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Kate Attends Family Christmas Luncheon and Takes on New Patronage

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

As we suspected, the Queen hosted her annual Christmas luncheon for her family at Buckingham Palace. This is a private family event to which the Queen invites extended members of her family, most of whom are not included in the Sandringham Christmas activities. I think it is a lovely tradition to gather together the larger family to celebrate, and I am sure they all enjoy seeing one another in this family-oriented time. For some, this could have been their first time meeting the beautiful Princess Charlotte. 


Kate arrived in a chauffeur driven Range Rover. She sat in the back seat with Prince George on her right and little Charlotte on her left. Prince Harry escorted his sister-in-law, niece, and nephew since Prince William was not able to attend the luncheon. William was at a memorial service for his good friend Guy Pelly's father, who died recently. 



George seemed interested in the passing scenes outside his window, and Kate can be seen leaning over to apparently answer the inquisitive toddler's questions. Charlotte's carseat is just visible to Kate's left, behind Harry. 


Usually, we don't get to see what Kate is wearing, but today was unusual. The Palace announced that the Duke of Edinburgh was stepping down as the patron of the RAF Air Cadets. After sixty-three years, the Duke passed the role onto none other than the Duchess of Cambridge! So, we got some photos of the event that must have followed the luncheon. 

Kensington Royal Feed 
In an room at Buckingham Palace, the Duke retired and passed the role to Kate who is now the Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Cadets. This is Kate's first official military role, and I have to say that I am pretty excited to see what this position holds in store for us in terms of fashion. Kate really does the military look very well. I would love to see more in this vein:


Kate was wearing the popular Luisa Spagnoli suit she first wore at St. Andrews and had reworked for the tour Down Under last spring. 


[Update] It has been mentioned in the comments that Kate and this skirt hemline lowered, and that is correct. When she wore it in Christchurch, it has been altered. You can read that post here. It is quite in-depth. Shortly after, I wrote an entire post about Kate's hemlines. You can read that post here. Kate wore the suit to St. Andrews (above) and flew back to London with William the same day to sign a book of condolence for the people of New Zealand. At that time, we saw the dress without the suit dress:


Kate had the dress cut into a pencil skirt, which I prefer and I believe many find more flattering. She debuted the alterations on her visit to Christchurch.



Today, Kate was again wearing her Empress pendant drops from Mappin & Webb and sporting her Stuart Weitzman Power pumps. The Empress pendants are obviously her current favorites. I thought they worked very well with this ensemble. As she left, Kate sat in the front of the car, this time with Mr. Security at the wheel. 


Rebecca Deacon was in the back seat and it appears the carseat was empty. My guess is that Nanny Maria took George and Charlotte home after the luncheon and Kate stayed on for the event with the Duke of Edinburgh. She mixed a bit of play and work. :)


I have not heard that William and Kate have yet hosted their staff for the annual "office" lunch. I think it likely (if I didn't miss it) that it will happen tomorrow. In the past, they have gone to Bumpkin in London, but they could go to a new place. I bet we will hear about it tomorrow. After that, I think they will whisk off to Norfolk. 





67 comments:

  1. It appears that the skirt today is longer than when she previously wore it. I like it much better - way more appropriate, but how do you lengthen an skirt without that line showing? I guess if anyone can get that done, Kate can!

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    1. When she wore it to St Andrew's in 2011 it was a dress but when she rewore in on the Oz/NZ tour, it had been remade into a longer skirt, or so it was stated at the time as far as I'm aware! Must be hard to do though!

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    2. It was lengthened for the tour Down Under. There was some discussion whether she was actually wearing a dress the first wear in Scotland, and the longer skirt we have seen the last two times is the skirt piece of the ensemble. I can't remember whether there was any resolution, but I half remember that later she was seen in the dress and not the jacket which is why people thought she wore the dress in Scotland with the jacket and black opaque tights.

