This morning, Kate undertook her first official public engagement of 2016! The much anticipated return of the Duchess saw her appearing in her capacity as the Honorary Air Commandant of the RAF Air Cadets at St. Clement Danes Church in the Strand, London.
You probably remember that this is a patronage Kate just took on in December. When she attended the annual Christmas lunch that the Queen hosts at Buckingham Palace every year, Kate sent her children home after the meal and stayed on for a ceremony at which the Duke of Edinburgh passed onto his granddaughter-in-law the position he has held for 63 years. Kate seemed understandably delighted to be taking on this role, which has such patriotic and personal roots.
The Air Cadets were launched during World War II to prepare young Brits to join the RAF. It has continued in a similar capacity, acting as a character building, discipline enhancing organization that exposes young people to the service and--if they so choose--acts as a conduit to the military. For US readers, some of you may be familiar with the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corp. It's the same idea. Military training for high school students, many of whom then advance to real military service. Kate's grandfather was an RAF pilot and her husband Prince William served in the RAF for a number of years. Kate is "one of the family" and shares the same deep loyalty that comes from a personal connection.
After the service, Kate attended a reception at the Royal Courts of Justice. This is obviously a point of interest to me. The Royal Courts of Justice is one of the largest courts in Europe and houses the High Court and Court of Appeal. It is a magnificent building:
As a law student, we read some mid-19th century cases from England to gain an understanding of where our American law began and how it has changed on this side of the pond, so seeing Kate at the Royal Courts of Justice is exciting. She looked very in-command of the event in this photo--matching the majestic surroundings.
The Duchess recycled her bespoke McQueen coat first debuted in New Zealand:
And then worn again to the D-Day commemorations in France:
You might recognize today's hat. It is by Lock & Co. and Kate first wore it on March 26th to a memorial service for Richard Meade at Bath Abbey. (Details here.)
I like it very much. It is interesting and it has personality, but it is still reserved enough to be very elegant. I thought it was the perfect complement to this coat.
Kate was wearing new Gianvito Rossi shoes. Kate seems to have a fleet of these pumps (just like her many Muse clutches in different colors) and this is the third color we have seen her wear. (See all her Gianvito Rossi pumps here. ) These navy pumps retailed at a little over $600, but as of right now, they are no longer available on Net-a-Porter: (NB: one of my readers has alerted me that there is disagreement on whether these are GR or Rupert Sanderson. Kate has worn Rupert Sanderson in the past, see here. I will update when I have a chance to look more closely!)
She carried her navy Muse clutch, speaking of the Muse fleet, and she was also carrying her bow gloves, although we never saw her put them on:
Kate chose to wear her mystery drop earrings we saw as early as 2012. They have not been IDed, but they resemble pieces from the Asprey collection. Although Kate does like to mix in fake pieces, it is likely these are quite expensive. (Kate's Clothes page here.)
This coat is an odd one. It is one of those coats that you dislike and then love all in the space of 60 seconds and six pictures...and repeat. I look at it from some angles and it just doesn't get my heart racing, and then I see another shot and I am in love. Ultimately, I think the length of the pockets was a bold try and had the potential to really pay off, but they didn't work. They weigh down the front of the coat and make, what is actually a beautifully structured and fluid piece, look stiff and boxy. When you see the coat from the side and the back, it is just lovely.
In any event, I think today might be its best wear. I loved Kate's first wear with the sleek ponytail, but given how much personality this coat has, I think she needed to balance it just a bit more with her hair. When she wore it to France, however, I wasn't in love with the hat. Today seemed perfect. With her locks loose, she balanced out the coat a little more, but the shorter length she is sporting also meant that it wasn't too heavy. This was a great start to February and a great start to the official engagements of this brand new 2016!