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[Updated] William and Kate Attend Somme 100 Vigil at Thiepval

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Two years ago, William, Kate, and Harry traveled to Arromanches, France to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Today, they were back in France at the Thiepval Memorial to mark the first day of the Battle of the Somme (tomorrow) and to pay tribute to the dead. 


The Battle of the Somme was the bloodiest battle in human history. One million men died over the course of the engagement which spanned five months, from July to November of 1916. Despite the caveat that the battle lasted not days but months, the human carnage is difficult to process. 


The Cambridges and Prince Harry were given a historical briefing overlooking the now calm farmland of Picardie and their somber faces eloquently conveyed the terrible facts they were being told. 


After getting a sense of the scope and tragedy of the event, the trio attended a candlelit vigil at the Tiepval Memorial. The memorial was built to commemorate some 70,000+ Brits and South Africans who died in France and have no known graves. World War I truly wiped out a generation of Western Europeans. 

Kensington Palace Twitter 

Appropriately, Kate wore a new ensemble for this event. This is the Snake-Stitch coat from Missoni, although I prefer to call it a chevron pattern in grey and black. :)


The coat is the longer length that Kate has been favoring and features oversized patch pockets and a demure collar. The back is quite unusual, using clever tailoring to create a slimming illusion. It retailed for over £2,000. 

Nordstrom

Kate wore a new black pillbox which has been very well received. I absolutely love it. It looks similar to the Betty Boop Kate loves so much, just in a new color. They are certainly close cousins. Carole Middleton wore the Betty Boop on Christmas morning in the same manner that Kate sported today's hat--pushed back and with the bow at her neck. 


The earrings we saw just this month when Kate debuted them at Trooping the Colour. They proved to be a bit difficult to ID, but I think that Annie Elizabeth finally figured out that they are in fact by Balanciaga. 


The verdict is a big win. This was a beautiful ensemble with which to mark this somber and historical occasion. I like the chevron look and am excited that she wore it, and that hat is so very elegant. The hat and her dark hair really framed her face well this evening. The Duchess struck just the right note of sophistication, fashion, and respect. 


There is a beautiful song with which you may already be familiar: The Green Fields of France. It is about a young man who fought and died in France during 1916. It is a very moving song, juxtaposing the beauty of the melody with the plaintive and tragic story of young lives lost in the mud and horror of France's deadly trenches. My favorite version is by Ronan Tynan:



The sun now it shines on the green fields of France
There's a warm summer breeze that makes the red poppies dance
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds
There's no gas, no barbwire, no guns firing now
But here in this graveyard it's still no man's land
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
To a whole generation that were butchered and damned.

Alan Jenning Twitter
See you tomorrow. 

64 comments:

  1. She looks so classic with the respectful black dress and gorgeous coat along with the pillbox hat and pearl button earrings. Absolutely gorgeous. I can see Audrey Hepburn wearing this ensemble and that's always a good thing!

    I have such a reverence for that battlefield and it's very poignant that they are honoring those brave souls in this way.

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    1. Love her look! I am a huge fan of the pillbox hat :) that look was a tad before my time. I do remember my Mom wearing a pillbox hat and gloves :) nice memory actually. I am a bit of a retro gal anyway.. born too late I think.... oh Frank... Sinatra hehehee

      She does look a bit tired or maybe it's the magnitude of the place and I would expect most to feel the heaviness. I know I do when I visit such places. I have been to the area and many in Europe in my 10 years of living in Italy. I am sure she felt the angst. How can one not? Devastating losses.

      I hope this doesn't come off as disrespectful but the last time they visited France for memorials .... we had baby news soon after. Sorry if that is offensive to anyone. I respect the solemnity of the occasion but gosh darn it I would like a #3.

      No judging please

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    2. I agree, ladies. Very classic and I am happy to see another pillbox hat. Kate may be tired, but I think it has more to do with the occasion.

      And Diane I sure can relate to your retro gal comment! :)

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    3. Well...I am going to join you ladies in the love for the Retro 50's look. I have been watching the British series Call the Midwife..(downloaded in from ITunes since I was in Downton Abbey withdrawl!!) and I just love seeing the outfits they wear ....classic, elegant and subtlety feminine, Really like the fashion from that time period!

