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Kate's 2016: The "Best of" List

Saturday, December 31, 2016

I look forward to this post every year. I love the opportunity to review all the wonderful events and milestones Kate has marked, to remember and enjoy again the beautiful clothes and sparkling jewels, and to see the year from the 10,000 foot view. It is always a big job, but this year the task feels more daunting than any of the preceding years. Kate had an absolutely packed 2016, with two full overseas tours and multiple new designers and baubles. At the same time, I felt the year flew by at warp speed and I am excited to slow down and remember all that happened. Keep in mind, this is not a classic year in review, this is my "Best Of" list and as such it only highlights...the highlights. So what are the rules? I make them up every year, but this time I am limiting myself to three "best" slots per month with wiggle room provided by honorable mentions. Kate had two tours this year, and I was at a bit of a loss as to how to deal with them, but I have decided that each tour takes a slot, and there will be subcategory awards within each tour. I always skip reading the rules before games, I assume I'll figure it out as I go along, and so I imagine most of you are already glazing over. You'll figure it out as we go along. Let's jump in!   

January


January usually starts on the slow and quiet side, but 2016 had an early pop of activity as the Cambridges announced they had enrolled George at Westacre Montessori School near their Anmer Hall home. They released pictures of the little tyke all kitted out to meet the other kids. 2016 was off to a great start and we weren't even a week in!


On January 9th, Kate celebrated her 34th birthday. Surrounded by her family at Anmer Hall, she celebrated privately, but I noted here on the blog that that birthday marked a decade in the spotlight for the one-time Kate Middleton. You can read that post here. With the family gathered at Sandringham and Anmer, though, we still got to see Kate the day after her birthday. On January 10th, the Middletons and the Cambridges joined the Queen at St. Mary Magdalene's
and commemorated the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli afterward.


This single public event for the Cambridges in January set the tone for a year of military commemorations. Surrounded by villagers in the quiet countryside town, the event resembled something out of Downton Abbey. Aristocracy gathered with the locals to pay tribute to the dead at the village's WWI memorial.


Kate's Michael Kors ensemble was equally traditional and could have easily been borrowed straight from Lady Mary's closet. It was an unexpectedly early start to the royal watching year, and was a good omen for a year that did indeed surpass all previous years in public appearances. 

The Lady Wallace Instagram 
Although this was the only "engagement" the couple attended that month, Kate spent January, as she usually does, focused on her family and her personal life, enjoying this secluded start to the year while nature sleeps in the clutches of frost or under a blanket of snow, and the world recuperates from a season of holiday excesses. Kate's personal life, however, was a bit busy. In addition to George beginning school, Kate was spotted shopping with George (pictured above) in a dressed down ensemble that featured a Katherine Hooker coat and Russell & Bromley loafers. 2016 was very short on paparazzi photos, though, and this was one of the very few we got. 

February


February got off to a flying start with a special video produced by Place2Be's in-house production team. I don't know if it was the beautiful photography or the fact that Kate looks so gorgeous in deep blues, but her appearance in this video wearing the her Rebecca Taylor suit separates was a sartorial bright spot in dreary February. It easily wins the first slot in our list.


Claiming second place for the month of February was Kate's ensemble for her first appearance as Honorary Air Commendant of the RAF Air Cadets, a position she was given in December of 2015. Kate recycled the bespoke McQueen coat she first wore while on tour in 2014. This was a great recycle. We got to see the coat in a little more motion which highlighted some of its attractive qualities. It isn't her most popular coat. The huge front pockets are clunky and the small collar seems an add pairing. Coupled with a hat and beautifully coordinated accessories, though, the coat seemed to get a second life and merits a place on the list. Later in the day we got one of the rare candids when Kate was photographed making her way to a waiting helicopter that whisked her home to Anmer following the Air Cadet event. 


The duchess ruffled feathers when she announced she would guest-edit the Huffington Post UK to highlight mental health. Although detractors were excited that the duchess was doing more to highlight mental health, there was grumbling about the venue (an American news website) as well as the manner in which the Palace organized press access. Those wrinkles excepted, Kate scored her third win of the month with the softer business casual look. These pieces are hard to pull off, and when she recycled the skirt later in the year, you will find it didn't score a place. But here, paired with a delicate blouse from Reiss, it won. 


February was a relatively light month for public appearances, possibly due to the work that went into the Huffington Post day, and Kate only had two more events. In the first of these two, she joined William at RAF Valley in Anglesey for what was the end of an era for many, and personally bittersweet occasion for William and Kate. After 75 years, the RAF Search & Rescue Force, of which William was a member during the Cambridges' time on Anglesey, was officially disbanded. Kate cocked her Betty Boop hat at an odd angle, so this ensemble does not score for sartorial strength, but certainly it makes the list as a milestone along the couple's' journey. 


Kate closed February with a trip to Scotland for a number of events, including a tennis camp at the end of the day. I am giving this honorable mention in large part because of the relaxed shots from tennis. How often do we see the Duchess of Cambridge on the floor?



March


In March, William and Kate slipped away for their very first vacation as a family of four. Fans were delighted when the Palace released a small photo shoot to celebrate the trip and to mark the couple's fifth anniversary which was approaching in April. These beautiful images of Charlotte and George bundled up with their beaming parents are highlights not just of March, but of the entire year.


By March, William and Kate were heavily prepping for their tour of India and Bhutan, but Kate still slipped in a number of great events in the midst of it all. She recycled for a joint engagement with William to promote suicide prevention, but it was her visit to XLP London the next day in a new suit by London-based designer Eponine that wins a spot on our "Best of" list. The structure of the suit-separates and the bold use of trim along the hips, made this one of the more unusual and interesting ensembles of 2016.


The highlight of the month and the absolute winner for March, was without a doubt Kate's custom grey Erdem ensemble for the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey. As beautiful as Kate's perchers are, I think she was in a bit of a rut and it was fabulous to see her surprise us by breaking out in wider brims by John Boyd in 2016. This grey ensemble with matching accessories was tip to toe perfection and scores the crown for March.


The Duchess had one more live public engagement in March, as she opened EACH's charity shop in Norfolk, and she also appeared in The Queen at 90 documentary. The documentary included some video from within the Diplomatic Reception and afforded us our first real look at Kate's gorgeous McQueen evening gown. It also featured Kate in an interview setting for which she recycled her Rebecca Taylor suit. This makes the list because of the sweet insights into royal life and to mark Kate's first solo interview as a royal. It was a huge fan favorite when it aired. 



Oddly, it was this month, right before the Cambridges headed out on what would be the first of two tours, that a media storm broke out about the young royals' work ethic. We chatted about it on the blog and had quite the spirited debate. As the year rolled on, I think their work ethic was vindicated.

April

April arrived and royal fans were buzzing with excitement for the tour of India. The Cambridges kicked the fun off early with a reception at Kensington Palace to meet young people from India and Bhutan who are living, working, and studying in the UK. Kate scored her first big win of April here. Although this Saloni dress divided fans, it was one of my favorites and highlighted a style that Kate really embraced both on tour in India and throughout the year.


Without much more fanfare, it was time for the tour!

India & Bhutan 2016

A tour is supposed to be an array of the best and most breathtaking ensembles, so it is hard to fit this week into our "Best of" list. I decided to award "Best Formal Ensemble" and "Best Casual Ensemble" with runners up for both categories. One of the elements that I thought was most special about this tour was how much Kate embraced local styles, so it won't come as a surprise that the winner of the "Best Formal" category is her traditional ensemble for her first day in Bhutan. 


The runner-up in this category is her teal Desdemona tea dress from Temperley London. Kate wore this to meet the PM of India and paired it was striking Kiki McDonough earrings. I thought it was a striking color on her, appropriately colorful for the location, and absolutely inspired in its graceful and feminine design.


The winner of "Best Casual Kate" goes to the paisley maxi dress worn to visit homeless children in New Delhi.  Kate cleverly added a belt to match the cuffs and wore complementary earrings, with her hair whimsically pinned back.


Again, I disagree with those who think Kate shouldn't look "in costume." She should embrace the traditions and styles of the host country. It shows interest and respect. This dress was oddly one of my favorites of the whole tour. I absolutely love it.


Runner up in this category goes to her Dawn Jeep ride ensemble from her morning tour of Kaziranga.  The Pangolin Pants will continue to put a smile on my face for some time...and they looked cool, too.


I am not awarding any honorable mentions for India because I would say, with the exception of the Anna Sui dress, I liked every single thing she wore. This tour was a smash hit from start to finish. Even the few ensembles that I wasn't so hot on at first have grown on me. Much was made of the Cambridges' visit to the Taj Mahal, because of Diana's iconic photo, but I don't think that was the landmark moment is was made out to be. For all my focus on continuity and history, sometimes the power of the past is not strong enough to determine the future and I think there were other moments from this tour that will be more iconic than the Taj Mahal pictures, such as the royal couple's hike to Tiger's Nest.



At the Taj Mahal, they were visiting memories and walking among ghosts, they were paying tribute to old wounds and attesting to healing, and in doing so, they necessarily took a back seat. Their real and vibrant relationship was on far better display on that sweaty Bhutanese hike and I think those are the images people will look back on, and those are the pictures that will move forward to be iconic, not their tip of hat to the past on the bench in front of the Taj Mahal.


May


Instead of taking it easy in May, as the couple has done in the months following previous tours, Kate threw herself back into public engagements and pulled off a packed month of very successful events. In the first two days, before Kate even stepped out for her first event, though, there were a flurry of exciting headlines. The Palace released official birthday photos of Princess Charlotte taken by Kate at Anmer Hall...


And, the Duchess of Cambridge was announced as Vogue's June (released in May) covergirl. This was her first authorized magazine cover, and she did it for the fashion Bible no less, so this easily gets a place on the "Best of" list. 


The hubbub around the birthday photos and Vogue shoot had just subsided to a dull roar when Kate began her public engagements in earnest. After opening The Magic Garden at Hampton Court in several recycled pieces, Kate attended the Vogue 100 exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery where she officially viewed her cover and chatted with the photographer. Recycling an already hugely popular ensemble by McQueen, and with full bunches of curls and gorgeous dark make-up, this event easily wins a place in May on our round-up.


