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Kate's 2015: The "Best Of" List

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Good evening friends and fans. As hard as it is to believe, we have circled back around to New Year's Eve. As we do every year, before we bid farewell, we take one final glance back at the past year. The highs, the lows, the best, and sometimes the worst.  As usual, I try to narrow the list to the two best ensembles of the month in addition to events that were real fan highlights. At the end of the post, per usual, there will be individual awards. It was quite a royal year, let's go get rolling...

Usually the royal year starts quietly. After the hubbub of the holiday season, the BRF seems to hibernate from January's chill and only slowly ease into the New Year... but in January of 2015 Kate had a bit of a conundrum. In the fall of 2014, the Duchess had fallen ill with hyperemesis gravidarum in the midst of a busy schedule. She had to cancel a slew of events, including a two-day trip to Malta, and only began to feel better just as the royal family began to slip into their holiday lull. As the calendar flipped to 2015 Kate was facing her family's annual holiday in Mustique at the end of the month. She chose to book a group of public events to make up for her missed engagements and to make a few headlines before slipping away for a much needed getaway. For her first ensemble of 2015 Kate debuted a Madderson London shift dress that easily makes the "Best Of" list. This was a simple, streamlined silhouette, with just the right pop of colorful tweed:

Just a few days later, the Duchess was the guest of honor at a Fostering Network event in a brown, animal print dress. It was on the 19th, however, that Kate wore the second ensemble to make the list for January. This baby blue maternity coat with complementing dress from Séraphine is hard to beat. Specifically tailored for her pregnant figure, it was endlessly flattering. I think this was one of Kate's best maternity looks from either pregnancy.

Everything was perfect from her bouncing locks to the deeper blue accessories. If there was a hierarchy within the "Best Of" list, this would be right up there by the top.

As we suspected, Kate, William, and George joined the Middletons in Mustique for their annual get-away.  Kate was snapped with George and Nanny Maria making their way to the beach. The party was again photographed boarding a flight for home at the conclusion of their holiday which extended into early  February.

Kate only had two official appearances in February, which makes these next two ensembles members of this list by default. The MaxMara the Duchess debuted in Portsmouth was a win at the time, although it hasn't gown on me over the intervening months. It wasn't a maternity piece and when compared to a later white coat, lacked the tailoring to make it a real win for maternity wear.

Still, it was hard to beat Kate's radiant glow that shone through the fog and chill of the February day:

Kate recycled her popular Séraphine dress at the Emma Bridgewater factory. That dress legitimately makes the list, but the SportMax coat didn't win quite as many points. The coat was in a gorgeous color and generated buzz because it was a designer debut, but to me the very wide lapels overwhelmed Kate's petite frame:

Kate threw her weight behind mental health awareness by appearing in a video for Mental Health Week. It was a theme we would see her really focus later in the year.

Anticipation was mounting in March as Kate presented a packed schedule of final public engagements. The pregnant princess was due in late April and would soon be disappearing from the public eye. Despite her announced events, she made a "private" appearance at the Goring's rehab relaunch. The excitement of this unexpected appearance gives it a place on this list:

Shortly after, Kate recycled a maternity ensemble from her first pregnancy. It was the first time we had gotten an unobstructed look at the coat, and with the new hat and accessories with which she paired it, the ensemble was a win worthy of our round-up:

Kate was on a roll with her recycles, and her next ensemble was another big, big hit. The Dalmatian print she wore to her final event when pregnant with George was recycled on a visit to a Kent art museum. Kate ditched the hat and wore her hair in a pony. The more streamlined presentation transformed this coat into a major win and scored it a spot on the Best of 2015:

Although ITV had not confirmed the whispers that season six would be the last, Kate's visit to Downton Abbey lent significant weight to the rumor. Her visit was a huge highlight of the year, but also would have been a contender on the fashion front if it were  not being included for the fan factor. This JoJo Maman Bebe was a designer debut and the victor in a face-off against the Portsmouth MaxMara. If you haven't seen the pictures from the Downton set, pop to this post to enjoy them.

March was a stellar month for Kate's fashion and it is hard to hold to only two ensembles. Nevertheless, her all blue ensemble for the Afghanistan service easily makes the list. The chic saucer hat and blue, Beulah dress and coat set the perfect tone for the event that paid tribute to the veterans and casualties in the Middle East. Kate also introduced new gems to her jewelry box with these matching tanzanite and diamond earrings and necklace.

The Afghanistan ensemble edged out the brown outfit she wore for St. Patrick's Day, although that look was a worthy contender. Kate's appearance at Home Start was low-key. The Duchess wore a polka-printed Asos dress and a coat that has been in her closet for some years. The event was memorable from a fashion perspective because we finally learned that the coat, long a UFO, was made by Kate's private dressmaker.

As the busy month drew to a close, Kate was spotted shopping for little shoes for George. She undertook her final public appearance on March 27th. With William by her side, the smiling Duchess recycled the striking pink Mulberry coat she had first worn in New York just a few months before.

In April, Kate disappeared entirely. She did not have a single public appearance. We did get to see her driving George around London in her Range Rover:

The photos of the Duchess playing with Prince George at Snettisham playpark were hugely popular. We still hadn't seen many photos of George at all, so this was an exciting photoset. Although we didn't see Kate officially in April, it was a big month for From Berkshire to Buckingham as I launched the Online Encyclopedia of Kate's Clothes.

