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Duchess Debuts A Dress from The Fold at HMP Send

Friday, September 25, 2015

Kate started everyone's weekend off early today when she made an unannounced visit to HMP (Her Majesty's Prison) Send in Surrey to visit with some of the female prisoners. According to one royal reporter, the inmates were not aware who their celebratory guest was until an hour before the Duchess's arrival.





Kate has been putting in a lot of time into mental health, and she was at the prison today thanks to the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoner's Trust (RAPt, not to be confused with RATP, which is what I keep doing) to meet women who had suffered from drug addictions and mental health issues. This was a powerful visit, because Kate is increasing her focus on children in this area. Visiting the prison highlights where many paths can and do end when these issues are not dealt with early on. I am sure it will fuel her enthusiasm for her work to prevent children from starting down that slippery slope, and will make her a more passionate spokeswoman for the cause. At the same time, it is nice to see her giving attention to initiatives that are jumping in on the other end and helping women put their lives back together!



This ensemble made my week(end). I am so pleased with it, I don't really know where to begin, so let's go from head to toe. The hair! I already liked the bangs before, but here Kate has switched it up a little. Notice that she has pinned her hair back a bit, which gives lift and structure to the crown, and sets those bangs apart from the rest of her hair.  You can see it pretty well below from the side.


In the first few pictures, her hair popped out immediately. It isn't a radically new style, but it added dimension and layers in a relaxed, but still glamorous manner. I loved it!


I love this dress, too! If the Matthew Williamson peplum from African Cats...



...married the oatmeal Sculpted Felt dress from Amanda Wakeley...



...today's Eaton from The Fold would be their baby. Who was excited that Kate debuted a new brand? I was! It definitely gave a pop to the outing. It is always interesting to see Kate pick from a new source, and it opens up a fun speculation. Is this a one-off, or will we see The Fold occasionally...or, will it become another L.K. Bennett? Or Goat London? Time will tell!

The Fold London

The Eaton is super streamlined, figure-hugging, but with a contemporary edge that the peplum lends it. This dress is reminiscent of some of Kate's wildly successful pieces that first year of her marriage. This style is very circa Canada 2011, and that was--I think we can all agree--a true Golden Era. Kate looked appropriate, too, for a prison. Let's be honest here--she is a princess with a charmed life, visiting women with addictions whose paths have led them to incarceration! You wouldn't want to show up in some bright, flashy ensemble, at the same time, you don't want to come looking like you are going to a funeral. This was polished and professional. She looked very nice and she looked respectful. You dress for yourself, yes, but it is a modern falsehood that we only dress for ourselves. We also dress to show respect to others. This was a carefully chosen ensemble, and I think it hit just the right note.



Almost as if she was going through her closet from the Canada tour, Kate carried her "Somerton" clutch from Hobbs, which we haven't seen in a while, and she wore her "Grace" topaz and diamond stud earrings from Kiki McDonough--those are old faithfuls. Ashley pointed out on Twitter that the Duchess was wearing Jimmy Choo's Aimee pumps in a light grey, not the Harper suede. These are not available anymore, but Kate has another pair of the Aimee in black, which she has worn on a number of occasions. This is a new debut for the grey version.



Verdict: Love it. Every, single element. It was a nice surprise to see here out (in a completely un-jaded comment, it makes me suspect we will see that fall get-away happen). The colors worked, the textures worked, and the accessories were perfect. Kate looks phenomenal in grey to begin with, but this was pretty gorgeous. It is a win for me!   

68 comments:

  1. Thanks for the speedy report.
    Such a surprise when first heard of the visit--but obviously couldn't have loads of reporters invading the prison. Seemingly
    the news didn't get out until the visit was over.
    Perhaps if more was done to support young people much earlier, they would not end up in prison.
    Interesting that her patronages and visits are all drawing attention to that.
    Loved her outfit.

