleagues. :)

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  3. Pregnant women get hot, so that's why Kate probably takes her coat off now.

    I have so much empathy for Eugenie and Beatrice. They never look good and I inwardly cringe for them. While they might not have the natural good looks of Kate, I am of the opinion that people can always dress to lead with their best features and they never seem to do this. I had read that Andrew hired a stylist for them, maybe two years ago? Then for several events they did look good. But it was over in a flash.

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    1. Ok, I take it back. Kate's coat is beautiful and full long enough in front. I've now looked at more pictures and see that the few I saw at first showed her coat coming up in front to cover her bump. She looks great in the coat even though it might not be maternity wear. Jane, I appreciate your work in covering this event. So couldn't wait to see photos this week! I do agree with you that the black and blue look awkward when the coat comes off. I'll try to remember her goal of looking nautical for the event. Earlier, I left a comment about my disappointment that Kate didn't wear a coat today that sufficiently covered her bump, but I may have made a mistake in posting. Anyway, that's why I began here by taking back my comments! Katherine USA

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    2. Katherine, I am so sorry. Your first comment never came through. Sometimes the blog has hiccups and swallows comments. Unless people tell me, I never even see them. Very sorry about that!

      Anon 10:44: Yes, it was reported (and I believe it true) that the Queen hired the girls a stylist. The difference was clear to see. I thought the girls really have done very well since. I often see them wearing ensembles I admire. I don't follow them closely, so I don't want to make too sweeping a statement, but at major events, they haven't raised any eyebrows. But, this is personal opinion. :)

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  4. Is it possible she had the dress made in blue? Seems to me that's a possibility.

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    1. If this were an expensive dress, then maybe, but since it is a diffusion line piece, almost entirely unlikely. Hi-def photos reveal it is a black background, but I think that the lighting and the deep, deep navy of the accessories made the color difference less obvious.

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  5. It is a brave woman who wears an ivory coat around paint! :-) As for that coat, I don't think it is doing her any favors. It looks big on top and is making her look wider than she is, plus the front hem is riding up. I think she would have looked better in a Seraphine. Not liking the dress either. Too conservative maybe coupled with an unremarkable print? - but hey, she's seven months pregnant, so as long as she is comfortable that's all that counts.

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    1. Well, if I had a choice between anything and Séraphine, I think I would choose Séraphine. That company just makes stunning maternity wear. :)

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  6. Hi Jane, thank you for this great post with the interesting background information. Well, France and GB have a special relationship :-).

    Today's look wowed me. I love coats in white or cream. And they suit Kate so much!
    I agree with you concerning the colours. It's a pity! Coat and shoes were perfect and the dress itself was perfect but her shoes to it.....sigh.... as I said, I agree with you.

    How likeable she didn't dye her hairline. I love her for being this "unperfect" in that way!

    XOXO, Vicky

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    1. I thought her hair was cute, too! Taking care of her baby first. :)
      Thanks for your kind words, as always, Vicky!

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  7. HRH is just an incredibly lovely, lovely woman inside and out!

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  8. Jane, in regards to what Kate was painting - it is probably the America's Cup trophy. Team Oracle had it on their sail and I think other teams did as well. It is often represented on the sails like LV emblem for the Louis Vuitton rounds.

    I loved this look for Kate. The first look of the coat looked amazing but am not a fan of black and navy mixing but overall great look. Will be disappointed when she goes on maternity leave so hoping we get to see a lot more of her in the next month.

    KiwiNic

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    1. Oooh, you are very right, I think! Thank you!
      Me, too, but time is running short. I suspect she will disappear just after St. Patrick's Day. And, I don't think she will do anything while William is away so as not to pull media attention, although I could be wrong. We shall see...

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  9. I didn't find today's coat overly flattering and thought it a bit mean since Kate would no doubt be compared to Eugenie - who by comparison had a much less successful delivery of the style.

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  10. Jane, I had a hard time deciding if the background of the dress was a very dk blue or black. Whichever it is I don't think her shoes and handbag clashed. So hard to tell from photographs.

