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The Princess & Polo: Kate's Post-Marriage Matches

Monday, June 1, 2015

This weekend was the Audi Polo Challenge. Only Harry played on Saturday, but on Sunday, both the royal brothers took to the turf to battle it out in the game of kings. Regrettably, the beautiful Duchess of Cambridge was not on hand, but I thought it would be nice to quickly review the polo matches she has been to since she married the Duke of Cambridge. She has run the gamut of game types, from dressy benefits to the casual dressed down days. (FYI: I am interested today in what she wore, so each appearance is linked to its profile on Kate's Clothes with full ensemble details.)

Audi Polo Challenge 2012

Kate's first polo match as a royal was a glitzy affair, and not even in Britain! The new Duchess cheered on William at the Santa Barbara Polo Club in Southern California for a charity match that raised money for The Royal Foundation. This was, I think, the only time we have seen Kate wears heels (a big no-no for polo) to a match. I think she chose to deal with the pitfalls because she liked the shoes and she prioritized the red carpet aspect of the event, over practical considerations.

As it happened, she navigated the turf well, and it never seemed that she faltered as she walked nimbly, but confidently cross the grass. California is a desert climate, though, so the grass was probably quite stable:

In between meeting the celebrity guests and watching the match, Kate found a moment to join her husband on the sidelines, where they shared a few moments of conversation. Teasing, always teasing. Mr. Security alert on the left:

In May of 2012, Kate attended the Audi Polo Challenge, bringing Lupo to watch Wills and Uncle Harry. This was another fancier affair, and Kate wore a patterned dress by Libélula with her "Minx" wedges from Stuart Weitzman. 

I particularly enjoyed the photos of Kate socializing with her staff. We often wonder about her relationship with some of these people, particularly Rebecca Deacon, with whom she spends so much time. Are they strictly professional or do they slide into an easy friendship?  This--and many other photos--have shown us that Kate clearly gets on well with her sidekick and that the women share a warm relationship:

Just a month later, Kate dressed down for an afternoon at the Beaufort Polo Club. Again, she had Lupo with her as she watched both William and Harry play a match benefiting charities including Tusk Trust and Child Bereavement UK. 

It was a fun family day, and Kate mixed with the Tindalls and Phillips along the sidelines, chatting with Autumn and introducing her pup to baby Savannah. In this photo you can actually see Kate is concerned and looking at Savannah's hand as she holds Lupo's head. Unfortunately, the cocker spaniel got a little too excited and nipped the toddler, but thankfully it was nothing serious:

William joined his wife and doggie and the couple socialized before waving to friends and family and taking their leave. 

2013 was a tough year for fans who fancy the occasional polo appearance. Pregnant with George, Kate skipped the summer staple and we didn't see her attend until the next summer. It was worth the wait, though. On Father's Day weekend in 2014, Kate brought a very special companion. Prince George took his first halting steps for the breathless world as his mother gave him a supporting hand. It was the baby prince's first polo match.

We'd all gotten a sense of George's personality already, thanks to his debut Down Under just two months before, and royal watchers were thrilled to see more of the precocious toddler's antics:

Kate was at her most casual, in skinnies, a favorite Breton top, and her Bala boat shoes. She didn't even have earrings on and wore here Givenchy sunglasses on her head, ready to pop on when the sun called for them. 

It would be nice to see Kate at polo this year, although thus far, she has maintained her seclusion in Norfolk. Kate was spotted shopping last week near her home, and as has been reported on this blog, she has been to local parks with George and out picking up organic produce at nearby farm stores. I think Kate would like to avoid the cameras for as long as possible, but maybe after Trooping she will feel more comfortable spending an afternoon out later in the summer. 

Over the weekend I was thinking a lot about Kate's shoes...who knows what size the Duchess wears? I asked this on social media already, and I know some of you were spot on! I posted the answer on Kate's Clothes, so if you don't already know, the answer is here


  1. Thank heavens you posted! I think we can all agree that this Kate drought needs to end;) what happened to those family photos we were promised after Charlotte was born???? I thought that they couldn't possibly be released any later than fourth weekend but here it is Monday and nothing. Jane, do you know if Kate is going to Trooping the Color festivities?

    1. I know it's been a while. :( Sorry. I wanted to post, but there just wasn't any energy. Kate coming out would help that, though, I think! :) I am very, very hopeful that she will be ta Trooping, yes. It is a big family event and not too taxing in terms of exposure. My only concern is that if she feels like once she is pictured publicly she will have "broken" the post-maternity seclusion and the public pressure will mount to see her return. I am a little worried, but staying positive!