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    4. That sounds like a fun series Laura, I'll have to check it out. Let's hear it for the retro look!

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  2. She looks beautiful, just not a fan of the pattern on the coat. I'm also not a fan of pillbox hats, but Kate somehow manages to look good in this one.

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    1. I agree with you!! The coat is so busy, it doesn't leave room for anything else. My head hurts after looking at it.

      Having said that, what she wore is not the point, I am so glad William, Harry and Kate are engaged in these commemorations, perhaps the younger generation will get a better understanding of the horrors of any war or military confrontation. So many years after the word wars and we still don't get it..,

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  3. LOVE the Jackie O look on Kate.

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  4. The first photo I saw I thought "Missoni!!". Such a recognizable designer. As a fan of Missoni myself, I'm happy to see her gravitate towards this brand once in a while. I've stayed at a Missoni hotel, but other than that I only buy Missoni scarves, so I live vicariously through Kate being able to afford their clothing.

    So Jackie O! Gorgeous. Nice to see the boys out in normal suits, but wearing the medals that recognize their service in the military. Their attendance at these events always cause me to remember the sacrifice of those before me. It seems the UK, or at least the BRF, acknowledge more military milestones than Canada does.

    Thanks for the quick post, Jane!

    ~ A

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  5. Not sure I have ever seen a photo of Kate with massive tears. Just saw one on Twitter and it has me all teary.

    That tired look is from her being emotional. I saw some photos if them walking through markers from the air. It's just so difficult to grasp.

    I am now even a bigger fan. She is going to be an amazing Queen.

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    1. I just saw those pictures, Diane, they are very moving. She will be a wonderful Queen.

      William and Harry both looked very solemn - especially Harry - but he has experienced being in a war and he works with veterans so I'm sure it's very personal for him as well. He read a beautiful poem at the service called "Before Action" which was written by a soldier who died two days later on the battlefield. For me it is almost as moving as In Flanders Fields. William made some lovely comments as well although, for a Royal, he bordered on being a little political.

      For anyone who hasn't studied the history of WWI and would like to know more about why this is such a solemn and well marked occasion, I would recommend reading Vera Britain's autobiography, Testament of Youth. You will realize from her first hand experience how almost an entire generation of men were lost during The Great War. The word "great" not meaning "wonderful" in this instance.

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    2. Can you please provide the link to these photos where she has tears? I haven't seen them...thanks!
      ~ A

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    3. I've often wondered how she doesn't spend half her time crying, with all the intense, significant, emotional events she attends! I tend to be a crier, myself, and I know she's got that British reserve going for her, but still - I really admire her fortitude. I've actually started to get teary whenever I think of the Queen's immense sense of duty, so it's for the best that I'm not the one expected to stand next to her at any of those events; I'd be a blubbering mess!

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  6. I like everything she was wearing except those earrings. They look like 'old lady' earrings to me, and I think they add years to her appearance.

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    1. They definitely look like old lady earrings, but since the two times she's worn them she's intentionally paired them with a classic look I think it appears stylish. To me it's a young lady adding some old sophistication to her look. If she doesn't dress dowdy, the look can, and so far has been, pulled off impeccably, IMO.

      ~ A

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    2. I agree about the earrings, they give her more years, but the slouching and her make up does not help either.

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    5. ...in a nutshell, Robin. Nude pumps anyone?

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    6. Trend setter LOL

      I am sorry but that is a stretch. I do not mean it in a rude way, but I suppose there is a generation gap here, what is appealing for you Robin or someone in her fifties/sixties, not necessary to be liked and applauded by a thirtysomething. I do not know the age of the other Anons of course, so it is only my opinion.

      Anon 11.29.

