So much for our worries that we would suffer a drought of the Duchess after the conclusion of the India tour. After a slew of pictures and news surrounding Kate and her children, the princess had three engagements today beginning with a visit to Hampton Court to open a new children's play area called The Magic Garden.
Anytime Kate visits an historic venue like Hampton Court, it is always particularly exciting to me. Hampton Court is saturated in Tudor history and the palace has more than a few famous, but tragic, characters closely associated with it. It was initially built in 1515 by Thomas Wolsey, a prelate of the Catholic Church and a well-known historical figure, due primarily to his place of prominence in Henry VIII's court and his ultimately unsuccessful attempts to secure an annulment that would allow the king to marry the (in)famous Anne Boleyn. Wolsey fell from grace and died en route to London where he would doubtless have met his execution, but not before he had transferred Hampton Court to Henry as a "gift." Anne Boleyn reigned briefly at Hampton Court before her star set; Henry's third wife Jane Seymour died at Hampton shortly after giving birth to Henry's heir; and there is a story that Catherine Howard, Henry's fifth wife ran screaming through the palace to beg Henry for her life after he discovered her infidelity and sentenced her to execution. There is a legend that her ghost walks the "Haunted Gallery" at Hampton.
William III decided to remake Hampton Court to rival Versailles (I can hear the Gallic snort from my French readers). You can't blame the man for giving it a go. In any event, he was interrupted in the makeover, which has left the palace a mix of two competing styles. (See above). On the other hand, two birds with one stone if you are looking for an attraction that affords a range of stunning architecture and design. I don't think that William III achieved Versailles, but there is no doubt Hampton Court is magnificent in its beauty and rich in history:
Robert Myers is the architect who has created a Tudor inspired play-ground in what was once Henry VIII's jousting lawn. It is themed around castles and dragons and stories and myths from 16th century England. Kate was shown around the new playground, here she is appreciating the perspective pergola with Myers.
|Historical Royal Palaces|
Thankfully, times have changed since this palace was the nucleus of Henry VIII's court, and today's royal lady doesn't live under a cloud of intrigue or impeding doom. Nevertheless, as a royal wife, she certainly was experiencing a history of which is very much a part of. Our modern duchess was asked by a little visitor if she was "the princess," and Kate replied, "just call me Kate!" She didn't say no, folks. :)
The news narrative is sometimes predictable for these events, but today we got a twist when Kate told another child that Prince George and Princess Charlotte have a pet hamster named Marvin! I don't know why we were all shocked, but it certainly made waves. Lupo isn't alone, although for all we know the Cambridges could have several cats and a parakeet. According to Kate, Charlotte loves Marvin because his whiskers tickle her face. I have looked at some hamster pictures on Google and given their minute size I am mostly concerned that George is going to squish Marvin, by accident, of course.
Today was Throwback to April 2014. Kate rummaged into her closet and recycled several favorites from the Australia/New Zealand tour. This Michael Kors coat is famous for stumping those of us who are supposed to ID on the swift. When Kate wore it on Anzac Day in 2014 it took a press release from Michael Kors the next day to alert royal fans that the Duchess had debuted the American label.
Although we didn't know who made it for some hours, this coat was a massive success. It is such a pleasure to see really beautiful pieces on a second wear, because inevitably they are cast in a slightly different shade. As Australia was heading into winter in April, that ANZAC day was a bit overcast. I was struck by what the clear, spring sunshine in Surrey did to give this coat a little twist and bring out some of the lighter threads of the tweed.
It was beautiful then, it was beautiful again today, styled with nude accessories that not only helped to differentiate the wears, but was more in keeping with the seasonal change. As small as it might seem, the barely-there lavender of Kate's Roksanda Illincic peeking out by the lapels also drew out the lighter tones.
Kate was wearing her Empress earrings by Mapping & Webb and she carried a new clutch from L.K. Bennett. After setting the Twitterverse into excited chatter over her Marvin revelation, Kate made her way to her luncheon engagement at the Anna Freud Centre.
Luncheon in Support of Anna Freud
Stepping out at Spencer House in London for a luncheon in support of the Anna Freud Centre, Kate had removed her Michael Kors coat to fully reveal the Peridot shift dress by Roksanda Ilincic.
This feminine frock was first debuted in Los Angeles while on tour in 2011. However, I still consider its most successful wear to be to a reception for the GREAT campaign in 2012. Kate had her hair in a chignon and the dress clung to her curves perfectly. If you look up va va voom in the dictionary, this is the picture you will find:
Today, the tour of stunning venues continued with Spencer House, although the most we can really see is a glimpse of those enviable gold pillars in the background of a few of the interior shots.
Spencer House is the historical London home of the Spencers and still belongs to Earl Spencer, the brother of the late Princess of Wales, although he rents it out. Still, Kate was in something of a family home. What a life. :)
|Spencer House UK|
Kate debuted this new hairstyle while in India. It seemed just the right relaxed and almost whimsical tone for her her boho ensembles and interactions with kids. I didn't expect to see her use it back home in London, but I like it! It has a casual and youthful vibe, that allows her to leave her hair down, but doesn't obstruct the view of her beautiful face. Plus, we didn't have to search high and low for a good look at her earrings!
Both recycles were wins for me. The Michael Kors coat is so flattering on her and the Roksanda Ilincic has always been a win, although nothing tops that 2012 wear. Perhaps what I loved the most was the Nina clutch that Kate had. Apparently, it is not available yet in the leather Kate is carrying, although the style is available in other textures and colors, several of which are on sale. The coat doesn't match the dress, which was a little weird at the Magic Garden, but not too distracting. She very clearly distinguished the two events, which I always appreciate, and I am sure the different organizations did, too. Kate had one final event today, a date with Vogue at the NPG. That will be covered in the next post coming up shortly!