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The Duchess Drops In At Downton: Kate Wears JoJo Maman Bébé

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I broke the picture budget today, kids. I just blew through it. Like eating cake and not caring; wonderful. It was the Duchess at Downton Abbey Day...sort of. While Highclere Castle is the location for some scenes, many are also filmed 60 miles away in a studio in Ealing, London. That is where Kate arrived this morning, all in white, to spend time watching (most of) our favorite characters as they filmed the hit TV drama. 



Kate is a devoted Downton Abbey fan, just like the rest of the world. We know this because everyone loves Downton Abbey, and we also know this because she has told people she loves the show. Kate, like any self-respecting woman, has finally lured her spouse into watching, as well. Allen Leech, aka Branson or Tom depending on social perspective, met William at an event shortly after Prince George was born. US Weekly reported him saying:
"I was actually at an event last week with Prince William, now the Duke of Cambridge, so yeah -- I met him last week, shook his hand," Leech shared. "He actually said, 'I’m a big fan of the show -- only now that my wife’s had a baby...Obviously he's now got a lot of down time, so [Kate]'s gone, 'I'm watching this and you're watching it with me.'"
I heard some talk that this might not have been Kate's first visit to Downton, but I think someone must have been confusing the Middletons' visit. Carole, Mike, and Pippa all visited the set in 2011. I reflected at the time that Kate would have to make the visit at some point, too, since she must have been a little green with envy. As the popular show may very well be in its last season, she was wise to jump in and finally do the rounds. I am sure she was as thrilled as anyone to meet the actors and go behind the scenes. 

Highclere Castle Facebook

Kate arrived and was presented with the usual bouquet by none other than Master George I (twins play George Crawley, and both were on set.) He really does look like he is actually Matthew's son. Give the casting director a raise! Kate debuted her George a few short months before Lady Mary's George arrived on the screen, but filming obviously had taken place before HRH's name was announced. I was over the moon with the coincidence, and I am sure that Kate really enjoyed that small element, too. George Crawley is actually named after Fellowes' niece's son, although in the show I believe it is meant as a tribute to George V.

@camillahorrox

The Princess wasted little time getting started, and popped right into the make-up trailer where Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) was getting dolled up with a cheeky Thomas (Rob James-Collier) standing by.



Then, it was on to tour the props department:

@RainHorgan
Fashion savvy as she is, Kate must have very much enjoyed the inside peek at the work that goes into the costumes. Look at that face! She is totally thinking: "I am ringing Jenny as soon as I leave to get this made for my first soirée post-maternity."



Kate spent time watching the cameras roll, as she viewed a scene being filmed from the Video Village. What secrets does Kate know now? Talk about getting the jump on the new season. 

@KensingtonRoyal

I think when the pictures of the Duchess meeting everyone's favorite cast members started to emerge, that is when the internet began to really meltdown with excitement.



Kate & Carson. I hope Carson (Jim Carter) greeted Kate with a deep, "Welcome to Downton, my lady Your Grace." ;) as is his wont in the show. 



Mrs. Patmore and Daisy had a cake all baked for Kate, who looked delighted by the chocolate confection topped with the DA logo. 



I love this shot of Mrs. Hughes greeting Kate. Is this her room at Downton, or is this a cottage set?



What did the Duchess say to make even naughty Thomas's jaw drop?



Kate popped round to Mary's room and had a chat with the girls. They all look so excited. What a ridiculous bunch of fun today must have been.



The only blight on what would have been a perfect day, was that Dame Maggie Smith, aka The Dowager Duchess of Grantham, was ill and unable to meet the Duchess. Oh well, she would have reminded us...



It was a full day for Kate, and as sometimes happens when she is really enjoying herself, she left behind schedule.


A video posted by Kensington Palace (@kensingtonroyal) on


Upon farewell, Kate got a final snap with Michelle and George Crawley II--the picture those of us who are die-hard Lady Mary fans had been waiting for...

@emynash

...and George Crawley II presented Kate with a gift for HRH George Cambridge, which I am going to assume will actually make it to the royal nursery. 