Meanwhile, we waited, and waited, and waited for the new royal baby. After the seemingly interminable wait for George in 2013, media and fans were smarter about the start-clock. The Royals tried to keep the hysteria at bay by banning photographers from setting up outside the Lindo Wing, but that didn't stop multiple daily reports from journos encamped in the neighboring hotels, ready to set up at a minute's notice. When the Palace extended the parking restriction into May there was almost a gasp of incredulity, but Princess Charlotte was just waiting to make her arrival in the delicate month of May. Charlotte Elizabeth Diana's birth on May 2, 2015 was certainly the highlight of the year. Her sweet little face was beamed around the world as most fans rejoiced that we finally had a little Cambridge princess!

I have to say that the most exciting moment in the whole hoopla of Charlotte's birth was not actually her presentation, but seeing George again in high-resolution. We hadn't seen him officially in over a year, and it was like being reintroduced to the little man. William's comforting kiss was a highlight of the year:

The problem with a royal baby is that it really does gut the schedule. After her impressive appearance on the steps of the Lindo Wing less than 12 hours after the birth of her daughter, Kate gave one final wave from the Range Rover as William drove his family from Kensington Palace toward Norfolk and a summer at Anmer Hall bonding with their new baby.

June got off on a good foot as the Palace released images of George and Charlotte taken by their mother at Anmer Hall. Fans were delighted by the pictures of the little prince cradling his sister in his arms and even leaning down for a gentle kiss in one shot:

Trooping the Colour was Kate's first foray back into public events since she waved goodbye to us all in May. I still love the Catherine Walker coat she wore and I suspect that if she recycles it, and we get a better peek, it will be a major hit. Since we couldn't see it to its full advantage and the hat didn't exactly hit it out of the ballpark, this event makes the list for the fan, not fashion, factor:

Before his debut on the balcony, George watched the festivities from an upstairs window. His enthusiastic faces strengthened the sense we were getting--and that was have seen blossom since--that George is bursting with personality:

Easily making the list for the fan factor is Kate's Father's Day polo appearance. The Duchess brought George to watch William play ball and the hundreds of photos of England's heir playing in the grass, interacting with cousins, and even getting a royal reprimand from mummy still put a smile on our faces today.  I think these will be history book favorites:

As June faded to July Kate stayed true to her warning that she'd take the summer off to focus on her family. Pictures of the princess helping George push a play tractor around a park in Norfolk kept fans from going entirely crazy as we waited for the inevitable, if delayed, return of the Duchess.

Each month of Kate's hiatus had a big event. Charlotte was born in May, June saw Trooping and the polo appearance, and July really upped the ante as the month Charlotte was christened and the official christening photos were released. On July 5th at St. Mary Magdalene church, Charlotte's baptism was witnessed by a close group of family and friends. The royals generously allowed fans to gather outside the church to watch the comings and goings and to offer good wishes. Kate's breathtakingly elegant ensemble from Sarah Burton and Alexander McQueen, and her matching topper by Jane Taylor, quickly take one of the two slots for the month of July:

We saw an uptick in royal engagements in July. William and Kate made an appearance at Wimbledon  where HRH wore a midi-length L.K. Bennett dress. I admit that given the scarcity of engagements in this month, it might seem that the "Cayla" makes the cut by default, but I genuinely liked this dress. I think the length is unusual and elegant and the simple cut keeps the piece from feeling fussy or overwhelming.

As they celebrated George's 2nd birthday, the Cambridge's released an unseen Daddy/Son shot from Charlotte's christening. The photo by Mario Testino again highlighted the boisterous and joyous personality of the young prince.

Although much of the day;s activities were cancelled due to bad weather, it was still fun to see Kate introduce William to one of her patronages. The pair attended the Americas Cup World Series in Portsmouth. This was one of the only times we have seen Kate take William to an event at which she was the "lead royal" i.e. the primary patron.  This makes the list because of how unusual it was, and because of how cute these two were in matching hoodies.

August is always slow, and this August wasn't going to fall short of precedent. We didn't see Kate at all. Still, royal news was peppy as the Cambridges chose this month to take a stab at paparazzi pictures of their children. They released an appeal to the public detailing the security concerns connected with unauthorized photos and asking the public to reject the photos. The letter was received with mixed reviews and split opinion. I support pap shots of adult royals, and I objected to the way in which the Cambridges presented their concerns. But as we toast 2015 and move into 2016, the issue is still one on which I have not firmly made up my mind.

With the start of September came a crisp hint to the air and the return of the royals! The Cambridge family travelled to Scotland for a visit to Balmoral. Kate recycled a favorite Hobbs coat and debuted bangs that have been the center of constant debate since that day. If this list is supposed to round up the best of fashion and fan interest, the bangs make the list--for better or worse:

On a visit to the Anna Freud Centre, Kate's Ralph Lauren houndstooth dress had the excitement of a designer debut simply because she so rarely wears the American on an official engagement. The dress received mixed reviews, and although I thought it was nice, it is edged out by a few of the other stellar ensembles she debuted in September. This was a tough month. Kate wore an electric blue coat from Reiss to the Rugby World Cup, and it almost won a place on this list, but as I say, September was a highly competitive month. Kate wore an oatmeal dress from The Fold to HMP Send. The dress marked another designer debut and was an easy winner for the "Best of" list.  I love everything about this. The textured fabric, the asymmetrical peplum, Kate's bangs, and the dove grey accessories. It is just gorgeous.