The royal family celebrated the Queen's 90th birthday throughout the summer, and in May the Cambridges attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The Duchess's red Zara jacket over a D&G dress doesn't make it onto this list, but we will see the dress hit the "Best of" in June. William, Kate, and Harry launched Heads Together on May 16th and Kate's Banana Republic skirt and Goat London blouse combined with the importance of the launch of the Royal Trio's mental health initiative, makes the list. 


Next, Kate made a solo visit to Portsmouth recycling her McQueen sailor ensemble. That outfit, although in the running, barely misses out on making the list, partially because the competition this month was stiff and also because as a tricycle it fell short of the second wear. Her next outing on May 23rd was another liner, but also missed making the list. It was Kate and William's first appearance at the Chelsea Flower Show, and although it was all kinds of wonderful, that green dress has always been just a hair off for me. Maybe it's the big matching belt. In any event, with only three slots available per month, the Chelsea Flower Show lost out to Kate's next and final official event in May, the garden party at Buckingham Palace.


2016 was a year of firsts for a lot of things in our royal watching world, and this was another first. If you can believe it, Prince William had never been to one of the Queen's garden parties! He made his debut next to his glowing wife who was recycling her custom McQueen ensemble from George's christening. It was our first full look at the sumptuous suit which had been obscured by George's ruffles on its first wear. This handsome pair easily snags the final spot for May.

Paul Ratcliffe Twitter

Those are our winners for May, but we can't skip along to June until several honorable mentions are made! The Cambridges sent a thank-you card to those who wished them a Happy 5th Anniversary. Royal photographer Paul Ratcliffe received one of the cards and shared it with royal fans on Twitter (see above). This rather rare photo of the Duke & Duchess makes it on the list under honorable mention.


Also making the list in May under honorable mentions are the candids of Kate with her kids at the Houghton Horse Trials. Wildlife photographer Helen Mathias happened to be at the horse trials and snapped these candids of the Cambridges enjoying a weekend out with their good friends the Meades.   It was a lovely peek into the couple's bucolic private life.

June


June is always an exciting month for royal fans. The BRF packs in a number of big ticket events including Trooping and Order of the Garter. Kate began June with another first. She had a straight seven days of public engagements. Outside of a tour, this week saw the most consecutive engagements she has ever undertaken and each ensemble was gorgeous...but only three can make "the list."  Her first ensemble also snags the first slot. In her capacity as patron, Kate attended SportsAid's 40th Anniversary Gala at Kensington Palace. Wearing a striking blue evening gown by French designer Roland Mouret she took our breath, stole the show, and made the list for June 2016.


The next day was a family affair as Kate joined William, Harry, and the royal family at St. Paul's for a service of thanksgiving for the Queen's 90th birthday. This custom coat from Catherine Walker, featuring creamy floral stitching, paired with the Jane Taylor hat from Charlotte's christening, was picture perfect. It makes the list with ease, even in the super-packed month of June.


I am going to cheat just a bit and rather than giving this next appearance an official place on the list, give it honorable mention. Although the hat was one of my favorites this year, we can't see the rest of the ensemble that well (it's the coat from Charlotte's christening) so Trooping 2016 makes it here not for the fashion, but for the historic and sweet images.


On June 12th, the royals walked the Mall for the Patron's Lunch that gathered hundreds of the Queen's charities together for a massive street party celebrating the monarch and her many years of service.  Kate's Roksanda Ilincic dress was another win, but doesn't make the list. With only one slot remaining for June, Kate's appearance the next day wins the third and final place on 2016's "Best of" for June. On the 13th, Kate attended the Order of the Garter at Windsor. The Duchess of Cambridge recycled her Marianne coat from Catherine Walker, first debuted in Canada in 2011. Paired with her red Sylvia Fletcher hat, her McQueen Bow clutch, and finished off with her acorn diamond earrings worn on her wedding day, Kate's ensemble popped with color and packed quite a punch. Seeing the earrings again on Kate after five years was one of the most exciting jewelry moments of 2016.


On the 14th of June, Kate and William travelled to Ireland for a garden party at Hillsborough Castle. As much as I love that brocade DAY coat, I don't think it would have edged out any of our June winners, but I will say that the Cinnabon hat Kate paired with it didn't aid its chances, and the ensemble was one of her few misses in June.  Honorable mention goes to Kate's debut at Ascot, both for the fashion and the occasion. Ascot is such a classic summer event and conjures up images of My Fair Lady and beautiful British summers. Although this dress was a miss just the month before at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, Ascot was just the event at which it fit in. I loved the creamy, busy flounces against the green of the turf, and paired with this bold mesh hat from Jane Taylor, it was a huge success. Honorable nod to you on this one, Kate.


Kate closed the month with an exclusive fundraiser at Houghton Hall in Norfolk for EACH and then on the final day of June, the first of two appearances in France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. Both of these beautiful ensembles would ordinarily make the list, but June was just too full of beautiful items. I am going to attach her first Thiepval ensemble to July, though, and feature it there.

July


July was not as hectic as June. In general, the royals start to slow down in July as we approach the August holiday. In keeping with their increased activity in 2016, though, the Cambridges kept up their public appearances. Thiepval and the Somme commemorations bridged June and July, and although Kate's lace Jenny P on Day 2 doesn't score a slot, I am moving Day 1's ensemble from June and awarding it the first slot of July. This flattering Missoni coat with a classic pillbox hat and giant pearl earrings was picture perfect on Kate. The weekend as a whole is also notable as it highlighted that the Duke and Duchess are increasingly taking more senior roles. The Trio (Harry, too) were joined by the heads of state from France and Britain as well as other senior members of the BRF.


On July 6th Kate presented the Art Fund of the Year Award at the Natural History Museum. This debut of Brazilian designer Barbara Casasola wins the second of three slots for July. It was another sartorial surprise from Kate in a year that saw her add a host of new labels to her closet. I loved the slimming and sexy vibe of this dress. It pushed Kate a little out of her generally more reserved persona, which was a fun change and turned out to be a bit of a hint of what was to come in the fall.


Kate fueled rumors that she would take over as patron of Wimbledon when she arrived earlier than usual at the All England Club on the 7th so she could meet with players and staff. The event had a decidedly official air about it, despite the fact that no announcement was forthcoming about a change of the guard. As it turns out, just a few weeks ago it was finally officially announced that Kate will take over as patron as the Queen shifts a number of patronages to younger members of the BRF.


Much as I love the yellow Roksanda Kate recycled, this first Wimbledon appearance makes the "Best of" as an honorable mention, because the third and final slot goes to Kate in blue at the Royal International Air Tattoo with a very special little guest: Prince George.


This event was perfect in every way. Kate was wearing several of my favorite pieces from her closet-- the gorgeous stretch dress from Stella McCartney and her favorite Smythe blazer--and anytime Kate and William are out and about with George, my heart just melts. This was one of the absolute best events of 2016.


The royal couple closed the month with a second trip to Wimbledon and then a visit to Portsmouth for The 1851 Trust. There are a few notable events we still have to acknowledge in July. The long-awaited announcement from the Middletons was finally made! James Matthews proposed to Pippa with a stunning engagement ring and the couple kicked off a flurry of excitement as they began to plan their big day, now confirmed for May 20, 2017.


The other milestone was one that comes around every year, but was nonetheless hotly anticipated. Little Prince George celebrated his birthday on the 22nd and his parents released new pictures to mark their 3 year-old's big day. These adorable images easily make the "Best of" list.


As royal photographers and reporters took off for the August holiday with their families, Kate and William packed up their kids and boarded the Duke of Westminster's private jet bound for the south of France. We still don't know where the Cambridges spent the majority of their holiday, but they did spend a few days on the coast at Biarritz.

August


The couple were in France as August began, and the month meandered along in its customary sluggish manner. The royals flee to the four corners for vacay and it's a good month for royal bloggers to take a break, too. At the end of the month, though, the couple returned to the scene. With only two events the whole month, both these appearances get onto the list by default. On the 24th of August, the couple undertook a series of engagements in Bedfordshire. Even though this appearance is a default win, it seems pretty worthy in its own right. The Lasa poppy dress has always been a fan favorite and with her hair seemingly newly treated, Kate looked magnificent.


The couple made a surprise visit to YoungMinds helpline in London, and this would have made the "Best of" no matter the competition. I love surprise events and I loved this flirty red dress from L.K. Bennett. The shorter hemline and full skirt had a very youthful vibe and Kate looked like a hundred bucks. It was a great close to a pretty slow month, giving everyone a boost of energy as we approached September.


September 


With the couple's second tour of the year fast approaching, the Cambridges still had lots to do at home before taking off. September started with a big win on the 1st. The Duke and Duchess headed for a two-day tour of Cornwall where both Kate's ensembles scored winning places on 2016 "Best of" list. This simple, but luxe twill dress from Lela Rose, was another surprise choice. Kate had only worn Lela Rose once and that was on tour in Australia in 2014. It seemed the label had been relegated to a one-time appearance category, and then Kate wore the American designer on a trip to Cornwall! As are most of Kate's surprises, it was a delight. I love this pale pink on Kate and it was a big win worthy of the 2016 round-up.


September second win came on the 2nd, but is a little more controversial. 2016 was the year Kate started experimenting with her casual wear. I think everyone agrees it was high time, too, as fans had long wearied of the "Casual Kate uniform" of blue skinnies, Breton top, and blazer. For a visit to the Scilly Islands, Kate switched it up with patterned trousers from Gap, a snug white top from H&M, and a navy blazer. I loved it. I thought she looked incredible, and all those blues and whites against the complementing colors of the ocean and islands, made everything pop. For some, though, the trousers were just a little too form fitting...


The Cambridges slipped one more event into September before they packed their kiddies into the plane and flew to Canada for their second overseas tour of the year! I actually loved that blue  and white dotted Altuzarra dress, and it was a win for me, but Canada 2016 takes the final slot for the month and within this subcategory, we are going to have some winners.