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    3. Anon ~ Jane didn't include a pic from New Zealand (which is okay), which is where Kate first debuted the longer skirt length. At the time, we figured some alterations were done, which is really the most logical way to explain the change. I think Kate is maturing into a thirty-something royal, and some have speculated that perhaps the Queen commented on her short skirts. Who knows, but we have seen it longer before :-)

      ~ A

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    4. Hi Anon 4:02. Yes, as several have mentioned, Kate had the dress cut into a pencil skirt. I should have been more thorough the post. I have added a photo and lengthened the post a little to fill that in. Sorry for not having done so to begin with. :)

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  2. Nice repeat on Kate! Festive red suits her:) And you're right, Jane - she does military looks well. I loved that navy dress/hat. Do we know anything re: what her new role will entail?
    George is too cute.

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  3. Jane great post as always. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to bring us this great blog. It was nice to hear that Charlotte was present also. To bad William was not able to attend with his little family but I understand why he elected to attend the service for guy's dad. Maybe they met up later.
    I am so happy also that Kste finally is going to be involved with a branch of the arm services. And this one is close to her heart.
    Now I go into duchess withdrawals. Wonder besides Christmas Day when will we see her again.
    Well hope your studying is coming along.

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  4. I love this annual Christmas lunch! So happy to see such great pics! I love the one of Harry and George - such a similar expression on their faces :-)

    Remind me, Harry lives at KP now, right? I think at one point he and William lived at Clarence House, then once W&K moved in to KP he was given a small apartment there...? I thought it was cute he escorted them in William's absence, but realized it also could have been logistics. Either way, we know they're close.

    Makes sense she would recycle for this event and keep jewelry minimal and sentimental. Such great news regarding RAF. Sentimental, too, since William was RAF. Very appropriate that they chose her!

    ~ A

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    1. Harry lives in the cottage on the grounds of Kensington palace that William and Kate lived in prior to their apartment renovation (Nottingham Cottage). My personal opinion that when Harry is married, Diana's apartment will be renovated and turned into his home (more probable to me) or he will get Clarence House after Prince Charles and Camilla move to Buckingham Palace.

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    2. Diana's apartment has been split into several different pieces and would be very hard, if not impossible to reunite. Some of it is offices, some of it is empty, stripped bare, including the light sockets. I think this was done to eradicate her memory. The Queen Mother's apartment, along with Margo's, was photographed after their deaths. Diana was just stripped bare.

      It was a small apartment, especially compared to W & K's (which is Margo's old apartmet). It would be nice though if Harry did renovate it.

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    3. Mary from Nebraska, USADecember 17, 2015 at 5:11 AM

      With the upcoming major repairs that will be needed on BP, I think Prince Charles and Camilla will choose to stay in Clarence House for their personal London home after he becomes King. Having William, Kate and Harry at KP will sure change Kensington Palace from the "Aunt heap" to the cool place to live for young royals.

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    4. I know the "aunt heap reference". But I think Diana cemented KP as a cool place years ago.:)

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    5. Charles & Diana occupied Apartments 8&9; I believe the size was comparable to W&K's.

      http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/06/20/article-2664060-1EFA875800000578-387_634x390.jpg

      I'm not familiar with the current status of it, but I know that part of it was turned into office space (for Charles, I believe). In time, I think Harry could call it home if that is his preference.

      And I agree about Diana (and Charles) making KP a cool place to live (back in 1981).

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    6. No, not comparable at all. W & K's is well over 20 rooms. Diana's was two apartments combined, but very small. Paul Burrell's last book actually had pictures from Diana's apartment.

      Remember the?shock that W & K wanted Margo's apartment? People were surprised because it is so large and grand. They appeared to be so low-key but their apartment choice and then the renovation shocked everyone.

      Even Highgrove is pretty small. Charles has added wings over the years, but for the majority of his ownership, in has been shockingly small. I was surprised to see pictures of it from the '90s. Much smaller than his siblings' homes.

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    7. Does anyone else have trouble wrapping their heads around any of these being called "apartments" when they're so large? Charles & Diana (who, by the way, did make KP a cool address) were given a much smaller place because Margaret and the Queen Mother were both still alive and occupying their residences.