Let's chat about the fashion. It is a lovely ensemble. By JoJo Maman Bébé, (created by a British woman raised in Brittany, Vive la Bretagne!) this cream "Princess" coat is a 50/50 wool and viscose blend with great body. Collarless, it features prominent buttons, epaulette-detailing at the cuffs, and pretty pockets that add some interest. I love this coat. It is just the style I prefer for her maternity wear, it is in a color I always gravitate toward, and a shade that flatters Kate. It is super pretty. Actually, it reminds me very much of the Séraphine Natasha in style, and the MaxMara in color. But, that's the rub. I am bored. My feed is still chock-full of Kate's visit to Portsmouth and this coat didn't set itself apart enough from its proximate predecessors to make anything really pop. Frankly, I prefer this to the MaxMara, it flatters her better, and I love the big buttons down the front. I wish she had worn this to Portsmouth...and added color today. (Now, that dress underneath has me very intrigued, and I really wish we had gotten more than a glimpse.)



I had hoped she would wear one of Lady Mary's deep jewel tones, a burgundy or a rich blue, or forest green. Those are colors more suited to fall, but I was hoping... It would have been really fun had she chosen a piece by a designer to whom she is quite faithful, Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lauren is a major funder of Downton and Masterpiece in the United States. He created an entire collection dedicated to Downton in 2012 and continues to take inspiration from the show he so generously supports. He and his family recently spent the weekend at Highclere were they shared a few snaps from a lovely evening:

Ralph Lauren Facebook
In any event, this is a win, no doubt. It is lovely, lovely, lovely, all elements are working beautifully together, etc. It is just a win I am not super excited about. I don't usually say this, but the clothes were second place today. Who can be displeased with a day the Duchess and Downton mix it up? My only question remains...did Kate request that no spoilers be included in her tour, or is the Duchess now in the know on the carefully protected plot-twists of season 6? Only William, Carole, and Pippa know.



We see Kate again tomorrow, at St. Paul's. Kate also announced this morning she will be Brookhill Children's Centre on March 18th. This very much surprised me. I fully expected the 17th to be her last event, but it further strengthens the case that she is not due until the end of April. This article calculates the likelihood that Kate is due in late April and could even have her little prince or princess in May. 

Apologies for the very late posting. Real life has been busy, but it was so delightful to take a break and sink into the world of Downton Abbey and the Duchess of Cambridge with you all! For me, this appearance not only lived up to expectations, but far exceeded them. 


35 comments:

  1. I am really not a fan of the oversized buttons, the 60s-70s vibe, like mod clothing. She favors this a lot and I don't care for it. I wish she would go more sophisticated. Almost like doll clothing on a grown woman.

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    1. Oh no! I am sorry. :( I like the look, as I said, but they are a young style. I suppose it is a matter of taste. You must have really loved her Easter Sunday ensemble in Australia, though? That was very sophisticated. She does like the cute, younger looks. I suppose she has the rest of her life to dress in a more sedate fashion. :)
      Hope you enjoyed the day, despite your fashion disappointment!

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    2. I guess we all have our preferences. I'll take big buttons over none (like Emilia Wickstead's designs) any day. :)

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  2. What a dream post! Next to a christening or a coronation-the best. Appreciate your taking the time from your life
    (and the picture budget money ) to present this.
    The Duchess is beautiful, beautiful. My goodness though, to use cowboy or rodeo terms, that baby looks like he is
    in the chute and headed for the corral.

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    1. My pleasure. :) Today was so fun! She is looking like she is ready to have a new baby in the crib and to get back into her normal clothes... I am ready, too!

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  3. So nice to see her in a properly fitted maternity coat. I love it! The Max Mara did not seem to fit her well, but this coat (and ivory color) were lovely. She looked as star-struck as the cast.

