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Kate Visits Scotland & Plays Some Tennis

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Today, the Countess of Strathearn (Kate's Scottish title) undertook her very first solo engagement in Scotland. She travelled north to for three separate engagements highlighting Place2be, The Art Room, and finally an initiative we have not seen Kate appear for before: Tennis on the Road.  I know we are excited for the tennis, but let's start at the very beginning.

Kate arrived at St. Catherine's Primary school to meet staff and students and to see the work that Place2Be is doing at the school. This event focused on well-being and tied into Kate's mental health work. Look at these cute two practicing their curtsy and bow before Kate arrived! (photo via @byEmilyAndrews on Twitter) So sweet. 

Via @byEmilyAndrews

A lot of fans were excited to see that Kate was recycling her green SportMax coat, which the Duchess debuted on Christmas morning. I really loved this coat when she first wore it, and today we got a chance to get a second look and to appreciate the lovely details better.

I think this coat is better proportioned than her blue SportMax (I know that was a little big, because she was pregnant) but objectively speaking, the lapels on this coat are better proportioned for the style and look a little sharper and more streamlined, which I like. I might like the other coat in Kate's size and belted...but, let's not get off topic. Today's coat has cleverly concealed slit pockets, but "architecturally" appealing, angled flaps that give the coat a graceful contour. 

The Duchess participated in various group activities at St. Catherine's. Note that Kate kept her coat on while at St. Catherine's, even while inside. She does that often, but today I think there was a special reason, which you may have already guessed.

When the princess moved on to the Wester Hailes Education Centre, she removed her coat to reveal (fully) what could be termed her second look of the day. Underneath the SportMax coat, Kate was wearing a new label, Le Kilt. A Scottish company, Le Kilt specializes in traditional designs with a modern flair. Kate likes to wear tartans and kilt/kilt-inspired pieces when in Scotland, and it was fun to see this new piece!

This skirt is very much like the Dolce & Gabbana from her HuffPost appearance, as well as the kilt she wore the last time she was in Scotland! Both feature wrap skirts with side-fastening, and today's skirt melded the fringe and side fastening of the D&G with the pleats of the Christopher Kane kilt very beautifully. I think of these three skirts, today's skirt was my favorite.

We are seeing two of Kate's fashion love-affairs continue to develop here. Her penchant for pleats and her gravitation toward houndstooth! She is on a houndstooth streak! Kate paired her kilt with her black turtleneck and I am dying to know what the label on this top is. It has a very faint brown trim on both the collar and at the wrists.

Here is a close up of that bit of brown. If you recognize this piece, be in touch to become the most popular reader of the month. :)

Kate's 3rd appearance of the day was to participate in a tennis program designed and run by tennis champion Andy Murray's mother, Judy Murray! Kate has watched Murray compete many times, so the must have been a really fun afternoon for her.

On this 3rd stop of the day, Kate changed a final time. She put on a new sport ensemble featuring a snug Nike top, trendy track pants by Monreal London, and blue ASICS.

Tennis is perhaps Kate's favorite sport and she is reputed to be very good. In some ways, it is also a private and hidden sport. We have seen plenty of pictures of Kate sailing, and lots of pictures of Kate skiing (two other sporty passions) but we have never really seen her with a racket in hand. One of the few times Kate took legal action herself against the snappers was when a paparazzo took photos of her playing tennis over a Christmas holiday with James. She won that case, and we haven't seen any photos of her with a racket in hand since. Until today!

The smile on Kate's face never left for a second. As you probably recall, Kate and William are renovating their tennis court (hopefully it is nearing completion, or finished) and I expect Kate will be out teaching George to start handling his racket this spring. These shots of Kate doing floor exercises made me want to get back to Pilates!

This Nike top was a pretty quick hit. It's a greta color on Kate and features the 3/4 length sleeves of which she is so fond.

I like it because the collar is a little unusual, and it reminds me of the green Katherine Walker Kate wore in Canberra. Look, it's the same collar!

It was a really fun day in chilly Scotland! The Duchess cleverly recycled and mixed in new pieces, and was able to give each stop its own ensemble. (She may have taken her coat off for a meeting with Place2Be leaders, but there were no major pictures from this tête-à-tête) I am a big fan of the SportMax coat, and I liked the new kilt. Seeing Kate with a racket in hand was a particular treat.