Canada 2016


Kate debuted one success after another on her massively successful second tour. Given how beautiful each ensemble was, the following awards are necessarily a little arbitrary. At the conclusion of the tour in October, I gave the flirty, flamenco dress the top award, but for tonight's "Best of" 2016 I am also considering the year as a whole, which is why the "Best Formal Ensemble" for Canada 2016 is now going to the airport arrival in the blue Jenny Packham. Although the red flamenco dress had a little more excitement, Kate's triumphant return to Canada after five years, with two beautiful little heirs, can't help but steal the show for its doubtless iconic longevity.


The runner up in this category is snagged by the Preen cocktail dress. As I noted at the time, Kate debuted a new level of glamour in this dress. I think it will consistently be reviewed whenever Kate's finest evening ensembles are considered.


For aesthetic qualities and gorgeous scenery, her White Horse ensemble wins the "Best Casual Ensemble" category. The Sentaler coat was fresh and unusual and anytime the princess is in cowboy boots it is fun.


The runner-up in this category was easily her business casual ensemble on their final day of the tour. More polished than ever, Kate continued to find her way in this in-between area of dressing. The block heels from J.Crew really made the look, and firmly brought this chunkier look into style. I am sure we will be seeing them everywhere in 2017!


Honorable mention goes to the Children's Party. This event makes the list for the fashion, but where equally worthy dresses were left off, this one made it in large part because of the event itself. Canada 2016 was, in many ways, meant to introduce George and Charlotte to one of Britain's largest and most precious Commonwealth countries. This party was about George and Charlotte as children, William and Kate as parents, and all four as the darling family they are. All ends were accomplished masterfully. This event was one for the history books.



October 


After their grueling schedule in Canada, with two little ones no less, the Cambridges would be forgiven for putting their feet up for a few weeks. But just as we saw them jump right back into gear after their tour of India, they hit the work circuit a week after returning to the UK. Nevertheless, Kate seemed to be hitting a bit of a fashion slump and October was a mixed bag. On the 10th, Kate joined "the boys" for World Mental Health Day. Her lilac Kate Spade dress was a hit with me, particularly paired with her brunette tresses, but it was not a home run. It was exciting, though, because it was another designer debut. 2016 was most certainly the year of designer debuts!


In 2014, Kate was supposed to undertake her first solo overseas trip with a two-day visit to Malta. Those plans ended with Kate sick in bed as she struggled with HG and Prince William touring the sun-soaked Mediterranean island in her stead. It took the duchess some years to get back around to a solo trip to a foreign country, but she accomplished this milestone in 2016 on a day-trip to the Netherlands. In a year that saw multiple signs that Kate's work life is transitioning, Kate met with King Willem-Alexander and visited two cities on a trip that highlighted her interest in the arts and growing prominence in the BRF.


Her bespoke Catherine Walker suit would have made the list on its own, I expect, wrinkles not withstanding, but certainly the sense of gravitas that attached itself to this trip made it well worthy of a place on this list.



Just a few days later, Kate joined William for a series of engagements on a day trip to Manchester. I didn't tally them up, but I think 2016 saw more of these day-trips than any previous year. Kate's Erdem coat would not ordinarily make this list, but as I say, the October field was not crowded. Of note is the ponytail she sported in 2016. I am a big fan of this flattering style on Kate. It's a compromise between her favorite loose locks and full updo.


Those are the three slots for October all filled up. It leaves the last public engagement of October more or less out in the cold. This next dress probably wouldn't make the list on its own merits no matter what the competition looked like, (I am just being honest here) but I am giving it honorable mention because of the video that accompanies the dress. On October 18th, Kate attended several engagements that were back-to-back wearing a poppy-printed cocktail dress from McQueen. At Buckingham Palace she joined the Duke of Edinburgh to meet with recipients of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. She received her own gold level from the Duke himself some twenty years ago during her time at Marlborough. Kate was featured in a documentary that aired about the Duke's award on ITV. See here part starting at 36:00.



November

November began with the spotlight on another member of the BRF. Rumors began to swirl toward the end of October that Harry was dating an American actress named Meghan Markle and on November 1st the first post about the actress went up on FBTB. With no confirmation forthcoming, though, we turned our attention to Kate who had a busy calendar for this penultimate month of 2016. Kate kicked the calendar off with a red carpet movie appearance at the premiere of A Street Cat Named Bob. This ensemble effortlessly slips onto the "Best of" list for its unusual evening styling and because this Self Portrait (another label debut!) dress pulled together so many of the styles Kate loved in 2016. The lace, the high, frilly collar, the thigh-high slit... 


Next, Kate mixed in another embargoed and private visit to a prison to visit female inmates before a trip to the Nelson Trust just days before Harry, in an impassioned press release, confirmed his relationship with Megan Markle and asked that the press give her space and privacy. He confirmed in the nick of time, as the brunette beauty was spotted just days later walking back to Kensington Palace carrying a Whole Foods bag! We barely had time to digest the loads of paparazzi shots that were pouring in from Toronto when the press reported that Pippa and Carole had been spotted wedding dress shopping, too. Which royal brother/sister do we follow first? Kate pulled the magnifying glass back in focus as the royals gathered for a number of Remembrance Weekend activities, including the Festival of Remembrance and the ceremony at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. Kate gave some fun twists to old favorites in 2016 and the addition of cuff embellishments to this DVF coat certainly was a good example. The full-brimmed John Boyd hat helped propel this ensemble to victory for a coveted place on the list.


Kate's events were a little sparser in November. I think the Duchess attends private charity events and board meetings and, of course, there are plenty of personal commitments to be fulfilled as the holidays approach. For the second year in a row, Kate headlined Place2Be's now annual Wellness in Schools Awards, wearing the very successful red Preen from Canada in black. I have dubbed these "Déja Vu Debuts" and you can enjoy learning about this new FBTB category at this post.  Earlier in the afternoon, she had attended a party for Dippy the Dinosaur at the Natural History Museum wearing a new dress from L.K. Bennett.  Neither of these ensembles scored the final slot for November, because Kate had a quasi-public event that was not announced, but won out over all the others. On November 28th the Duke and Duchess attended a service of remembrance for the Duke of Westminster who died prematurely at 64. A good friend of the royals, the Duke of Westminster had also always been particularly generous to William and Kate in allowing them to use his private jet for holidays, so it made sense they would take time for the service. Kate recycled her McQueen patchwork coat and the Boyd hat from earlier in the month. It was a smash success, even if the occasion was a sad one. 



December 

December was a little on the sparse side. I suspect the Cambridges felt they had put quite a bit of time in throughout the year and wanted to focus on their children during this most magical time of the year. Despite the relatively few engagements they had in December, the ones they did do were particularly special. The first ensemble to make the list for December is undoubtedly Kate's appearance at the Diplomatic Reception. In an unprecedented move, the Palace released a posed picture from inside the event and we got our first solid full length shot of Kate's beautiful red Jenny Packham, to say nothing of her gorgeous tiara. 


Kate really only had two events in December for charity, and chose to highlight the Cub Scouts and Heads Together. Kate's visit to the Cub Scouts wins the second slot in December for its rarity (we don't see Kate do all that many scout events in public) and for the sweet interactions that always transpire when Kate works with kids. 


The Cub Scout 100 celebration edges out the Heads Together Christmas party that followed shortly thereafter on the 19th. With the news that William and Kate would skip Sandringham Christmas and celebrate the holiday with the Middletons, royal watchers were worried we'd miss out on the annual Christmas photos. We pinned our hopes on the Queen's annual Christmas luncheon, but we were thwarted there, too. Although there were cute, fleeting glimpses of both little Cambridges, Kate sat in the back of the Range Rover and was not very visible. As the 25th approached, it was a bit of a downer as the Cambridges disappeared to Berkshire and even the Queen did not make her usual trip to Sandringham by train, but flew by helicopter due to a heavy cold. Unbeknownst to the general public, the Cambridges had a special surprise. Not only did they tap 2016 as the year George would make his church walk debut, they decided to bring Charlotte, too. Carefully choreographed, the family arrived at St. Mark's on Christmas morning and entered the church by a side door so they could take a longer walk and enter unobstructed. Many of the major media outlets were on hand to document this special and historic moment and royals fan everywhere got their Happy Christmas! This photo set of pictures easily wins the third slot for December and the final place in 2016's "Best of" list! 


All in all, 2016 was a very special year. Despite the recent and dour headlines detailing the Cambridges' work-shy behavior, they increased their workload this year and carried out an impressive array of engagements for parents raising two young children. I never imagined we would see them carry out two full overseas tours in one year so soon, and yet they did. For Kate personally, it was a landmark year. We saw her further develop her sense of style and broaden her closet to include a greater range of styles and designers. This truly was the year of "Designer Debuts" and with each new piece, Kate seemed to be testing her style profile. I also found myself using the adjective "sexy" a lot this year, and I think if you review her new choices, a lot of them are pushing toward a spicier look . She moved toward more structured evening gowns, developed a taste for Victorian collars, broke away from only perchers and embraced broader-brimmed hats, and learned that high-ticket items are just part of the job description. She also seems to have hit her stride on recycling effectively,  which was particularly evident while on tour in India, but also in the multiple events throughout the summer as she paired an old hat with a new coat and vice versa. It was a transformative year for Kate in many, many ways. I expect she will run from strength to strength in 2017.


The Best Ensemble of the Year (Formal Gowns Excepted)
This is always a very hard ensemble to choose, although once we cut out the gowns it is a little easier. For 2016, the best ensemble of the year was Kate's Catherine Walker coat dress for the Service of Thanksgiving. This was just pure unadulterated Kate perfection. 


It utilized embellishments to create the perfect, sophisticated coat dress. With delicate stitching around the collar and down the front and a scalloped hem, it was everything we expect from Kate. Well done Catherine Walker and Kate.




Best Debut Designer
I think this has to go to Barbara Casasola. The Brazilian's off-the-shoulder cocktail dress was completely out of Kate's norm, but highlighted well the duchess's new pizazz in the style department. I don't know if Kate will wear Casasola again (although I am not suggesting she won't) but this is an ensemble that won't be forgotten quickly. 



Best Evening Gown of the Year 

Kate doesn't pick a bad evening gown, but even so, it wasn't hard for me to tap the blue Roland Mouret as the Best Evening Gown of the Year. Kate stepped out of the box with this a little, switching up her usual silhouette and chiffon style for Mouret's more structured and simple design. It was elegant and sophisticated and, yes, sexier than usual. I loved it. 




