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.