    2. News today that Kate is back in London and was seen with George yesterday. Hopefully, some pictures will emerge this week some time. I think part of the problem with the angst over this drought in Kate sightings is the time of year. George was born later in July and the Royals are usually quiet in the summer, so it wasn't as noticeable. This time, it's a little earlier and May and June are such busy Royal months with garden parties and birthday celebrations and polo, etc., that we really notice it. Charlotte will be one month old tomorrow. It really hasn't been that long. But even a busy new mother would go a little stir crazy confined too long to a quiet country mansion, and she does have a toddler to entertain, so it's likely we may see a little of her this month. Apparently William starts back to work today. Anyway, thank you Jane for a great post. I can understand the difficulty stirring up those creative writing juices right now.

    3. Anon 7:48am I am shocked too! Didn't we wait about a week for George's photos? Releasing photos is harmless (as opposed to being seen in public), so I'm baffled and disappointed.

    4. Anon 10:47 I know right?! It seemed like George's photos were released much quicker! Maybe its just been too chaotic with trying to adjust to two under two that they just haven't had time yet to do them??

    5. Anon 1:47pm...many would probably jump to the defense of it being too chaotic with "two under two". However, in N. America at least, newborn photos are very popular - they usually include the entire family, and prominently feature the newborn. These are usually recommended to be done within 7-10 days, and some parents are very casual, while others have put more effort into their appearance. So many families with less help (staff, family, wtvr) manage to do it, so I suspect the Cambridges would have no more problem to do it and have a patient photographer for a session.

      My opinion won't change how the Cambridges have handled this, but it's another strike in my book where they are not managing their relationship with the public well :-\

    6. To be honest, I would have been very surprised if they had released photos sooner this time compared to the one month it took with George. And if you factor in some of the harsh feedback regarding Michael Middleton's qualifications as a photographer, I know it wouldn't add to my sense of urgency. :)

      I believe it will be this week, but I also don't see anything terrible here given what happened last time.

    7. I never did any more formal photos of my kids before they were at least a couple of months, I think mine were all done closer to three months. ali

    8. Newborn photos are a more recent trend and are extremely popular - Google it :-) even in the 80s my parents did newborn photos with the 3 of us in portrait studios.

      I just tossed it out there as a reasonable, plausible thing. Just because others choose not to do newborn photos doesn't mean I'm crazy or wrong :-)

    9. No it doesn't, but nor does it mean anything.

    10. Well my child was born in 1997. Ali

    11. Wow, claws come out over the weirdest things on this blog.

      From the fashion perspective, I miss Kate wearing the gold bracelet from Camilla. I think it was a fun piece, and I like the sentimental value - Camilla's individual effort. I've heard so many great things about her behind-the-scenes, and I feel she probably makes the best effort she feels she can.

      I can't wait to see the Cambridge kids come out to these polo games as they get older. They seem to be really family friendly events, and at times a family get together with the Windsor clan.

    12. My college roomate is a child photographer specializing in mother/child portraits,so I know peoples' preferences run the gamut. She does a lot of work with newborns even going into the hospital to get pictures of hours old babies and their parents. These photos tend to be more intimate in style though. She recommends at the very least to have photographs done at 3 mos., 6mos one year, 18 mos and then annually from then on. Starting at three months because by then the child is alert and one can get a good picture of them looking into the camera. The following spacing is because those months tend to be developmental milestones. Regarding Charlotte, the Cambridges set a precedent by releasing pictures of George before he was a month old - so, I would think we should be getting one or two any day now. I wonder if the media rumours are correct and nothing will be released until right before the baptism. A two for one ( family photo, George's bday), and then right after baptism pictures.

    13. Ladies, no comment that comments on another comment's attitude will be published...if you can sort all that out. :) No more editorial comments. Agree with a point, disagree with a point, agree with the post, disagree with the post, but we are not rating or reviewing the way other people express themselves. That's my job. If I let it through, I think it is ok. It doesn't mean I think it is well expressed, only that it passes muster. You are free to think that a comment is poorly expressed, and you are free to answer the comment with your own, far more polished remarks, but please... I will not approve any further comments, no matter how lovely, that contain an editorial remark on the "attitude" of a comment. I hope you see that this needlessly injects and sparks the very drama many claim they are above, and it creates a surprisingly burdensome workload for me that saps my interest and my energy to work on the blog. I appreciate everyone's understanding and cooperation.

  2. Regarding her polo fashion...well, I would advise Kate to ditch those hideous platform wedgies, and to go solo, sans Lupo, George or Charlotte, and to dress in accordance with other guests, so that she can mingle instead of being relegated to the sidelines, with the horses and cars.