The second winner for September is easily the floral trousers and UFO jacket Kate wore to a second visit to the Rugby World Cup. This was a fresh and new casual look for Kate, one for which many have been hoping, and was so, so cute on her.

A better view of her crops:

October was the busiest month of the year for Kate. She took a central role in the China State Visit and made a number of appearances for her charities. Due to the many incredible ensembles, I am going to choose two working ensembles and break out the floor length gowns. Kate had six "daytime" ensemble and there wasn't a shabby showing in the mix. On the 10th Kate and William made an appearance for World Mental Health Day and the Duchess recycled her Tory Burch from the tour Down Under. I was tempted to tap this dress, because I loved getting a better look this wonderful frock that flattered her slim build perfectly, was a competitive month.

I have included this picture since I couldn't resist, but we charge on... Kate bundled up in the Reiss Delaney for a visit to a Rugby game, it was a cute look, but I didn't swoon. Kate's appearance at Buckingham Palace, dripping in diamonds and wearing a custom Jenny P makes this list simply for the historical oomph. It was Kate's first State Dinner in Britain and might have been one of the most hotly anticipated events of the year:

I know this was a dress that divided, but the plum Dolce & Gabbana Kate wore to Lancaster House the day after the State Banquet wins a slot on the list. It was a designer debut and it was a bold choice. I loved the shake-up even if the dress has not entirely grown on me. I agree that it was a little heavy for the day, but I still loved it.

Not long after, Kate debuted an ensemble with "Best of" written all over it. This stunning Christopher Kane ensemble for an Away Day in Dundee, Scotland was a real stunner and an easy pick for this list:

Kate's space-themed Tabitha Webb dress for a "Shaun the Sheep" day in aid of the Charities Forum was both a designer debut and continued Kate's fall penchant for the midi-length. It doesn't make the list, but it (say it with me) was a competitive month. The Royal Trio's appearance at the Spectre premiere was a huge hit and makes the "Best of" list with ease. This diaphanous evening gown by Jenny Packham was exotic and ingenious. I loved it.

Kate recycled an Orly K dress from 2012 and it might have been her best recycle of the year. It doesn't make the list because we have run out of slots, but relive the perfection here.  Kate's floral Erdem makes the list for a number of reasons. Most interestingly, it was a debut for evening wear, since the Duchess has never worn an Erdem evening gown. It wins because of how incredibly unusual a choice it was for Kate, and it wins for sheer style audacity.

October was a tough month to follow, but November still held its own. For Kate, the month always begins with Remembrance Sunday, but this year, Kate also attended the Festival of Remembrance the night before the Sunday event. Kate wore another lace D&G that afforded fashionistas a chance to see what the Lancaster Lace dress would have looked like without the high collar. Kate's bespoke "Patchwork" coat from McQueen wins a place on the "Best of" 2015. I love the blocks of velvet and hope we see this recycled in 2016.

In the wake of the traumatic attacks in Paris by the Islamic State, Kate and William paid a visit to the French embassy in Paris where they signed a book of condolence. Kate continued her pattern of wearing a subdued swiss dot suit she has had in her closet for many years. While that suit didn't quite have the pizazz to make the list, a designer debut did.  This blue dress from British/Indian label Saloni might have been a preview of the Duchess's upcoming tour of India in 2016, but in any event, it was a solid win. I loved the texture, the vintage silhouette, and the trendy diamond back:

Kate continued her trend of recycling ensembles circa 2011/12 with her Matthew Williamson shift dress:

This fantastic recycle was neck and neck with the next engagement's recycle, the olive Reiss "Angel" coat on a day in North Wales. It was a hard choice, but the coat pulled a little because Kate was all bundled up underneath for her next event. The Matthew Williamson wins this one.

Making the "Best Of" list of 2015 for fan factor, not fashion, is Kate's stint abseiling in Wales. These athletic and hands on activities always allow Kate's warm and charming personality to shine. Her enthusiastic participation wins a place among the highlights of our royal year.

The month ended on a high as Kate and William released pictures of Princess Charlotte. This is the first photo of Charlotte we have gotten where her features were really distinguishable. It was such a treat in 2015:

December dawned with the requisite holiday cheer. Kate joined her mother and sister for an intimate dinner at Clos Maggiore in London. We don't know what she was wearing, but the evening looked lovely. Easily stealing the star for December was Kate's appearance at the Diplomats' Reception. The Duchess wore the Cambridge Lover's Knot tiara made iconic by Princess Diana.

Kate got a new December-do, the second hair change of the year, when she cut her locks to shoulder length. The hairstyle was debuted on her appearance at the ICAP Charity Day where she recycled the wildly popular LK Bennett teal suit. This was a great recycle, but it doesn't get onto the list because Kate really finished the month with some significant stars that edged out the LK Bennett.