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  11. I had to think this look over before posting--a sure sign that it doesn't get a two thumbs up here. Altho I like Kate in cream, when she has a tan, this coat strikes me as retro 1950, not a particularly good look, very much like something the Queen might have actually worn back in the day. I didn't like it on Eugenie at all and I don't like it much better on Kate, nor do I understand Kate's penchant for emphasizing her waist via belts--what waist?--in this second pregnancy.

    And altho I can understand that protocol might demand that she, metaphorically speaking, has to wrap herself up in a flag dress when visiting Realm Countries, Kate seems to have taken this one step further; hence nautical colours and nautical prints when visiting her 1851 Trust sailing patronage, green coats when attending the Irish Guards on St. Pats, etc. Whatever happened to dressing to please herself? (And probably pleasing some of her fans a whole lot more.)

    I would have preferred to see Kate in a well-cut maternity coat, worn with a well-cut maternity dress. Failing that, what about that lovely cerise coat she wore in NYC, paired with a complimentary maternity dress?

    If anyone is advising Kate on matters of dress, he or she is doing a spectacularly poor job, in my opinion.

    In sum, I find this outfit boring,

    JC

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    1. I really wish she would recycle that Séraphine from New York. It deserved so much more than just five seconds outside the hotel!

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  12. Hi Jane! When will I ever remember to "sign in" before writing my comment? I lose my first draft every time! Anyways --

    Fashion - I love the outfit. It is so fun to see how Kate pays tribute via fashion, and it's a habit I'm trying to form myself. In the pictures the dress/accessories seem to match, so I wonder what it looked like in person. I love the teensiest bit of roots that Kate has going on - it's so endearing when she is "normal" and not trying to attain some ridiculous level of perfection that the world expects of her. It makes me love her even more! Lastly, her noticeable baby bump is too cute.

    Commentary - as always I love love love your writing. You are hilarious (I am still laughing from the other day "Is Nico the tallest man on earth?"), informative, refreshingly opinionated, etc. You mentioned a biography you are reading so here is my question - would you be willing to provide an essentials list of royal/historic/biography/fashion books? You know - the sort of books that would make one a smashing conversationalist for when one meets HRH. It is so fun to think that Kate herself might have ready some of the very same books when preparing for her new life!

    Thank you, and Happy Valentine's Day!!!

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    1. Oh, I am so very sorry. That is the most frustrating thing. That happens to me every now and again, too, and...I know the irritation. :) Thank you for taking the time to repeat your message, because it really made my afternoon. So happy you enjoy the tangents, etc. I have been thinking about your question about books, too, and I will put together a list!
      Hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day, too!!
      xoxo, Jane

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  13. Hi, Jane,

    Thank you for the thorough and interesting post.

    I'm not loving the white coat. I like that it's a much more appropriate length than the coats she wore when expecting George.

    I actually like the shift dress. It's a flattering shape for maternity wear. I like the sleeve length. I imagine that the nautical print is a very conscious nod to the subject matter of the visit. It's the kind of kitschy fun to be expected from the lady who jumps up and clicks her heels in the Governor General's garden (It happened while on tour. I believe it was in Australia). I like when she shows some personality-it's rather sweet and shows some thoughtfulness.

    I hope we get a few more appearances before April. She still looks barely pregnant to me-lucky lady!

    Just an interesting historical point about Portsmouth. It also has The Mary Rose Ship Exhibit which was the flagship of the Tudor navy which sank on its inaugural voyage in 1536. Most of its structure and contents were perfectly preserved until it was raised. It now has a permanent home in a dedicated museum in Portsmouth. Mary Rose was Henry VIII's youngest sister and reputed to be-like Kate-a renowned beauty in her day.

    It's super cold where I am so stay warm!!

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    1. I agree on the length. She has been doing much better this pregnancy with her maternity wear.

      I didn't know that about the Mary Rose in Portsmouth, but now I really want to visit. That sounds like an incredible exhibit!

      We have some snow, but it's warm inside by the fire. Hope you are staying cozy, too!

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  14. I've got a little off-topic question...

    Why doesn't george hold a title that shows that he is son and heir to the Duke of cambridge? Prince Edward's (Earl of Wessex') son James is currently holding the title Viscount Severn because his father is the Earl of Wessex.

    I always thought that the son and heir to a member of the british peerage with a title would hold one of his 'lower/second' titles until he becomes the new Earl,... of whatever(at least that's what I've learned from downton abbey :D).

