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What Will Kate Wear to the State Banquet: Jenny Packham

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Good morning! We continue our "What Will Kate Wear to the State Banquet" series by looking at the next possible candidate in the race to design the dress. Last time, we chatted about the lead candidate--the horse out ahead of the pack--and that is, of course, Alexander McQueen. Tonight, we turn to another worthy possibility:  the Queen of Kate's evening wear, Jenny Packham. (Kate wore this black Jenny P at a State Reception Down Under. It isn't floor length, and so is not included, but it is an evening event at which Kate went with JP.)



I know what you are thinking. Last time, we discovered that Kate has actually debuted more McQueen evening gowns than any other designer, but... I think that Packham retains the crown for Queen of the Night because she has designed for some really big events--more big evening events than McQueen. Perhaps more accurately, we could say that she has had a magic concoction of high-profile events and really head turning designs. Let's look over the dresses to get a sense of what his means.

On her very first public event as a royal, the very first, Kate and William were slated to attend the ARK Gala. That was a huge, historical, iconic moment. Kate wore this shimmering Packham gown that remains to this day, a favorite for many. 


It was almost a year later that she wore her second JP evening gown, but it was another stunner. In May 2012, she wore the teal Jenny P to the Our Greatest Team Rises gala, and it dazzled. I think this is my favorite evening gown. I am still head over heels with it, and it continues to wow me despite my familiarity with it. 


In 2013, Kate had another big event on her calendar. Her come-back after George's birth was the hotly anticipated Tusk Trust gala. This was the longest dry-patch we had experienced since (what will become) a life-time of being spoiled rotten commenced on the 29th of April in 2011. She turned to Jenny Packham again, debuting this super-sparkly column dress. Was I super-duper in love with the dress? I won't go that far, but (to use a colloquial turn of phrase at which my mother would purse her lips) Kate looked pretty smoking, so there was that.


It was just the next month that she debuted what turned out to be a very popular dress. On an evening out (in? The event was held in the KP State Apartments...) for 101 Women in Hedge Funds and Action Addiction, Kate debuted an ink-blue Jenny Packham. We loved it at the time, but fans were a little disappointed that we didn't get a better look at the stunner. The lighting wasn't ideal, and as is generally the case when Kate attends an evening of this sort, pictures were scarce. 



Little did we know, we had nothing to worry about.  Kate gave this dress the good ol' Royal-Repeat when she wore it in February of 2014 on her first public engagement of that year. It was a notable appearance because she paired it with the eye-watering Nizam of Hyderabad necklace on loan from the Queen. Kate almost never wears bling of this degree, and it was a bit of a random one-off. I have no idea what precipitated it, nor why she never went back, but...be thankful for small blessings. It was fun and unexpected! 



It would have been within reason to think that was it for the ink-blue Jenny P. It was a beauty and it got its fair shake. Ha! Kate the Great never ceases to amaze. Who would have thought that on the final night of her hugely popular tour of NYC, at the glittering and imposing Metropolitan Museum of Art, that Kate would wear anything but a new, custom design? Not so. Kate pulled a three-peat. It couldn't have been more fabulous. With her hair swept up and with new, dazzling emeralds dripping from her ears, Kate was every inch the princess. It was almost as if the confidence of the recycle made her even more amazing. I think we were all wowed. Well done, Your Grace. 


This (St. Andrews 600th) was the last time we saw Kate in a Jenny Packham evening gown, but let us not forget that between the repeat and the three-peat, she wore one other Jenny Packham dress that was floor-length. That would be this, her most unusual gown. Many speculate, and I am of the same mind, that Kate had this dress made for her trip to Malta, which was regrettably canceled due to her HG with Charlotte. It certainly would have been perfect for a Mediterranean night!



So, to sum up. Yes, McQueen has the larger evening gown count if we are considering debuts only, Packham squeaks by McQueen in the count if we consider appearances only, and I would argue that Packham has beaten McQueen in the "quality" i.e. notoriety of the events. You will see photos of Kate waving on the steps of the Met in NYC, pregnant with her second child, far more than you will of Kate presenting a quick award for BBC. (No disrespect to that event.) You will see far more photos of Kate in that teal bridal gown than you will the hibiscus Belle dress--again, no disrespect to Malaysia. Although I am not suggesting Jenny will snag eh State Banquet, she still rules the night. 

Next up, we will discuss, ahem, third tier possibilities. I haven't gotten a chance to respond to the comments, and likely will not be able to given how much work I have on this end, but I have enjoyed so many of the comments on the possibilities, and agree with many solid points that have been made. We will sum up some of those in the final post of this series. 