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  2. Wow! Kate looks amazing! I posted a comment after the Anna Freud visit saying how much I really didn't like the hair, but it's growing on me...it definitely looks good here!
    I really love the dress, but not sure about all the new really expensive clothes for charity visits?! Seems almost and bit over the top, and would be better to recycle or choose something less expensive to keep the attention on her work rather than the fashion?
    Also, I'm thinking she hasn't gone right down to her pre-baby weight and I'm liking that. Her cheeks still have a cute wee "chubbiness" there!
    I also commented that she seemed tired and not too happy last week, but all the pictures I have seem she's been really engaged and happy looking!

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  3. What a lovely surprise. I think Kate looks amazing. She looks lovely in white (silver). I've always thought she looks best in fitted dresses and longer hemlines. Love the pencil skirt! Maybe a brigher color for the dress would have looked a bit more cheerful considering the location. Rebecca Deacon's skirt is super short as usual!

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  4. Love this look! I might search for something similar (but more budget friendly) for work; it's very elegant. She looks gorgeous here!

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  5. I love this outfit. I like the structure to it. Very flattering and pretty. Still not loving those bangs, but they do look better in some pictures than others. She looks lovely, as always.

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  6. I also like the dress; design, structure and color. Not only is the color flattering to her but it is appropriate to the event and venue. I suspect I am in the minority to other posters, but I find the longer length both matronly and aging. I would prefer it slightly shorter. Nonetheless, the visit is what's important. The attention brought to the issue is deeply appreciated.

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    1. I agree 12:21. Its a beautiful piece and she looks lovely. I'm with you on the hem. That is an awkward length. The skirt would be five stars if slightly shorter or if it tapered in more towards the bottom like a true pencil skirt.

      I must say again that I'm still not loving the bangs. It was all over her face today. I would have liked a half up half down style a la in the car to Crathie Kirk. The darker shade is beautiful though.

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    2. I think the length accommodates for sitting. Did you notice how high the skirt goes when she sits?
      Looks like Rebecca and her short skirts are back in the picture-literally. mk

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    3. This hairstyle is the way Kate wore it when she was at Balmoral. I like it this way, with the hair pinned back; it gives her a lift and Kate looks younger. The comparison photos make it obvious, IMO. A few inches off the bottom and more layering...and oh boy! I think she would look amazing and fresh.

      The cut and texture of the dress is lovely. And Jane's observation is on the money; it was appropriate for the visit. Kate didn't make it about HER or the reality of her privileged life.

      And mk, yes, I noticed that too. lol.

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    4. Yes, I think this is probably how she had her hair in the car, royalfan. I commented on Jane's initial post before those pictures were up. I do like it. Its very soft and feminine. I'm still curious about how a true half up/ half down would look. I think it may give the bangs a more polished look.

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  7. Kate is pure beauty here and I LOVE her dress...her whole ensemble! (Is her assistant, Rebecca sporting a baby bump?) :)

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  8. So happy to see lovely Kate- she brightens my day and she looks BEautiful :) Linda

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    Replies
    1. Agree 100%, Linda. And thank-you, Jane, for the timely and attractive post. A 10 out of 10 outfit.Just lovely. mk

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  9. Definitely a hit today! The Duchess is still a stunner!

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  10. Jane I must say I disagree with you (sorry!), even though I also love the dress, the clutch, the shoes and the hair, I think this look was a terrible choice to visit a women prison! It's too "pretty", too "perfect", imagine how the prisoners must have felt seeing her? Imagine being in such a horrible situation, wearing an uniform everyday, none makeup, none beauty products... Then Kate show up looking gorgeous... I'm sure she had the best intentions in mind, but it make her look disconnected with reality.

    If I was Kate I would have worn denim pants, a white shirt, the hair in a simple ponytail and definitely no clutch.

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    Replies
    1. Then she would have been accused of not caring because she was visiting inmates. Kate can never win!!

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    2. I would think the inmates might be thrilled to see a pretty woman in a pretty dress. They don't get to see any "prettiness" in prison, that's for sure!