    Further, other female guests, tend to wear regular high heels, and tend to hang out in the various marquees--so, why not Kate?

    Regarding a Kate appearance at the Trooping, I tend to agree with Jane, at 8:53 AM, above. Not only might this send out the signal, right or wrong, that her maternity leave was over after a very short six weeks, but it might well entail an expensive appearance in terms of apparel; i.e., it is unlikely that she would be back to her pre-pregnancy weight or size, so any outfit she wore might well be a one-time only deal. And if Kate is on a strict clothing budget (I think she is; if she wasn't she would have more shoes, better hats, etc.), this would constitute a fiscal hardship for her since it would eat into said annual budget.

    Ergo, I would be happy if she gave the Trooping and the Garter a miss this year; smart move.

    However, I would hope that missing these two events would not prevent her from attending private, as opposed to public, events. In other words, as Williams wife, she should feel free to accompany him to weddings, etc., if it suits her to go.


    1. I know you're usually quite set in your opinions JC, which is your right, but I think Kate has always chosen to be more on the sidelines at polo events. Even in their dating days, she was in more casual wear and on the side. Maybe she is there truly for William and some fresh air, and she only wants to mingle with friends or family. It isn't in her working calendar, so I don't think she should be obligated to be more "seen" or mingling with others. While I kind of wonder about the dress code and her more casual looks, I'm not too invested - chances are they wouldn't kick her out, and she is just on the sidelines.

      Either way, from my perspective, she is normally not "working" at polo matches, so what she chooses to wear and where she chooses to view from are of little concern to me :-) In events like these, I analyse what she is wearing, but don't judge it the same I would when she's working.

    2. JC, I'm no expert on polo matches, but if I recall correctly, Diana always dressed casually unless she was involved in handing out prizes after a match. When Kate dresses down, her role is that of a supportive spouse. No more, no less.

      Regarding her possible attendance at Trooping... If she goes, it will send the signal Jane referred to in this post, but if she doesn't, there will be cries of "she couldn't even do that much?"... etc. It's a bit of a no win scenario.

      But I hope she does attend, and I believe she will. It's an important royal tradition and, hopefully, most folks will appreciate that this is a one day thing vs a charity event that requires behind the scenes preparation, etc.

    3. Maggie - MinneapolisJune 2, 2015 at 4:15 PM

      I think it can only help Kate to attend Trooping - for example, last year she "ended" her maternity leave by going to that race in Wales, although she didn't really end it because she had very few appearances for at least another month or two after that (which, btw, I'm totally okay with - every mother has the right to take time off to bond with her child/adjust to having a new human being in their life). But, the media, then and now, covered it as "Kate is such a hard worker, she ended her maternity leave just after a month!" Even now, when they talk about her working after George's birth, they talk about it like that. Aside from blogs/serious followers, I think that most of the public, because of the media tone, gave her a ton of credit for ending her maternity leave, when she didn't necessarily really end it, but rather just did one appearance because it was very special to her.

  3. I think it's fine for Kate to wear heels to polo. The posh people usually do and she certainly qualifies! On the other hand, as an outdoorsy girl she probably feels more comfortable on the sidelines instead of on display.

    As a naturally thin person who eats right, exercises, and is possibly nursing her baby, I'll bet she is already close to her pre-pregnancy size. I think she's just enjoying the time to adjust to having two kids, getting George and Charlotte used to each other, and having some good bonding time. Boring for us but good for her!

    1. You are so right, Robin! She is totally doing the right thing by her family and that's what matters:) but gee whiz, give us some pics at least to tie us over for the next appearance of the little royal family;)

    2. RobinfromCA ~ I believe she is probably close to her pre-pregnancy size, as well. Even then, a lot of her working wardrobe isn't fitted. Some of her outfits look a couple sizes larger than she would need, but it seems she is more comfortable that way sometimes. So I'm sure she has a coat and dress that would work with her body, even if she is still self-conscience of her post-baby body. And, hello!, that very smart lady invented Spanx for a reason! ;-)

  4. A leaky, squirmmy toddler and wandering pup probably don't belong with the champagne-drinking set. Polo games are a natural environment for both. She can't exactly take them to a portrait unveiling. I do think the children at her charities would enjoy playing with them.

    I haven't seen that RPO (in the plaid shirt in the George pictures) in quite awhile. He was in Angelsey. I couldn't spot Mr. Security. Lupo looks quite protective of Kate. She may not need Mr. Security. ha!

