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St. David's Day: The Cambridges & Wales

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Today is St. David’s Day, or as I like to think of it, St. David’s Daffodil Day. David is the patron of Wales, and the daffodil is the national flower of Wales.  Daffodils are my favorite flower, and they are some of the first hardy blooms to break their way through the cold ground and announce the advent of spring. As you probably remember, two THREE! (aaah) years ago, Kate joined Camilla and the Queen at Fortnum & Mason as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations on March 1st. Because it was St. David's Day, daffodils abounded. Kate wore one on her jacket, and the ladies were all given bouquets of the bright yellow flowers.



Kate incorporated significant symbolism into her wedding dress, as well as her wedding cake. Since she was becoming a Princess of the United Kingdom, Kate made sure that motifs representing all four ares of the Great Britain were present, this, of course, included the Welsh daffodil.


After the royal couple announced their engagement in the fall of 2010, the world went wild with excitement, and the two undertook a mini-tour of the United Kingdom, visiting each of the four "countries". But, the very first stop they made was in remote Trearddur Bay in Wales, where they christened a lifeboat together. It was Kate's very first official royal duty, and Wales was the location the two specifically chose for this special event.



There are a few places in the world that hold special significance for the Cambridges. In general, these special spots are places where they have found a greater degree of privacy. Scotland was where they met and had respite from public scrutiny by mutual agreement between the Palace and Press; Africa is both remote and personally very special to William, and so where he chose to propose to Kate; and Wales is where the two lived a normal lifestyle for their first two years as newlyweds.



Until the two moved in late 2013, the exact location of the cottage was kept a relative secret, but once the furniture had been packed and sent off to Kensington Palace, it became widely known they had lived at Bodowen Farmhouse near Llangefni. The Cambridges cottage had plenty of privacy as it was by Newborough Forest, and they had lovely sweeping views down to the beach and across to Llanddwyn Island. For a cottage, it was quite spacious, with a living room, and dining room--both with fireplaces--kitchen, utility room, cloakroom, four bedrooms and baths, and a garden. An "insider" described the home to E!:
It's an absolutely beautiful spot, it's breathtaking up there. It has access to a private beach which nobody else could reach, onto the estuary...You could see the water from the bedrooms on the first floor, which look over the top of the outbuildings. The outbuildings surround a farmyard and you have to go through the farm yard to get down to the beach.


The article went on to say that the house was two homes put together, which I found particularly interesting, although I cannot vouch for the veracity:
The house is actually two houses stuck together, there are two staircases—one in the center of the first house and upstairs there are two bedrooms in the first house and two in the second house, so it's a four-bedroom house now they've been pulled together.
Certainly, William and Kate took full advantage of their proximity to walking trails, and the beach. In August of 2011, Kate and Pippa were snapped walking the Llanddwyn beach with Pippa's then-boyfriend Alex Loudon in tow.



Some of cutest private photos of William and Kate were snapped as they happily strolled with puppy Lupo on the private beach by their home. The couple radiated a content joy in their bucolic setting and in each other, and I still think this might be the most complete picture of happiness I could come up with, if called upon to do so.



Kate was frequently seen shopping at her local Waitrose and the Tesco in nearby Holyhead, pushing her shopping trolley, shadowed by a discreet PPO--often Mr. Security. Locals described her as kind, unassuming, and thoughtful.



The Duchess was active in her community, and as we learned later, a volunteer scout leader with her local troop. Kate even hosted a party on the private beach by her home for her group of scouts.


In July of 2013, Kate gave birth to HRH Prince George, a little future king of England. It was a momentous occasion historically and personally. Not just as any birth is personal to parents, but for these parents, it marked a deepening of their gravitas, a change in their position within the wider royal family. William was leaving the RAF and it was time for the little family to leave Anglesey and begin to take on a larger royal role. Only William was scheduled to attend a farewell appearance at the kick-off of the Ring 'O Fire marathon, but with touching graciousness, Kate accompanied her husband to say goodbye to her neighbors.



Interestingly, she chose to wear an ensemble she reserves for private events. Her Ralph Lauren blazer, and the dotted Zara top are familiar to royal watchers, but only thanks to pap shots from her excursions on the streets of London, walking the slopes of Arosa, or car trips between Anglesey and the capital. Her hair was also "dressed-down." Rather than the glossy, smooth curls of her public appearances, Kate instead left it in the natural waves we saw more before she became an HRH. It was a very relaxed and intimate goodbye to a community and region of which William and Kate had been able to be "normal" members. William arrived in Beijing today on his joint tour of Japan and China, but I hope that he sent Kate daffodils, and I am sure she thought happily on her time in her little cottage in Wales.



Kate's calendar has a number of engagements on it, and you can catch up on those here. The first half of  March has really filled in nicely. I suspect that the 17th will be her last public appearance before her second child is due. So many apologies for my late responses (still trickling in) on the last post. It has been a very hectic four days. Next week should be smoother here on the blog!


16 comments:

  1. It must have been bittersweet to leave that cottage behind. I know they have several incredible and beautiful homes now, but there really is nothing like your first home after you are married. Thank you for that cozy walk down memory lane.

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  2. There must be moments when they would gladly trade the grandeur of KP for some anonymity and a cozy cottage. :) Personally, I love the setting.

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  3. Thank you so much Jane for this article filled with a certain nostalgia on my part. Love the time when they were in Wales as a very Young married item.
    Sophie
    xxxx

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  4. This is one of my favorite posts.

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  5. I love, love, love their wedding cake.

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    1. Me too. The detail was absolutely amazing!

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  6. Lovely post Jane and I adore the picture of them on the beach with puppy Lupo :-) that sums up the closeness of their relationship for me :-) thank you ..... Simone

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  7. Lovely post Jane. Very romantic. I love how all couples have their significant places, and it's fun to get a glimpse of william and kate's. Btw, is she really pregnant with prince george in the first pic? She looks so slim!

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    1. No that engagement was in 2012 not 2013 :)

      Rebecca

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    2. Haha, no, I can't switch to 2015, so when I did 2012 from 2014, I got two years ago. :)

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  8. Hey Jane,

    such a nice post again!!! You always include some info I hadn't known before. Although I think that the Fortnum & Mason engagement with Camilla and the Queen was indeed three years ago and not two ;)

    Vroni from Germany

    xxxx

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    1. Ouf, thank you for the heads up. Time is moving too fast for me! :)

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  9. What a great post, Jane! This may be one of my favorites out of your entire blog. :)
    p.s. Did I miss the surprise you teased in January? Or is that still yet to come?

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    1. Very happy to hear you enjoyed it so much!
      You did not miss it. It hit some snags and was significantly delayed. I think it will be ready by the end of March, or right around the time that Kate disappears. Someone suggested, and it seemed a fun idea, to save it for when we don't have as much to talk about. I do apologize for the delay!

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    2. The end of March sounds like a great idea! A fun virtual treat to look forward to when Kate news is slow.

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  10. I really enjoyed this. You bring in a load of other relatable info and tie it all up beautifully. The Duchess has a wonderful knack of giving that retrospective 'nod' to Diana - it looks effortless but I think there is a lot of effort behind it but she manages to do it sensitively. In this post I couldn't help but notice it in the choice of the beige outfit with chocolate scarf which she wore in Wales just as Diana had done on the first trip she did as Princess of Wales the day she soldiered through the rain in beige, complete with gorgeous feathers. She is very clever. Might make an interesting post sometime.
    Catherine

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