86 comments:

  1. Sonja from BavariaAugust 27, 2015 at 6:21 AM

    I absolutely love Kate's Jenny Packham gowns! My favourites remain the teal one and the sparkling gown from the ARK gala.
    I also love it when Kate pairs evening gowns with precious jewellry, for example the nizam of hyderabad necklace or the amazing emerald earrings from New York City.

    I think for a 'normal' evening event (a gala,...), Kate would rather choose a stunning Jenny P creation, but as a State Banquet (and also her very first one!) is so important, I'm almost sure she will wear a McQueen gown. However, I wouldn't be disappointed at all if she wore Jenny Packham :) her dresses are amazing!

    One last thing: I am absolutely in love with this stunning Jenny P gown and I could totally see Kate wearing it (maybe with the papyrus tiara - or even better with the Fife Tiara!) https://www.net-a-porter.com/us/en/product/601496?cm_mmc=LinkshareUK-_-QFGLnEolOWg-_-Custom-_-LinkBuilder&siteID=QFGLnEolOWg-14xUOHwOE8JlkWimEQkFcQ

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    1. The gowns are gorgeous and work well on Catherine. But I think you are right about when to wear, they do come off as somehow just a bit less formal than some other State Banquet gowns. However maybe a bespoke piece by Ms Packman. Ali

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    2. Oh my God Sonja, what a beautiful dress you suggest!

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    3. Totally with Anon 9:13. OMG Sonja, what a beautiful dress you suggest! Sara Bee ;-)

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    4. Sonja, I love it! It's a major "wow" and the color is safe. Great choice. :)

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    5. Sonja from BavariaAugust 28, 2015 at 2:50 AM

      Yes, I'm really in love with it - I saw it on another Kate blog where someone suggested it and I just had to copy paste it here, it's amazing!

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    6. The other night, in anticipation of our Jenny Packham discussion, I was looking through her gowns and this is the one I also thought would be a stunner on Kate! With such beautiful beading all she would need is a great pair of earrings and a tiara! Glad to see we're on the same page here!

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    7. This dress is AH.MAZING.

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  2. Just a quick question, do the women of the BRF usually go with a white gown for these state banquets? I think I have only seen the Queen in white gowns at these occasions.

    I would love to see Kate wear the teal gown above in white or a similar variation.

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    1. Eva I heard it said they wear white so it doesn't clash and compliments the sashes, brooches, etc. However we believe Kate has no royal orders so she may not have to dress to match pageantry, but she may not want to compete with the Queen and Camilla. That's my thought as to why Kate wore a white dress to the last dinner, politeness and knowing the focus should be on the other women in white dresses.

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    2. Sonja from BavariaAugust 27, 2015 at 12:25 PM

      I'm not absolutely sure, but I think the ladies usually wear white, cream or very pale pastel colours...
      As Kate is suntanned, she would look stunning in any of these colours!

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    3. Suntan...spray tan...either way she has colour usually. ;-)

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    4. The Queen always wears white. I'm guessing the others wear white or pastels so they do not outshine the queen. If everyone in the room was in white and Kate showed up in something like the teal it would really stand out and be very bad form. She would never do that.

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  3. I'm not sure if the mention of 'Your Grace' was tongue in cheek, but Kate is a Royal Highness. Your Grace would be the way to address a Duchess but not a Royal Duchess.

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  4. Maggie - MinneapolisAugust 27, 2015 at 2:44 PM

    Kate clearly chooses McQueen for almost all "royal" events and Packham for most other important and/or evening events, so it seems like Packham beating out McQueen for evening events if we count by number of appearances is solely because Kate hasn't done many "royal" evening events, since the Cambridges are clearly trying to avoid the more "senior royal" events until they are ready to become full-time working royals. I'd be shocked if she didn't wear McQueen, but I'd also love it if she surprised us a little (i.e. no McQueen or Packham). Both brands have gotten dresses on Kate for huge events (wedding and births! Not to mention christenings, etc) so it'd be nice if she wore a different british designer, but I imagine she may want to avoid risks for her first State banquet (and understandably so!).

    Which reminds me - respectfully, I disagree about Packham having McQueen beat for notoriety of events. McQueen got the wedding gown which was easily the biggest coup, along with both christening gowns as well. Packham getting both post-birth gowns was huge but imo the fact that Kate wears McQueen every time she is doing "princess-y" things means that McQueen has been the most visible brand. Or at least in thirty years, I think we'll be seeing more flashback pictures of her wearing McQueen (at her wedding or one of the christenings or the state banquet on tour) instead of her at the gala in New York. This isn't important haha just a thought I had about durability of certain images of Kate over others.

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    1. RE: your point about McQueen and notable events. I would agree with you if we were considering all types of clothes, but these posts are focused solely on evening gowns. In evening gowns, I think Packham has McQueen beat.