    I thought that outfit at Beaufort was so stylish and well put-together, yet totally Kate. I really enjoy those polo sightings, although the photos of William and Catherine in the stands at the Olympics-so involved in the games, yet totally wrapped up
    in each other-dance through my memory from time-to-time. mk

    1. Yes, their into-each-other moments are very nice to see. Talk about two people being on the same page. :)

    2. Yes, the same page and the same paragraph. Hopefully, not the same sentence. ha!
      I forgot to mention-I like those nude (beige, tan) pumps with the straps. I'm not sure that is the correct way to
      describe them. I haven't noticed them

    3. 2:28... LOL :).

      I'm fond of them too, and I think you're correct...I don't believe she has worn them again. But I am not so crazy about the Minx's the strap that goes across the ankle that bothers me. Don't ask me why, but it does. :))

    4. I think its because position of the strap on the Minx makes them look heavy on the foot. More of a clunky rather than graceful line.

    5. I think you've got it, Faith. It breaks the flow from knee to toe. I got in a rhyming and alliteration rut and
      can't seem to break free.ha! mk

    6. Perfectly summed up 2:28, alliteration and all :-)

    7. Faith and mk, I think you ladies nailed it. :)

  5. Ali 6:17- first portraits- age six months for two, 18 months for another.
    Sorry- wouldn't let me post closer. mk

    1. Thank you. I really was not challenging the original posters view, just stating my own experience.:) Those I now know in their 20s and 30s in fact do not do any formal photos. :) I Phones are so good now that lots of us skip those formal photos:) :)

    2. Anon 11:12- re:new born photos-I, too, was just offering my personal experience. I was a bit rushed at the time and did not elaborate. Sorry if my intent was not clear.
      I have seen a number of
      photos of newborns of celebrities with one or more parents on magazine covers. It has become a means of raising money for the celebrity's charity. This device may not be appropriate for a BRF baby.
      I also saw an aricle (probably on FBTB-ha!) about a
      photographer donating photo sessions of newborns to parents of gravely ill infants who were not expected to
      live. I also saw magazine photos some time back of sleeping newborns in costumes-really. One photo showed a
      baby asleep in the middle of a rose. Actually quite charming. I do doubt the Cambridges could get away with that as an official photo. ha!
      So those types of photos do exist. I have no idea of the statistics of such photos in general.

      I am confident W&C and family are taking volumes of photos,some of which we may see,at the appropriate time-as with other royal British

    3. PS-it's a moot point, anyway. We already had some gorgeous newborn photos of the new princess-at around 12
      hours old-except for delivery-room photos, can't get much more newborn.

      Re:the theme of Jane's post: Kate at polo- I think Kate would be a formidable polo-player herself. I'm not sure
      what the rules are about female polo playing. Hasn't Anne actually done this? Zara? The Queen would have wiped the field in her

    4. mk, I agree that they must be taking a lot of private photos. I wonder if the anticipation is heightened because of cell phones with cameras and Facebook-type posting that so many people participate in... :)

  6. oh I love the polo matches oh and I read some article she will resume her duties in june

  7. I suspect polo matches have different dress codes., some very casual and some smarter.
    Remember seeing photos of the Queen and Princess Margaret sometimes casually dressed-- though not in trousers, and sometimes much smarter.

  8. The sandals she wore to the Santa Barbara match are AMAZING! I've been in love with them since then. I managed to find a pair but not in my size unfortunately. I wonder why she hasn't worn them again. There are many times when I wonder why she chooses to repeat the outfits that she does. She has sooo many more amazing outfits in her closet that we've only seen once. She needs to take a serious look down memory lane and get some more variety back into her life. Her style is far too predictable these days. She needs to take a few tips from the European royals. Their clothes are so varied and colorful. Its always wonderful to see how they're dressed.


  9. Sonja from BavariaJune 3, 2015 at 3:10 AM

    Kate looks goregous in those narnour boots and with lupo! But the best polo appearance is definitely with george :) He looked so cute and I think it was really special for william to have his wife and son there supporting him.

    The only polo look I don't like is the one in 2012 - I just don't like the dress or the minx wedges...

    Thanks for this sumnary of kate's polo appearances - it's always so much fun to read your blog!

    But as you have said ( on kate's clothes), I think when buying flats, her shoe size must be 40 or something like that... My usual shoe size is 37 or sometimes even 38 (depends on the brand), but when I buy heels, I usually buy 36 so I assume that her 'usual' shoe size is 40 or something like that...
    Thanks again for unveilling this secret :)

    1. Sonja from BavariaJune 4, 2015 at 2:45 AM

      * Sorry, I meant le chameau boots (or wellies?) *


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