Kate Wears "Ami" To RAF Valley, Anglesey

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Somewhere, on one of my calendars, I had noted that Kate would have an event today. But, life has been busy and so it came as a very happy "surprise" this morning, when I peeked at Twitter, to discover that Kate was due to arrive at RAF Valley in Anglesey within the hour! The Duke & Duchess were returning to William's former RAF base for what must have been a bittersweet event.

After 75 years, the RAF Search & Rescue Force was officially disbanded, since the work was moved from a military duty to a private company. You probably remember some talk of this that year, because it was a shift that likely precipitated William's early withdrawal from his military life. One of my favorite memories of RAF Valley is the Queen's visit. Elizabeth and Philip made a trip to RAF Valley on a blustery April day in 2011, shortly before the Royal Wedding. The Queen had to keep a literal hold on her hat, much to the amusement of the Duke of Edinburgh:

William showed his grandparents around, and the tour included the helicopter he flew, of course. I think it must have been a special visit for him, particularly as he stood on the cusp of such a new chapter in his life. 

Today, although he moved on from the RAF several years ago, it was a morning to say goodbye to many fond memories. Kate, too, was in a reflective mood as she reminisced on her memories in Wales. Victoria Murphy tweeted that Kate said:
It was such a special time for us. It was the start of our life together, really. 

Kate recycled her LK Bennett "Ami" coat, which she debuted on a short trip to Denmark in aid of a UNICEF, to provide aid to a massive draught in East Africa. She has worn it a number of times since.  She likes to wear it to cold events, which makes sense given how cozy it appears. Plus, I love the pop of color it provides. 

I like the below photo because you can see Kate had snug gloves on, and Rebecca Deacon is looking very smart several seats down from the Duchess. 

Kate did something I have been hoping to see her do with this coat since the first time she wore it in Denmark! She put her hair up into a pony! The coat has a very heavy sense to it. It is thick and long and it has a very commanding, military vibe with those epaulettes and the stand-up collar. I thought that her (gorgeous) thick hair down got a little overwhelming at times. Today, she did wear her hair up, which was exciting, but it back-fired for me just a bit.

I don't think the Betty Boop hat was the right hat to wear. Kate loves this hat, and I love it, too. She has worn it a million (shameful exaggeration, but relatively speaking) times and even Carole borrowed it over Christmas. It has good angles, I thought several of the side shots today were very flattering, however, with her hair in this tight pony, I thought it made her head looked oddly balanced. The big bow doesn't help the effect.  

I scrolled through all of her hats (you can do so here) and I didn't really see anything that would have worked, so I can see why she decided to wear this. Suede was the right call, and you can only wear so many colors with this coat. Nevertheless, this might have been the day to debut a new hat.

Speaking of debuts, Kate wore a new pair of heels, if you are the type that keeps track. The Duchess was carrying her Emmy London "Natasha" clutch, so my first thought was that the shoes would be her matching Emmy London pumps, but these were shorter than the towering Valeries. They are Russell & Bromley's "Pinpoint" pumps and they come in a sensible 8cm.

As I said at the beginning, a bittersweet day, but I think it was mostly sweet. Sweet to remember, sweet to look back, sweet to consider how their lives have leapt from strengths to strengths, and how filled with joy and blessings these years have been since they started their life in Anglesey. 

Kate's Day With The Huffington Post

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Kate made a big splash for mental health today by guest-editing the Huffington Post UK, shining the spotlight on children and early prevention. Several rooms in Kensington Palace (not Kate's private home, but the office section) were transformed into quasi-newsrooms and Kate was joined by the leaders of several organizations working in the trenches with young people. 

Kate Publishing Her Blog Post

Throughout the day, Huffington Post was updated with a number of blog posts and articles, from leaders in the industry to celebrities lending their star power and prestige to the event.

I hope some of you got a chance to check in throughout the day. It was a very exciting, high energy, and I believe, successful initiative. At one point the homepage was featuring art therapy. We all are familiar these projects thanks to Kate's involvement with organizations that promote art, such as the Art Room. You might remember Kate naming the Clore Art Room in early 2015?