      Personally, I would like to see Charles and Camilla open their purse strings and get BP renovated. It's a historic palace and deserves to be treated as such. Even if they do it would take a long time so I don't see them removing themselves from CH anytime soon. If Charles keeps to tradition, Harry won't be given an "apartment" at KP. Princess Anne, and Princes Andrew and Edward have not been given a royal residence in London except for sharing BP. I'm not sure why Princess Margaret was given so large a residence but she was a bit spoiled by her sister. It would be lovely for Harry to have Diana's place and I think he and the Cambridges would enjoy living close.

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    8. Harry will get a larger London place once he weds.

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  5. Lady in red...I love it. This suit is among my favorite outfits and I do wish Kate had more of them in her wardrobe. Feminine, sharp and sophisticated.

    And I am imagining the antics at Christmas with Uncle Harry in the mix...imagine the fun they will have this year. :)

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    1. I can imagine Uncle Harry will provide a lot of mischief for George to get up to at Christmas! It's what brothers do. My husband has four brothers and I have seen a lot of mischief making over the many years since we met in high school.

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    2. Speaking of Harry and Christmas...I wonder if he sneaks over to Anmer on Christmas Day to have official Christmas Day fun with George (and this year George & Charlotte). I know he gets on well with the Middleton clan...but would the Queen allow it?

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    3. Robin, mischief indeed. :)

      Anon 6:34, I'm sure Harry will enjoy some time at Anmer Hall. The location really does make it easy to accommodate old traditions...and create some new ones.

      Last year, I believe we saw photos of Harry with James Middleton.

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    4. Anon 6:34, I think he must! I imagine that part of the attraction to an Anmer Christmas is exactly that--so Harry can spend Christmas with his only sibling and family.

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  6. I love that Spagnoli suit. I vastly prefer the shorter length. However, I appreciate the utility of the longer hemlines for those official occasions where one has to sit, bend down, etc. I usually wear pants if I know I am going to sit up on a dais. If Catherine lengthened it, she had a reason to do so. Doesn't matter, the dress and the Duchess are attractive.

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  7. I love this red suit on Kate and it was so appropriate for the day. The cheery red for Christmas and the structured style for a new patronage with a branch of the military. Quite flattering for Kate to take over for Prince Phillip because he is...well...he is just Prince Phillip. He doesn't seem fond of very many people. (Is that diplomatic enough? :-/ ) Anyway, a win for Kate and George and Harry looked good too. Wish we could have seen Charlotte!

    How long do you think it will be before some brand recognizes what Prince George was wearing as theirs and makes it public? I foresee a sell out before Christmas and many little boys dressed all the same on the big day itself!

    Happy Christmas to you Jane and to all of you out there who read FBTB!

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  8. I'm glad she took on another patronage but she needs to concentrate on the ones she already has. I mean when was the last time she did anything for EACH or the natural history museum?

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    1. At the BAFTA event when Shsun the Sheep was shown, Children from the hospice were there. She was also updated on the nook appeal at that event. She does something for all her charities every year either through personal attendance or through group events through their charities forum

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    2. She also hasn't visited SportsAid once this year.

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    3. SportssAid benefitted from Icap and they were there as well. She volunteers at Scouts and is not a patron. The queen is patron of the scouts. We don't know if she volunteers at the local scout group or not.

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    4. Yes, that's right and it is a bit disappointing, but considering she gave birth in spring and was on maternity leave, it's totally reasonable. And about the scouts: she visited them last December, so only a few weeks befor the new year :)

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    5. Proceeds from Icap charity event went to SportsAid and Place2Be. Besides BAFTA, EACH was represented when she visited Emma Bridgewater pottery this year. Scouts is not a patronage. Its a volunteer role which will not always receive publicity.

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    6. These will be lifetime patronages won't they? She just had a baby this year and George is young too, so I assume her children are her priority but I'm sure over the course of decades, she'll give these organizations a lot of time and they'll benefit from her patronage.