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    7. I completely agree. No 20 years old woman would wear this. Nothing against those who jump to buy her clothes or the similarities ones they can afford, but that means total lack of personal style and confidence. Can't deny, of course, that there is such a reality, but that is far from a 'trend setting ' it's just a bunch of people copying (quite a number of them too, sadly)

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    10. Sonja from BavariaJuly 2, 2016 at 1:32 AM

      I just want to quickly jump in here:
      Maybe I am in the minority in this case, but I adore these earrings, they are so pretty! I am 17 and I don't have my ears pierced, but if I had, I would like to wear earrings like these so they do appeal to the younger generation (well at least 1 member of it ;D)

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    11. If they are the Balenciaga ones, I don't think they are the pierced type, from the back view, Sonja.
      I think my Mum had similar ones, too. They might be still around somewhere.
      Very classic. They go well with a classic outfit, as another commenter said-
      No matter what the wearer's age. You match the outfit, not the age. It's just that
      classic dressers are often older, because they have weathered the trends and
      know good taste when they see it. This wisdom can arrive at a younger age- Catherine,
      for example. For official events such as this, classic can't go wrong.
      Probably not "trendy" though.
      All a trend is is a number of people following the same idea. They could become a trend, if Kate keeps wearing them.

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    12. Amen to the "value" of trends. Fashion icons where what suits them, not what the masses are stampeding to buy this week. Going against the tide of comments here, I'm not sure about the mabe pearl earrings. In some shots they are attractive; at other angles they look bulbous and draw focus from the rest of the fabulous outfit.

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  7. Diane, you mean tears from her today? Can't believe that is not front page on the newspapers.

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    1. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1370686/royals-mark-the-100th-anniversary-of-battle-of-the-somme/

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    2. I do not see ANY pics from this link that show Kate crying.

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  8. She is a beautiful woman, it was a very emotional occasion. Unfortunately, for me, the coat is awful..I don't find it in any way flattering. The hat is classic and appropriate and looks lovely, as does her hair. Having said that, the entire look is aging beyond her years. It should be possible for her to dress appropriately and beautifully without looking like someone's grandmother.

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  9. Yes, an event-appropriate, somber and elegant outfit. Very well put together. Catherine looks beautiful, although mature far beyond her age. I normally dislike Missoni and the ubiquitous zig zag, but this is suitable to the occasion. The pill box is perfect. I have no issue with earrings; I prefer larger earrings.

    But in total, the outfit is overly mature. Catherine looks to be wearing her mum's clothes. Wearing a half up do would instill some youth into the overall look.

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  10. the duchess look good and lovely she reminds me the late Jackie o

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  11. I could be wrong but I can't recall Jackie wearing a pillbox with her hair up. If she did, it was only once or twice.

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    1. You are correct Anonymous 11:34 when Jackie Kennedy was setting a trend with pillbox hats (during JFK's campaign and early in the WH yrs) her hair was left down not styled in a updo. But Jackie's hair was cut fairly short too..layered a bit and overall chin length as I recall. (And "set" with rollers/pin curls to lie close to the head and back from the forehead. It also looked fairly unmovable as was the style then) By that terrible day in 1963 her hair was longer and looser...still it was probably best described as a slightly above shoulder length bob (and she never had a "fringe".)

      I love this hat but I agree with those posters who say hair up with this hat could be described as a "mature" look for Kate. But she's not in her 20s anymore so I think its very age- and event-appropriate. I think if she had worn this hat with locks flowing she might have looked like a young teenager wearing one of her mother's hats--not a good look when abroad representing the UK! Also for formal outdoor events I think it's best to avoid the distraction of long locks whipping all directions in the breeze and the temptation to fiddle with hair especially during a solemn event. 


      While I love the hat I dislike the coat. To me it looks too wintery for the end of June including the buttoned up to the chin style, the pattern is too busy (metallic threads? A pattern called "Snake"?) and the overall look just swallows Kate's delicate frame. I don't see why a rewear of one of her many black coats wouldn't have been just fine. (I did think a new dress was needed for the NI garden party versus what she wore but don't think a rewear of a black coat for a solemn event falls into the same category) I didn't like the earrings before and still don't. I like Kate in larger earrings but these look cheap to me and remind me of the 1980s...like the Carrington women in the TV show Dynasty. I think they go with this outfit better than the Trooping one though as they looked too white with the cream dress.
      Still, I am glad she is branching out with jewelry styles.

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    2. I too would like to see her wear a dress without a coat on occasion, lizzie, but I saw some footage of last night's vigil and it was quite breezy and probably on the cool side. Along with Jane, I saw a chevron pattern instead of a snake. Bad name for this pattern - the designer trying to be edgy.