Kate's visit to Action on Addiction's study centre should have made the list. She debuted a houndstooth coat from Reiss that I absolutely love. She paired it, however, with another favorite, the teal Emilia Wickstead. I love each separately, but I am not in love with them together. The slight discrepancy in style was just enough to disqualify this very worthy ensemble from the list. (photo via Kate's Clothes)

Kate's final official appearance was a visit to the Anna Freud Centre's Christmas party. This doesn't make the list for sartorial strength--although this was a gorgeous ensemble--but for the fan factor. Kate's approachable and warm personality continues to make her a star:

Kate attended the Queen's Christmas luncheon for family without William, who was otherwise engaged. Prince Harry escorted his sister-in-law and her two children, but Nanny Maria took the little ones home afterward as Kate stayed behind to accept a brand new role as Honorary Air Commandant of the RAF Air Cadets. This makes the list for its importance in Kate's royal professional life. It is the first military role she has taken on, and bodes well for future fashion appearances. :)

The Cambridges made everyone's holiday by releasing a Christmas photo of their family. A bit of a hubbub ensued after a magazine suggested that Princess Charlotte had been photoshopped. Although the area surrounding her face is oddly blurry, it is clear this is only due to her cashmere sweater and the photo is entirely genuine.

Kate's Christmas ensemble wins a place on the "Best Of" list. I love the green and the black, I love the  streamlined silhouette, and I love the stylish new hat. Anytime Kate wears her Aquatalia Rumbas is a win. This was also the first Christmas Kate wore her hair up and it was a fresh twist.

Finally, her last ensemble of the year also earns a place on the list. These Michael Kors separates are classic Kate Middleton and classic country chic. Kate's hair wasn't professionally styled and her hat should have been at just a bit more of an angle, but it was exactly what I want when Kate escapes London for some time in Norfolk. It was gorgeous.

Overall, 2015 was the year we got to know George better. In January of 2015 he was almost an anonymous infant. In the second half of the year we were finally introduced to a boisterous, self-confident, handsome little man. Kate tapped into her 2011/12 closet and we saw more of a trend back toward her classic looks, particularly in September through December. Although Kate had a lot of slow months due to Charlotte's arrival, she closed the year strong with new events and causes. We have a few special awards before we close this evening and this year.

The Best Ensemble of the Year (formal attire excepted):

Christopher Kane's Mini-Houndstooth paired with the Aquatalia Rhumba boots blew me away. This was the absolute biggest win of the year. Amusing given his past track record, but let us not digress. This was perfectly tailored to Kate's figure, in her favorite color scheme, and perfectly embodies Kate's long-time style. Win, win, win.

Best Debut Designer:

Kate debuted more new labels this year than she has since she became a royal. As exciting as it was to see D&G join the closet, The Fold wins 2015's "Debut Designer." In a middle price point, this dress was streamlined and simple, but contemporary and chic. It was right in step with Kate's style from the early days of her marriage, which was a very successful "era" for the Duchess. I hope we see more of The Fold in 2016.

Designer of the Year

Last year Jenny Packham won hands down. This year, Erdem is the dark horse taking the crown. Kate surprised us with the floral "Darla" for her private engagement at the Goring and really shook things up when she wore Erdem's Alouette dress to the 100 Women in Hedge Funds event. Erdem stole the show with this gown:

Cutest Moment of the Year

This easily goes to Kate whispering to her little man in a candid shot of the two at the Natural History Museum. George couldn't be more precious here, and I love that Kate--who is the royal patron of this museum--is bringing her son to learn and enjoy everything this incredible establishment has to offer.

I think this year flew by faster than any year I can remember. For me it has been a year full of huge changes.  As much as I would have liked to insulate the blog from these ups and downs, I could not. I appreciate the patience and good humor you have all displayed as I navigated a myriad of schedule challenges, and the impact those had on the blog. Shortly, I will be heading back to law school to finish my 1L year and I know this will be a final rocky semester to get through together before we hit calmer waters.  When I started law school I didn't want to give up the blog, and I am determined to hold on through this final, tough semester. There may be a few times when a post is late, but it will come. 2016 is going to be a fantastic year of royal watching and I am excited to do it with you and the many who will join our ranks in the next 12 months.

As always on New Year's Eve, my thoughts drift from St. Louis across the metro area, across the fifty States, to Europe, to Asia, Africa, South America, to Australia and beyond. My imagination conjures up phantasms of Paris and Rome of Sydney and Tokyo, as well as the small towns that dot every nation and timezone. Each one of you, although I do not know you personally, is in my thoughts tonight. I hope 2015 was a year of growth, and I pray this new year will bring you peace and joy.


  1. Happy New Year jane and to everyone. I love reading the best of's, some pics I forgot all about. I have to agree my favorite outfit was the Christopher Kane coat/ skirt. While I was watching the ball drop on tv here in America, I was reading your blog, and a tear rolled down my cheek while I was reading the end. New Years always gets me emotional. Good luck Jane with your studies. I'll make sure to keep you in my prayers.

  2. Happy New Year to you Jane. Thank you so much for this retrospective. I don't necessarily agree with all of your choices but as usual you argue your choices like the advocate you are learning to be and I love that about this blog. I don't care how long it takes for you to post next year, I will be waiting with patience and anticipation and know that I won't be disappointed.