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    7. She took George to the Natural History Museum a couple of months ago. I don't think we see every single thing she does for her charities but the constant harping on her work ethic and her weight are getting very tiring.

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    8. Good point, Susannah. Once her children are at boarding school, and Charles is King, she will be working much more frequently.

      I agree, Scouts was always a private volunteer role to my knowledge. I just wish she would publicly do this a little more frequently, because it makes it look "cool" and encourages other kids to enroll!

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    9. Agree all the harping is tiring. If one has time to read this blog and comment and that includes me then one has plenty of time on their hands and should have no complaints about others. As the saying goes "those that can do, do", "those that can not teach" or "comment" hee hee.☺️I have fun reading and discussing but I really take all of this with a huge huge grain of salt.

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  9. hmm I love the dress she wore st Andrew I love the Christmas luncheon where they got to see each other plus the point we see George up to now can believe that he will be his uncle harry side kick on Christmas holiday hmm the duchess will be great in patronage given to prince phillp

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  10. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the blue (black?) military look picture that you included - one of my all time favorites.

    I also adore Harry and that he escorted Kate and the kiddos to the lunch. Awesome.

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    1. Blue :-) I love it too. I think one of her best looks is a silhouette like this. I can do without the beret though. Likrs like a squashed pincushion to me. Faith

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    2. The disc hats aren't my favorite either. Amazingly, she can wear an unattractive hat and still look gorgeous. The same cannot be said for a couple of royal cousins I can think of.

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  11. George: the cutest

    Kate's hair: the worst

    Harry: HOT

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  12. Red suits her so much. Great to see Mr Security back on the job too! Have a wonderful Christmas Jane. Thank you for all your hard work keeping us up to speed with Kate I love reading this blog.Merry Christmas to all from NZ

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  13. I wonder if the skirt is longer simply because she has lost weight I know when I have lost weight my skirts get a little longer.

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    1. The outfit used to be a dress and a matching jacket. She had the dress redone and made into a longer skirt.

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    2. OK, I am dying to know--Kate was unaccompanied by William to a royal event. Whom was she required to curtsy to and did she? Jane, do you have any idea?

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    3. Maybe that's why Eugenie was smiling.

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    4. I highly doubt they curtsy at s family Christmas dinner.

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    5. Anglophile in USA - If Kate is unaccompanied by William to an event, she must curtsy to senior blood royals. If she is with William then they must curtsy to her because she is the consort of an heir apparent, meaning he is first in line of his generation and cannot be displaced by the birth of someone who outranks him. Charles is THE heir apparent and William is AN heir apparent. Some people confuse the heir presumptive as William's title but that is someone who could be displaced by the birth of someone more eligible. For example, William's birth displaced Anne's son who, at the time, was the only male offspring from the Queen's children. Now that the law has been changed so that a male doesn't outrank a female I think we will see fewer instances of an heir presumptive.

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    6. Anon 4:15pm - you're my kind of guy/girl ... I don't trust those York girls. I believe Kate would have had some curtsying to do. By the way, I think she should curtsy to the Queen, but blood princesses who have had a lot of royal privileges denied to them, I think it is ridiculous. But I guess one could argue if the Queen won't employ them as full-time royals with security, curtsying is the least she could do... Can't wait to see what Charles does.

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  14. Did anyone see Eugiene's (spelling???) nails? I am not a big fan of those sisters, but her nails were very cute. I do like a little subtle nail art from time to time.

    Don't judge. Lol

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  15. I love George's soft baby curls! He's such a cutie, he looks like a very smart and curious little boy :) How nice that Harry went with Kate and his nephew and niece, so he doesn't have to arrive alone and Kate doesn't feel lonely without William. You can really see that they are almost like brother and sister, just like Harry said in an interview after the engagement!

    It's great that Kate has taken over a military patronage, especially considering her position as a wife of a former RAF pilot (I think she also wrote a preamblr for a book about wives of RAF pilots?). She and Philip seem to get on very well together which is great because it has been reported that not everyone will get his type of humor and he doesn't like everyone. I really like philip and I'm so happy for the Queen to have him. Prince Philip reminds me of my beloved grandfather who was born just a few months before Philip. He seems to be very fond of Kate, maybe bc he knew her grandfather?