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    3. I think I might have liked the material better if the coat was a different style or a little more tailored Robin. The black skirt/dress underneath showed frequently when Kate walked because it appears the last coat button was pretty high up. And the hem of that looked to be at least 6 or maybe 8 inches shorter than the coat. That emphasized to me the coat was really "outerwear" rather than part of an ensemble and the coat length seemed to overwhelm her body. The sleeves seemed too long too unless the coat was true "winter" outerwear. I'd have liked bracelet length sleeves and long black  gloves better (classic along with pillbox and pearls!) Or a coat from this material with no lapels and a V-neck with a plain black top showing. Since it was breezy maybe a coat was needed but Kate wears them so often as outfits I tend not to think of weather!

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    4. I hope when she wears it again she will wear it with the belt as shown by the designer. It gave the coat a completely different shape. Still, she did look very appropriate for the solemn occasion. I cannot imagine what those men/boys were thinking on the night before the battle. Sitting in trenches just waiting for the command. So many lives lost to defend their honor and their country. True heroes.

      Ooo, bracelet length sleeves with gloves - so classic with the pearls and pillbox! I think you're becoming part of our retro group, lizzie. Watch out for the flying tomatoes though!

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    5. Love the pillbox. If she had worn her hair down with it, it would have seemed a characterisation, not a reminiscence of Jackie Kennedy.
      They have similar coloring and facial features.

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  12. The Duchess is only 34 years old, and she looks to be in her 40’s! It is as though Kate thinks that in order to look royal, she has to dress like a much older woman. I just do not understand her! The heavy eye make-up, the matronly up-do, the old lady earrings all add up to make her look aged beyond her years! It is amazing to me that again and again, Kate goes out of her way to look dowdy and old! Her face is thin and tired, where is the lovely, fresh-faced Kate of only a year ago? I love her, but at the same time, I am so disappointed!

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  13. Sonja from BavariaJuly 1, 2016 at 12:09 AM

    I am curious: does anybody know what medals william and harry are wearing/what they mean?

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    1. Re the medals question – William is likely wearing the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, awarded to all military personnel serving at the time of the jubilees, depending on length of service. Harry is probably wearing the same two medals as William and the third one would be an Afghanistan campaign medal.

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  14. I know that every person is different, but I need to make some comparisons. Queen Letizia of Spain is 43 years old; Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark is 44. Both are older than the Duchess of Cambridge (and both have children), yet Kate manages to look older than these two ladies. What has gotten into Kate? Why has her appearance changed so much so quickly? Why does she insist in being so thin when it obviously does not suit her? Why, even Kate’s own mother, Carole, looks more fresh-face than her! I do believe that Kate has confused being a member of the Royal Family with looking frumpy and old! This annoys me so very much! Kate is gorgeous, but she willingly hides her loveliness with clothes and accessories better suited for a much older woman (and please do not even mention the atrocious and dense eye makeup, and the old lady hairdo’s!) It is simply maddening: Kate could so easily look both fabulous and regal at the same time, but instead she chooses to look old. What a waste!

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    1. Ahh I think her tastes are just different from yours:):) For what it is worth if I had two kids and her job I would dress just like her. In 15 years you may find her being mad in love with new fashion or even more bored with thinking about it than she is now:):) Some ladies just love fashion and some do not:):)

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    2. While I wouldn't use so many strong words Anon 12.49. but I totally get what you mean!!! Sadly.

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    3. Ahh...the magic of Botox and fillers. Instant fresh-face.Some use it. Some don't.Women who have not completed
      their families often avoid it.
      There is nothing frumpy about Missoni.

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  15. Catherine looked lovely, but very solemn, as anyone would standing on the Somme battlefield. I remember particularly a young cousin of my mother's who died on that first morning, aged just 19.My mother told us about him and others of her relatives who died in WW1 and also that by the end of the battle, in the small church where she worshipped, there was not a single family who had not lost a relative.

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    1. Thank you for sharing this story, Jean. Those men were, most likely, not trained to go into battle as so many weren't back then. They signed up because they loved their country and wanted to serve. A good majority knew the chances were better than not that they wouldn't return home. A truly noble generation who left behind broken-hearted family members.

      I feel as if the solemnity of the occasion is being lost in the criticism of Kate's clothing and hair. While those things usually take precedence on this blog, this occasion is probably one of those times where "I don't care for this look" should take place over the vitriol.