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    2. Maggie - MinneapolisAugust 29, 2015 at 7:03 PM

      That totally makes sense! I didn't really think about it just in terms of evening gowns (clearly), which was silly of me given the topic at hand :)

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    3. Maggie - MinneapolisAugust 29, 2015 at 7:05 PM

      Although yeah I really do think Packham only has McQueen beat in evening gowns because Kate hasn't done many "royal" evening events yet. Of course I could be wrong and she may not go McQueen for her first state banquet, but if she sticks to her trend of picking McQueen for more "royal" events, then McQueen could have Packham beat soon in the evening gown department as the Cambridges ramp up their royal schedules.

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  5. Personally the first two times Kate wore the inky blue dress I was not fond of it, even with the bling. Something was wrong with her hair at that time... there were a couple events where it lacked volume up top. But when she wore it the third time with her hair up and the emeralds, I was very much wowed. It was one of my favorite looks of hers.

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    1. Phyl, I did like this gown from the moment I saw it, but I thought it needed an updo. And yes, with her hair up and the emerald earrings, it was an absolutely stunning look.

      I believe that her best evening looks included updos. The neckline on a gown (especially) is meant to be seen.

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    2. I, too, liked the inky blue gown from the moment I saw it. And each time Kate has worn it, I've liked it even more. It's gotten better and better with each wearing! I'm not sure if it's my all-time favorite, but it's certainly one of my top three evening gowns worn by Kate.

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    3. I forgot to say that I’ve always loved the pale-blue wrap Jenny Packham gown with the short skirt underneath. The look was simple yet daring—perhaps a little too daring!—and I doubt we’ll see this dress again. This is also one of my all-time favorite evening gowns: tailored while also being sexy but not over the top. It was definitely a "wow" moment for me when I saw the first photos of Kate in this dress. Kate was in her early stages of her pregnancy with Charlotte and had that pregnancy glow. It’s hard to believe she was suffering from morning sickness, I believe, at the time.

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    4. Although the ink blue the third time around continues to be my favorite, the pale blue wowed me too. It was so unlike anything she had ever worn and she wore it well. I think this dress is more true to Kate's personal style and more what she would wear if she were not a princess. Ive never thought the demure gowns were really her.

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    5. The pale blue JP definitely had a wow factor to it. Most likely, it was intended to be worn in Malta. But I could see Kate wearing it again...perhaps a film premier...or... :)

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  6. Have the Middletons been on holiday in the Caribbean? There were some photos I glimpsed of Pippa in a bikini.

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    1. There were photos of James, Pippa, and Carole in the ocean and on the beach. I'm hoping/assuming Michael was there - maybe he was out golfing or something. ?

      And they weren't in Mustique, it was St Bart's or something.

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    2. More photos have emerged - Donna Air is there with the Middleton family in St. Barts.

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    3. Didn't see any pictures of Carole only Pippa, James and Donna. DM is saying Carole and Michael are in the UK.

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    4. Carole has been seen. Mid week photos emerged of her swimming and on a dock with James and Pippa - Carole was in a one piece. The last batch of photos Carole can be seen in a one piece wearing a hat. I haven't seen any photos of Mike. The photos tend to show mostly Pippa and James, but Carole has been featured.

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    5. I wonder if Mike is on holiday with them? I heard some speculation that all was not well with Mike & Carole's relationship, although I personally don't think there's much evidence, unless an 'insider' knows something (?)

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  7. The way she keeps ramping it up each time she wears the ink blue Jenny, what might a fourth appearance bring?
    Besides the emeralds-are we sure they are emeralds?- and her hair up, she looks so lovely around mid-pregnancy. The
    glow and extra fullness in her face, I guess. She looked genuinely happy and relaxed. Among old friends?

    The teal is my favorite gown. For some reason, I don't remember seeing the back of the gown at first, which gives it the
    wow! factor. It was beautiful just from the front. The back took it over the top.
    I really don't think JP for the banquet. The skirts must be full as on a ball gown?
    Let's see what other designers you have to show us, Jane. mk

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  8. Agree the teal is incredible. Also I had commented before that the Jenny gowns do not seem quite banquet like but a bespoke piece might. I am not sure if it is due to the skirts being not "full" but maybe something in the fabric and construction that somehow seems gorgeous but too soft for a very formal event, maybe her gowns are aimed for the masses, i.e. very rich masses, but still aimed at more than one buyer. Someone with way more design and a more "sophisticated" eye than I have can help me understand my instincts, or maybe I am just way off and everyone else thinks her gowns would be great on any stage.Her designs are gorgeous and look fantastic on Catherine, I agree that many of the McQueen designs somehow miss the mark in tailoring,but they often have that "we are special" factor. I have the general sense that McQueen is just not as on point in the last five years, but I am a casual observer, so who knows. There must be some other fabulous designers out there with great sewing skills and design skills.