Clore put together a video for today's event:

In this video, Kate learns a little bit about blogging as she clicked the button to publish her post and asked how quickly the post would populate. She was told the cache was a pretty short one and that people would see the post within a few seconds. When told millions were viewing her post, Kate's eyes popped a bit. Maybe she'll catch the bug and start a blog. :)  Can you spot someone hovering in the background of this video? It's Mr. Security on the job!

Kate chose a chic business ensemble, leaving a suit aside for separates. She mixed High Street and big label fashion in a Reiss blouse and Dolce & Gabbana tweed skirt.

I think Kate looks so gorgeous in these airy, chiffon blouses. She is quite fond of them for business events. You may or may not be familiar with the Ted Baker "Stardy" blouse she wore to a Charities Forum meeting. I LOVE it:

While on tour in Canada, Kate wore a ruffled blouse from Ralph Lauren:

She wore another creamy blouse to the Calgary Stampede. This was a Temperley top and I think everyone universally loves it:

Today, Kate paired the blouse with this heavier tweed and finished the look with black stockings and her Stuart Weitzman pumps. I love that she wore the black stockings and shoes.  

The ensemble was very polished. I have heard some chatter that Kate looked like a schoolgirl, but although the stockings underlined her youth, the look was very professional and right in keeping with a trendy business look for 20s-30s. It was cute and appropriate. 

The blouse is busy, and the skirt is even busier. In rather classic Kate style, it was a bold pairing (she does like those) but I think by keeping the color simple, she got away with the varied textures. 

Someone mentioned on our Facebook page that Kate's hair is back on point. I thought it looked great today, too. The waves are back, even if it remains relatively shorter than usual. 

There was some speculation on how successful this day would be, and I think that Kate settled any doubts. By all accounts it was a fabulous success. To put the cherry on top of an already triumphant event, it was announced that Kate is now patron of the Anna Freud Centre. We have been speculating on that here for some months given the attention she has directed at the charity. It seems appropriate given her increasing concentration on mental health. Great work today, Kate. You can guest edit here at From Berkshire to Buckingham anytime! 

Kate's Video for Place2Be & Mental Health Week

Saturday, February 13, 2016

On the 7th of February, Kate released her video in support of Mental Health Week and Place2Be.  The Duchess has appeared in videos to support the initiative in the past, but in the fall of 2015, Kate really made mental health her cornerstone priority. It was announced early in that autumn that she would be prioritizing the cause and she made good on her promise. 

This video is the absolute best Kate has ever done, beating her other videos by a significant margin. It was produced in-house by Place2Be's production team and it is polished and clever in presentation and technique. Working in front of a camera is an art, it doesn't come naturally. Kate has been learning on the job and getting better and better as time has gone on. This video was certainly the highpoint to date. 

Certainly, Kate is markedly more relaxed and natural. She has come a long way just from last year's video. There is a more marked change, though. This video is different from the others because it does not focus solely on Kate monologuing to the camera. (which she does fabulously) By interspersing footage of the Duchess interacting with the children, it affords viewers a rare glimpse into Kate's actual personality and demeanor in her charity work. If you think about it, we rarely get to actually hear Kate or listen in on the conversations she has. Still shots don't convey the entire picture.

This was a fantastic video. It was well put together, the music was just the right pace, and Kate was radiantly beautiful, empathetic, and so very real. If you weren't in love with her before, you are now.   Watch the video below and then we'll start chatting about her ensemble!

It helped that she was radiantly beautiful. Perfectly coiffed and wearing her Rebecca Taylor suit, Kate was polished, professional, and utterly lovely. We have seen this suit twice before and I think on its own it is just a beautiful ensemble, but the deep blue really suits Kate's dark hair and big eyes. She first wore it on a trip to Goldsmith Hall where the royal couple honored two servicemen who led a trek to the South Pole. My favorite picture from this event remains the one in which Kate is admiring her shining sapphire, which the blue Rebecca taylor suit complemented perfectly.  

We saw it again when she wore it for the farewell morning in New Zealand. Despite the drizzle, Kate managed to dazzle and give a nod to Rebecca Taylor's Kiwi background. 

Mental Health Week ends tomorrow, but the Palace has already announced that Kate will continue to focus on the issue. In a tweet this week KP alluded to years of focus, so I suspect this is where Kate has chosen to hang her hat.