    I absolutely love this outfit, Kate mad it iconic and it's one of my favourites. But the pencil skirt looks even better than the dress :)
    Do you think they'll still release christmas photos? I'd love to see the whole family or some interaction between the children & Lupo.

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  16. P.S.: I hope that through her new patronage, there will be an occasion to repeat this gorgeous navy McQueen coat, it's just so pretty and figure-hugging, the silhouette and all the blue and golden elements look great on Kate (and I love the hat)!

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  17. The Queen and PP arrived in Norfolk earlier today.

    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/queen-elizabeth-ii-walks-along-the-platform-at-kings-lynn-news-photo/501729292

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    1. Oh that ever present handbag. Without it some people may not recognize her!

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  18. Delighted to see that Catherine has taken over as Honorary Commandant of the Air Cadets.
    Was surprised to read that the organisation will be 75 next year---thought it was older that that. My late husband joined, what was then the ATC, in 1941 when he was 16 and went on to join Bomber Command in 1943. He must have been one of the earliest members!
    I have always thought the Catherine would, eventually, take over many of the patronages from HM and Prince Philip.
    Catherine looked lovely yesterday and George is gorgeous---pity we couldn't see Charlotte.

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  19. Did anyone see the Norwegian royal family's Christmas pictures? They are casual but so nice, and one gets a good glimpse into one of tbeir rooms. I would love it if Charles released similar pictures of he, Camilla, his sons with Kate and George and Charlotte. Perhaps not as casual but with tbe family at home.

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    1. Yes, I saw them, they are very nice. I particulary like that Marius was also in some photos.
      However, I think it's unlikely that the BBF will do a 'generation shot' christmas card or so... I don't know, but I just guess they're not that close like the Norwegians (but I'm sure they are a happy and lovely family!). I could see such a photo only with the Cambridges...

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    2. I think its nice that Marius is included in the family pictures too Sonja, as he should be. I know.... not the BRF's style but I saw the photos and wished.

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    3. There were some generation photos done at George's christening. The Queen seems to hold her Sandringham Christmas as an intensively private time. The walk to church is all we're ever likely to see. I would like to see a Middleton family Christmas photo that includes W&K and their kids. They would probably have to have the Queen's permission to release that to the public.

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    4. I did see them and liked them very much. The emphasis is more on "family" than royalty.

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  20. Jane, there is a picture on Instagram of Prince George leaving the BP with Prince Harry driving. Have you seen it? His hair is kind of messy like he had been playing around - just adorable!

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    1. Do you have a link? I'd love to see it! Also, how cute that Harry left together with his nephew :)

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    2. Yes, Prince George was indeed driven home by his doting Uncle Harry! Too cute!

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  21. Oh, to be Rebecca Deacon. How fun and exciting (and stressful) that job must be. :)

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  22. Interesting: I am surprised the Spagnoli outfit originally consisted of a dress as Kate initially wore a black jumper under the suit jacket, I wouldn't have expected there to be enough room within the jacket to fit all the clothing layers!

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  23. Valerie from the USDecember 27, 2015 at 7:33 AM

    I'm just wondering... How do we know this is the exact same dress? Couldn't she have bought the dress and a skirt suit? How do we know she had it altered rather than simply have two of nearly the same outfit? We know she tends to buy things that are very similar,for example different colors ,why couldn't this be one of those times instead of her having it altered! I realize there are people that identify all of her clothes and KP does release some information about her wardrobe so is this something we do know or just think? To me, it would explain everything, the longer hem, the extra room, dress/ skirt etc.. Thank you as always Jane, I do love this blog! ccadctbd9900@gmail.com - Valerie Grace

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  24. Valerie from the USDecember 27, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    I am also wondering about the children? I've read that you have to be 11years old to eat with the rest of the family. I wonder how true this is because Kate brought both children? It doesn't appear that Zara did? I wonder what protocol is for this? Can we find out?

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