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    1. You obviously know something about fashion, anon 1:44-I probably read what you or Jane said and repeated it.
      I have opinions, but not one original idea in my head about fashion.
      I likes what I likes, though.mk
      About McQueen- wasn't there something about skulls and purses?
      Did you see the ball gown in the new version of "Cinderella?" With that lovely girl from Downton Abbey.That's
      what I meant by full skirt. Layers and layers of petticoats. There was a time in the 50's when that all came back.mk

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    2. Anon 1:44, I think you made an excellent point about JP gowns. Your explanation is perfect.

      I think the gowns are lovely and suit Kate's style and figure, but they do look "young" (the best description my mind has been able to come up with). And I believe it's a quality they have in common with the gowns she wore pre-engagement. Does anyone recall the teal, pink, and gray gowns? :)

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    3. I wasn't thinking about the fullness of the skirts and, although I do believe JP would be up to the task for a bespoke piece, she doesn't usually do the full skirts. I think the teal would count as being full enough with some under layers. I would like to see someone other than McQueen though. This look from Temperley would suit perfectly.
      https://www.temperleylondon.com/lookbook/15y

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    4. I'd love to see the teal gown in midnight blue.........with a sapphire or two. :))

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    5. Everyone really likes the teal gown it seems. Its always been my least favorite JP gown. Has always struck me as too prissy and I know that's a derogatory term but I don't mean it in a derogatory way. Just can't think of a better word this morning. The bow on the back is just the cherry on top for my reaction to it, I think.

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  9. Any Kate sightings? It has been radio silent. I haven't heard of any Berkshire sightings (granted it seems the Middletons are on a tropical vacation), and it seems they usually go to Scotland in August, but nothing on that front either. ???

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    1. So silent. Its unusual that she hasn't been seen shopping or just out somewhere, anywhere. I can't recall an as long of a stretch of time when she has not been seen
      out at all by anyone. Even after Charlotte' s
      birth she was spotted playing with George
      in parks although there weren't any photos.

      I wouldn't be surprised if she has had some
      work done. It would be the perfect time to
      do it actually. If she's done having children,
      its not out of the realm of possibility that
      she would want to have her breasts lifted.
      Pregnancy and breast feeding wreck havoc
      on that part of a woman's body and all the
      exercise in the world won't help. There is
      four weeks down time for the procedure, so
      certainly not out of the question. It would not be at all unusual for a woman of her resources.

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    2. Anon 9:40, my take on your suggestion is this... Kate's age and looks do not support the need for it, and her apparent confidence and priorities would not support the desire/decision. She's a Duchess...not a selfie-princess.

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    3. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibilities I just think it's probably not the only one. Some have suggested maybe she is struggling from postpartum depression. Very odd that she isn't seen shopping or out with George. Radio silence is odd. She can always have work redone but many think a third is a possibility and she looked trim at the polo event in skinny jeans and a fitted top. That's between her and William!

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    4. Talk about starting rumors.
      First of all Kate is in no way interested in appearance such as this.
      Second of all she is less then 4 months post delivery and definitely not a time when that kind of surgery is done.

      My take on lack of appearances - the media's reaction to their letter re: the Paparazzi has driven them to stay close to home thus using their only means left to protecting their children. It is also august when they are notoriously known to stay low.

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    5. I'm not saying that this is the only explanation but I'm putting it out there as a possibility among the depression, third pregnancy and becoming a recluse options. Many people in the public eye who are photographed often have work done and it is done so well that no one is the wiser. You don't have to be a narcissist to have plastic surgery, just someone who wants to look their best. Kate is extremely fit and weight conscious. Imo, it would not be surprising if she opted to have something or other tweaked during an extended period out of the public eye.

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    6. I think that this is highly unlikely. First, she is most likely still breast feeding. Even if she isn't, and we're getting a little technical here, her glands are in no way ready for a surgery of that type. It just doesn't seem like her style at all. I think Anon. 7:46 is more likely correct that August is usually slow and they could be up in Scotland with the Queen, although William is most likely working. I also believe that the media's lack of any type of sympathy for a family trying to protect their children have driven them underground. I was afraid that might be the result of the negative (and in some cases nasty) reaction to their request.

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    7. We all know August is slow but we hear of an airport siting or something - we'll know they've been to Scotland etc. the radio silence that even Twitter isn't spotting things is weird. And they live somewhere quite public where tourists have been known to spot them on the Sandringham estate. To me it's odd.

      I agree that I don't think Kate would have work done at this point - she looks great and I believe she has other priorities. But she does color her hair and partake in several beauty regimes, and she is very weight/body conscience, that I don't think we can ever say she wouldn't. But as I said, that is between her and William.