Finally, to the delight of many, a higher resolution photo of the Duchess surfaced. @it_is_rosalie shared this snap of Kate on her Instagram page. 

Those boots look like they are her Aquatalia Cookie boots. I know someone suggested that her skirt, which appears pleated, could be the Mulberry she was snapped shopping in several years ago. I am not sure this photo os clear enough to know definitively. Whatever the case may be, she looks chic and relaxed. Travel-style inspiration! 

Happy Valentine's Day Weekend to all! 

New Kate Contributors Announced!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Hello All! I am excited to announce that From Berkshire to Buckingham's sister website, Kate's Clothes: the Online Encyclopedia of HRH the Duchess of Cambridge's Wardrobe is launching a group of fantastic and very talented contributors! If you are not familiar with Kate's Clothes, it launched last year and is a massive and meticulously ordered database that allows you to browse Kate's clothes generally, or look for something specific. 

There are tabs that take you quickly to various categories, including the Jewelry Box, where you can browse her sparklers and on that page you are offered a selection of jewelry specific boxes with which to search her pieces, including a designer list:

Or you use the fast tab to browse her hats, also by color, specific style, and more:

You can search by tour, event, date, etc. It is a very thorough resource both for professional reporters, but also for the very meticulous fan. :)  Today, I am excited to add more interactive content to this wonderful website in the form of knowledgeable contributors!  I would like to introduce them to you here, and each has written a short snippet to say hello and to put a face with a name!

You have already heard from Amanda, who continues writing for Kate's Clothes and bringing you a range of wonderful RepliKates! 
My name is Amanda and I’ve been a long-time fan of Kate’s fashion since she started dating William. My grandmother and I bond over our mutual admiration for the Duchess and Queen Letitizia. I am from Spain, but currently living in Los Angeles pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.
Kate's Clothes Contributor Amanda

Joann is joining the Kate's Clothes contributors and she will writing a monthly column on RepliKates under $100! 
My name is Joann and I’m from Lubbock, Texas. I am so excited to be joining the Kate’s Clothes blog as a monthly contributor. I will be focusing on affordable “replikates”. So many of us would love to dress like the duchess but cannot afford the price tags. I will seek to bring you great Kate-inspired alternatives under $100 so you can dress like the princess but still have funds in the bank!
Kate's Clothes Contributor Joann

Katherine is coming on board to write a column I know many of you will be very excited to hear about. Katherine's column is called "Curvy Couture!"
Hi, I'm Kate! I've been a fan of royal watching before I knew royal watching was a thing. And of course, who doesn't love a Duchess who shares the same name? When I'm not admiring royal fashion, I am an attorney in Maryland. I love to travel, and am a competitive karaoke singer

Here's a brief description of my column: We all know that finding a great repliKate is awesome. However, for those of us who are a little bit on the curvier side, the straight-sized repliKates that you find on most websites aren't always workable. My column will pull together some of the best plus-sized repliKates on the market, so that even us curvier girls can dress like royalty. From outerwear to formal wear, there are some great options out that will have you duping the Duchess no matter what your size.

Kate's Clothes Contributor Katherine
 Tess is going to be writing a column that focuses on Kate-related questions, "from ancient customs to modern etiquette!" Hers is actually the first post we are running, and if you click here, you can read Tess's own introduction/first post at Kate's Clothes
Tess Mize is a freelance writer, Navy wife, and new mom. Aside from being an avid royal watcher and Anglophile, she loves literature, theatre, yoga, and a good glass of wine. She was raised in the Southeast but currently lives in California with her husband, daughter, and dog.
P.S. Anyone recognize the dress Tess is wearing for her beautiful daughter's baptism?

I am so pleased that these talented ladies are excited to spend time thinking about Kate and giving their input on her style and life as we continue to take inspiration from HRH the Duchess of Cambridge.

I want to also take this opportunity to remind everyone of another sister site in the Jane Barr blogging family, and that is Charlene: Princess of Monaco. Katie Coble writes that blog and it is nothing less than gold. I think--although I am not sure--that the blog is the only fashion blog dedicated exclusively to the Princess of Monaco and I believe it is ranked on Google's first page. I am so proud of Katie and of the Princess Charlene blog. If you love the French, Monaco, Charlene, Dior, or a combo of the above, definitely make our Princess Charlene blog a stopping spot!