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Cambridges Welcomed at Élysée Palace

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bonjour tout le monde! The Duke and Duchess and of Cambridge went straight from their lunch at the Irish Guards to the airport, where they boarded a chartered plane and flew to Paris! According to Rebecca English, Amanda Tucker restyled Kate's hair in her signature waves before the couple deplaned. The royals were chauffeured from the airport to the Élysée Palace; the schedule was tight and Kate remained in her bespoke Catherine Walker from this morning. 


The Élysée Palace is, as you know, the official home of the French President, and has been since 1873. It is located in the 8th along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Kate doubtless enjoyed her drive to the Palace, because the street is lined with some of the most expensive designer boutiques, some of which she wears, as well as beautiful hotels and the diplomatic buildings of some of France's closest allies, including the residences of the ambassadors of the United Kingdom and the United States and the Canadian embassy. It is a very beautiful road and frankly more fun to walk than the nearby Champs-Élysées. This is the Palace from air; it is an impressive compound in the heart of Paris. The big courtyard is particularly convenient for welcoming foreign dignitaries and heads of state in real style. 


A bevy of the French president's staff gathered to watch as the royal convoy of Range Rovers rolled from the narrow street into the gracious and wide private courtyard of the Élysée Palace. President Hollande greeted the two on the steps and they posed for the official photos:


Hollande showed the couple around the Palace, including the lovely terrace where the trio stood and chatted briefly in the late afternoon sunshine:



I am so happy that although Rebecca is leaving relatively soon, after her many years working for the BRF, she was still on the job for this first trip to Paris. She looked lovely today in the courtyard wearing a navy ensemble and carrying an Anya Hindmarch clutch:



Because Kate just showed up in her third ensemble of the day, I have to speed this post up, so you are spared a lecture on the interior décor, but suffice it to say, it's all I can look at in this picture...even with Kate in the frame.

via Rebecca English Twitter (re_dailymail)

This is the best part of the post, so if you were skimming, slow down. Kate, William, and Hollande were sitting together chit-chatting in their sumptuous neoclassical works of art. First they were speaking in French, (interestingly, there is much debate about how much French exactly the couple speak) and it seems that Hollande decided to change the pace, which he did, not just by switching to English, but by saying to William, "So you were in Verbier this Sunday?" I kid you not. To which William responded, "Yessss." This is one of the reasons I like William. He had the grace to smile and laugh. He nodded and said yes, and then he waggled his eyebrows at Hollande as if to say, "and look how that turned out." 




I am surprised that Hollande would bring it up. He must have been briefed about the headlines. I don't know if he was trying to smooth it over--if you can talk about your weekend in Verbier while sitting in the gilt drawing room of the Élysée Palace surrounded by reporters, it can't have been that bad--or perhaps it was some naughty French humor popping up. Hollande himself is no stranger to the tabloids, and his scandals landed him international covers when he was photographed sitting on a scooter being chauffeured to his mistress's flat. The mistress of his mistress, but I digress. It was complicated, but let's just say you'd rather be William with an embarrassing dance video circling the web than Hollande with his scooter headlines. The exchange in many ways turned out rather sweetly, because Kate got this smile on her face when William answered, "yesss" and then he turned to her, bright as a cherry, and they exchange a fleeting look in the language that is unique to every couple, as she moved the conversation along for him. Still with that lovely smile.

KP

As the Cambridges left they both had that smile that says, "OH MY GOSH I can barely hold in my comments until I get in the car!!!!!" I had a good laugh, so maybe Hollande wasn't so naive in bringing it up after all. :) From a PR perspective, this is gold.



Several have mentioned in the comments on the post from this morning's St. Patrick's Day that the velvet trim is deep green not black. I agree after zooming in on this morning's pictures, but perhaps more importantly, this afternoon's shot seem to clearly be deep green. Perhaps even better than black!



Finally, there were some initial comments that Kate should have changed for her arrival in France, and at first I agreed, but after looking through more photos and considering the fact she had two more outfit changes this evening, I think sticking with this bespoke piece was the right move. First of all, it is gorgeous; it is a great coat dress to travel; and it fit really well, to my mind, in the scenery of the Élysée Palace. The military style, the velvet trim--I thought it really blended with French aesthetic. Best of all, we had instant gratification for a recycle with a new hairstyle. For myself, I did prefer this with the hair up, but I enjoyed seeing it both ways.



Ok, kids. One down. Two down, two to go. See next for a recap of Kate's cocktail ensemble. 

38 comments:

  1. Do you see in the picture of them leaving that there seems to be a hole on Kate's lapel? I wonder if it was caused by the brooch she wore earlier. So nice to see them visiting my homeland! Too bad I'm not in Paris for the week.