Designer of the Year
It isn't this designer's first year winning this award, but fair is fair and this was another great year for Jenny Packham! In 2016, Jenny Packham seemed to start a transition toward designing not just Kate's evening gowns, but also day dresses for formal and important occasions, slipping into a domain previously dominated by McQueen. Jenny P has designed big day dresses for Kate in the past, such as the her Lindo Wing frocks, but this more structured style we saw this year is a new trend in the Kate/Jenny collaborations. Kate's lace Somme dress, which didn't make the "Best of" but was lovely nonetheless, was thought to be McQueen for some months until her Canada arrival dress, also by JP, solved the mystery. 


Jenny Packham has continued to design Kate's really big-ticket evening dresses, too. When the duchess needed a real show stopper for the Bollywood gala to meet India's stars, she turned to Jenny P who created for her a cobalt blue creation with intricate beading that paid tribute to the event and host country, but maintained Kate's style profile. 


Packham also scored some pretty high-profile recycles, including the glitzy ARK dress that Kate wore to the Taste of Norfolk fundraiser and the red evening gown designed for the China State Banquet that Kate wore again for the Diplomatic Reception. It was a great year for a lot of designers, but certainly a fabulous year for Ms. Jenny Packham. Big congrats! 




Love from Jane 
Dear Friends,

As always, a very warm thank you to each one of you today for always taking the time to come and read the blog. I appreciate those who comment, I equally appreciate those of you who just read. You are all noted and valued.  It feels like every year life gets busier, and so many of the comments addressed to me are left unanswered and too many of the emails never get a response. My New Year's resolution is to be better about getting back to you all, but know that if I fail, I have read your remarks and enjoyed them, and they always make me think. Comments have inspired more than a few posts and I enjoy them all.

I have some fun plans for the blog in 2017 and of course, the coming royal year is already full of promise. Pippa's marriage. Possibly an engagement for Harry? Presumably another tour? Most of all, I would love to see the Cambridges have a third baby. Fingers are crossed! No matter what the new year brings, I look forward to following the Kate and hope you come often to follow with me!

Don't forget to follow the blog on Facebook to stay up-to-date with Kate in 2017!












128 comments:

  1. Sarah Maryland USAJanuary 1, 2017 at 2:08 PM

    I have to say that grey coat she wore was the ugliest thing I have ever seen. I don't udnerstand anyone's love for it. It looks like elephant skin
    You say this was a busy year for Kate but someone counted and she only worked 63 days or of the year and that is not enough by far
    She didn't have the excuse of pregnancy so that number should have been a lot higher
    Additionally I am still disgusted with her for skipping saint patricks day
    She had two more weeks to spend with her children before she left on a tour that would last less than a week so there is zero reason she couldn't have spend a few hours honoring the troops
    I think 2016 marked the year in which a lot of people stopped having a lot of love for the Cambridges
    At least William stepped up his workload. He did a lot more engagements than Kate and still worked a part time job

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    1. I would disagree. The Erdem dress was exquisite and the workmanship great. Sophie also bunches her engagements so they translate to fewer days worked.Sophie who is full time did not have that many more engagements than Kate. Yes Kate did two tours, but that is still work and many reporters have said, far more gruelling than everyday engagements. I think there is still plenty of respect for the Cambridges especially from those who realize there is a long term plan as they develop into their future roles as POW and hopefully King and Queen. Reaching the level of engagements as Princess Anne does takes many years to achieve. There is such a desire by so called "fans" to see the Cambridges up and running, but it is evident to me that there is a deliberate transition plan in place by the BRF. Anyway at this time of the year, especially with so many uncertainties in the world, I prefer to look on the positives rather than coming out with so much disdain. Happy new year to all.

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    2. What a horrible comment for the first day of the year. Kate did 140 engagements, will 188 and harry 152 and they all did more then last year. William is colonel from that regiment and not kate, so why does it matter she skipped st patricks day, it's william's engagement and not kate's. And the rest of your comments is your bias against them. Have a happy new year.

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    3. Why so negative, Sarah Maryland USA? I think Thumper's mom needs to have a chat with you.

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    4. Happy New Year everyone....!

      First let me start by saying I appreciated that you put your name to your comment instead of posting as anonymous. While I understand that people have good and just reasons for posting anonymously, I appreciate that if you have a criticism to make, putting a name beside it means you are prepared to stand behind it. So thank you for that.

      Jane and the readers on this blog have always welcomed healthy debates. So my response is not due to that fact that you presented views opposite to other readers. At times readers have said they felt that "you can't say one critical thing without being attacked" . I don't think that is true. But I do think the manner in which you make critical comments is key.

      If you don't personally like the grey jacket..fair enough. We often say here that fashion is often a case of personal taste. In fact one of the reason I enjoy reading the comments is to see what the majority likes or dislikes. I find it very interesting. However to say that "you don't understand how anyone could love" this coat shows a lack of empathy and respect for other's views.

      With respect to your comment on the St. Patrick's day event...the word "disgusting" is a very strong term. However if you feel that way then so be it. No one can tell you how you feel. But it seems, if I try to understand where that is coming from, that it is because you feel Kate's absence was disrespectful to the troops. If that is the case, then fair enough. But again..as other readers have pointed out I think there was a bigger plan in play here. This was never intended to be a regular item on Kate's schedule, it should be Will's as the Colonel from that regiment. I can't remember the exact facts, so maybe another reader can help me here...but at the end of the day...I believe there was a member of the monarchy there to present the shamrocks so they were indeed honoured by the royal family. So then is your "disgust" because Kate didn't personally do it???
      In terms of the level of work done by Kate...well I won't go there since 1. It has been debated often enough on this blog and I am sure readers are tired of it. 2. Jane specifically lists it as one of the "forbidden" topics at the bottom of the comments section. But as I have said before...I believe that there is a master coordinated plan that considers the work levels of ALL direct royals including the Queen, DofE, D and Duchess of Windsor, K, W and H and probably even Anne, Sophie, Andrew and Edward. I don't think anyone of these individuals or couples are off doing what they please without some coordinations with the group as awhole. But since this topic is off limits I will drop it for now.

      Thank you Jane for a wonderful and what I am sure was a very time consuming post! Happy New Year to everyone.

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    5. I feel like a post repeatedly discussing how "busy" Kate was this year begs a discussion about her level of work - unless, of course, we're all only supposed to comment if we agree with the conclusion that she was in fact busy? Trust me, I would love to agree with that assessment, but I fear that she was only "busy" this year compared to her usual workload, which has generally been shockingly low for a seemingly able-bodied and well-educated young woman. In the spirit of positivity though, I will say that I am relieved she did make an improvement this year, and hope that she continues to do so

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    6. Sarah Maryland USAJanuary 1, 2017 at 7:55 PM

      But it in perspective. She worked 63 days when there are 365 days out of the year
      I doubt that if Kate really wanted to work more she would be prevented from doing so
      She doesn't seem that interested in doing so
      They needed to come up with a better reason for why she skipped saint patricks day. She went when she was 8 months pregnant with Charlotte

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    7. Laura--Canada, thank you for stating what so many of us are thinking.

      And Jane, what a nice post to start the New Year. May it be a happy one for all...

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    8. The only Royal who works 365 days a year is the queen. Kate was busier than all her previous years as a royal and unless she has another child, her numbers will most likely increase. Her workload is partly due to what she wants, but more importantly it is what the BRF want and they are definitely controlling and monitoring the level of her appearances. Positively there were a lot of firsts for her last year and maybe that is where the focus should be.

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    9. Neither the Queen, Sophie, nor Camilla have their work counted as days instead of events. To make an intelligent comparison the parameters must be the same. Either count each event separately for all or by day for all. The Queen even gets separate notations for arrival and departure. Also, some events performed in the Queen's name are listed under her name when she wasn't even present. Some of the patronages work like that.
      How would you like to work at three different events in one day, but only get credit for one?
      Harry has no other job , no spouse, no children yet was only 12 ahead of Kate? He also receives tremendous PR and support from KP Twitter, compared to William and Kate.
      What a crock! I'm singing to the choir here, for the most part, anyway.
      This is probably a waste of time because I doubt it will make a dent in the walled-in opinions and fake facts a few cling to that have absolutely no basis in reality. Time moves on-
      Kate is growing. It is a lovely sight.

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    10. I agree the counts are done in odd ways and not always done the same way for all. But some of Harry's fairly high-profile public charity work is not considered "official" work and is not included in his count so I'm not sure comparing him to W&K makes the most sense. And if  "distance from the throne" is key (as is often mentioned when comparing W&K to Charles and Diana) then Harry gets a break there too. 

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    11. "Sarah Maryland USA", I have kept silent for a very long time on so many of your critical comments, but I have to respond to this one. I wish that you would really give consideration to the way you offer criticism. Instead of offering constructive criticism, you tend to be insulting with your words. It is time to let the St. Patrick's Day absence go. We don't know all of the circumstances that were taking place in the Cambridge household that day and week, and I feel that you have been very unjust with your criticism of Kate for not attending that event. The fact that "you are still disgusted" by her absence from that event makes me want to ask you..."Why do you even follow blogs about Kate? It seems like she frequently has some failing in your eyes." If you have to be critical of her the majority of the time, then why read anything about her?

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    12. Since KP heavily covers Harry's work in Africa and with the athletic competition, I assumed they were counted. Which is not? And with which counting source? I know it is called "private charity" work
      because neither is a patronage, being outside UK, but I think they are counted on those counting sites and lists. Or just not on the CC? Just a thought, was each day spent at a site counted or each individual activity with Harry?

      I know William's work with WLF and his international efforts are not included in some places.(he has been working with China and they just recently announced agreement to
      ban ivory-a huge step for them) -although I suppose it can be argued maybe his multiple trips and contacts with China for that purpose had no effect. We have learned of reports from members and leaders of charity groups in off-the-cuff, non- interview situations, that Kate spends unannounced time with them. Of course, if it were the Queen or Phillip, it would be announced, covered, and counted.

