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Kate and William At Americas Cup World Series

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Happy Sunday! We don't often convene on the first day of the week, unless Kate is actually out and about, which she was today. I know it is almost champagne-o'clock, but let's try and get this in before everyone runs off for rest and relaxation.  Kate has only been a royal for four years and as she has slowly taken on her royal duties, she has usually been the who accompanies William to one of his charities. Today was interesting in that William was accompanying Kate on an event at which she was the star royal. The pair arrived in a blustery and stormy Portsmouth this morning to watch the America's Cup World Series in support of Ben Ainslie, Britain, and the 1851 Trust, of which she is patron.

Regrettably, as you are probably all aware, the races were cancelled due to dangerously high winds and torrential rain. Despite this disappointing change in the day, the royal couple continued on with the majority of the schedule. They toured the BAR facilities, which include state of the art training equipment and tactical tools, and met skippers and crews from USA, France, New Zealand, Japan, Sweden and, of course Britain.

Kate popped onto this machine that simulates a heaving deck. I believe that it actually moves, but I think Kate only used the video equipment to get a sense of the experience. The Duchess remarked that it felt "weird".

Kate has toured this facility before, as you probably recall, while pregnant with Charlotte, but I imagine this is not one of the station's she tested at that time. :) 

This is the first public engagement that Kate has undertaken since Princess Charlotte's birth, and so this time there were gifts for Charlotte and George. The royal tots received little toy boats that will likely sit on a shelf rather than go into active use in the nursery, and personalized pullovers that matched their parents' set. this little guy was very excited to meet a princess!

The couple also visited the Southsea Castle, built in 1544 by Henry VIII. It has beautiful ramparts that overlook the sea. It reminds me very much of a port town in Brittany, France that is so, so dear to my heart. I love this:

@KensingtonRoyal Twitter 

Kate discarded her racing sweatshirt and flats for the medals ceremony, changing into her Zara blazer and Stuart Weitzman wedges. 

Here is a quick video via Kensington Palace:

Let's talk about fashion! This was obviously a sporty event, and so some variation of jeans and top was to be expected. I loved William and Kate in their matching BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing) pullovers, and Kate's hair up in a chic ponytail was a great choice. She was wearing Zara jeans, her Me + Em top, and her Sebagos. For the record, I cannot get enough of Kate in the Sebagos. The dressed down look is so cute on her, and I thought this really worked. She was adorable.

I do have to say, though, a little more variation would be nice. When Kate changed for the medals ceremony, she wore the same Zara blazer from New Zealand. I was disappointed. I couldn't entirely put my finger on why I didn't like this ensemble and then it clicked. So, Kate has worn this twice before, while on tour. The first time she styled it just the way she did today, with her Me+Em top and her Stuart Weitzmans:

She then switched her Breton top for a Gap checkered shirt when she headed to the wineries around Queenstown, New Zealand:

I liked it with the crisp blouse, I was not crazy about it with the boatneck Breton. Particularly  buttoned up, the two don't mix to my liking. I don't like the boat-neck with the v of the blazer, and I frankly am not sure I am in love with the busy and casual vibe of the stripes with the double-breasted, big brass buttons of the blazer.

I don't know that I am in love with the blazer--it didn't grow on me the way some pieces do, and I think even I am beginning to have light fatigue with the same ensemble. I would love for Kate to get a little more creative, even if she just changes some small things. For instance, does anyone read the lifestyle/fashion blog The Londoner? Probably a lot of you do, because she is a huge blog, and if you like Britain and fashion, you have likely stumbled across Rosie's space. This morning I was scrolling through my Instagram and there she was at America's Cup, too! As is pretty usual, she looked awesome, and the white jeans were fantastic. (Below is a snap of Rosie from her Instagram this morning!)