    My favourite moment of 2015 for the Cambridges was the Bond premier. The gown was so elegant, unexpected, exotic, and grown up. I guess that's what it was for me. She looked like a beautiful princess that night. Even more so than when she wore the tiaras. It was a wonderful evening. And the fact that it drew so many comments and discussion made it all that much more special.

    Keep calm and carry on in your final semester. Law school is just as much about survival as it is about learning.

    1. So well said, Jane in Canada: "Keep calm and carry on" indeed!

      Those studies will serve this blog well. HNY to all who read this~

  3. happy new year jane love your summary looking forward to 2016

  4. Happy New Year from Tokyo! Thanks for the insight that your wonderful blog provides!

  5. Sonja from BavariaJanuary 1, 2016 at 4:37 AM

    Happy New Year, Jane! I hope 2016 will be a great year for you, regarding law school.
    This is one of my favourite posts of the entire year and I agree with all your opinions on her clothes except for the Erdem Alouette gown ;)

    My favourite royal 2015 memory was watching the live stream when Charlotte was born, William brought George and they left the hospital. But I also really enjoyed the photos of Kate and George at the polo game, they were just too cute :) my favourite fashion moment was the recycle of the orla kiely and, of course, the tiaras!

    2015 has proved to be such an exciting and great year for royal watchers and I hope 2016 will be just as great (their tour to India, etc)

    Following Kate with the FBTB community has been so much fun and I hope everyone's new year will be peaceful and happy.

    1. I totally agree with everything you've said Sonja. Can't wait for the India tour!
      - Ruby

  6. Happy New Year to you, Jane. Thank you for this wonderful blog which I look forward to every morning. Best of luck with your studies.

  7. Thank you so much, Jane, for this review of the year.
    I seem to decide which outfit is my favourite and almost immediately change my mind--might reach a final decision in a month or so.
    2016 will be a busy year with HM's 90th birthday and the Duke's 95th. There is also the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme ,
    Good luck with final part of your law studies, Jane and a Happy New year to all.

  8. Happy New Year Jane. I love your blog. I check it daily. I adore that blue coat too. So elegant. X

  9. Happy new year and thank you for your wonderful blog. I check it often and very much enjoy your perspective and great pictures

  10. DOES ANYONE KNOW the identity of Nanny Maria's companions in June's Trooping of Colour window appearance? I've always wondered who these lucky individuals are!
    Thank you for any insight~

    1. Kaye I personally have never heard them identified. My *guess* was perhaps an employee that was allowed to bring a child. Or maybe they are related to someone in the parade that was given a special invite to watch from inside the palace.

    2. Thanks Anon for taking the time to guess with me. And I apologize for typing "of" when it should be "the."
      Trooping the Colour!

  11. Happy New Year, Jane & All!
    Great list! Good luck next semester!

  12. It was a crazy, busy year in retrospect! Although at times we were deeply missing Kate. I think 2015, particularly the first half, featured a lot of print dresses from Kate. I think that is great, because she matched those with solid, bold ,colored coats. A patterned dress can quickly elevate the overall look.

    One thing that has been on my mind lately that the first photo shows - where did that female security guard go??

    Looking back on the 2015 holiday season, I am guessing early 2016 we'll see the 4 Cambridges in Mustique. I know many will disagree with me, but I'm hoping some photos surface! We didn't see the Middletons at all during the Christmas holidays, and Dec 31st Pippa and James were seen boarding a flight to the Caribbean. This has messed with my mind in so many ways, not seeing the Middletons & Cambridges together or hearing any reports of them together.

  13. I loved the tanzanite jewels in March for so many reasons! Particularly because a week before that event my husband had gifted me tanzanite & diamond earrings and necklace. I'm a total Kate nerd, because when she wears something I already own I get excited. I remember feeling that way during the engagement and newlywed days when she would wear Tiffany items I own.

    Personally I'm hoping 2016 has beautiful jewelry!

    Happy 2016!

  14. Jane, the fact that you continued composing FBTB in the midst of law school is amazing! And to begin Kate's Clothes, which I am going to consult next since I was particularly taken with several of Kate's suede court shoes in your pictures! I've seen the pics before but today the shoes just reached out to me! You are the best blog I follow and each post makes my day a little happier for having read it!

  15. Happy New Year, Jane! This was a fun retrospective of the year - although I would have skipped that Erdem with its ruffle. I think Kate is establishing her style and what we will see more of in the future. Can't wait for the tour!

    Good luck with your final semester in law school!

  16. I am going to boldly go where nobody else seems to be going. What has happened to Lupo?! For a couple that treated Lupo like their baby, why is he no longer anywhere to be seen?! They used to play with him, walk him, kiss & cuddle him. He made the Mother's Day photo, Kate would walk him when walking George, he went to polo, Kate even took him to a market once. Then no Lupo.

    Families with more than one child still manage to incorporate their dog in photos. I'm disappointed we haven't seen a photo of Lupo with the kids or family released. I'm disappointed we don't see them out walking him anywhere. 2015 was a sad year for Lupo.