      Jane, love your commentary on this outfit, right on!

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    3. Anon 3:56, my thought exactly. Kate cannot win. She was wise to avoid a bright or "fun" color, but it was a serious visit and her choice was professional and understated. It doesn't get more understated than wearing a neutral color from head to toe.

      Delete
    4. Plus, it is kind of hard to make Kate appear dull. A bag over her head, perhaps? People in isolated
      circumstances hungar for news from the outside and beauty (as Barbara said)
      I wonder if inmates are allowed to read fashion blogs. Would love to hear how they actually felt about her
      visit. mk

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    5. Kate looked lovely today, although personally, I'm not crazy about the fabric or color of the dress. However, I have to agree with Sandra that this outfit does not seem appropriate for a visit to a prison. I usually say it's better to be overdressed than undressed… but not in this case. Kate looked way too glamorous for the setting. And I definitely would not have worn Jimmy Choo's. If there was ever an occasion to dress down, this was it. Slacks and a nice jacket would have struck the right tone, in my opinion. Or, perhaps a more casual dress. On the other hand, I agree with those who say that if Kate hadn't dressed up, then, of course, she would have been criticized.

      Anyway... what a nice surprise to see new photos of Kate today!

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    6. I agree; Kate can never win and make everyone happy :-) I think:
      - it was a great look from the outfit, accessories, and smile
      - too dressy and pretty for a women's prison. I think something less structured and less expensive would have been better suited - a dress and heels could still work, but something more approachable.

      Just my two cents...

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    7. I doubt the prisoners cared. Is there a "dress code" for visiting a maximum security prison? She looked lovely and professional, and it's brave of her to go. The prisoners are in a "horrible situation" because they committed horrible crimes.

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    8. If she had worn a recycle there would be complaints. If she had dressed casually there would have been complaints. Those prisoners were told an hour before she arrived that they would be visited by, arguably, the most popular member of the BRF and I think they would have been disappointed if she just looked like any other woman walking down the street. We must also remember the circumstances from which these women come and in which they currently live and then ask ourselves if they really even know how much her dress cost or who designed her shoes. IMO, she chose perfectly. They got a visit from a modern princess who honored them by looking every inch the part as she chose to visit them even though she's not a patron and isn't required to do so as "part of the job." Brava, Kate!

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    9. Sandra I agree with you . This look is really reminiscent of her Amazing 20011 style, really her Golden Age
      Ok there's Amal Clooney spotting aroud prisons dressed Like a model in expensive clothes, but I don't think this is utterly appropriate. You can Tone down a Little and still look fan without resorting to gum attore. A sleek pair of trousers (no jeans) a blouse and a jacket would have fit better. This dress is marvelous, I'd love it For myself, but is good For dressy event , where the focus in more in appearances over substance

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    10. Sorry For typos. The corrector of My mobile is going crazy

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  11. I want all of this. I want all of this - on sale, please. Best outfit since the baby I say!

    Her hair looks great this way! And so nice to see her doing something other than sports and children's mental health stuff. I like it when she branches out a bit and this is such an important part of society to bring focus to.

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  12. I love to see her out again and doing a worthwhile engagement but I can't agree with her the comments posted. Her bangs are too long and covering her eyes; this appears unprofessional and messy. A more polished, mature hairstyle would work better with the fitted dress and gorgeous shoes and bag.

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  13. during WWII, when Queen Elizabeth (that's Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) visited bombed out homes and buildings in London and talked with East Enders who had just lost their homes and jobs, she work her best suits and furs, a good hat and pearls. she felt that dressing down was wrong, that she would be treating them as less important than other people she met. she made an effort because she wanted them to know she thought they were worth it.

    I agree with that opinion. Catherine made an effort for these women and looking at the pix, they had done their best as well. She treated this visit and the people she met, the same as any other visit. This shows respect and that has been missing in their lives.

    she got. It right.