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    1. I don't think it's a hole. It's some king of stitch. Likely to hold the broach and St Patrick's spray. Perhaps someone forgot to cut the stitch afterwards during the changeover.

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    2. Yes, it looks like a stitch whre the shamrock was pinned

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  2. Love this post. What a hoot, I can't believe that President Hollande brought up Verbier. They handled it with aplomb. I think Kate looks smashing and very chic, and certainly with two more quick changes tonight, it was wise to keep the coat.

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    1. Sonja from BavariaMarch 17, 2017 at 4:58 PM

      The thing about foreign languages is something I noticed, too! I learned 3 foreign languages in school, English, French and Spanish. I am fluent in English and French, but didn't take Spanish for that long. People I know from English-speaking countries usually take only 1 foreign language and that only for a few years while I had 8 years of English and 6 years of French and 1 year of Spanish. Maybe because they are lucky that their mother tongue is spoken all over the world ;)

      But I am disappointed on William's bad French. Definitely. He went to Eaton which is a great School and still his French is not good at all! I already noticed that in Canada...
      Does he speak any other foreign languages? Or only 1?
      I just think ybout little Princess Leonor of spain who is 9 or 10 and is already learning english and CHINESE at school because she will need it one day when she becomes Queen for diplomatic interactions. And princess elisabeth of Belgium (I think she is about 13) has already given a speech in 4 different languages!

      I don't wamt to be mean, that's just something I'm very disappointed about. Languages are the key to communication!

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    2. Sonja from BavariaMarch 18, 2017 at 6:04 AM

      Oops, I did not intemd to post that as a response to your comment, but just a regular comment. It seems like my phone is fooling me again :)

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  3. Jane, I am 100% sure I heard one of the reporters saying "ce n'est pas le sujet" (plus something else I did not get) after Mr Hollande gracefully brought the Verbier incident up... and whoever it was, they were right!

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  4. You can see the hole I mentioned in a previous comment here http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/03/17/20/3E5F15F400000578-4324570-The_Duchess_speaks_to_President_Holland_on_the_steps_of_the_Elys-a-1_1489782288161.jpg

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  5. Dear Jane, sorry for the stupid question: does the coat dress mean that she is not wearing any other dress under it?

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    1. My initial take was that she was wearing her dark green dress from The Canadian Wine Country.

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  6. You can see the hole I mentioned earlier here: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/03/17/20/3E5F15F400000578-4324570-The_Duchess_speaks_to_President_Holland_on_the_steps_of_the_Elys-a-1_1489782288161.jpg

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  7. I thought this coat dress was lovely, both wears. I didn't really expect a change of outfit between morning and afternoon events; Kate often wears the same ensemble when she has more than one engagement on the same day. And green is a spring-like colour, after all.

    Catherine Walker does a terrific job of clothing Kate appropriately, and with royal/regal elegance.

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  8. Sonja from BavariaMarch 17, 2017 at 4:46 PM

    The Elysée Palace is so beautiful! When we visited Paris woth school in 9th grade, we only walked by along the picturesque street, but it was definitely a great experience.

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  9. My comments are showing up in that weird, old style blogger way. :-P

    You're right, Jane, I love the green of Kate's coat against all of that rich gold detail in the palace. Can't wait to see what she wears tonight. I'm guessing by William's reaction to Hollande's Verbier remark that it has already been discussed between the Cambridges. I'm sure William will be on his very best behavior this weekend!

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    1. I also think, while likely unexpected, there would have been some relief? That feeling of Whoosh! Well at least that cat's out of the bag & we can move on!

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  10. Regarding the "hole" some have referenced... I believe it is a thickly looped stitch used to support the shamrocks from earlier in the day. If you look at photos from earlier in the day (in London) before she had the shamrocks (none here but other sites have close enough pictures), you'll see the stitch there as well. I cannot imagine she would have worn a torn coat that early in the day, especially not with her KP closet down the street. I could be wrong and welcome thoughts from others who might be more familiar with dress making.

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    1. I think I would have covered up that stitch with a brooch of some kind. If not the shamrock then something else. It really does look like a hole in photographs.

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  11. I think this it was fine to keep the same outfit on. I believe Catharine walker is originally from France?

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  12. I don't think Holland referred to Verbier at all. I think the word he actually used was "rugby," referring to tomorrow's plans to watch a match. Right after William says "Yes," he then says "Cheering on the Welsh." This only makes sense if Holland had said "rugby," and not "Verbier."

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    1. I think this makes much more sense than a Verbier comment. I don't care for Pres. Hollande but I hope he wouldn't be that crass.