      The Diana/Charles and Catherine/William comparisons: I thought it was agreed that the results of the Charles disengagement with his family and immersion in his Prince duties
      helped destabilise the Wales marriage-which the Queen seems intent on avoiding with the Cambridge family. I don't think distance from the throne was at issue so much in that instance.

      We need to decide one source for our comparisons and stick to that. The Court Circular, a Kate tracker site, or a skewed list promoted by tabloids and used to justify remarks about "work" that seem to pop up nearly every time an effort is in danger of gathering too much public praise. The Cambridges had a good year and likely the end of year praise had to be countered by efforts to discount their efforts.
      Those "work" stories don't just pop up by themselves.

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    13. William is the colonel of the Irish Guards. The first royal colonel in their history. So the guards got their shamrocks from their colonel. If we say Kate snubbed the Irish Guards, then William snubbed the Air Cadets by not attending their service celebrating their anniversary that his wife, their honorary commandant, attended. The Welsh guards get leeks on St David Day. No Royal presented them in 2016. So that's Charles who is their colonel snubbing them and by this snub logic also Camilla who is married to the colonel snubbed them too.

      It becomes all pretty silly. Kate doesn't have to attend every event of William's patronages and William doesn't have to attend every event of Kate's patronages. The Irish Guards were with their royal and the Air Cadets with their royal too.

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    14. What everyone seems to forget is that Catherine could have continued maternity leave until mid April, but chose to return early.
      I note that many of the present "full time" royals attend many lunches and dinners; at present William and Catherine attend few of these.
      HM has just handed down several patronages-- the younger members of the family will, within the next few years, take over more and more of the 600 HM presently holds.
      Remember also that engagements cost money. People criticize the cost, but still expect more
      Interesting article Jane. Catherine looks beautiful, whatever she wears, but looking back, her choices get better and better.

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    15. -well, I have to apologise. I did not realise the comparison to C&D was not from CC or the online "tracker."
      I finally read it. It's from The Sun!" Ha! A bastion of truth and judicious journalism. :+)
      My teapot tempest is over. However, my theory that this was purposefully constructed
      "news" is vindicated. It apparently served its likely purpose well, to judge from the twitter-firestorm it ignited. (by purpose, I mean as a distraction from the year-end reports that this was indeed a banner year for the Cambridges, as Jane so well described -and it seems to have worked as such here, too. I am one of those distracted and I do regret that) Or it may have been meant to "sell papers."

      I will take my quotation marks and join those who are
      discussing the fashion and family aspects of Jane's lovely post.

      In other NEWS, Catherine has been made an honorary member of the Royal Photographic
      Society. What a perfect honor!

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    16. I was referring to the CC, Anon 1. I thought that was what was being discussed here, not the tabs. And so far as I can see, Harry's Sentabale work is not listed on the CC. 

      I don't have a problem with the amt of work done by W&K. And their hrs are higher this yr with 2 tours. But as I've said before, I DO have a problem with the excuses given. 

      There seem to be several (the first 3 by Palace sources as well as others; the last ones mostly by non-Palace sources) 1. "W&K are hands-on parents so they can't do more." Hands-on as opposed to what? Nannies only? Or ordinary "normal" two-job parents? Or SAHPs who don't have the staff W&K have to do the at-home grunt work that takes away from time with kids--work like laundry, housecleaning, getting the car serviced, cutting the grass, etc? (And many SAHPs and "fully employed outside the home" parents still do significant charity/volunteer work) Very few parents on the planet can spend the kind of time W&K have to spend with their children. Saying they are cutting back because they want their kids to have a good upbringing is kind of insulting to other parents as if other parents don't. And as if its all a matter of unbroken weeks of time with children vs the quality of interactions having some importance. 2. "The Queen is happy with everything about W&K's workload." We don't really know that. She hasn't been very willing to speak out to many family members about their behavior according to many reports over the last several decades. It is also reported by palace sources that royals generally set their own schedules/calendars. I think we do know Will wasn't willing to take on the Princes Trust when asked to by Charles. 3. "Will's not king or the direct heir so he's not required to do as much as his relatives [even if the relatives are quite elderly.] When he's POW he'll do more." 4. "Diana didn't do much when W&H were young." That's just not true. Maybe what she did do had more to do with the state of her marriage but why try to use Diana's work level as  an excuse?  Now we have the "Harry doesn't do enough either" excuse that definitely conflicts with #3 and the distance from the throne excuse. 5. Their work requires hours of prep that's not shown on the CC. Maybe but if so, that's true for other royals too (and many working parents with professional jobs.) And lately Will hasn't impressed me with his advance prep (SPOTY speech, briefings not read.)  6. Will works 20 hrs/week for the ambulance co so he can't do more royal duties. I think its pretty clear he doesn't work that many hrs many weeks of the yr. And his EAAA hrs are obviously quite flexible as he was off for Easter and weeks at Christmas last yr. 7. Kate ws entitled to a yrs worth of maternity leave for each child. I am not sure how that works in the UK but isn't ML available only to women who were working FT in a job before the birth?

      I really think KP PR/excuses/ statements have made things worse many times such as St. Pat's (rolling/changing excuses given) and after saying Will was working 80 hrs a month for East Anglican AA wrongly claiming he was working the maximum allowable hrs according to air regulations  (forced to take that one back) 

      Actual workload is not the problem--fewer excuses needed IMO!

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    17. lizzie @11:30-I was commenting on your C&D comparisons, now a hot news item.

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    18. One must be careful of what source actually said what quote. The post St P. Day "excuse" of" not expecting" ....etc. was from a royal writer's twitter post, not from an official palace remark.
      The Queen's attitude toward W&C and their work was fairly clearly expressed in her message.
      I jumped back into this, lizzie, only because it is you talking and I have a lot of respect for your opinions and appreciation for your writing style.

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    19. I wouldn't use the fact that she went to St Patrick day when she was 8 months pregnant with Charlotte as a proof of her laziness or lack of interest! One could say, she didn't go this year, William as colonel of the regiment went, but remember she went when heavily pregnant.
      I don't see the logic in the argument "she didn't use a perfect excuse last year, she had better come with an even better this year."...

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    20. I appreciate the compliment Anon 1 but apparently my writing style did not convey my point this time. I'll try again but be much briefer. **I don't think Kate or Will needs to change work levels OR make excuses for their work levels.** But I also think that some poor excuses that have been given have caused more problems. I gave examples of ones I think are problematic. Some reasons these excuses are problematic: they appear to be or later are shown to be essentially false, they tend to say things about the demands of raising THEIR children that likely rub some other parents the wrong way, we see shifts from one explanation to another when the first explanation seems to get backlash, these excuses *appear* to try to improve W&K's public view by suggesting others are doing less, and so on. And yes, some of the explanations HAVE come from KP. 

      So I wasn't saying come up with better excuses.. rather I was saying just stop making excuses...a variant of never complain, never explain.

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    21. Mostly well thought out reasons Lizzie. These excuses only make things worse, one feels like they know they should doing a lot more, however (for whatever reasons) they aren't, so either officially or otherwise, plenty of excuses abound. Implicitly these excuses make it sound like they (W&K, maybe other royals too) feel guilty.

      Royal fan in Northern Ontario

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    22. Regarding reasons and/or excuses........

      I find it interesting that the Queen has taken many opportunities to show her support for the Cambridge's (and the Middleton's) while Charles has not. AND I find this particularly interesting since he and Camilla are the ones who benefit from the Cambridge's not being "full-time" royals...as well as the criticism they receive because of it.

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    23. For goodness sakes they ARE PART TIME ROYALS!!!! THAT'S HOW IT WORKS UNTIL OTHER SENIOR ROYALS PASS AWAY!!!!

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    24. Sarah Maryland USAJanuary 2, 2017 at 10:13 PM

      I follow Kate blogs mainly for the fashion. I am very tall like her and I like to see what she wears
      I first started following the blogs after the royal wedding because I was so interested in a middle class woman joining the royal family and excited what freshness she would bring
      Over the years my interest in her fashion has died down because she has had more misses than hits for me as of late (for example I hate dresses that are 3/4 length make it cocktail or long not in between!)
      And as someone who has watched the royal family for awhile now I appreciate how their presence at events highlights them on a huge scale
      Now, if I were Kate and I had that kind of platform I would be out there a lot more than she is now trying to champion my causes
      For example, I have heard EACH has been struggling to raise money for their Nook appeal but yet Kate didn't attend one of their biggest fundraisers of the year
      I thought that the point of her having so few patronage was that she would be able to attend several events for them and not just one or two a year
      What frustrates me the most is that people seem to be ok with the excuse of focusing on raising her children and don't seem to realize what an insult that is to modern working women. Do they not focus on raising their children because they are out working?
      So I think Kate needs to work as much as prince Charles at this point? No. But there is a middle ground. Even doing just three engagements a week shouldn't be that hard
      And people use the excuse of oh we don't know what goes on behind the scenes but some of Williams comments make me wonder if they do prepare enough for each event in advance
      I follow the blogs now just to see if this will change
      People need to stop giving Kate universal praise for how much work she did this year when it really wasn't that much
      The British public should get something for their tax dollars and a lot goes into security for William and Kate and for their homes.

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    25. Sarah from Maryland's repetitious posts remind me of the directions on exams to read all the instructions thoroughly before beginning to answer. To quote directly from Jane's suggestions at the bottom of the comments:

      "Topics we tend to avoid here: "does Kate work enough?"

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    26. I'll start with the positive.We got a greater frequency of written messages and speeches from the Duchess.She brought George to an official engagement.Her Place2Be video.
      Now onto the negative.She should not have missed that Irish guards ceremony.KP's initial reasoning showed a lack of commitment on her part.
      Also,she had no excuse to skip the EACH gala and she didn't visit one of EACH hospices this year.Given the nature of the charity I would expect her to give it more attention as opposed to wimbledon,which btw I have no problem with her attending.
      Overall 2016 was an OK one.I have a feeling that 2017 is going to show W+K take on more engagements.After all they are the next Prince and Princess of Wales.Drifting a bit from topic here,but "Princess of Wales" has such a nice ring to it!I kind of can't wait for that to happen and I'm interested in seeing Charles as king.
      For anyone interested in why I follow this blog even though I do not regard myself as a Kate fan:It is because I'm interested in the role of royal families.I follow members of the BRF,Japanese Imperial family and the SRF in particular.I enjoy Jane's writing style.A shout out to Jane here Thank you for your posts.
      And.........HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

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    27. Sarah with all due respect it is both unfair and unrealistic to evaluate W&K's roles within the BRF without having an appreciation for what came before it. Most of the criticism of this couple reflects a complete disregard for everything that happened during the 80'summer and 90's.

