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Day 1: The Cambridges Arrive in Victoria, British Columbia

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Victoria, British Columbia today ahead of their 4pm arrival time. To me, the first deplaning of a royal tour is always the most exciting moment, and this tour carried its own special anticipation, because it is the first with both of the Cambridge children. Apparently, even when you fly private, though, you have to wait for the jet-bridge (or in this case the stairwell) just like the rest of us. 



Waiting at the foot of the stairs to meet the royal quartet was the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and his wife, as well as other dignitaries. As the plane taxied into position, there was little sign of life within the cabin. Most of the shutters were pulled, but one was up, and a still chubby-cheeked and inquisitive little face was peering out:

The Mirror

According to Rebecca English, Kate told fans that both George and Charlotte were incredibly excited for their trip in the airplane today. Charlotte, too, was at a window at one point, getting a preview of the royal welcome she was about to receive for the first, but certainly not the last, time. 



When we first met George on tour, he delighted the world with his hilarious and extremely unimpressed faces. Now as a precocious three year old, he approaches his royal duties with no less ennui and just as much charm. George was entirely unfazed by the noisy tarmac or waiting dignitaries, and instead was distracted by the helicopters that landed on the field behind the plane and the clicking photographers.

Canadian PM Twitter
Kate manages to make the classic mom pose entirely glamorous here:

via Kensington Palace Twitter

I know many were excited to see the kids, and I am looking forward to "getting to know" Charlotte's personality a little better. She remains a bit of an enigma to me right now.


Most of all, though, I was excited to see Kate and she did not disappoint. I don't think that Kate has ever missed on an opening performance. I ran a poll today on the Kate's Clothes' Twitter asking what color Kate would wear. Red got a lot of votes, but I agreed with the minority that the color would be blue.


This shade of blue, though, was just right, not too bright and oozing sophistication. It coordinated well with George's mix of lighter and darker blues, and Charlotte's white and blue printed dress and complementing accessories.


The Cambridges moved from the airport to Government House where they settled Prince George and Princess Charlotte before heading to the official welcome ceremony. The couple were at least half an hour late, which highlights the added logistics of traveling with children. I am sure they made sure that Prince George and Princess Charlotte, jet lagged and an ocean away from familiar surroundings, were acclimated and calm before they slipped away. Upon arrival at the Parliament Building, the couple paid their respects at Victoria's Cenotaph:

The Crown in Canada
The welcome ceremony included a number of brief addresses. My favorite was William's thank-you/hello speech which inlduded the obligatory (but no less welcome) part in French.


The Duke's accent leaves much to be desired, but he knows it and acknowledges it, which somehow makes it ok. Kate's laughter and blushes made the entire performance the first of many sweet couple moments we are sure to have in the next six days.



William and Kate conducted a thorough walk-about down the red carpet, greeting the eager fans who had gathered to wish the two well.

PM In Canada

This gave our favorite Mr. Security a chance to shine. The Canadians seemed a pretty polite crowd and we didn't see any of the rowdy action that he had to address Down Under. No offense to my Australian fans--you all are just a more effusive crowd. ;)



Although at the conclusion of the walkabout the couple were done with public events, but they had two "private" meetings before they could call it a night. They met with the PM and his wife, and with the Governor General, David Johnston, and his wife.

David Johnston Twitter

Let's talk fashion. This dress is absolutely stunning. It is a custom piece by Kate's favorite evening designer Jenny Packham, which really, really surprised me. The tailoring is very much in keeping with McQueen and the design closely tracks the grey sheath dress that the Duchess wore in Canada in 2011.


Below you can see the evening gown that Kate has worn, by McQueen, and the coat dress from her visit to Belgium, also McQueen, both feature the pleated sleeve that today's dress sported. On the right is the grey Catherine Walker, the back of which, is very much like the back of today's dress. 


I was also surprised that today's dress was Packham because Jenny P isn't usually tapped for these big ticket day-time events. She reigns supreme for evening apparel and certainly has her fair share of daytime appearances, but usually secondary ones. Below, are the three general categories of events for which Jenny P designs. (1) Evening wear. The label absolutely rules Kate's wardrobe in this department. (2) Secondary daytime appearances, almost universally on tour. (3) Occasional high-profile family events, including both the Lindo Wing appearances. 