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    8. I apologize if this is a repeat... :)

      I agree with Robin; August is a quiet time for the royals. And considering that William is working and Kate had a baby, I find it odd that people even feel the need to come up with a reason/theory for their "absence".

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    9. I don't think people are necessarily talking because there is an absence of public engagements but, rather, because she has fallen off the radar completely. I mean she hasn't been seen since July 26. Five weeks is an unprecedented amount of time for no sightings, even just a coffee run. I think if her office would confirm a date for her return to public engagements, the talk would die down. We are assuming she will attend the State Dinner in October but that has not been confirmed.

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    10. Royalfan I think the issue is no sightings doing casual normal things or a weekend getaway to Scotland etc. Its not for vicious rumour, we're just used to hearing or her taking George out or going to a shop. So yes, several weeks without even a Twitter sighting is unusual.

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  10. I think that Jenny Packham is to Kate what Catherine Walker was to Princess Diana. They are a perfect match.

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  11. Personally, and with no expectation that it will occur, I would like to see Kate wear a non-British designer, a French or Italian designer,etc. But then, I think British designers suck; can't help it. Mainland European and American designers deliver in a way that the Brits don't. Just check out some of those European princesses, if you are in doubt.

    Looking forward to seeing Kate wearing the Royal Family Order at the upcoming Chinese State Dinner--and if she isn't wearing it, I cry foul. Both Sophie and Camilla received theirs, five years in, and neither of them had produced heir and spare; neither of them were ever going to be in the potential position of Queen Mother.

    Lack of the Royal Family Order on Kate will confirm my belief that the current Queen is a dinosaur who should have been put out to pasture/retired years ago. It will be obvious that the Queen entirely lacks judgement--well, unless you live under a rock, you have to ask yourself what sort of person would promote her favourite, Prince Andrew, the guy whose sexual antics recently came under a BIG question mark, to Vice Admiral. Etc.

    Many people seem to admire the Queen--count me out--but few would say that they loved her, certainly not the way they loved Diana. I expect that her death will bring forth a respectful response from the British public, but no more. She just isn't loveable--amongst other shortcomings.

    So I await the Chinese State Dinner. Is she really so lacking in warmth and judgement that she would deny the Royal Family Order to a young woman who gave up so much--freedom of movement and speech, privacy--and who has given her, and her dynasty so much?--two healthy kids, heir and spare. Is she THAT arrogant?

    So Jane, when can we get back to some of my favourite subjects: hair, nose-picking--I have a lot left unsaid re the latter--indeed to those subjects which are relatable to us, the *common* folks.

    Written without intent to offend--altho I probably did.

    JC

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    1. Umm... what? "Her death will bring respectful response, but no more" ?? "Few would say that they loved her" ??

      What?

      I am certainly not a royalist, and not even sure if I'm a monarchist :) but I can assure you, the death of Queen Elizabeth will be like nothing the UK or the world has seen.

      I know this is a Kate blog for Kate fans, some who seem to think the monarchy only began with her arrival, but simply put, most Brits have never known life without the Queen.

      She is days away from being the longest serving monarch in British history, her face has been on our money longer than any other, on postage stamps, she is the subject of the national anthem sung countless times every day for more than 6 decades - all of which will change after her death.

      Banks and stock markets will close, there will be about a fortnight between her death and funeral when much of British life will grind to a halt, and likely within a few months after that King Charles will be crowned, only the second monarch most Brits will have known in their lifetime.

      No matter how old she is when she passes, it will be a shock to the system of the British people. The outpouring and grief will be unlike anything anyone has seen - surpassing even Diana's death. Brits will simply be shell shocked, make no mistake about that.

      And maybe let's wait until we know for sure what the Queen has or has not bestowed upon Kate before we get too worked up about it.

      Claudia



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    2. JC, I will share your disappointment if Kate does not appear with the Royal Family Order; and for the reasons you cited. Kate is a tremendous asset to William and the Firm and, hopefully, this time they can recognize and appreciate a gem when they see it.

      As far as the public's future response to the Queen's death, I think that both you and Claudia have made some valid points. I do believe it will be a huge shock, as Claudia suggests and I agree with her reasoning. However, to the degree that we can compare the response to Diana's death to the future response for the Queen, I do see the point JC made about it having more to do with respect than love. Where the Queen is distant and formal, Diana was approachable and human. People could relate to and sympathize with Diana. Tears were shed, and they will be shed again, but they will be different. (If that makes sense...)

      I also believe that as much as PR has done for C&C, the *true* test will come when it is his turn to be crowned with Camilla at his side. So far, people have not had to face the true reality of what is to come. And when it does, I do believe that people will remember a lot more than the future king and his consort may be giving them credit for....