      Also, Kate and William may do certain things in a more modern manner than prior generations, but this does not make them or their cirumstances equal to the average John and Mary.

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    28. Simple, Catherine was scheduled for neither the Gala nor the shamrock ceremony.
      William was. Check it out. I'm not sure wbat KP actually said in an official press release in reaction to blog and twitter rants and what was, "...according to KP insiders, " or speculation in a royal writer post.
      Hey, I can keep this up as long as commenters come up with mis-information.

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    29. Sarah Maryland USAJanuary 3, 2017 at 4:45 PM

      If they are part time royals they should only get their royal protection paid for party of the time and then they have to pay for the rest of it
      I mean really there is no such thing as a part time royal. Either you are a member of the royal family or you are not

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    30. I know "number of engagements" is the offical palace statistic. But I think it doesn't fully quantify their individual workloads. A more accurate conclusion can be reached if you also factor in miles traveled and nights spent away from home in fulfilling these engagements. Three engagements in a day at locations close enough to be able to sleep in your own bed that night are not equal in effort to three engagements farther from home. (And I'm going to digress here to say how much I appreciate the less-publicized efforts of Princess Anne, the Wessexes, the Kents and the Gloucesters).
      For those who desire to continue to address this topic frequently, may I suggest that there are other websites which more closely meet your needs.

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  2. Jane - that was an amazing post, I enjoyed it so much - what a year!! Thank you for all your hard work, it is appreciated always. Happy New Year to you xx

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  3. Well done Jane! I always love reading the "Best of" list. Thank you for your hard work.

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  4. Thank you so much for this wonderful posting !!!!

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  5. Happy New Year, Jane!
    Thank you for taking the time to write the blog, I know you must be very busy. I rarely comment but read every post.

    I was mad for the Bollywood Jenny Packham, gorgeous color and just a bit different from everything else. I loved the simple elegance of this Christmas outfit, I felt the faux fur collar raised the level of sophistication to perfect for a royal duchess. She looked so relaxed and happy!
    Looking forward to 2017!

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  6. Sarah Maryland USAJanuary 1, 2017 at 2:58 PM

    Something positive: I do love following your blog!

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    1. Thank you, Sarah! :) Happy New Year!

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    2. Happy New Year Jane. I have spent two hours happily reading, admiring, staring thru 12 months of gorgeous Kate. Thank you for all the time you put into FBTB. I love this blog! Cannot wait to see what 2017 brings. We are off to great start. Loved looking back. KATHY From NJ

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  7. I'm probably your only reader NOT wishing for Baby #3, and I don't know why the idea has so taken hold. All the Queen's four children had two children each and even the next generation (Anne's family) has pretty much stopped at two.

    Whatever happened to Zero Population Growth? You know how many people follow Kate's lead!

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    1. Well, I was thinking just about Kate's happiness and the happiness of her children. (I think children are a blessing and I think it is really wonderful to have several siblings. Kate herself is one of three. I myself have a few more.) BUT, if you want to talk about population, our global population is actually imploding. Most Western nations are not reproducing at replacement rate, in fact, even this morning I saw a headline on the Telegraph about how China suddenly has discovered they have a a population crisis thanks to their one-child policy. The U.S. is only maintaining population due to immigration. I am not very familiar with the term Zero Population Growth, but I think it refers to the dwindling resources of the planet and room for people to live, and that too, has been pretty widely dismissed. One drive across the western states in the US would show how much land we have that is entirely empty, or a look at a population map that shows large swathes of the world is dark and uninhabited. So, I guess my attitude is, have as many children as you want. Life is precious, family is the best support system you can have, and from my perspective we need more people, not less. Just my two cents. :)
      Happy New Year, Kaye! It's fun to see familiar names pop in, even if we don't always agree. ~Jane B.

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    2. Well said and I agree xx

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    3. "Zero Population" was an idea bandied about a lot in the 70s. My best answer is that the size of a family should be a personal choice and not dictated by governments or society. As China has well witnessed, nature needs to take its course. If William and Kate want another baby or 10 other babies I think they should be free to make that choice without criticism. They have the resources to love and care for as many as they like.

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    4. Agree its up to W&K. But I am not convinced Will wants more children. He seemed to have an unusual amt of trouble adjusting to fatherhood. (He said so himself plus supposedly he wasn't around very much when George was an infant. And he wasn't off working a 40 hr week every week.) And the comments about Kate wanting 3 because she was 1 of 3 were made a long time ago... I think before she had any children at all.  So who knows. I don't think though there is evidence suggesting that children with 2 or more sibs are happier than children with only 1 sib so I don't think G&C will suffer if it should happen there are no more children. There has been evidence that children's IQs are higher in smaller families (even after controlling for parental IQs) but that finding hasn't always been replicated. I also haven't seen any research suugesting women's happiness is necessarily related to the number of children they have either.

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    5. I would love to see Baby Cambridge number 3!!!! KATHY From NJ.

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    6. I hate to see William's unusually candid disclosures (for the BRF) be turned about and used against him. He has also demonstrated his deep affection for and dedication to his wife and children many more times through both actions and words.

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    7. I don't see that I was using his words against him Anon 1. I don't doubt he loves his children and wife but that doesn't mean he wants more children. He has said he wanted two and he has two. He has said the adjustment was difficult. He has said on multiple ocassions George is loud, rambunctious etc. He has said being the father of a daughter was even more of an asjustment. IF he didn't want more kids that wouldn't mean anything negative about him anymore than having more kids would make him a "good guy."

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    8. Was the "I only want two" statement publicly spoken? I really don't know. I have a vague memory of some making conversation, throw away comment but not a clear enough one to quote or give a source. Certainly not in a serious discussion of the future of his family.

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    9. I would never suggest how many children anyone should have, but I have a feeling the Cambridges will stop at two. Three reason;one the duchess is so sick in the first trimester and that can't be good for her overall health,let alone who knows the long term consequences. Two she is dearly loved by her husband and I doubt he wants to see her go through such sickness again. And three the duke and duchess are devoted parents who want to be sure their children can get all the parental love and attention they need. As their royal duties and obligations increase there will be less time for family and recognizing that fact they feel increasing the size of the family would not be best for them or any children in their family.

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    10. It seems to me that it is harder to watch someone you love suffer than to suffer oneself.

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    11. It has seems to me that people who had at least partly happy childhoods tend to try to recreate them in the next generation. In the direct British family line George V (grandfather of QE II) was the last to have more than two children, but Kate's family seems happy.
      In this era of constant media scrutiny keeping three children well-behaved in front of intrusive cameras could be a challenge. But whatever works

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    12. I actually don't care much for the idea of baby 3.People should have as many or as few children as they desire.

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    13. I am Anonymous 2:33 and just realized I posted inaccurate information above.
      William's father Prince Charles is the oldest of four siblings. Blame my frozen brain...
      But were I Catherine I would not want to face the possibility of a third bout with hyperemesis gravidarum until after Pippa's wedding.

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    14. anon 6:19- in defence of your 2:33 remark..you may be of an age, as I am, that grew up during the time QEII had a two child family, Charles and Anne. By the time Andrew popped up and later Edward, the family of four view of the RF had been firmly embedded in my memory.

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    15. I don't think people should have an unlimited number of children as has been suggested here. And anyone who thinks that the quality of life is enhanced by living in a place with an ever-increasing population is surely wrong. I live on the outskirts of London; it's over-crowded, more pollution, fewer resources, public services like health-care stretched to the limit etc.etc.

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  8. What a lovely and well thought out post, Jane! I agree with most of your choices and, as a personal favorite, I'm happy for Jenny P to be the leader of the pack this year. McQueen disappointed me. What I am most excited about is that Kate is branching out in shoe colors and styles as well as the wide brimmed hats. Can't wait to see what 2017 has in store! Unless there is another pregnancy, I think we will see another big step up in number of appearances. On the other hand, it's always so much fun to take part in the Great Kate Wait while she's in labor (fun for us - not her) and to speculate on names and gender. I missed the mark completely on George's names but nailed all of Charlotte's names in exact order! I'm guessing (hoping) that another boy will have William in his name with Charles included as well. Another girl would, I hope, have Catherine in her name and, possibly, Mary as part of the component. I don't think we'll ever see Camilla but we could see Carole or Philippa.

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    1. Agree with your comment! New shoes are so nice!

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    2. I don't know why people bother to name their daughters Phillippa. They all end up being called Pippa anyway. :+) ....It would honor both Prince Phillip and Pippa, though.
      Not a bad move. I'm thinking another boy, but their little family is also delightful as is.
      Agree about JP. And broad-brimmed hats. Other than those ox blood stacked heels, I have no shoe preferences....I think. My head is still whirling with visions of sugar plum fshions.

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  9. Absolutely FABULOUS summary. I really enjoyed reading it. And I agree, it was a spectacular year for Kate. She is amazing in many ways, and I can't wait to see what is in store for 2017!! Thank you for your hard work.

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  10. Thank you Jane for such a mammoth post, really enjoyed it! I agree with Robin, I think you were pretty spot-on with your picks from 2016. What a great year it was for the Cambridges, it was such a joy to see George and Charlotte growing up and seeing their personalities develop (especially spunky Charlotte! ;) Also, Kate's definitely upped the stakes in the fashion department with a lot of interesting debuts and more 'high-end' choices. Loving the risks she is taking and to see her confidence growing in both her styling and royal role. Looking forward to what 2017 will bring...I agree with you Jane in hoping that they add to their brood :) I'm also hoping for a possible engagement for Harry...my fingers are crossed with you!

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    1. I agree, seeing the children this year was really special. When I think of my favorite moments, they always seem to include G&C. Happy New Year to you!!