    1. Several people have complained about it. I suspect that it is harder to keep everyone in line and get the dog to behave. Apparently, Lupo was in the background of the Cambridges' photo but was ultimately cut out.

    2. Sonja from BavariaJanuary 1, 2016 at 4:19 PM

      I'm sure they still love and cherish Lupo like their baby, but the public just doesn't get to see it anymore.

      When Kate walked Lupo over the last years, it was in London where they live in apartment so clearly Lupo needs some running time. Now that they live on a huge country estate, I assume Lupo is just running around on the grounds and the public doesn't get to see photos as it is their private property.

      We saw Kate and Lupo cheer on William when he played polo in 2012, but the last years, she took George with her to see Daddy. She knows she will be photographed and it would probably be too busy to look after a very lively toddler AND an active, young dog and she has to look happy and relaxed for the paparazzi.

      I also hope that we'll see him in official photos again soon as I love dogs and Lupo reminds me of my own dog. However, I'm sure he is an important member of their family and I don't think it was a sad year for him at all. He got a new little human to play with, yay! Also, he has a huge garden to run around and play in. He surely prefera living in the country on Anmer Hall to living in the city.

    3. I am sure that Lupo has a wonderful life in the country and that he plays with the kids. I know he was in the background of the photo...then cropped out. As someone who has photography as a hobby I understand why photos need to be cropped sometimes. As an animal lover, and lover of my pets, I just wish they would have incorporated him in at least one photo in the last couple years...or we'd see a pap shot.

      When they go to KP in London, sometimes I wonder how often they leave him in Anmer with their staff to care for him. That would be sad, as animals, particularly dogs as companion animals, would have some separation anxiety from that.

  17. Dear Jane,

    Thank you for this fascinating retrospective-a big New Year's Day treat!

    I enjoy and appreciate your blog so much. I also appreciate the community of readers I meet here with their many opinions and their continuing engagement with each other.

    I'm quite stunned that you maintain this blog while attending law school! I know what that is like and don't know how you do it. Nevertheless, I'm so grateful that you do. Even if the occasional post is late, your unique perspective on HRH and her world make me very glad that you're sticking it out for all of us.

    Studying the law is tough but it will give you a unique perspective on life. Whatever you end up doing with your education, it will be well worth the efforts demanded now. I look over at the wonderful and intelligent husband whom I had the incredible good fortune to meet on the first day of law school and thank my lucky stars for all I've been given.

    Blessings to you, Jane, and to all the FBTB community for 2016!

  18. I'm sorry that erdem evening dress was so hidious and especially the bottom. My favorite outfit of hers was the blue one she wore to the church service

  19. Jane, you are supergirl! I love your style and perspectives. Your last paragraph truly makes every one of your readers feel special. Wishing you all the very best in your undertakings. Keep up the great work!

  20. Jane, thank you for this look back at 2015. Happy New Year to you and good luck with law school. :)

  21. Love this post!! I am delighted to see the Erdem evening dress won designer of the year. I'm very glad you decided to continue this blog even though you're extremely busy with law school. Good luck with the upcoming semester!

  22. Happy New Year to Jane and our growing community of Kate Watchers! Thanks for all the hard work you do, Jane, and for the great pictures (many unseen anywhere else) and commentary. Looking forward to 2016 for the Cambridges and for us all! May it be peaceful, exciting and joyous!

  23. Happy New Year. I hate to be picky, but Kate does not have a petite frame. She is very tall. It might have been more accurate to say thin frame.

  24. Fantastic post. Always look in even if I don't comment. Love it all. All the very best for you and your family for 2016. Thanks for the hard work you do, I thoroughly enjoy it.


  25. Happy 2016 to everyone! Wishes of Peace and Joy to you too Jane.

    Looking back at the year, our duchess did not sartorially wow me but I enjoyed seeing her wear what she wore. My favorite is the Christopher Kane for its sleek lines, interesting pattern and punch of color. I think she looks best in a streamlined silhouette such as this. I liked the baby blue Seraphine maternity coat because it fit her so well. I thought the Spectre Jenny Packham was elegant; a grown up princess dress, if you will. Also, I loved the Erdem for the sheer adventure on her part and the fact that she did not ask the designer to water down runway elements as usual. Lastly, I really enjoyed the 2012 rewears! Some are my all time favorite Kate outfits.

    I think what especially stands out for me are the jewels she debuted. Two tiaras! The Cambridge Tiara! The gorgeous(and big!) bracelets worn for
    the State Dinner! The QM's sapphire fringe drops and her mom's chandeliers were also breathtaking. Hope to see all of them again soon.

    As an addendum to the hemline thread in the former post, the picture above of Kate in the plum D&G dress kind of hit it home to me. Look at the DoC's hemline, then look at Rebecca Deacon's. Someone looks frumpy but the other does not.

    1. DoC definitely does NOT looks frumpy. Personally I think Rebecca Deacon rarely gets it right..

    2. I agree Hannsh. Duchess looks elegant and classy and hardly frumpy. Rebecca does not always look as professional as she should.

    3. I think everyone, no matter how rich or famous, has good days and bad days. I don't think either lady is frumpy. Rebecca's in a totally different ballpark than Kate, and Rebecca being photographed is a byproduct/side effect of the job. She isn't the one there to be immortalized in photos :-) Two different women in so many ways.