[Update] A reader has pointed out that Kate wore Jenny Packham as her first ensemble during the SouthEast Asia tour in 2012. I overlooked this dress (you can see it here) possibly because there was no deplaning, as we have seen on most tours. Despite the fact that there was no deplaning, an opening ensemble is an opening ensemble.  Short story--Jenny Packham has stepped into a new category with this Canadian arrival. I think that Kate's relationship with Packham has really grown, particularly as the designer has dressed the princess through two pregnancies now. Kate's reliance on Jenny's artistic sensibilities and discretion will continue to fuel this star's popularity in Kate's closet.


Kate's hat was immediately familiar, albeit in a new shade. I think Kate must have gone to Sylvia Fletcher at Lock & Co. and said, I want that in blue...and with maple leaves. Sylvia of course said, right on it Your Royal Highness, and today's hat was born. If you don't remember today's hat's older sister, it was the red topper the Duchess wore to the Thames over Pageant in 2012.


Up to this point, Kate was wearing new pieces with a twist, but all her accessories were recycles. I thought her choice of earrings was particularly appropriate.  These are the tanzanite pear-shaped earrings from G. Collins & Sons. We first saw them when Kate wore them to the Afghanistan Service at St. Paul's in 2015. She wore them again for a private party with the Obamas at KP earlier this year. They may not be to everyone's taste, but these are really stunning sparklers, and as I opined at the time she debuted them, they are part of her growing, personal collection of heirloom pieces. As such, they were eminently appropriate for this historic arrival on her second tour of Canada.


The shoes are her Gianvito Rossi Signature 105 pumps in Praline and she carried her new favorite clutch, L.K. Bennett's Nina in trench. There was one final piece to her ensemble, and that was the diamond studded maple leaf brooch that she has on loan from the Queen. Kate wore this brooch during the tour in 2011, but against this blue dress, it has never looked better on her. That is, when Charlotte wasn't grabbing a handful of it:


Although so many parts of this dress seemed to be outside of Packham's usual profile, the one thing that fit her bill to perfection was the the fabric. Jenny Packham works with light and delicate materials, more so than most of Kate's other designers, and today's dress had her special, soft movement. This is a huge win for me, and I suspect it was an absolute hit with the majority of fans. She was remarkably stunning, even for the always beautiful Duchess of Cambridge. The tour is off to a successful start.


Before I sign off, today was a first for Jenny P, and it was also a first for me. I am covering this tour over on Kate's Clothes Instagram Stories. Hope you pop over and join the fun.

38 comments:

  1. Jane, what a great start to the tour. Kate oozed style today.I love that shade of blue on her. George and Charlotte were darlings.And Mr Security.... well,l what can I say! I am looking forward to the next few days. Thanks for all your input I am such a fan of your blog,Dy in NZ

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  2. Hi! Excited for the tour! What is the Instagram handle so I can follow along? Thanks!

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  3. Oh my he is so charming while speaking French :) (I speak French everyday for work-related reasons and I deal with both English people speaking FR and French people speaking EN). Loads to work on Wills, but you are so very charming!

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  4. Absolutely Kate was dressed to perfection in this hat and dress with the earrings. I do not even begin to see how she can flow so gracefully down stairs while holding onto her two children in very high heels and makes no mistakes. It is unreal. I always appreciate your take on events. Thank you.

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  5. When I saw the first photo of the dress, I was 100% sure that it was Catherine Walker! Then I read Jenny Packham and was like 'What? Really?' It is such a beautiful dress and I adore the colour, blue really is Kate's go to shade. (Just not a fan of these shoes, as I have stated several times, but Kate looked so perfect today/yesterday so that I'll give her a pass!) Her updo was marvellous and I was so happy to see these earrings again.

    Wasn't Charlotte trying to grab the maple leaf brooch so cute? She just loves everything shiny and sparkling it seems :)

    George looked so cute and has certainly grown so much! His preschool friends at home will surely be disappointed that he won't be there to play with them for some time :) and Charlotte's hair seems to get lighter, so while I think she will not become a blonde as George, probably a light brown?

    So excited to see what Kate chooses to wear on the tour and of course for events with the kids!

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    1. I read somewhere last night that we won't see the kids again until the end of the week. I hope there are surprises in store for us and that isn't going to be the case!

      I gave Kate a pass on those shoes today as well because, for once, they actually looked well with the outfit!