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    1. Erika from BostonMarch 12, 2015 at 6:23 PM

      I love to see her really enjoying herself and she did today. This coat is a million times better fit than the MaxMara but I was disappointed that she wore such similar coats within just a couple of weeks of each other. It would have been great to see the Natasha, the peach Tara Jarmon, the green Mulberry or the yellow Wickstead instead. However, fit may be an issue at this stage of her pregnancy. Today's coat would have looked great with vividly colored shoes and/or purse.

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    2. I agree. I wish she had put some time between the two outfits. I LOVE white, but...it was to similar. An updo would have helped immensely.

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  4. Hey Jane,

    I love the coat! She looks so good in white. I was just thinking...how many coats does she have??? Could you maybe make a post about all of her coats? That would be so much fun to look at...and wish they were mine... hihihihih
    Alexa, Holland

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    1. A lot! :) Yes, I will pull something together on coats. It probably won't make an appearance until the end of the month, given Kate's schedule, but hold tight! xoxo, Jane

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  5. Jane, I so totally agree with you. When I first saw the pictures of the twins playing George, my main thought was wow does he look like Matthew! I wonder if they are related... What a great day. Only down was that Dame Maggie Smith was ill. Which she could have been there. All in all a great day!!!!!

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    1. Oooh, I am sure Kate was disappointed about missing Maggie Smith, as I am sure, she was. That would have made it perfect. Still, as you say...what a fabulous time had by all!

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  6. I think she looked lovely. I love the retro aspects of that coat. She is just glowing with excitement. Wonderful.

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    1. Me, too. It was a darling coat! Partially French, bien sûr. :)

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  7. She looked great! White coats work very well with her hair and complexion. I only wish she had worn her sapphire earrings.

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    1. That would have been lovely! I do love the sapphires. I think she probably decided to forego because her accessories were black, but had they been blue... :)

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  8. I just love the way Kate looked today. The coat is really nice and she looked amused!
    I agree with Alexa, she has an huge amount of coats... but this one fits really good on her

    Nice post...as expected ;)

    MB

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    1. Thank you, MB! She does have a closet full of coats. We will look at some of them in more doth in April! xoxo, Jane

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  9. This day was like Christmas & New Year's & my birthday all in one. SO wonderful!

    It's so odd to see Carson smile! And I love her reaction to seeing Bates. You can tell she is a true fan. It seems like it was a very relaxed visit as well. It didn't have that sort of stuff, formal feeling some visits can have. I think in part b'c many of the cast have met her before so they seemed a bit more at ease & chatty. But I must admit, seeing her with Barrow makes me itch! lol He is SO good in that role at being evil that even when I see him just being himself in real like & cringe! Stay away from our girl, Barrow! You are no good! lol

    And where can I get one of the those "Mrs. Hughes" totebags???? I need one.

    I must disagree with Mr. Fellowes on one point. I don't think people started watching Downton Abbey because Catherine said she watched it. We started (and kept) watching it b'c it is a great show. It was a big hit before she said she was a fan. But I think it's cute that he gave her credit. The "Kate Effect" is indeed a factor but not as much as he makes it seem to be. Here in the US we don't get to see many of the popular shows that air in the UK so, yes, it's fun to know that we get to watch the show "with" Catherine...but that is not why we tuned in at the beginning or why we still watch.

    Catherine gets to do so many interesting things in her royal life. Some are somber, some are symbolic, some are maybe a bit dull at times, some are emotional, some are historic and some are just good old fashioned FUN!!!!

    I had a feeling she might wear white if only to create a sort of blank slate that would not distract from the sets etc. To try to sort of blend in...as if she ever could! lol xo lulu

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    1. I LOVE Kate and am the first to give her full credit, but I don't think Downton's success is in any way related. But, I agree, love that Fellowes threw her that bone. He seems charming. :)

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  10. Now really, Jane. Mr. Carson would bid her, "Welcome to Downton Abbey, Your Grace," not "My Lady!" LOL you know that!