    4. Well, I think Rebecca got it right in this instance. For her frame, the style of her dress and the kind of shoes she's wearing, the length of her hem is just right. It makes her legs look like they go on forever, and she looks stylish and current. Kate's hemline is smack dab in the middle of her knees cutting them in half. Hardly flattering. If her hem were an inch higher, just grazing her knee, the dress would look less ponderous and be more modern take on a vintage style.

      Anon 12:59, I don't see what Rebecca's station in life has to do with flattering hemline lengths. Kate has certainly worn shorter dresses and skirts than the one Rebecca is wearing there. You seem to be inferring that Kate can not be fashionable because she is a member of the BRF while her employee can. An unflattering hemline is an unflattering hemline regardless of one's position in

    5. A little object lesson: put on a dress the length of Kate's plum dress, then stand
      as Kate with feet level, together and both on the ground-have someone take a picture; in that same dress, stand on stairs with feet not level, one foot extending out
      as Rebecca is doing-another photo.Besides that, Kate's lace outer dress is over a
      lining at least as short as Rebecca's skirt.
      "Unfashionable? Unflattering? Frumpy"
      Perspective.I don't understand how one can not take that into account.
      Rebecca needs to dress for the occasion as well. She is doing much better appearance-wise now than in the days when she was literally shadowing Kate, constantly in the spot-light.Even now, when a camera is focused on her, Rebecca often gazes, sometimes glares
      straight into the lens. After the Malta boat and platform debacles,we see much less of Rebecca,in
      more than one way.

    6. I love the look and length of the plum dress. Just a gorgeous look that could be worn by a 20 year old for a sophisticated event or a woman of 50. In my humble opinion the length works for the dress.

    7. Correction to my 10:28 comment-Kate's feet are not level. She is leaning forward,
      which would tend to lower the apparent hem length. Rebecca is leaning back, making hem somewhat higher.
      They both look very nice.
      I think this hemline subject is becoming as redundant as the work topic. It has all
      been said and re-said.

    8. Rebecca's position is an odd one; it doesn't matter what she wears, UNLESS she gets it wrong. She does choose colors (a lot of navy) that don't stand out, which is fine, but the length of her skirts/dresses isn't always "ideal." In the photos above, I think the black skirt (or dress?) is perfectly fine, but the navy dress is too short for someone in a "background" role. IMO, Malta was an example of "not ideal."

    9. Whoa whoa whoa Faith, I am Anon 12:59 and I take offence as to how many liberties you took with my post. I did NOT comment on Rebecca's "station in life" nor did I say Kate cannot be fashionable as a member of the BRF. One is a working Royal and one works for the royals. One is expected in photographs, one ends up in photographs. I will not call either of them frumpy - we all have good days where we get it right, we all have bad days fashion-wise. That's as simple as my comment and thought is. I notice the same thing with the women I work with and my friends. I notice it with myself even - some days I get to work and think "hmm how did I not notice this at home?!". And other days at work I get tons of compliments and feel great about an overall look. We're human. If Rebecca has too many bad days that is for the Cambridges and their team to address.

    10. What happened in Malta?? Was this with William?

    11. Anon 10:28, I understand the concept of perspective. However, its irrelevant as I'm discussing how the hemlines look in this particular photograph, not what the actual lengths could be. Yet, if you look at other photos from this event where both are standing on level ground, the hem length in this photo is consistant with the others. Kate's falls mid knee and Rebecca's falls right above her knee. You may not find a hemline discussion interesting but I do. I brought it up because this photo perfectly illustrates for me, why, in general, I like a shorter hem on Kate. It was a follow up on a longer thread about the topic in the last

      Anon 1:44, I agree that its a gorgeous dress. I just think that with the all over dark heavy lace and high neckline that a slightly higher hem would transform it into a spectacular dress without the dated undertones. Also, I agree that many young women would wear this dress well but I doubt many women fifty or over could pull it off with great success.

      Royalfan, I have no idea if you were talking to me or someone else but I was only referring to this particular dress of Rebecca's at this event. I wasn't saying that I like all of Rebecca's hemlines over Kate's. I will say that although some of RD's outfits are more successful than others, she does look fabulous at times.Actually, I can think of more than one instance where imo she was better dressed than her employer.

      Of course, hemlines are a subjective matter but it irks me when blanket statements are made that Kate needs to wear very conservative hemlines because she is in her thirties or she is a mom when, in fact, an above the knee shirt or dress is very attractive on her.

    12. Sorry anon 4:51if I misunderstood you. Sometimes, its so hard to communicate in this medium. I certainly was not taking liberties on purpose. Of course people have better days than others. I understood from your initial comment that you felt that because Rebecca is an employee she has more leeway in what she wears. Thats what I inferred you were saying by the two very different women comment.

      I never meant for my comment to start an acrimonious discussion. I was thinking about Kate's hemlines since the last post and why, in most cases. I prefer a shorter one on her. When , this picture came up on this post, the contrast between the two lengths caught my eye. Rebecca's looks fresh and modern to me while Kate's looks unnecessarily dated. Sometimes, I like her longer hemlines. I loved the Michael Kors, for instance.