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    3. I think the poignant grief exhibited when Diana died was in part because it was simply so shocking. Whenever a young vibrant person dies in a tragic violent manner, the sadness is very raw and palpable. I think royalfan is right in saying that when the Queen dies, a different kind of grief will be felt. She will be an old woman who lived a long wonderful life. There will be nothing tragic about it. However, I think the sadness will be very real and she will be greatly missed. Her death will truly be the end of an era. Most people alive can not remember a time when she wasn't part of the BRF.

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    4. Maggie - MinneapolisAugust 29, 2015 at 7:02 PM

      Perhaps the Queen is not stuck in the 1800s and does not think the worth of a woman and her contributions should not be measured by how many babies she has? Maybe the Queen thinks that that is incredibly outdated and that instead Kate should receive the Royal Family Order solely for charitable services, etc.? I'm not saying Kate wouldn't deserve it for that, but just that I really don't understand why people think providing an "heir and a spare" means Kate is suddenly deserving of a high honor. That just seems so....wrong, to me. It harkens back to when women were only valuable for their bodies' ability to provide children to a family, and nothing else. It's the 21st century. Kate's worth to the royal family shouldn't be measured by how many children she's had.

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    5. Maggie, I'm not sure if you were around to follow the marital problems of the Firm during the 80's and 90's, but the fact that the tide has turned from dysfunctional to what appears to be a very loving and supportive family unit (W&K) is HUGE. HUGE! :)

      Also, if Camilla was recognized by the Queen, given her contribution to the

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    6. I meant to say that if Camilla was recognized given the fact that she contributed to the problems of the Firm in prior decades, surely Kate DOES qualify.

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    7. Thanks to Claudia, Royalfan and Faith for you respectful responses. To take off where Faith left it, indeed, Royalfan is correct, as is Claudia, in suggesting that HMTQs death will rattle some/much of the British public; however, IMO, they will be grieving an era, at least as much as a person. They will think back to *the good old days*, when England was a true force (Think Churchill.) And the longer HMTQ lives, sans retirement, the fewer will be left who remember.

      I dont hate the Queen--life is too short for that nonsense--but I do think that she has been ill-advised, repeatedly, and knowing no better--how could she? she was just 10 when her uncle pulled the plug, and just 25 when she became Queen--but I do think that had it not been for her mother, dutiful diehard, Elizabeth might have stood a chance. (Enter Lord Mountbatten, who promoted Philip--bad news there, but she married him despite her fathers misgivings, George VI, who seems to have been a decent man.)

      On the other hand, if HMTQ had an emotional clue--doubtful--she would not have insisted, under recent legislation, that the monarch keep control of the first six; i.e., the first six in line to the throne cannot marry, and keep their right to the throne unless the monarch gives his/ her permission to the match, hence, the long wait for William and Kate--I do think that the Queen is an undercover snob.

      When the Queen dies--and it can't come soon enuf for me, given her idiotic refusal to step aside/retire--I fully expect the works. We will all be subjected to a week of non-stop TV coverage followed by a very dignified procession and funeral, and, in time, to the true story of her marriage--it won't make for pleasant reading, I suspect.

      To sum up, I view the Queen as a fool. Ditto Charles--and we/I shall have to wait on William, altho he has failed to impress me, to date. As a Canadian, it offends me that we spend countless millions entertaining these silly Windsors--Edward and Sophie are over here far too often.

      I am a Kate fan, much the way another generation were Diana fans. As far as I am concerned, Kate and her children are always welcome in my country. But I am not a fan of the British monarchy, as it now stands.

      JC

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    8. I do not feel the dislike for HMTQ as you do, then again, my country isn't one of the "realms and territories" with her picture on our money. I do, however, have an opinion as to why she retains such a tight hold on her approving of future spouses. Not that she and Philip have done such an outstanding job in their approvals mind you (although Diana still proved to be the best thing to ever happen to them) but her father did not want to be king. He was a shy and socially awkward man. The abdication of her uncle changed her life forever, her mother hated both the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson until the day she died, and I think HM thinks she can prevent another crisis in the monarchy. Turns out she has been mistaken but I think it has played into her thinking. I also think that Philip, a person about whom I can not find a teeny tiny likable thing, has much more influence over her than people would like to admit. Now they're just old and set in their ways but who knows what horrid things he has said or done that could threaten the thing she has worked so hard to protect - the monarchy. My mom has said that Philip was a philanderer on par with Andrew in his day. Just my two cents.

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    9. JC, "grieving an era" is a good way of describing it.

      I believe the Queen has spent her life trying to live up to the expectations of the QM and her own starchy advisors; people who never had a single progressive thought between them. At times, even a good dose of common sense could have saved the day. For example, when the royals were up at Balmoral during the week after Diana's death, if the Queen or Charles had issued a statement thanking people, on behalf of William and Harry, for the overwhelming support, perhaps the climate would have been very different.