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    1. I thought about that on my drive home from the office. I wondered who would be the first to correct me. You win. ;) Absolutely, Your Grace all the way. Mr. Carson is nothing if not correct. Aaaah, today was sooo fun. :)

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    2. I actually think it would be Your Royal Highness. Vive la Bretagne, jsuis d'accord :)

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    3. I started to answer this and then I got so into it and excited I am going to write a post about it. To be continued... :)

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  11. OMG! Kate at Downton. I think seeing her on those sets and with the actors is melting my brain. For some reason, I really really want to know what scene she saw...so that when I get it on DVD, I can watch and think, "Kate was there when this was shot!" haha! Silly! I agree about Mr. Carson, and certainly hope that all the actors had fun with their characters while she was there. How fun for them and for Kate. I am so jealous! Loved the coat, too, it was fresh and flattering. What struck me most was her hair: wow, super shine and not a strand out of place. She needs to do a hair tutorial online, like NOW. LOL!

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    1. I think they told us what scene she was watching, but it was in general terms. It might be very hard to nail down exactly which one it was. Unless, Mary's wardrobe gives it away. ;) I cannot wait for season 6, although, as it is a fall thing, I am sick enough of winter that I want to relish summer first. So, I suppose I can be patient another 3-4 months!

      Her hair. was. perfect. :)

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  12. Absolutely loved Kate's white coat!! I agree with Royalfan on the sapphire earrings (of course those are my favorite). I wish now in hindsight I had gotten on the band wagon of watching Downtown Abbey as I enjoy all things British. They are the best at comedies, mysteries, etc. I am bit biased due to most all of my ancestors came over from England. Thank you Jane for different photos for us to view from the other blog. I always appreciate there is something to observe from different unique perspectives on both of these excellent websites.

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    1. You still have time to start at the beginning! It is entirely addictive, so throughout a summer, you could catch up by season 6. It is a fantastic drama. I cannot speak highly enough about it. I really resonate with Mary's character, which may make it more powerful for me, but I think the success it has garnered worldwide speaks for its universal appeal. You will love it! Jump on the bandwagon; we want you with us! <3 Jane

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  13. It seems that some people are forgetting that Prince William has engagement Saturday 25th Wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in London to commemorate the Centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign and Anzac Day Attend the Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey. So Kate's due date maybe well before this.

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    1. He could be just playing the odds... :)

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  14. I like what Kate had on today. If anything just a little plain with the matching coloured dress underneath but overall really lovely. It looked like she had so much fun. It will be interesting to see if Kate works closer to her due date than she did with George.

    KiwiNic

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    1. Agree entirely on the fashion comment. Re: due date. yes, I am wondering the same thing. Maybe she played it super safe with #1 and feels more confident with this one. Although, don't subsequent pregnancy have a tendency to come early? I feel like she is due mid to late April. I would be surprised if she were to deliver in April, but certainly not disappointed.

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    2. I imagine that she may have expected George as much as a couple of weeks earlier than he arrived, which can often happen with a first. If she gave herself a little extra room before George's "due" date, and then he was a bit late, it would look like a lot more time not making appearances than was intended. I trained as a doula and we were told firmly that first pregnancies, especially, tend to go longer than 40 weeks and not to be concerned - it's not really an issue until 42 weeks (unless there are other circumstances, of course). And unless you're the pregnant one; my expectant friends have all been in the "get out of me" camp round by 37 weeks or so.

      Anyway, I, too, hope she works closer to the birth this time! The more Kate appearances, the merrier, eh?

      Great job as always, Jane! Budget well blown. I'm looking forward to the sudden inspiration you had regarding titles and address, as well as the next installments of your Kate-lian fitness series. I had a few minor exercise-related injuries (this is why we can't have nice things, guys), but I'm hoping to be ready to rock when you post the next one!

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  15. Jane, why is George Crawley "the II"? Who is George the I?

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    1. George Crawley I & II refer to the little boys who play George. I think it has something to do with child labor laws. Children can only work so many hours a day, so they cast twins and then one shoots while the other naps, etc, and they switch out. I THINK that is what I remember reading, although the other two children are not twins, to my knowledge. Whatever the reason, the little boy who presented the flowers at the start of the visit is the brother of the little boy who presented the gift to Kate at the end.

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