How fun would it have been if Kate had worn white jeans? That would have been in keeping with the color scheme and added a pop of her favorite color, and given the ensemble a certain trendy vibe. For the medals ceremony, it would have been great to have seen her in a  new top, or an unusual sweater. Also, Kate likes crops, and it would be fun to have her switch it up every now and again and go for a longer cut. I understand that the genre is limiting, but I think there is room for some ingenuity. Kate is a princess, and while seeing her wear a uniform for these events is certainly grounding, since we all are the same way, I would like a little more pizzaz from my favorite royal. We love you, Kate! That's just my two cents.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Prince George!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

It is the 22nd of July! Happy memories all around, eh? Today, we are celebrating the 2nd birthday of Prince George Alexander Louis, who two years ago was nameless and so still going by "Royal Baby". Two years on and he has blossomed into quite the bundle of energy as he is ooohed and cooed over by people around the globe.  This past week, I wondered how the Palace would deal with the picture scenario. Kensington Palace answered the question early by releasing a photo yesterday of the birthday boy taken at Princess Charlotte's christening:

I am so glad that they released something, even if it isn't a whole new shoot. We were just glutted with photos from the baptism, to say nothing of the four shots of the little Cambridges taken by Kate at the family's Anmer Hall home last month. The Palace likes to space out photos of George, but you can't exactly let his 2nd birthday pass without a fuss. They compromised by releasing this secondary shot. It struck me this afternoon that Kate isn't in the picture, which more fully keeps the focus on George. I don't know if that was deliberate, or if they really loved this daddy/son shot.  

It has been a very fun two years, and everyone has enjoyed getting a little peak at this tiny prince's precocious personality. From the moment he was introduced to the world, George got busy letting everyone know he had arrived on the scene. In stark contrast to Princess Charlotte's placid, sleeping face at her own presentation, Prince George wriggled and wailed as the photographers snapped and his parents chatted with the press. Who can forget the little fist thrust from the blanket and the headlines that zipped around the world: Royal Baby's First Wave! 

At his christening in October of that year, George was calmer, but no less alert, his big eyes trained on his mother and his tiny hands clasped, almost as if in pious prayer:

To celebrate George's birthday, I have put together a few of my favorite snaps of George, and the corresponding thoughts I imagine passing through his head. ;).

We got our first solid glimpses of George's personality on the tour in Australia and New Zealand:

"Seriously, Mom? I thought Down Under was supposed to be warm. I hope you packed more than just my shorts..." 

"Hmm, next I ought to perform a feat of strength. I will show my advanced toddling skills, I think."

"Ugh, how to break this gently. They're oblivious, but those flowers were clearly meant for me."

"Aaack! What. in. the. WORLD?! Mom! Dad! Someone shaved all that rabbit's hair off!"

"Mother thinks she is keeping me amused. The naiveté."

"Daaaad! What's the use of being the future king if we don't leave when I command it? Make this ceaseless chatter stop and let's be off!"

"All the men here have horses. I have no horse!"

 "My kingdom for a horse!"

"Wow. You were right, there are a lot. You said we just wave, right? We don't have to shake everyone's hand, I hope..."

"Oooh, it is good to let your hair down and relax!"

"Forget you saw"

"Well done, Mom and Dad. You always have such interesting things for me to peek at. Thankfully, she is better looking than that bilby."

"Oh the memories..."

Georgie, I have no idea what is going on in your head, but you are a real cutie. It is incredible to reflect that he has only been around two years! Four years ago today, Kate was a newly married princess, and she was at Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth:

Kate and the Queen were visiting the Summer Opening exhibit at Buckingham Palace, which featured Kate's own Royal Wedding. The pair browsed the collection including a look at the cake. Most of this was the actual cake from the wedding, and one side had a piece missing from where William and Kate cut their slice! The top three tiers were, however, new.  Fiona Cairns made them specifically for the presentation, because William and Kate kept the first two tiers, and the third was served to the guests at their wedding.  

Of course, they also viewed the wedding dress of the decade, which was the real McCoy. The box to the right held some of Kate's accessories, including a replica of her bridal bouquet, made of fake flowers for the exhibit. You might recall that the Queen found the presentation of the headless gown to be "creepy." What I want to know is, what did Prince Philip think:

Kate was gorgeous in a simple, pale shift dress from Joseph and her Asprey button pendant, Tiffany "Diamonds by the Yard" bracelet, faux-diamond drops from Heavenly Necklaces, and her Jimmy Choo "Lovely" pumps. It was chic and sophisticated.