    But if I search the Internet, there's just written Prince George of Cambridge, nothing more... As William is holding the titles Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Streathearn and Baron Carrickfergus, George should be Earl of Streathearn, right?

    It would be great if anyone knew the answer :)
    Sonja

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  15. It isn't usual for a Prince to take his father's second title---just use the place name e.g Prince George of Cambridge.
    Edward and Sophie did not want their children to hold the titles of Prince and Princess, so they took the titles they would have had if their father had not been a Prince. As they are never likely to inherit the throne (they are presently 9th and 10th and will drop further with the birth of the new baby and any children born to Harry; Beatrice or Eugenie) probably a wise decision, as it is well known the Charles intends to restrict the working royals, when he becomes King.

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    1. I think Charles' true intent in claiming to cut down on the working royals is really to consolidate all the power to Will and Harry's families. There is actually a new deal that Charles' office pushed that greatly I creases the money the royals will be getting in years to come. The Daily Mail has had many articles about it.

      While I can certainly see why the BRF needs to be trimmed, Charles has never made any cuts to his own staff and expenses. In fact, I think it was at the closing of the Queens's Diamond Jubilee, it was when Phillip was ill, only the Queen and Charles and his family were on the balcony for the closing ceremony. Everyone thought that Charles had kicked the others out and Phillip wasn't there to stop him. So, IMO, this is more of a power grab than about saving money. Or is it about saving money, so that more money can be spent on Charles' family? In the past, there have been serious economic issues within the royal household. I think Charles is very aware of this and wants to crackdown so the money flows to his family only.

      Sad because they are a real family and I think heads will roll when Charles inherits the thrown. Do some lesser members need to get real jobs and perhaps do other things? Yes. Could everyone be included for major events and celebrations! I would hope so.

      A bit off topic... I just think Charles' motives are not pure and he is grand standing, claiming to be all about saving money, when he is really trying to save his opulent lifestyle.

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    2. There was a poll a couple of weeks back asking about reducing the number of "working royals" the results (published on British Royals) were quite clear.; The majority questioned wanted only HM and the Duke of Edinburgh and Charles and his direct descendants and their wives; plus Princess Royal.

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    3. As his sister, Princess Royal will be out in the cold when Charles gets the throne. Eventually, so will Harry, as Will and Kates's family will be the direct line. Harry will fall away just like Charles' siblings.

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  16. Hi Jane,

    So good to see Kate. Her coat is lovely, but I don't like it for her at this time. It will be much more fitting for her when she is not pregnant. When she is not pregnant, her outfits seem to be longer in the back and I believe that is because of how she stands. Being pregnant, this is even more apparent.

    Also, you said at the end of 2014 that you would have a surprise for us on January 9th. I know you were not well for a period of time there. Can we still expect your surprise project?

    Thanks for your lovely blog.

    Joan M.

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    1. Hi Joan:
      I agree with the length points you made. Also, when Kate buys pieces that aren't made for maternity, it exacerbates the length disparity. Oh well. :)
      About the project... When I was chatting with a girlfriend about it several month ago she said, "expect everything that can go wrong to go wrong." I naively assured her the sailing would be smooth. Ha. We have hit some snags, but are working through them. And, I have gotten sick again, to boot. (Lest I sound like a 19th century heroine from a Verdi opera, I am not generally this sickly. Just unlucky these first two months of the New Year. :))
      I am hoping to reveal the project by the end of this month, but some of that depends on forces outside of my control, so I am crossing my fingers... I can't wait and when it is ready, I will definitely be letting everyone know! :) Thanks for remembering it...

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  17. I like the coat itself, but I don't like it at this point in her pregnancy. I don't think it compares to the fit of the Seraphine coats. I wish she'd just buy more maternity pieces! It seems like she's trying to dress in spite of her changing shape, instead of accepting and rocking her cute pregnant shape. But as always, she still looks gorgeous!

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    1. Well, we are in agreement there. I would take Séraphine over almost anything else, honestly. Nothing beats a piece that is tailored for her figure. I wish we could change Kate on this one point--I am super exasperated with her look today (in the video) but, she is a girl who dances to her own drum. :)

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