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    2. Very poignant, Jean.
      Agree Robin 1:22

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    3. Sonja from BavariaJuly 1, 2016 at 10:11 AM

      What a moving story Jean. It is so sad but unfortunately true that (almost) every family lost someone. My grandma always told me about the family in her small village (but diring WW2): they had 7 sons very close in age and none of them survived the war, they all died, the youngest at age 17, and their farm went to a distant cousin. Such tragical stories.

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  16. HM also looked very lovely and appropriate this evening at the service in Westminster Abby. David Cameron's wife, however, looked hideously inappropriate in her red dress! What was that woman thinking? It's the equivalent of wearing red to a funeral. Very disrespectful.

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    1. The Westminster Abby event was lovely, I did not have a problem with Cameron's wife's apparel, to me in the photos the red was rather muted. Thought the Queen looked really wonderful, and I do wonder if she and Catherine had any contact about clothes, they really did dress very similarly. ali

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    2. Considering what just happened with her husband, frankly, my dear, she just may not care
      what is thought. Or, like Scarlett, she saw it in a window and just couldn't resist it.
      Who knows?

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    3. Red is also the color of poppies which are used to commemorate the dead so maybe she was going for that theme?

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  17. COMPLETELTY agree! You hit the nail on the head. I actually liked the outfit, but it would have looked SO much better with her hair either half-up or down. And her makeup had been horrible. She needs color in her face!!! She's so pale and wan looking all the time these days.

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  18. She looks beautiful - a well put together outfit -indeed so reminiscent of the late great Jackie O - Jane, I learned that song in school - (all twenty odd verses!) Also met Ronan Tynan many moons ago when he sang in my local church at home - a nice man.
    Would love to visit the Somme someday myself..

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  19. Why do Harry & William wear the same tie?

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    1. It's their Regimental tie.

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  20. I neither have praise nor criticism for this coat.It is one of those meh pieces for me.However,the Duchess wears the pillbox hat very well.
    Overall,she looks quite unfresh and tired here.

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  21. Off topic here but Happy Birthday to Princess Diana. She would have been 55 today.

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  22. Well this outfit is spot on perfection. This was certainly not the occasion for anything other than a dark color ie: black...but it summer...so all black would have seem dreadfully heavy for summer. The mix of black, grey and white lightens it up but still keeps the overall feel somber. I am not crazy about Missoni myself but this pattern I don't mind. I think the jacket looks better on Kate then it does on model and glad she ditched the belt.

    LOVE the pillbox hat and the hair. Gorgeous and elegant. Just classic. I think for these formal, somber events...her hair up is best. It is more professional and respectful and not subject to the perils of the weather. I agree...it does make her look older and I love Kate's hair when she wears it down...but for these occasions....an up do is the right move.

    And those earrings....when I saw them at Trooping the Color I thought "Well they are perfect with this outfit...but I am not sure they are going to go with much else...." And here they are with another outfit a few short weeks later...and once again...I think they are perfect!

    Some people have commented on the heaviness of the coat....but I think in fact this would actually be quite a lightweight coat. Looking at the weave close up...I get the sense this would be quite comfortable to wear in the early evening of a summer day. Pictures can be deceiving.

    Jane...it seems to me that this pillbox hat is smaller than her Betty Boop...but maybe it is just the angle of the photos,...at anyrate certainly a cousin to the Betty Boop as you said.

    All around gorgeous outfit and as always...very appropriate for the occasion.

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  23. I like this outfit very well. So appropriate and yet distinctive without being over the top. I like it with the belt as shown in the model picture. That would give Kate some definition to her shape. However, it may not be as comfortable belted....

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  24. Just my POV, but...altho, in general, I like Missoni and altho I liked the style/cut and length of the coat, I can't say the same for the print or colour; together, the black and grey mix tipped the scales from sober to drab. Could've been worse, but it could've been a lot better in a solid colour of either. Happily, the hat--which reminded me of the Betty Boop--, the earrings, the hairdo and Kate, herself, managed to save the day, and, I will admit that the coat was appropriate, but, the blue/grey McQueen worn Down Under would've been much prettier and just as appropriate.

    JC

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  25. I, too think this coat is "meh".

    Am I the only one who noticed there is a rifle at her feet in the first picture?? It looks bizarre, like it's just suspended there.

    Belle

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