The Duchess of Cambridge arrived this morning at the Royal College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians looking radiant in a recycle. Today was an event that could be broadly characterized under Heads Together, the umbrella organization created by William, Harry, and Kate to promote discussions about mental health, but more particularly, Kate was appearing for partner charity Best Beginnings.
In what will be a bitter-sweet point for long-time Kate followers, Kate was accompanied by Sophie Agnew rather than Rebecca Deacon. You can see her above exiting the car, and here below standing in the background. No word has been given about Rebecca's successor, but this might be a hint of announcements to come.
Today, Kate was celebrating the launch of Out of the Blue, a series of educational films produced by Best Beginnings that revolve around maternity and the mental health issues that can arise from pregnancy and early child-rearing. Not only are the films meant to aid mothers, but also to support the "support team." The films are meant to educate dads and even kids about the invisible, but very real challenges, some women face during the sometimes taxing journey of motherhood.
Kate gave a brief address to the gathered health professionals and activists who had come for the launch. Her remarks have garnered quite a few headlines. Not to be a tease, truly, but I have a few thoughts about Kate's comments today, and there are enough of them that I am saving them for a second post. Don't get mad at me, it is taking real discipline here to refrain.
Watch The Duchess of Cambridge speak at the launch of the @BestBeginnings 'Out of the Blue' film series, with @Heads_Together pic.twitter.com/1mMupReocK— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 23, 2017
I say I was particularly struck by Kate's increasing confidence as a public speaker. It is very easy to be an audience member and I think we forget how nerve-racking it is to get up in front of a crowd and talk! Certainly there are people who are old pros, but the majority, and at this early stage in her career as a royal Kate qualifies as a member of the majority, it just isn't that easy! Maybe because I am called upon at times to be a public speaker, I really scrutinize the details. Today, Kate had a podium that wasn't tall enough for her. Rather than being able to rest her speech and her hands on a steadying surface, she had to hold it up just below the level of the microphone. Yet, she was focused and poised and passionate in her presentation. It is one small thing, but I am really impressed by how Kate has grown as a public speaker since we saw her first remarks at EACH five years ago.
Kate did watch one of the films before leaving the auditorium with that glow that comes after a successful public performance. She was then off to visit with mothers and fathers who have benefited from Best Beginnings work.
I love this video by Rebecca English of Kate joining a group of parents. She sits and settles in and her face says, "HEY guys!" and then it seems she remembers the cameras and her expressions changes to, "oops, I'm a princess, better sit up straight." So, she settles back and straightens her posture. We've all been there, maybe without the scrutiny of the cameras, but that self-correction moment...It is endearing.
Video: duchess now meeting mothers for an informal discussion pic.twitter.com/niWLbcAIFf— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) March 23, 2017
And one more video from Rebecca showing Kate chatting. I like this one because it is fun to see Kate interacting, but also because her knees are so beautiful! Yes, Kate, I am talking about your knees. I know, the price of fame.
Duchess of Cambridge talks about how there is so much support for mothers when pregnant but how it can be 'lonely' after your baby is born. pic.twitter.com/ToNkIxIyaj— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) March 23, 2017
I wonder if Kate's Yoga/Pilates trainer has come up with a new pose to make sure Kate keeps fit to drop low for the kids despite her heels. Based on today's ensemble I'd name this pose: crouching flamingo. I'm going to ask my Pilates instructor about it.
Let's chat fashion. Kate recycled separates from Eponine London today. The Duchess first wore this ensemble in March of 2016 on a visit to XLP London with William. On the whole, my recollection is that the suit got pretty positive reviews from fans. I loved it on that occasion, particularly the detailing along the hips. Kate wore a second piece from Eponine in January of this year (I can't believe it is already MARCH!) on her first day of engagements for 2017. She kicked the day off solo on an Anna Freud event and then joined William for a visit to one of Child Bereavement UK's centers.
Eponine London is a British label created by Jet Shenkman, a mother of four who designs form her home in Kensington and has built a boutique business that prides itself on detail, quality, and beauty. I was really taken by the image of her company when Kate debuted the first Eponine and shortly after I got a really sweet email from Jet that charmed me even more. It seems to me that the label doesn't just design clothes that fit Kate well, but that the entire company fits into her lifestyle profile: gracious and thoughtful toward the individual.
Kate wore her beautiful morganite drops from Kiki McDonough today, just as she did on this suit's first wear, but she switched up her accessories from the first wear, swapping the black accents for neutrals. Today, she wore her Praline pumps and carried the Nina clutch from L.K. Bennett.
I have a feeling these neutrals are going to put Kate afoul of some people, but perhaps with my often skewed view of accessories (I am thinking of my pass for the burgundy/red combo ;)) I don't mind this. Maybe because it seems to me that the Praline color picks up some of the pinkish red of the gingham and blends, or because I think that neutral really goes with just about anything. I'm not sure, but I am fan. I definitely am glad to see this ensemble paired with a hue lighter than black, that is for sure!
The verdict is a win, obviously. :) Often with a recycle I wish Kate would wear her hair up, but today I was happy to see it down still. Those curls were perfect and worked well with the boat neck. It was fun to see this suit get a little more activity, too. The brand new, super pressed look has worn off a little, which gave us a better sense of the box pleats and the movement. Big win all around!
There has been much talk about the security concerns surrounding this engagement. The truth is that the security concerns were almost exactly equal to the normal threat of any engagement that Kate undertakes these days. Now, that's a significant security concern, Britain has been at "severe" level for some years, but Kate didn't take a heightened risk beyond that by appearing today. The Queen's engagement was cancelled primarily because of the location--Scotland Yard! You can imagine how busy the police are and it certainly isn't a day to take a break and give tours of the facility and hand out posies, not matter how illustrious the visitor. The Queen was wise to cancel, but I think her appearance has been spun just a little as a risky choice, which just wasn't the case. That being said, because the Queen did have to cancel, Kate was in some respects the face of the BRF, conveying the royals' prayers and good wishes personally, which was a bit of a unique moment for her. I am sure you will agree she represented her family well.
Certainly, my condolences to all of my UK readers and most especially the people of London whose world has been turned topsy-turvy by this unconscionable attack. The civilized world joins you in distress at these continued assaults on innocent men, women, and children. One of my friends college, a wonderful man from Scotland, posted a picture of the terrorist on a stretcher and noted that we still extended treatment to this vicious man despite his depravity. I thought it was a good point. I pray that fidelity to our values will lead all our nations through this dark day and those to be revealed, back to a world of greater stability, peace, and safety for all.