      Regarding handing over the reigns... While it has been very successful in other royal families, I am not sure it would be ideal in this particular case. Charles is a walking paradox; he is progressive in some areas, but in other ways he is older than his years. And there is the Camilla factor to consider as well. Overall, together, they come across as a very Edwardian couple.

      I do believe that William has the potential to be a great king. And I say "potential" because, for now, he is not free to spread his wings and live up to it. He has to walk a fine line between respecting the current status quo while not getting tangled up in the cobwebs as he and Kate plan for their family's future and that of the monarchy. But the seed Diana planted is alive and well, IMHO.

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    10. Agreed. Part of the problem is that HM is surrounded by people who are more willing to appease than advise and that's not good. I think that from the bubble she was living in she really had no clue how much her own people loved Diana and how much they had moved away from blind loyalty to the monarchy. As a consequence, she totally blew it in the days after Diana's death. The nod as the cortege passed by during the funeral procession would have meant so much more if it hadn't seemed like a bandaid to a bad situation. If she had always been a "warm and fuzzy" grandma, her excuse of trying to comfort her grandsons as her reason she didn't get back to London, etc., would have played out better. Again, I also blame Philip for a large bit. He was all about bad mouthing Diana during the separation and divorce. Also, as you point out, royalfan, the QM was still alive at that time and nobody had moved into the current century, let alone progressed toward the next.

      As for William, I also believe that he will make a fine king. He honors traditions but does not let them rule everything he does. He and Kate are a team and they do things their way when it's something they feel very strongly is what's best for their family. William and Harry grew up under circumstances nobody in the world could possibly understand. They both continue to learn and grow and mature. But Diana taught them about real people despite the fishbowl they lived in.

      This new letter Charles wrote from NZ in the months leading up to his marriage to Diana may open a completely new can of worms. Charles has always had a snooty regard toward the people and now there is proof in his own handwriting. We must also remember that his father's uncle and his grandmother were his two heroes in life. His father is a buffoon and his grandmother was of a completely different era. This does not bode well for his ability to be a sympathetic monarch. And as you say, royalfan, there is always the Camilla factor.

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  12. With no previous comments read - yet - and I do run the risk of repeating what's already been said (royalfan) but I love her in Jenny Packham and really hope this is her choice. I think that, while McQueen has done some stunners for her, JP has a better bead on her evening style. There really isn't one of these gowns that isn't just fabulous on her. Colors, styles, fabrics - all wonderful. I do think that gorgeous Nizam of Hyderabad necklace really needed an updo so that it could be properly seen. Maybe she was self conscious of wearing something like that for the first time and didn't want to focus on it too much. For a State Banquet (which we still have no official confirmation on - c'mon Kate, give us girls a break!) I feel like she'll go with the fabrics and necklines that will most compliment the formal jewelry and a tiara. For me, that designer is Jenny Packham.

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  13. I agree with so much of this! :)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3215522/How-Kate-Middleton-banished-William-s-ghosts.html

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    1. Good article. I think William has stuck a balance between the stuffiness of his father and grandmother, and the down-to-earth lives of the Middletons. Diana must be smiling from above.

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    2. I think the main "stuffiness" at least from the Queen is on the surface. Yes, I think she fostered "a stiff upper lip" in public, but in private I think she was a loving caring mother and grandmother.

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    3. Anon 4:25, I do agree with you about the Queen's "stiff upper lip", but I am not so sure about the loving and caring mother part. And I don't say this as a criticism as I'm sure she wanted to do more for and with her children. I just think the reality of what she took on at such a young age, and the tremendous expectations that went with it, did not allow her to concentrate on her personal life.

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  14. A number of McQueen's gowns, for instance, the Lavender one, the black evening gown and the Sports Personality split green gown have been very well-designed, flattering and particularly suited to Kate. Packham's gowns, by contrast, have been very pretty, but have sometimes lacked the clean lines, tailoring and unfussy design that makes the aforementioned ones 'show-stopping'. The teal one, for instance, was attractive but over-complicated. The 2 length baby blue design looked a bit 'amateur' and was not terribly sophisticated.

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    1. Anon 6:18, do you think the teal gown would be less "complicated" in a different color? I ask because I believe I understand where you're coming from.

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  15. Kate's hair at the Tusk dinner (wearing the gold gown) reminds me of the style in which she wore it during her engagement press photocall. I quite like the 'unfussy' hair look here.

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  16. Let's hope we get a good sighting of Kate at the banquet!