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    Replies
    1. Crepe
      Agree.
      Ali

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    2. I think its a gesture of respect as well Cepe.

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    3. Although I can understand where Sandra was coming from, I agree with Cepe,also. Respect and dignity and a feeling of
      self-worth are hard- earned . I imagine they just want to feel normal.
      I think Kate hit the right balance, both in attitude and attire. mk

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    4. I'm agreeing with you too, Cepe. To know that someone went to some effort to look nice for you is a great show of courtesy and respect.

      Delete
    5. Oh so sorry Cepe, just realized the typo on your name. Sorry. Ali

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    6. Excellent comparison, Cepe! These women probably already have low self esteem and Kate dressing like she was going to the park would definitely have been more akin to looking down on them.

      Delete
  14. I'm head over heels in love with this look, and her hair! I was a little worried that her looks would be toned down, now that she is a royal mother of two, but was reassured when she stunned in the white coat and hat at Charlotte's christening. This dress is a continuation on that them for me: clean, fresh, sophisticated, modern, elegant, not fussy but very feminine. I LOVE IT. She looks amazing in slightly sculpted shoulders (think cream Roland Mouret gown) and a waistline at the natural waist. The cool edge of the one-sided peplum is pure genius. Reminds me slightly of McQueen, just because it has such an understated sophstication and modern edge. And the accessories are a perfect choice, quiet, but beautifully chic, not too old or young. And the hair, is growing on me, so to speak. ;) I get it now, it really is about the bangs working with some height at the crown to create a kind of 60's retro look which looks smashing on Kate. So well done, I can't wait to see more!

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  15. "Polished and professional"-- totally agree with you Jane! Great look for Kate.

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  16. Loved this look, very elegant. Kates hair is the best so far with her fringe. Just a really good put together look today that was respectful for the occasion. It shows the importance of rehab in prison and hopefully the positive outcomes with reduced recidivism.

    KiwiNic

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  17. Wow! I am just estactic. This totally kicked my weekend off in the best possible way. New brand, chic contemporary look, great cause and...and...wait for it....I even liked the bangs today. This is an A+ in my books.

    I have to say that I have been firmly in the "dislike" camp on the bangs up until today. They looked poorly cut and way to 70's ish for me. But today is different. I think they have cut more of her hair into a bang and blended them better as they seem thicker and deeper. I also think the side part helps as well as the bit of hair that has been pulled back. Today they look fresh and young.

    The dress is great. I agree with that this is professional and yet understated. Never heard of this brand and am looking forward to checking out their website. Kate introduced me to L K Bennet and I have a closet full of them now. So excited to check this one out.

    And finally...and most important what an amazing cause. Mental health is so important as is early intervention. I love the interest and support Kate is lending to this.

    Jane...thank you so much for such a timely and unplanned post. As always you did an amazing job.

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  18. I like this dress and altho I was about to rant about how the waist didn't sit on Kate's waistline, the way American designer dresses often do on her, I was stopped in my tracks when I visited another website showing a model wearing same dress which did not sit on her waistline either. Conclusion: 1. the waist of this dress was not meant, for some peculiar reason, to sit on the waistline of wearers; 2. the waistline was designed to fit the average well-heeled Brit, a group, I am convinced, of shortwaisted women, which is one of the reasons why I think Kate is far better served by American designers.( Seems Kate was given, by the grace of god, an American body.)

    This is a wonderful cause, by the way, and I hope that Buckingham Palace and Clarence House will permit Kate to explore it further. Any help to raise the cause of mental illness, addiction, poverty and crime, often interrelated, would surely be welcomed in the UK--altho I have to constantly remind myself that the UK wallows in backwardness, and some of Kate's causes may not meet with the Establishments approval. But, the way I see it, helping fellow countrymen is a far cry above caring for the destiny of rhinos in Africa.

    JC

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    Replies
    1. I think both causes are worthy JC. Afterall, we do need to take care of the planet as well as its people.

