As I strongly suspected, after spending Christmas and the New Year in Bucklebury, William and Kate returned to Anmer Hall with the Middletons to spend time with the Queen and to celebrate the Duchess of Cambridge's birthday tomorrow at her own home in Norfolk. As they did last year, too, they have invited friends to stay, and a number of their closest chums accompanied them to St. Mary Magdalene this morning.
God bless William. This isn't his best look, but those are the breaks of the game when you are teasing back and forth with folks on a Sunday morning with snappers about. It happens to the best of us. ;) Spirits did appear to be high between locals and the royal party. This is Kate's first public appearance since the new year, and of course the entire royal-watching world is breathing a sigh of relief to see Her Majesty the Queen out and about.
She has not been seen in public for a month after catching a very nasty cold just before Christmas.
The Queen and Prince Philip leaving church in Sandringham pic.twitter.com/0T9eHBQzDy— Peter Hunt (@BBCPeterHunt) January 8, 2017
When Kate gathers her friends and family together, I am always interested to see how the ladies pull their ensembles together. Last year, you probably remember that Carole was wearing Kate's Betty Boop hat, which the duchess absolutely loves. This year, I scanned Carole and Pippa to see if either had raided the Anmer Hall closet, but both ladies put together their own ensembles. But, tell me if you think that Sophie Carter (one of Charlotte's godparents, pictured here in red) is wearing Kate's ASOS fur stole from Christmas? Fur seemed to be the theme this morning and perhaps Kate leant Sophie her stole to add a punch of pizzaz?
Carole knocked it out of the park in this ensemble. I love that she continued her penchant for pillbox. Smaller is chicer at Sandringham on a Sunday such as this, and so she couldn't go with the wide-brims she favors at fancier events, but these pillboxes are more flattering than a percher on her. She was pure elegance this morning. Also, notice the woman in the dark hat just behind Michael? That's Rose Cholomnodeley with her husband David. The couple live at Houghton Hall and you will remember the sparkling party they threw last year. Here she is with Kate at A Taste of Norfolk, and the ladies are trailed by their respective spouses:
Pippa and fiancé James Matthews followed Carole, James M, and Papa Middleton. Happily for us, and possibly by design, the Middletons walked on the side closest to the cameras, so we got great shots.
Unfortunately, the view of Kate the Great was obstructed by William both when they walked in and when they left.
Here is James Middleton with Papa Middleton. Michael Middleton is so dapper. I love this guy. George really resembles his maternal grandfather, in my opinion, and that can only be for the good as the years tick by.
A royal watcher has suggested that Pippa is recycling a Stella McCartney dress she wore in 2012. Looks pretty close to me.
Despite the dearth of good pictures of Kate, we can see the princess recycled her SportMax coat which she wore for Christmas last year and recycled in Scotland in 2016. She paired the coat with a grey fur hat and added a pop of color with the Sammi scarf from L.K. Bennett. In this picture from Mark Stewart, it looks like Kate is wearing either her sapphire and diamond drops, or her emerald and diamond drops.
#PippaMiddleton looks 2B repeating Stella McCartney sleeveless tweed dress worn during her 2012 'Celebrate' book launch, same shoes too... pic.twitter.com/0J6SobLxRA— Kelly Mathews (@allthingsregal) January 8, 2017
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa and Carole Middleton join Queen at Sandringham Church Service pic.twitter.com/lXCzfkqQ1k— Mark Stewart (@RegalEyes) January 8, 2017
I am disappointed that there were not better pictures of Kate, but some photos are better than no photos. It was really fun to see the Middletons again, too, and of course to get a sense of the house party that has gathered at Anmer Hall for a weekend of birthday celebrations.
The verdict is a win. Green and grey is an unusual color combo, but it is a winning one in my book. I particularly like these fur hats on Kate. She has worn them a few times and she always comes off as a modern Anna Karenina to me...just without the family drama, of course. ;) I can't wait for the 11th, when we will see Kate undertake her first official public engagement of 2017.