    13. Hi Faith, Anon 1:44. You have thoughtful posts however I have to disagree on the over fifty comment. I think it is perfect for the over fifty crowd. Older women often want some coverage of their necks and arms. Those areas age in ways that are often harder to combat than the face:) The long sleeves and high neck in lace are perfect for this. Figure wise most of my friends over fifty are trim and athletic with good figures, they would look great in this dress.

    14. Faith, I think the objection was more to your comparing Catherine and Rebecca, not
      so much your hemline opinions.Not just comparing, but making remarks about Rebecca outshining Catherine. That would be most inappropriate on the assistant's part.
      Imagine a lady-in-waiting attired in red silk, while the Queen wears beige cotton.
      No assistant should out-shine an employer when appearing side by side. It's just not
      good manners.
      I do think there was a consensus at one point
      that above the knee while standing translates to a flash of theigh when sitting.
      Such hem lengths also make her frequent bending and stooping around children awkward.
      With the gleeful criticism aimed at some of her unfortunate flashes in the past,
      I wouldn't blame her if she took to wearing a suit of chain mail.
      At any rate,I think mini skirts and even above the knee have gone out of style,
      except perhaps for Hollywood types or those who could care less what is "in style."

      She has recently been elevated by HM in royal honors and responsibilities-a seemingly
      slow, but very deliberate process. The hem lengths may simply reflect this.

      We do not know what she wears to private socializing with friends.She could be wearing a bikini, for all we know.

    15. Faith, my response was a general one. Sorry if it was unclear. But I do understand the points you and others are trying to make.

      And I can appreciate some of your frustration with rules as they pertain to hemlines and ages. For example, I did not agree with the criticism of the brown McQueen suit Kate wore to church recently. The style may or may not be someone's taste, but the length of the skirt did not make her look old.

      Kate has nice legs and, with her figure, she can pull off shorter hemlines, but the material and cut have a lot to do with the overall success of it. For example, a short pencil skirt worn as part of a suit, may work quite well, while a short flowy silk dress could be a recipe for disaster.

    16. Anon 4:52, yes it was when she accompanied William to Malta. Although that part of it was a non-issue for me. I just thought the length of her dress was a bit too short when she was seated behind William during speeches and on the gondola.

    17. Sonja from BavariaJanuary 5, 2016 at 3:44 PM

      Royalfan, why did Rebecca Deacon accompany William to Malta? She is Kate's lrivate secretary, not William's, and Kate couldn't make the trip due to HG so why would Rebecca come with William?

    18. Sonja, I believe she accompanied him because she had done her "homework", as part of her job, and was prepared for the trip. If the situation was reversed and Kate filled in for William at the last minute, I would expect his assistant to accompany her.

    19. Royalfan ~ I googled pictures and understood. I am hoping it was an honest mistake and she forgot to do the "sit test". If not...she probably learned her lesson after that.

      Sonja ~ I think because Kate cancelled at the last minute due to pregnancy, Rebecca had already done all the research & prep for the trip. I think it made the most sense to keep her on this "project" as she would have been the most valuable to William. Or at least makes her feel like all her hard work wasn't for waste.

    20. Faith ~ we're all good :-) Internet makes it difficult sometimes, as we miss facial expressions, tone of voice, etc. You're definitely entitled to your opinion of her hemlines. Her legs are also one of her best assets, when it comes to dressing for her body.

      Anon 12:59

    21. As the trip was first meant for Catherine, I suspect Rebecca had done the arranging and first visit, so would be sensible for her to go.

    22. Anon 12:26 I was absolutely only talking about hemlines. I would not blame her for not wanting to go out totally suited up either but I hope an escalation in status won't result in plunging hemlines. Like anon 9:01, I think the duchess's legs are one of her best assets, and I think if you've got it, flaunt it but I realize not everyone feels the same.

      Thanks royalfan and anon 9:01. That's my point:)

      Anon 11:30, I was thinking about fussy, busy clothing being ageing to one's face, particularly a dark heavy floral lace pattern. However, since I'm advocating no age limits on hemlines, in all fairness there shouldn't be age limits on all over lace dresses either. I'm sure there are some women of a certain age out there who could rock this dress.

  26. HNY!! My favourite moment of 2015 was Princess Charlotte's birth. And that Jenny Packham dress Kate wore after Charlotte's birth wins (for me) the "best of the year" award. For formal dresses - by far my winner is the Erdem gown she wore at the Women in Hedge funds gala.

    1. That thing looked like a set of old curtains and seriously how can any dress top the state banquet one?
      The hoop thing at the bottom of the erdem gown reminded me of a Christmas tree lining

    2. I thought the state dress was very ordinary.

    3. I loved the erdem! It's my favourite of all time!!! Nothing special about state dress imo

    4. I will agree with you about the Erdem Hannah. It is a beautiful dress. While the state dress was pretty, it had a been there done that look.

    5. Sonja from BavariaJanuary 5, 2016 at 10:49 AM

      Anon 9:31, I agree about the Erdem and the christmas tree lining ;)

    6. but,guys, it's the wrong color for Christmas :) ... Maybe a Polynesian Christmas tree.

  27. hi
    where to purchase Kristin Magnusson acorn necklace?

    website seems to be down


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