Two years later, she was celebrating one of the most pivotal moments of her life--motherhood--and four years later she has a second precious little baby to add to her royal family. Congrats to Kate and William as they celebrate George and new life!

William & Kate To Attend America's Cup World Series

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Good afternoon, all y'all. I feel like we are strangers... Blogging has been sparse these days thanks to Mrs. Cambridge's absence from the limelight and Ms. Barr's seemingly endless personal commitments. Sorry about that. The good news is that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake a joint engagement on July 26th! They will be in Portsmouth at the America's Cup World Series. 

Below, Kate is pictured with Ben Ainslie during the 2012 Olympic Games. The Duchess was in Weymouth to watch the GB sailing team compete:

As you are all entirely aware, Kate is very involved with Ben Ainslie's initiative to bring the America's Cup home to Britain, and with the associated charity The 1851 Trust. Who can forget her stunning appearance in Greenwich in that white Jaeger, set off perfectly by the lush green lawns? 

She missed out on an event with Ainslie due to her rough pregnancy with Princess Charlotte, but was able to make it out to Portsmouth in February of this year for an event before her due-date. 

I am sure she is excited to be back at such an exciting sailing event, and to share the experience this time with Prince William. Hello! fills us in on the details:
The Duke and Duchess will watch six international sailing teams, including one from the UK, compete in two races, Kensington Palace has said.
William and Kate will then present medals to the teams at the Waterfront Festival Arena.

So, look forward to next weekend! Next, reader Andrea from the Netherlands found a snap of William and Kate lunching at Wimbledon in 2014.  Andrea told me that the woman in the photo is Daphne Deckers,  a Dutch TV presenter and actress, who attended Wimbledon at the invitation of King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands. Pretty snazzy! Apparently, the rough translation here is that Ms. Deckers tried to take a sneaky selfie, but she thinks given the look on Kate's face that the princess noticed. :) I bet Kate is pretty attuned to these sorts of under the radar snaps.

As you can see from the photo, Kate is wearing the Roamer dress from Zimmermann that she had recently debuted in Australia.

Meanwhile, the Cambridges continue to live their lives in Norfolk.  Much was made of William's first day on the job, during which he gave a brief interview and discussed balancing life as a royal and trying to be an average guy. 

He clearly understands he can't be normal forever, but obviously he plans to savor all the time he has in this stage of his life.
At some point there is going to be a lot more pressure and responsibility from the other side of my life, but at the moment I'm juggling the two of them and a young family and I'm enjoying it and I like the challenge.
He continued to discuss how happy he is with his family saying:
It has been fantastic and [Charlotte] has been a little joy of heaven. But at the same time it is more responsibility, looking after two little ones, especially when George is around. He's a little monkey. But it is fantastic having a lovely little family and I am so thrilled. And Catherine has been doing an amazing job as a mother and I'm very proud of her.
You can watch the interview over at BBC here.

There was a bit of a kerfuffle over a doctor on William's team who was a "Kate look-alike."  I frankly think far too much was made of this on both sides. Every brunette within a twenty year age range seems to be a Kate look-alike, and the papers usually roll it as a human interest story because, honestly, no one has anything else to really talk about in the Kate department when she is off raising those royal babies. It's par for the course. E! ran the story here if you need to get caught up on the non-news in your life. Other papers also ran it.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance made matters worse by publicly commenting on the story, saying the comparison trivialized their work. In the sense the story was a fluff-piece, it was a trivial story, but I didn't feel it trivialized the work William or his colleagues do. It's not as if this was an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. I honestly think we are too sensitive as a society, but it kept things interesting this week, so there was that. 

To round this gossip session off... several weeks ago I posted a regram on Kate's Clothes's Instagram about a dress Tory Burch featured on her feed. I was initially attracted by the room, actually, but then I zeroed in on the dress...

A week or so went by and lo and behold, not Kate, but aide and gal-pal Natasha Archer showed up at Wimbledon in the very dress! The actual gossip part is not that Natasha wore the paisley dress I thought Kate might pick, but that she is dating royal snapper Chris Jackson. Isn't that like consorting with the "enemy"? :)

I figured since this entire blog is about a woman (whom the majority of us have not met--I know you have Carole ;)) and her relationship, that the relationship of another, closely associated woman, might also be of interest.  It made me smile! I hope we learn more... These ancillary love stories are very engaging. 