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    2. If you turn the volume up high & listen carefully you can Clearly hear him say, "So Sunday you were in Verbier?" & William responds with that awkward "Yeeess" then he says something that sounded like "with the lads"? I'm totally grasping because it's hard to hear, but it's some sort of affirmative remark that he makes, like an add on after the long Yesss. Then it almost sounds like Kate asks, "Do you ski"? & Hollande remarks oh nooo (as in not anymore). But again I'm just grasping to understand the last words. She asked him a question that sounded like it was continuing the brief line of discussion & Hollande demurs in his response. But.... The unquestionable Clearly spoken question was Hollande asking, "So Sunday you were in Verbier?" That's affirmative!

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  13. My oh my, how cheeky of President Hollande. I find it quite funny, and I hope the Cambridges did too. I'm struck by how generally awkward that video is. Sitting there making 'small talk' while the cameras snap away. Such a contrived situation, and one that would take some getting used to - no thanks!

    This is a lovely coatdress and those Rossi heels are perfection in every color she buys. She must find them to be perfectly comfortable to have SO MANY pairs.

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  14. I noticed Becca's wearing a 'B' initial necklace...I wonder if that's a gift from her fiance? So cute :)

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  15. Kate looks fabulous in the Catherine Walker coat. Love it that you say, Jane, the velvet is deep green. I'm afraid, though, that I think the shamrock post ruined the coat; one year, there was a covered disk sewn to her coat to accommodate the shamrocks that appear to be attached to a large metal, pointed florist piece, which would dig a hole in this beautiful wool. I'm hoping it's a stitch as someone suggested here. Re: Verbier. I can't tell what is said. William turns red, and Kate smiles and quickly asks a question. Strong move!
    Katherine USA

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    1. Oops. I take it back about the hole in Kate's coat. You're right Anon 5:47 that it appears before she wears the shamrock corsage. So glad the coat's not ruined! Katherine USA

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  16. Kate still looked smashing. What has struck me about today is Kate giving William the more than usual "loving gaze" - it seems contrived for the cameras. William seems to be giving Kate less of the guiding gestures than he usually does - like he's afraid to show the smallest hint of affection towards her. Kate, at least, seems to be knowing everyone is watching and wants to send a clear message that she loves him and things are alright. While I understand that is probably out of self-preservation, plus her love for William, it pains me to see these carefully crafted moments. It's a lose-lose for them, but with William being a bit more distant it makes me hesitant to tune in for the rest of this weekend... (for further examples of "distant" see them descending the staircase for dinner and their physical distance and her using the handrail for support. Plus, his stony face when children are performing).

    ~ A

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    1. I actually picked up on the same thing but no one else seems to be. Her smile seems more controlled to me if that makes sense and he's definitely not as chivalrous as usual. Not a big deal but everything is not back to normal yet. I think they will get there but I think they are powering through some strain right now.

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  17. Jane, did you change the blog settings? I can't reply directly to a commenter and when I comment I get the really old blogger format.

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  18. Hi again! Love your comments about the Verbier topic, it must have been uncomfortable but it must be very difficult to not talk about it with all the press around
    It was no small thing, but let´s move on

    As for the outfit, I personally, since many days ago I had the though that she might use the same outfit from St. Patrick´s to this event. She had many outfit changes today, so I thought she might mixed two events. And when I saw her coat, a very formal coat, I thought -maybe she has a very formal coat for the visit-
    I wish she had kept the hair up

    Oh! I am happy Rebecca is with them. In fact I believe she will leave the post after the Poland/Germany visit

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  19. At first, I thought the reference to Verbier was awkward, but bringing it up in this setting could also be seen as minimizing the drama factor (as if it isn't a dreaded subject). It was mentioned with a hint of humor and now it's on to bigger and better things.

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  20. I agree with Heather. He doesn't mention That at all. He says "so on Saturday you are at the rugby?" William replies "yeses" and then says it is to cheer on the Welsh, and the Duchess asks him if he likes rugby.

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    1. I agree with Heather and Nica, it was about rugby. I am glad, for it would have been quite the stupid blunder for Hollande.

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    2. I wanted to weigh in on this too - I agree that William was asked about the rugby, not Verbier.

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    3. I Take Back All That I Said About Hollande & Verbier! I Went back & with the new suggestion & lip reading, Yes I can see & hear that Hollande Does ask "So Sunday you are at The Rugby" & William responds, "Yes to cheer on The Welsh" & uses a hand gesture. Then Kate asks Hollande if he follows rugby & he demurs.
      Sorry Guys I was Wrong about Verbier!

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  21. Aren't they talking about rugby and the fact they will leave on Sunday? I would be very surprised François Hollande would bring the trip to Verbier up... 🤔 It would be a pretty silly move and he is not as dumb as people may think ...

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