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    2. Happy New Year Jane & to all FBTB followers! Thanks also for adding the ITV documentary on the DoE Award, can't wait to watch it :)

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  11. Mega excellent post Jane!
    So many things happened in 2016!
    Love the fashion and your choices!
    Awesome job! :)

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    1. Thanks, Alejandra! Also, I found and fixed the error you noted in your FB message. Appreciate the heads up. :) Happy New Year!

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    2. Happy New Year to you too! :)

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  12. I was so excited for this post, Jane! Thank you so much for the great 2016 round up and happy 2017 to you!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read!! Happy New Year!

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  13. I think my favorite ensemble of the year was the Michael Kors suit from January. The fabric reminded me of suits we wore in the 70's. I love the paisley maxi dress from India, but I think the pink, blue, green Anita Dongre tunic dress she wore on the first day of the tour was my favorite casual dress.

    And the shoes!!! New shoes! I can only hope the dreaded nude pumps are gone for 2017 ;)

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    1. Jane, this post will take several sittings to fully absorb. It is like contemplating the dessert cart. Who can pick just one? Each is more scrumptious than last one.
      I am really enjoying this post! :+)

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    2. PS The only thought I might add is that January wasn't all mommy and shopping all the
      time. As I recall, the Vogue shoot was in January, Kate's filming for the Queen's birthday program, another charity spot filming, meetings for the HP project, as well as other board /organisational meetings all took place in that month.

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    3. Oh, I forgot about the Anita Dongre dress! I think it's a tie between that and the red! Love that Boho look and Kate wears it so well!

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    4. anon 1, I appreciate your dessert cart analogy, it was like waking up on Christmas morning all over again seeing this post!

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    5. 7:53, I loved the MK suit too and I have a feeling we can count on seeing it again. It's classic, timeless and IMO qualifies as a must-have in Kate's "country wardrobe".

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    6. PS I love the reference to a dessert cart. :) I started the New Year off with a delicious Tiramisu...and tomorrow it's back to Pilates!!

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    7. I desperately need to get back to Pilates...

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    8. royalfan-and Kiwi Gal: It Is like Christmas morning and Tiramisu all in one, and then
      some! And Jane's post has no calories and won't crash your credit card.

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    9. anon 1, so true :)

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    10. PS-still mulling over the choices...a fluffy meringue or tried and true apple pie?
      I have decided that approaching from the entire look versus individual garment might help. Entire look: the blue Canada arrival; the red Trooping-the wedding earrings
      and red shoes!; the Netherlands feminine business suit-updo and the Queen's earrings.
      Who doesn't love the sparkly blue JP India gown, the very sophisticated Casaola
      gown...She was stunning at the Duke of Westminster memorial, especially the broad-brimmed picture hat.
      For engagement/activity, probably the Heads Together campaign for the potential both in outcomes and Cambridge growth as advocate royals.
      I wanted to be with them in British Columbia-such beautiful scenery.
      And anything with the little prince and princess.

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    11. ...the red Garter...not Trooping, although I loved the Trooping hat and the appearance of the finger-chewing, antsy Charlotte, along with a very sweet family group.

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  14. Great post Jane. Lots of wonderful dresses, pants and gowns, but as many have said her choices of accessories is often not to my liking...poor jewelry choices, almost always odd belt choices, hats are hit and miss, purses 50/50 etc. Shoes tend to not ever be really bad or really great, so she could use some help there also. But her dresses to my eye were of a much more sophisticated and more adventuresome style over the last year, so Yes to her style choices. She is a gorgeous woman so frankly going to look great in most clothes. We are just discussing her fashion choices;):) I am one who would love for them to have another child, but I come from a line of big families. Ali

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    1. Thank you, Ali! I agree, her belt choices were really off for me this year. At least it leaves something to improve in 2017. ;)

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    2. Excellent post, Jane! Thank you for starting the year out with this interesting piece; I always enjoy your take on Kate's fashion choices that show trends. Regarding the Cambridge workload, I'm saddened that we don't give Will and Kate credit as spending time as parents. William says the Queen gives him approval for his time spent with family. He and Kate obviously consider this their major job in every positive way--teaching, guiding, loving their children. Once we start counting numbers of engagements, the numbers become the story. Involved parenting is so important and challenging. W&K appear to be succeeding as parents who love the job. They are senior royals. William says he will take on whatever the Queen asks. He doesn't call himself or Kate fulltime royals. Yet. Katherine USA

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    3. The Cambridges do seem to get attached to their belts. :+)

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  15. Hola soy Bety de México. Tal vez no entiendas lo que escribo. Pude haberlo escrito en inglés, pero quería decírtelo en español. Muchas gracias por este maravilloso blog, apenas lo conocí este año y me ha encantado. Gracias por admirar a Kate como yo lo hago. Te deseo muchas cosas buenas en este nuevo año 2017. Bendiciones.

    :) <3 <3

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    1. Hi Bety, I don't speak Spanish, unfortunately, but I ran your comment through Google translate, and although I know it wasn't a perfect translation, I think I understand your comment. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment! I am glad you found my blog and hope you continue to follow with us here in 2017. Happy New Year!!

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    2. Hola Bety,
      Hablo un poco de español y disfruté de tus comentarios. Siempre es bueno escuchar las opiniones de varios países sobre el estilo real.
      (I speak a little spanish and enjoyed your comments. It is always good to hear opinions from various countries on royal style).
      -- Anon in Frozen MN

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  16. On a strictly fashion note, my top two are the JP gown that Kate wore in India and the arrival outfit worn for the Canada tour.

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    1. Such a hard task to narrow it down - I don't know how you did it, royalfan! I don't know how Jane did it! If I had to there would need to be more categories. I loved almost every evening dress! I would need a category for no sparkles - the Roland Mouret, and with sparkles - the red Jenny P. Whole ensemble - Jenny P. Canadian arrival outfit but my favorite hat was the pink from Trooping. Loved the casual red paisley and the Anita Dongre dress. But I would have to have a category for casual slacks as well where the Gap pants clearly took the prize for me but I didn't like the jacket. So hard to choose. Can you imagine what it's like to stand in front of her closet and try to choose what you're going to wear? And then she has to choose the hats, jewelry, and shoes. Although, I would improve her choice of shoes. ;-)

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    2. Were those gorgeous blue stone earrings she wore with the sparkly blue JP ever IDd?
      I guess I could check. I am suffering from post-holiday inertia.

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    3. Robin, Jane included many great choices here, but the two I referred to really took my breath away. Not easy to do...LOL. ;)

      Anon 1, good question. I honestly don't remember...

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  17. Early in the post I thought I would choose a favorite outfit or two and direct my comments that way. However, as I worked my way through the post I realized I loved so many of her outfits that I couldn't narrow it down to 1 or 2! I guess that's why I follow Kate's fashion - to enjoy the beautiful clothes! Great job wrapping up 2016 Jane!

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  18. Dear Jane

    Thank you for an amazing, informed and lovely blog to start the new year. You are always so positive and even when you don't like an outfit you say so with grace and elegance. So do you think maybe you could shuffle the comments so Sarah from Maryland is not the first we see. Sarah is obviously entitled to her opinions but to read the word 'disgusting' so quickly after that beautiful post made my heart sink. Happy New Year to you and your family, good luck with the studies and thank you for an amazing blog - Linda

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    1. I agree, Linda. I think some may have an alarm set to warn of a new post in order to be first.It cast a shadow, but not for long.

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  19. I did enjoy waking this morning and reading the blog as I always do. It was a lovely recap and most importantly, you choose the coat dress as a winner. It totally blew me away when I first saw it I hope we see again soon. Happy New year and thank you for all the hard work you put into this blog for us. Love the Cambridges!!!!!!

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  20. #teambabycambridge3;)

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  21. Just a counterpoint to Sarah's comment about the grey coat. After seeing Kate wear that coat and loving it on her, I ended up buying a different style Sentaler coat (the mid-length hooded wrap coat) in a different color. It is a beautiful, very well-made coat and I get compliments every time I wear it.

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    1. Anon 9:39. Very excited to hear you purchased a Sentaler coat and are happy with your purchase. I have been eyeing them for the last couple years. I love the detailing on the arms and the fact that I can support a Canadian designer. Your comment has given me the incentive to go try some on and perhaps finally take the leap !!

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  22. Instead of so much arguing with each other and pointing out what is wrong with other's comments, I have a suggestion: let's just stop judging readers and stay with sharing our own feelings in regards to the topics at hand.

    So, Jane, no disrespect to your choices (and did I say thank you for the blog and this post particularly?), my favourite day look is the blue Jenny P outfit from the arrival in Victoria (and the entire family coordination, of course, but even on its own that look stands out for me), followed by the grey Erdem coat and hat (for a more wintery look).

    Evening attire of the year for me was the red Preen, I agree with the Telegraph comment that it put Kate in a different category compared to any and all her previous outfits for such occasions.

    There were also a few better casual looks, but I believe that is an area she needs to work on more so that she finds a few options that really work for her (I may be quite wrong, but since her Majesty almost never wears pants (except when riding), Kate could be struggling when choosing attire for sporting events and such. I am one of those who don't feel it is appropriate for her role to wear skinny jeans ever - not at all). No memorable casual outfit for me in 2016, bits and peaces of certain outfits were good, but I haven't felt wowed by any as an overall look. She will surely get better with time.

    Honorable mentions for me: red Carolina Herrera coat, Chloe dress at children's party and rewearing the red dress/coat Catherine Walker ensemble (actually, repeating the McQueen dress from George's christening was memorable too).

    Happy new year from Northern Ontario everyone!

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    1. I second that idea Anon, so well said, thank you!

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    2. I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion on skinny jeans. I thought I was the only person on the planet who is thinks skinny jeans are inappropriate as professional attire. So glad to learn I'm not alone!

      I also agree on her Canadian arrival outfit. I think that might be my favorite of anything she has ever worn. I thought she was head to toe perfection that day.