The Envy of Many: Natasha Archer Hanging out with Kate

Ok, all, that's it from me. You now know everything about Kate that I found interesting this week.  There were other bits and bobs: Someone said they were touring Sandringham "Palace" on July 13th and saw Kate and George, and William has been spotted landing his helicopter here an there.  That is truly all the interesting info that is currently circulating. 

Hopefully, it won't be so long till the next post, but be assured, Sunday the 26th, I will be here. 

[Updated] Official Photos Released of Princess Charlotte's Christening

Thursday, July 9, 2015

No rest for the wicked... :)  The official photos from Princess Charlotte's christening have been released, and as we suspected, they are gorgeous. Taken by Mario Testino at the Sandringham Estate, they carry his signature style. I love that William and Kate chose this shot with George pulling at his hair. It is obviously a posed photo, but that touch of the natural--allowing his personality to pop through--was a very sweet touch. 

The group photo turned out very well. It is interesting that the Queen and Camilla are both in assertive pastels, as opposed to the Middletons' neutrals. They all work together, but it does serve as a distinction, whether intentional or not. I am just now noticing that Camilla's outfit seems to match Prince Charles's tie. Other random reflections include: I think Carole looks fantastic here, and doesn't George look hilarious all somber with his feet on the sofa? You know what also looks amazing? The room! Gorgeous location. 

The Daily Mail has run an article in which they describe the room, and I have to share:
The Drawing Room has a musical theme to it with pictures of musical instruments on the ceiling and on the finger plates of the doors. The room was described by Queen Victoria in her journal as 'a very long and handsome drawing room, with painted ceilings and panels with two fireplaces.'
Italian craftsmen were brought to Sandringham to carve the intricate panelling on the walls and cornices, and to paint the trompe l'oeil ceiling panels. The carved panelling derives from the French Louis XVI style of the late 18th Century. Its white marble fire-places, painted ceiling and pastel shades are typical of the Edwardian taste.
The portraits set into the wall panelling in the background of the photograph were painted by Edward Hughes in 1896 and depict the two youngest daughters of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra – Princesses Victoria and Maud.
The elaborately gilded glazed cabinets, parts of which can be seen in the background of the photographs, are thought to be Danish and contain silver gilt and Bohemian glass. Both Queen Alexandra and later Queen Mary were great collectors of objets d'art.
This father-son portrait is very sweet, beautifully conveying both George's joy and William's delight in his child. I hope, however, that the Palace does not count this as a birthday photo. We will need new photos of George in several weeks. :) 

Lastly, my favorite, the mother-daughter shot with Kate looking down at her wide-awake and alert little girl. This has a very natural feel to it. The lighting makes it seem like an impromptu snap, as it well might be, although it could just as easily be Testino's deliberate technique. I think that Charlotte looks very much like a Middleton, except here I am catching a little bit of Queen Elizabeth II's intense-scrutiny stare. 

As everyone knows, Mario Testino took William and Kate's engagement photos, and it was said that the below shot was impromptu--that he saw it, loved it, and snapped. A lot of candid moments can happen on a photoshoot, so perhaps only those present can know if this story is legend or true. In any event, I think it is a favorite for many.

Mario Testino
Quoted in the aforementioned Mail piece, Testino said about the christening shoot:
'Photographing Princess Charlotte's christening was an amazing experience. What impressed me the most was the energy of the family, and of that between the Duke and Duchess. One sees how solid they are together and one gets a sense of their strong family values. 'It was incredible to be able to document four generations of the British Royal Family together – the monarch and three heirs to the throne – and very heart-warming to see the close relationship between them all.'

'I am overwhelmed and honoured to be chosen to document this occasion and to carry on the documentation of the family that is the soul of this country, a country that has given me.'
Testino is famous for his portraits of Princess Diana, which highlighted her glamour and beauty while maintaining a simple sophistication. I secretly (or not so secretly) hope that Kate will do a shoot with him sooner rather than later. I honestly think it is time she had some really elegant, official photos taken...preferably styled in gowns, and maybe with something denoting her royalty. A tiara, you say? I would not object...