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  6. I was so pleased with the whole spectacle (although I thought Will looked like the odd one out in navy!). On Kate's previous trip to Canada her outfit was lovely but still very youthful and simple. The hat was more of a fascinator and the dress didnt fit her that well. To me the last outfit said 'Royal Outsider' while this dress said 'Future Queen'. It was elegant, bespoke (which I think she needs to wear more of) and tailored beautifully. Can't wait to see the rest of the tour outfits, and as you said, more of Charlotte. P.S.- Yes us Aussies can be quite gregarious. She is, after all, our princess too :)

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  7. The first photo of the family is just lovely. But I am stunned that the dress is a JP. I had my money on Catherine Walker (thought back to the grey dress from the first tour). Together with the hat and jewelry, the whole look was sophisticated perfection.

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    1. I agree, I also thought it was Catherine Walker because I had just recently been browsing the Kates Clothes page and looked at dresses from her 1st Canada tour and hoped she would recycle it with red shoes and clutch!

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    2. I would have guessed Catherine Walker too but Jenny Packham never disappoints me. I love her styling and she really knows how to dress Kate! I though she was just perfect today. I also love the traditional little dress with collar and smocking on Charlotte. So adorable!

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  8. Forgot to add: About William's French accent: Why do so many people complain about the way Germans speak foreign languages and have an accent - William definitely needs some improvement :D I am not trying to be mean in any way, just saying and he probably knows himself. I learned French for 4 years in school and spent some time in France for a language learning exchange and had almost no problems understanding the French people there, but William was.. a bit harder to understand :) but he was very open and relaxed about it, that's great!

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    1. Totally agree, he speaks French awfully..

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  9. Unbelievably beautiful! One of my all-time favorite looks! The tailoring, the color, the fabric, the hat, the hair, the shoes - the poise, my god the poise! Kate is unflappable, so elegant while she's parenting and carrying heavy children, greeting prime ministers, etc - the smile on her face always seems genuine, and the children are so lucky to have her and Will as such loving parents. Both Will and Kate are radiant in their roles as parents and young royals, the looks on their faces are so happy. So excited to see this gorgeous look from Jenny Packham, it's a fabulous departure from the flowing evening wear and day dresses. Not that Kate needs any kind of flattering, but everything about this look flatters her! The beautiful neckline in front and back, the slightly puffed shoulders and crisp, clean lines, the length, the color - I already said that lol - the hair, the make-up, LOVE those earrings with this ensemble. I guess that's enough gushing for now, but WOW! -- ps: doesn't Kate just get more and more elegant every day? She is SO tall and lender, so at ease, the proportions of her clothes which I thought were perfect before are even MORE polished...it's amazing!

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  10. How does she manage to walk down the aircraft steps in those heels, carrying one child and holding the other child's hand and still managing to look so graceful and elegant?
    Not surprised everything was running late--children seem to invariably manage that, but William and Catherine don't hurry when they are talking to people--even when reviewing the guard of honour, the Duke picks a few people and has quite a long chat.
    Loved the outfit and the family colour co-ordination. Princess Charlotte seems to be laying claim to the brooch.
    Well worth staying up until 3am.

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  11. Hi, great post thank you! If I am not mistaken Kate also wore a Jenny P beautiful dress at the arrival on the 2012 Asian tour. On another note, I think this stunning dress echos also the lace dress worn this summer in France with the only difference on the rounded collar. Has the designed of the lace dress been identified?

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    1. I immediately thought of this dress, too!

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  12. Wow, I don't think could have been any more perfect. She looked sensational-head to toe!

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  13. The colour is smashing!The pleated sleeve princess like.The maple leaf brooch striking a shining contrast against the beautiful blue.The fascinator resplendent!But,that collar I felt an unnecessary feature which detracts the appeal for an otherwise perfectly alright garment.

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  14. I'm not trying to be mean here or anything...but seriously, what is with George and shorts? Why he is always wearing shorts? Is it his uniform? From the photos I can see all adults wearing jackets so it's not super super warm. Why can't they dress him properly. Not Downton Abbey style. Pants would be nice occasionally.

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    1. If I had to guess there might be a practical aspect to the choice. These outfits were likely planned far in advance and toddlers can grow like weeds - opting for shorts rather than pants allows some wiggle room that helps avoid last minute scrambling when George's carefully chosen pants don't fit on the designated day.

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    2. Allie in Churchill, MBSeptember 25, 2016 at 11:14 AM

      It is very much a traditional English thing. Young boys there, especially upper class ones, wear shorts throughout their childhood. My parents are both Brits, and so my brother was dressed in outfits like these throughout his youth.