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    2. I agree with you, JC, that I would like to see a stronger focus on helping those at home. I don't want to make this a political comment but I think everyone in the world, no matter where they live, wishes their leaders would spend a larger percentage of their time and support to help the problems in their own backyard. I love that Kate chose to visit these women today. What a sincerely compassionate thing to do.

      Delete
  19. 'UK wallows in backwardness': that's a little offensive.......

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    Replies
    1. Anon 5:11- ha! It's a lot offensive. However, I think JC tends to speak with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek,
      at times. And she is Canadian, after all..... mk

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    2. Before JC accuses Britain of "backwardness", perhaps she should consider that she would not be using the internet, without the work of a British man.
      I understood that comments were to avoid being offensive to anyone.

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    3. mk, are you casting a slur upon Canadians? Pray tell, what is your country of origin--naturally, I wish to return the favour.

      JC

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    4. I was under the impression all this was tongue in cheek...

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    5. Jane, while it *may* be tongue in cheek, it's not obvious, and it certainly riled me when I read JC's comment. While it could be tongue in cheek, the way it is written is very easy to interpret as otherwise! I think it is a bit unfair of JC to critisize both the UK and its women, seeing as Kate falls into both categories! It could have been phrased in a nicer way, more obviously tongue in cheek.

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    6. My remark, " And she is Canadian, after all," was not meant as a slur for Pete's sake. I easily could mean
      that Canadians are special-(which they are) just as residents of the UK are. We all have a uniqueness and we all
      are basically the same. A wonderful paradox we should celebrate. Plus we all enjoy Kate and her little family.

      Tongue-in-cheek is apparently not the best form of humor or expression in a polyglot medium. Nor is irony,
      which requires one to see the other speaker's face to interpret.
      I am fond of both , but will try to control my use of them here. mk

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    7. There is a reason I only read here. This is why I never comment. I am not convinced that this was tongue in cheek. This line of commenting is very common with some here. As I said I never comment but I am now as I also found much of it disdainful and rude.

      Delete
    8. Well, I happen to appreciate the spiritedness behind JC's comments and humor in mk's "ha!" moments. Perhaps because of my own sarcastic sense of humor and riled up moments! :))

      The most important thing is that, thanks to Jane, this blog does reflect a sincere interest in Kate...the rest is a combination of differences in age/experience, humor, delivery, etc....

      Delete
    9. royalfan-I'll take a "ha!" moment over a senior moment any time. mk

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  20. Stunning. Gorgeous. I adore it. This is both flattering and super professional. I hope she chooses this brand again b/c their line seems amazing.

    And Jane, I am so glad you noted the hair was pinned back. I noticed that too and was surprised that no one in the blogs I followed commented on it. I think it's a great way to wear her hair - it provides that distinction between the bangs and also helps to keep the rest slightly out of her face while she can keep it down.

    And I'm also glad you mentioned it reminded you of Canada - me too!

    This was a total win.

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  21. This visit would be hard for anyone. Prison is a bad place. Luckily most of us never have to go there. Catherine does not strike me as so privileged that the realities of this visit and talking with the women will not have been a depressing and sobering event. I think she wore something that she liked and was respectful to the inmates. I loved her outfit and respect her working on understanding the cycle of abuse, mental illness, childhood issues and adult issues. Ali

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  22. Today was a great day for the Duchess. Such a worthy engagement. It looks like she really knows how to engage those she speaks to. You don't do that by accident. She must put a great deal of work into preparing herself for an event like this one.

    Her dress was perfect for the occasion as usual. And I still like her hair. I liked it when I first saw it and like it now. In not one of the pictures I saw did she "fiddle" with her hair. Her hair is a little shorter, the fringe is interesting, and her hair is straighter. Very professional and appropriate. Another win for Kate in my books. This silhouette really is her best. So many memories of the Canadian tour.