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  17. Timor has it the Queen will bestow a Family Order to Kate before the state dinner:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3215522/How-Kate-Middleton-banished-William-s-ghosts.html

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  18. I would love to see Kate with this necklace. It's traditional, yet not over-the-top.

    http://queensjewelvault.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-king-khalid-diamond-necklace.html

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    1. I love that one! Looking at that photo of Diana I am reminded of how very young she was when she married Charles.

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  19. I love all Jenny Packham dresses Kate wore (except the baby blue), but think she will go with McQueen for the big occasion and I think there is a good change Kate chose a red dress since is a Chinese State Dinner. But I don't think she would just buy a dress, I think she would have Sarah Burton doing one especially for her and I think it would look more like the one she wore in the South East Asia Tour Banquet, princess-like style. Michelle Obama wore a red gown to the Chinese Dinner she attended with her husband: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/01/20/article-1348813-0CD55C90000005DC-837_634x618.jpg

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  20. I don't see it happening. Michelle Obama was the hostess. Kate will not be in that position and will not overshadow the Queen.

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  21. The "Daily Mail" is recording that Catherine will receive an honour on the day that HM becomes the longest serving Monarch and that the Duke and Duchess will be in Balmoral on that date. I rather doubt that HM would inform the DM of her intentions, so I prefer to wait and see.
    However, there are questions to be asked about the sexual discrimination in the conferring of honours to royal spouses.
    The Duke of Edinburgh was given the Garter the day before he married HM---on Nov 19th 1947. Prince Albert received it in Dec. 1839 and married Queen Victoria in 1840.
    I cannot so far discover whether Queen Alexander ever received it, But Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Mother) did not receive it until after they became Queen.
    The present Queen gives only the RVO to female spouses and that only after many years.
    In the 21st century such discrimination seems odd.

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    1. The honour that the DM mentions is the Royal Family Order which was created by George IV in the mid 19th century specifically for female members of the royal family. It is a personal honour and no announcement of it being given has ever been made. We only find out that someone has received it when we see a picture. It is given to Princesses of the blood or royal female spouses. Diana got the RVO after 18mths; Camilla c. 2 years and Sophie after 5yrs.

      The Royal Victorian Order is granted to men and women. IT has many grades and the highest is Grand Dame or Grand Knight of the Royal Victorian Order. Again this is a personal "gift" of the monarch but this is normally announced. Both Camilla and Sophie currently have this.

      The Order of the Garter is the highest honour that can be bestowed by the Monarch. It is granted to both men and women

      Spouses of the Monarch have historically received this at the time of the marriage. Philip as mention, and it is expected Camilla will get it when Charles becomes King.

      Queen Elizabeth is very "mean" about handing any honours out but it particularly mean about the Garter. All her children how have it but Princes Andrew and Edward had to wait till they were in their 40s. Spouses don't get this - of either gender. Princess Margaret never received it either. This is something you have to work for.

      I think William got it either than expected because he was the 1000 knight - HMQ has a sense of history. Catherine will get this prob when Queen.

      Hope this is useful and I haven't gone on too much.

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    2. Good point, Jean. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that the Queen's husband becomes a prince consort, and not a King. Could it be a way of making up for what could be seen as a slight against a man? Just a thought... :)

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    3. HM was not then Queen---just the heir---and could , in theory, have still been replaced by a younger brother.
      Elizabeth was given the Garter at the same time, but named before Philip, so she was always senior to him in the Order.
      I am a great admirer of Prince Philip and am not suggesting that he should never have been given the Order---but he got it purely because he was marrying the Princess the next day.
      I am aware that the Duchess is only wife of the second heir, but all she got was a statement that when her husband was not present she had no status, which led to even the Buckingham Palace PR team, declaring that William was wrong to register her as "Princess of the UK". Consequently, the press continue to refer to her as Kate Middleton, or even just Middleton..
      Sadly the Royal family have made many PR mistakes over the years, but I think that announcement was the nastiest they have ever done.



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    4. I agree Jean! I had forgotten about that announcement. Very very nasty and destructive. Here is a case where some modernization wouldn't hurt the monarchy at all.

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    5. I believe that a lot of the fuss over Kate being referred to as a princess has to do with Camilla not using the title Princess of Wales (for obvious reasons). I would love to know who felt the need to issue such a statement. Talk about a warm and fuzzy "thank you" for giving birth to an heir!

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  22. I started focusing on her shoe choices in the pictures above and I find many of them at odds with the dress. The shoes with the teal dress appear to have platforms that seem heavy for the dress. The platform does not seem to blend in with the shoe and seems clunky. They appear to maybe be the same as the ones she wore with the solid glitter dress. Again IMO not a good choice. Hard for me to tell for sure. Ali

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    1. I share your view when I see suede pumps combined with evening gowns. A heavy look, IMO.

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