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    3. Little English boys of the upper classes wear shorts to a certain age in a more formal setting and in school. Wearing long trousers is a right of passage upon turning 8 years of age. It's always been that way.

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    4. Wearing shorts is a regular thing for boys growing up in a commonwealth country. Nothing more than that.

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    5. Another American posting. Wearing shorts and knee highs for young boys is a very traditional look and not just in the UK:) Yes, less common today than in the past but Catherine has dressed both her kiddos in pretty standard traditional styles. I happen to like the look.

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  15. As you says Jane, absolutely stunning! The cut of the dress so elegant, beautiful colour blue, divine hat & the shoes perfect - but I'm one who see Catherine as very chic women who rarely get it wrong. Hey anon 9:15, don't you know young boys in many cultures don't wear long pants until they's much older - so he IS dressed properly. Don't judge him with USA standard of make young boys little men ;-)

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  16. I think what absolutely made this outfit for me was the brooch. Kate often looks perfectly nice but her outfits lack a finishing touch. Not so in this case, the brooch really pops against that lovely shade of blue and finishes the outfit beautifully.

    Would have rated her appearance perfect but for the Curse of the Nude Shoes.

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    1. @ Anon 11:56 - I disagree. The nude/sand shoes are prefect. A blue shoe would be old fashioned matchy, matchy - '80s wedding look. The shoes elongate her legs and keep the focus on the strong royal blue of her dress & hat. Stunning.

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  17. Ok, so you hate nude shoes Anon 11:56 - better tell Amal Clooney to stop wearing her nude shoes with a red dress, LOL. I luv 'em.

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  18. I love everything about this outfit, even the nude pumps. I think the reason they look so nice this time, is they appear to be the exact same shade as her legs in all of the pics.

    It's always hard for me to tell if she's wearing hosiery or not, but the next time I shop for nude pumps, I'm going to be wearing my favorite nude panty hose and match the shade perfectly, cuz then it seems you can wear them with most any outfit.

    Sorry, but I'm having an epiphany here lol.

    Belle

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  19. STUNNING. I am in love with this ensemble! The brooch was perfect against the hue of the dress, and the family coordinated splendidly. The silhouette was perfect up against the wind on the tarmac.

    My only (tiny!) issue is with the shoes - Kate is so tan, she looks like she's not wearing shoes in some shots with the shade she went with! A lighter color/patent finish to match the clutch would have been nice, or possibly a navy shoe, but overall just lovely.

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  20. The blue Jenny Packham is reminiscent of the gray Catherine Walker from the first tour, but I think it's really similar to the black and cream lace dress from the WWI ceremony this summer. It has the same slim line, flared shoulders, peter pan collar and bracelet length sleeves. The remarkable difference is the lack of the peplum or lace in this new dress. Regardless, it's a winning silhouette.

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    1. I wonder if the WWII dress was a trial run of this pattern?

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    2. Apparently it's been confirmed that the lace dress is Packham

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  21. Also, the little face peering out the plane window is Charlotte's. That is her pale white & blue, short sleeve dress in the window. George is wearing darker blue sweater over a long sleeve white shirt. But all the news outlets say the face is George in the window. No biggie :p

    Belle

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  22. What a fanatic day we got there nice and early and got a great spot. We Got to shake Prince Williams hand and a little chat. He was so nice and happy to be here. The Duchess was greeting the other side but she looked great. The blue was perfect on her and the earrings were so sparky. It was so great. Hope they enjoy there time here

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  23. Wow, what a home run! I adore these shoes; they're modern and trendy but still with the classic edge that Kate favors. About ten steps up from the Sledges. Combined with this immaculate dress, she's smashed it out of the park!

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  24. Here's what I notice about Charlotte, she loves, loves Kate's jewelry. Her hand rarely left the brooch even when touching it put her in an weird position. I noticed when they were on the balcony, Charlotte was always touching Kate's earrings too. My niece was like this when she was a tot, obsessed with jewelry and any details on clothing (lace, covered buttons, etc.).

    I think Char will love girly things and be very detail driven. She will die over the crown jewels!

    P.S.
    I do not mean that she won't love sports and the outdoors, too!

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  25. So glamorous! Didn't know Jenny Packham was so versatile, altho after the blue evening gown Kate wore in India, I should've guessed. If Sarah Burton isn't careful, she will be supplanted! I can't say enough about this stunning outfit--everything was right. Well done, Kate.

    JC

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