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  23. Jane this is an excellent post. I sometimes wonder why you're in law school :) Although I know people often have hobbies very different from their day job! But you have great skill here, eye for fashion, writing, editing. And Kate's Clothes is still the most remarkable site, so keep in mind Jane that Kate's profile will only grow in coming years, as will the demand for "Kate experts".
    Sadly I am not as wowed by the year as you but I think Kate is clearly experimenting a bit and growing and who among us would want to do that on the world stage! So, she'll carry on and hit her stride. She knew how to be Kate Middleton which is why people were so wowed by the early years, she still seems to be figuring out HRH Kate, nothing wrong with that.

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  24. Thanks for your Best of post, Jane. I look forward to it each year. I wasn't frequently wowed by Kate's fashion this year but when I was, it was memorable. The Roland Mouret gown, her Canadian arrival and departure outfits, the Barbara Cassola and the gorgeous Trooping hat were amazing looks for her. My all time favorite 2016 Kate look will have to be the blue and white Naeem Khan dress though. Maybe it was the backdrop of the Taj Mahal but between the amazing fit and the pop of the brilliant blue against the crisp white, Kate looked flawless. Wishing Jane and all who read and post here a wonderful new year with more great adventures with our favorite duchess.

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  25. Just been announced that the Duchess has accepted lifetime honorary membership of the Royal Photographic Society.

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    1. She must have been working really hard for that!!

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    2. Jean, you always have the big announcements first! That organization is perfect for her!

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    3. Anon 12:00 I read it was because she occasionally takes and releases photos of G&C

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    4. It is a paid membership that she has been bestowed. Anyone can become a member of this society as long as they pay 2800 gbp. They have waived this membership for her.
      Let us pause and look at facts before we start gushing.

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    5. Did she really?Her photography skills are not extraordinary.

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    6. Anon 9:51-yes, read your duplicate comment elsewhere. So, yes, let's look at facts. Read that other blog admin reply to you as well as Jane's new post.

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    7. anons 2:06 pm and 10:06 am-there are possibly photographs in Catherine's portfolio that have not been released to the general public.
      The honor is similar to membership in a booster club for a team. you don't have to be a Heisman trophy winner to promote and appreciate football.
      I imagine she will assume HMs patron role at some point. This is perhaps a step on the way.

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    8. I assume there are anon 1 and they likely have no bearing whatsoever on this honor. In all honesty the lengths some Kate "fans" go to justify thing over the top can be a turn off. She has taken some nice, historical photos and her interest in photography generally combined with her high profile is enough. Trying to insist it's more than that starts to strain credibility.

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    9. I have not noticed any over the top fan insisting going on here. Only responses to attempts to degrade and distract from the potential of this recognition.

      It occurs to me that you may have other blog and sites in mind.
      The way you speak of "Kate `fans` " I assume you are not one.

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    10. Perhaps you and I have a different definition of "fan" anon 1

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  26. Happy 2017 Jane! What a great post, and what a lot of work went into it. Your picks are great. I loved the red Preen, the gorgeous Roland Mouret, the blue Jenny Packham arrival suit in Canada, and Barbara Casasola's stunning dress. Also I thought Kate looked just perfect and beautiful at the Christmas Day service. The four of them together was lovely.
    Here's to a fun 2017!

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  27. To be honest, 2016 was a disappointing year for me when it came to Kate's fashion choices. My favorite daytime looks were mostly repeats. I love the Lasa blue/white floral dress and would love to see it again. I also thought Kate looked lovely on Christmas day. Runners-up include the pink dress Kate wore to the National Portrait Gallery, as well as the Stella McCartney blue dress. My favorite evening gown was the Beulah poppy dress she wore in India. I loved the v-neck and the overall simplicity of the gown. Normally, I don't care for anything in orange, but the color looked good on Kate. I know this dress won’t make any “best-of” lists, but it’s one of my favorite gowns ever. Also, at first I hated the Self Portrait dress she wore to the movie premiere. While it’s still not my favorite, it is growing on me. I love the slit skirt, and the red accessories made a nice contrast against the white.

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  28. Totally agree about the Self Portrait dress - I loved the pairing with the burgundy accessories & the skirt too.

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  29. Jane, as always wonderful job!! You are by far my favorite writer about all things Kate and yes,sometimes it takes longer but your're always worth the wait. But some of the comments you're allowing I don't understand? Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion but we all love Kate and don't like to read the negative comments..

    Is it true that when the Queen is at an event she is the only family member counted? If so well it doesn't make sense..

    I did a Best-Of list by month but it all got deleted so here i go with just my personal favorites..
    1.Vacation Pics
    2.Grey Erderm
    3.Teal Temperley London
    4.The Pangolin Pants {partialy because I love them so much I now own them, my daughter too, my first Kate purchase!! Unless you count a remake of her engagement ring?
    5.The Anita Dongre dress
    6.Monochrome Temperley London
    7.Naeem Khan Resort dress
    8.Banana Republic skirt Goat blouse
    9.Catherine Walker w/ white stitching
    10.Ascot dress
    11.Barbara Casasola GREAT SURPRISE
    12.Gap & H&M casual Kate
    13.Children's Party dress
    14.A. McQueen red & white
    15.D&G green Pocket Watch dress
    16.Self Portrait
    17.Jenny Packham Diplomatic Reception
    18. Jenny Packham beige & black Somme dress
    19.Jenny P blue Bollywood dress
    20. Christmas Day outfit

    She is slowly growing in her role as Duchess we're just getting a look at what she will dress like as POW!!
    HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!! Valerie G
    USA

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  30. Dear Jane,
    Thank you, your blog is fun to read and I love your writing style. Happy New Year. I am looking forward to your comments and reflections on this lovely family throughout 2017.Take care
    Dy

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  31. I, too, Jane am most appreciative of this look back post. I am sure it took awhile for you to put together for us, your adoring public. I think Kate really matured and grew into her role this year. She seems more comfortable and quite honestly, has stayed true to her aesthetic roots. She's not a trend follower, and she knows how to dress for her shape and her role. I especially was wowed by her thoughtfulness to her hosts on the India/Bhutan tour. That was a high point for me. My top pick for her this year is the blue Roland Mouret that you also picked. Kate looked so sexy and sophisticated in this gown, and I would love it if she became his muse. The architectural quality, and the simple lines of his gowns really suit her. I hope she leaves the lace dresses behind- or maybe just wear one this year. I would like to see her in more color- not just royal blue or cream. With her coloring, she could carry off some fabulous jewel tones like amethyst, emerald and even metallics. Here's to a peaceful and joyous New Year to us all. And maybe baby Cambridge #3 by year end?

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  32. Favorite thing this year: Kate's updos!!!!! I love Kate's hair when it's really long but updos are more elegant during formal engagements. Trooping, Ascot, Order of the Garter, Garden Party at BP were such great and regal looks. Her hat game this year has been great too.

    Favorite ensembles: Blue JP and Red Preen from Canada. Both were just wow looks for me and are going to be very memorable outfits. I also really liked everything she wore in India.

    Overall I'm glad she's trying new things. Hope she continues improving her casual and cocktail looks. The black pants with white blazer and Preen dresses were such great looks. And I hope she loses the ugly black belt this year.

    Thank You Jane for all your hard work on this site!!!!! It always puts a smile on my face when I read your blog. Happy New Year!

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  33. This year in review post is always such fun. Thank you for all the insightful commentary, which is especially welcome in this week of post-holiday letdown.
    There were only two really unlikable things for me this year: the odd sleeves and gathered bodice on the otherwise lovely red dress worn for the Chinese banquet, and the Groucho Marx caterpillar brows on the Vogue cover.
    I do think this has been Catherine's best style year ever.

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  34. Thank you for preparing this amazing year-in-review post! It is such fun to review Kate's outfits of 2016 along with your terrific commentary.

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  35. Late to the party, but:
    I loved the black and white Temperley (?) long dress from the India tour, which was missing from this (amazing!) list - so hard to choose!:)
    I am another "who cares" vote, re: baby #3. I find baby watching a bit boring, but I'm a teacher so perhaps I get my fill with others' kids at work;)

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  36. My personal list, not in coherent order, of Kate's best fashion moments, goes like this: 1. the red Preen cocktail dress--red carpet worthy; 2. the cream and silver off-the-shoulder full length gown by Barbara Casasola; 3. the blue, floor length Jenny Packham gown, worn in India--but without the matching wrap--yeah, retro, but also British regal, modest yet beautiful and Ball-worthy, not that the BRF hosts same anymore; 4. the slim fitting blue floor length dress by Roland Mouret, worn June, 2016; 5. the blue Jenny Packham pencil dress with delightful matching hat and diamond accessories, worn upon Kate's arrival in Canada; 6. the blue suit by Catherine Walker (?) worn in the Netherlands, and accessories; 7. the delicate pink, wide-brimmed hat, with the pink rose, worn tilted--if THAT isn't a great summer hat, what is?--by Philip Treacy, worn at the Trooping, and which signalled to me--I guess I am a slow learner--a lovely sea-change for Kate, in the matter of headwear; 8. the red coat Kate wore in the Yukon--so reminiscent of Jackie, and Jackie had style, in spades; 9. the blue/black/white skirt by Banana Republic--great find--teamed with the cream Goat blouse; 10. the grey sweater-jacket worn in Canada's north, by a Canadian designer. And thats it, altho there were others I liked, just not as much.

    So what made these stand out for me? Sometimes, the colour--I prefer true blue and real red to muddy stuff like brown and I am a sucker for Kate in red, but its always the full package: colour, accessories-- which were often outstanding this year, well-styled hair, often worn in an updo, sometimes down, but not, thank God, very often in a half-up, half down--the least flattering on Kate, IMO.

    2016 was Kates best sartorial year, so far, I think. She seems to have taken a giant step forward.

    JC

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  37. I don't enormously like the designs of white Barbara Casasola or the blue Mouret chosen here. Thanks for the review. The events in the first few months of 2016 seem so long ago now. Even the Indian tour seems to be more than a few months ago. Kate's clothes: some 'hits', some 'misses' and some recycles!

    ReplyDelete
  38. 'there is a master coordinated plan that considers the work levels of ALL direct royals including the Queen, DofE, D and Duchess of Windsor, K, W and H and probably even Anne, Sophie, Andrew and Edward'; as others have already suggested here, I just don't think that's true at all.

    ReplyDelete

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