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  23. I give this entire ensemble an A+. I love the color, the style, and all of the accessories! I think she looks very professional and I completely agree with you, Jane, that it's so appropriate for where she was. I like the hem length. Just above the knee is classic and, as someone else pointed out, it gives her room to sit comfortably without the skirt riding up.

    I have to say that I keep going back and forth on the bangs and I've pretty much made up my mind that I don't like them at all. They are way too long and, to me, it looks like she can't decide if she wants bangs or not so they've been cut somewhere in the middle between none and some.

    All of the fashion opinions out of the way, I think what she is doing is wonderful and such a great cause. She is reminding me more and more of Diana in that she's choosing the difficult things to focus on and not just the art galleries and "soft" charities. I do love William and think he will be a wonderful king but his grandfather seems to have rubbed off a little too much with focus on the African wildlife. I agree that the poaching and such needs to stop but I would like to see William be a little more diverse in what he's passionate about. Harry's focus is on Africa and he can bring a great deal of world attention to the problems there. The future king needs to start bringing his royal support back to his homeland. Just MHO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robin, we seem to see eye-to-eye on where William should be concentrating his efforts, altho, if he insists upon championing wildlife and endangered species, he could focus on Realm Countries, at least. Here, in Canada, for instance, polar bears are not doing well--dying of starvation; I don't know the specifics, but it probably has something to do with the polar meltdown, fish migration, centuries of over-fishing or some combo of the three. (He and Kate were given expensive pieces of jewellery, featuring the polar bear, when they visited Canada back in 2011, a hint, perhaps, which seems to have entirely escaped him. Maybe he prefers tropical heat to freezing temps?)

      JC

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    2. So true JC. And cariboo are endangered here in Canada too, so a champion of William's stature would go a long way towards raising awareness. No, wait! We have Miley Cyrus and Pamela Anderson. So we're good!

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    3. Robin, I have always felt that William and Harry's interest in Africa also has to do with the ability it gives them to get away from the formal side of royal life. In Africa, they can get their hands dirty in an informal setting and not feel like they are performing at a circus. I sense they both prefer less bowing and red carpets.

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    4. Royalfan, whilst I am sure that some larger Arctic communities are in possession of red carpets, most communities are not, and if William is looking for anonymity, most of the Canadian Arctic would suit him very well, which is why I suggested it as an alternative to Africa. He might suffer frostbite, of course, if inappropriately clothed (as opposed to sunburn in Africa), but if he likes to rough it, what could suit him better than learning how to build his own temporary mini hotel/igloo?

      Hmm...the more I think on this, the more I am convinced that the cause of the polar bear would be right up his alley. Safari Arctic Circle, via dogsled would appeal to anyone with a sense of adventure--he might even luck in and get to take in the Northern Lights. :))

      P.S., thanks for the endorsement, above.

      JC

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    5. You're welcome, JC. And I do agree with the alternative options you mentioned. :)

      Delete
  24. the duchess dress is lovely she lady of grace hmm I lot people here misconception about the prison and the prisoners but when started to rehabilitation and change that works I hope the palace will allowed to the duchess forward too these engagement

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  25. I absolutely think this outfit struck the right chord. I, too, was concerned about how the prisoners might have felt on seeing such a glamorous visitor, but I think she showed her respect for the women she met as humans by dressing up for their meeting as she would for any similar visit, and her desire to keep the attention on that visit with the muted, understated tones. I think that for another occasion this outfit could have seemed a bit bland, but given the seriousness of this event, it was spot on. And her hair looks fantastic!

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  26. Kate looks amazing and I love, love the bangs.

    I'm going to make a firm stand in favour of my old point though, Jane, and say that I am really not in favour of monochroming with every element of an outfit matching!! I think this would have looked great with either pale blue or pale pint accessories, or even a blush-beige.

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  27. I loved this. Every inch. Great cause for her too. Hurrah for Kate the Great!

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  28. Loved this so much! The color made her skin pop, the dress length made her legs look flawless and a mile long, loved the hair. Perfection today after what I have felt were many boring outfits over the past year.

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