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Cambridge Family Featured in GQ

Monday, May 29, 2017

It has just been revealed that Prince William is GQ magazine's July cover feature. The Duke of Cambridge has given an interview to the magazine discussing mental health and the impact that his mother's death has had on him.  Part of the spread features a black and white image of the Cambridge family in a very candid snap relaxing in the grass at Kensington Palace in April:

Among other comments, William spoke about the need for stability in his family, saying "I could not do my job without the stability of the family. Stability at home is so important to me. I want to bring up my children in a happy, stable, secure world and that is so important to both of us as parents." Thus far, William and Kate have been successful in that goal. It is very refreshing to see his priorities are so appropriately focused on the strength of his marriage and the happiness of his children. You can read the full interview at GQ here

Just a little earlier this morning I posted my full report on Pippa's wedding. You can find that post here.

Finally, speaking of families and children, I watched the annual Memorial Day Concert last night and as I do every year, reflected on the impact war has not just on our service members, but on their families. Each casualty is multiplied by the spouses, parents, and children who suffer the loss of life or the pain of a horrifically wounded loved one. It reinforces yet again that freedom and peace are not the products of positive thoughts, but the self-sacrifice of thousands who are willing to put the common good ahead of themselves. To all our servicemen and women, to your families and loved ones, thank you for your willingness to make that sacrifice. God bless you and Happy Memorial Day. 

Pippa Middleton's Fairytale Country Wedding

I knew that Pippa Middleton was going to be a striking bride, but last Saturday, on a sunny late morning in leafy Berkshire, she exceeded even my expectations. Pippa was absolutely radiating joy and I thought she was the most beautiful I have ever seen her.

For Pippa, always bubbly and outgoing, following in the footsteps of her sister Kate's star-studded wedding was doubtless a challenge, but Carole, Pippa, and Kate managed to plan and put on a wedding that checked every meaningful box that Kate's glittering Royal Wedding marked, but in a completely personal and unique manner. Pippa's fairytale country wedding was truly as perfect as Kate's magnificent Westminster affair. 

The Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom

The mother of the bride arrived on her handsome son's arm looking, as always impeccable. Just as she did for her daughter Kate's wedding, Carole turned to royal label Catherine Walker for this flattering ensemble. The pale pink coat dress features a lot of elements Kate loves, like the wide collar, big buttons, and pleated skirt. 

Carole's sweeping hat is by Juliette Botterill. Susan at WKW, or one of her keen-sighted readers, pointed out that it is a customized version of the company's Twist-Detail Upturned hat. Carole looks so great in wide-brimmed hats and this one is a real winner. 

Carole has a seemingly unerring sense of style. Where Pippa is more adventurous at times, Kate clearly inherited her conservative sense of fashion from her mom. Carole always hits just the right note, choosing ensembles that are neat and feminine, streamlined and effortlessly elegant. Pippa's wedding was no exception. Did this remind anyone of Kate's Alexander McQueen coat initially debuted at Trooping? I loved that on Kate, and I loved Carole in this ensemble. A+ Mama Middleton!

James Matthews' mother Jane arrived on her husband's arm wearing a pale blue ensemble. This was busier than Carole's, but no less elegant. I particularly like Mrs. Matthews notched sleeves, a detail shared with Carole's dress, actually.

The Guests 

Pippa's wedding gathered a sparkling array of society stars, representing her connections to big name celebrities like handsome Roger Federer and his wife Mirka (pictured here leaving the ceremony...for variety's sake):

To her close relationship to royalty like Princess Eugenie and boyfriend (maybe fiancĂ©?) Jack Brooksbank. Eugenie chose a navy Paule Ka dress and a pillbox hat. I love how she has accessorized with shoes that coordinate and give a pop of contrasting color. 

Family members like Uncle Gary and his daughter Talulah were also pictured arriving:

As well as close members of Kate's inner circle, like Sophie Carter (far left), James Meade (right), and his wife of Laura Marsham. James and Laura were married in 2013, and William, Harry, and Pippa all attended the Norfolk wedding, although Kate missed it to spend quiet time at home with baby George.

The guest who wins Best Guest Ensemble is easily Anneke von Trotha Taylor. She is married to Charlie Gilkes, (who has created a number of nightclubs with his business partner, including Bunga Bunga) and the two are good friends of the Duke and Duchess. I love her dress--the print is fresh and modern, the colors work well, and the ruffled sleeves are so on trend. I'd make that pom pom just a taste smaller, but otherwise, I am a big fan of the disk hat.

I think this was the first event where we saw Donna Air officially join the Middleton clan at a family event? She has attended various society functions with James and other members of his family, but I think this is a first for us to see her at a private family affair. She chose an Emilia Wickstead tea-length dress and Jane Taylor percher...and got a hug from her handsome guy:

One big question we all had been asking for weeks leading up to the wedding was, will Meghan Markle be at the ceremony? I thought she would show up, but was proved wrong when Harry strode to the church with William sans his striking girlfriend. 

The Duchess of Cambridge 

The Duchess of Cambridge and her two children, who had supporting roles in the celebration, arrived at the church, along with a gaggle of other little flower girls and page boys. I was wrong about Meghan Markle attended the wedding, but at least I was right that Kate would be her sister's matron-of-honor.  

This video of Kate arriving, (which oddly repeats the same roll halfway through) shows Kate had her hands full making sure her young and and energetic charges kept their focus:

The princess navigated the gravel path in her Gianvito Rossi Praline heels with the little ones in tow. This snap of Kate turning to give a gentle reminder to keep the clatter down as they approached the doors to the church made headlines in many major newspapers.

The Duchess was reported to have visited Sarah Burton in London to discuss her custom Alexander McQueen. It draws from a number of Kate's preferred elements--the full sleeves she wears often and the partial peplum, pleats, and v-neck. It is very similar in design to the green gown Kate wore to the SPOTY Awards when pregnant with George, and it was clearly the point of inspiration for the two when creating Kate's wedding ensemble. 

I have mixed feelings about this dress. I think the problem here is that the blush tends a little too much toward brown. It is a very elegant accent color, as is apparent from Princess Charlotte's little dress and sash, but head to toe didn't work quite so well for Kate. I don't think it coordinates with her tanned complexion as well as a clearer pink, like Carole's pink, would have. I didn't hate it, and the color grew on me, but it is one of those dresses that looks right within the wedding party, but would not work well away from the coordinating olives and creams of its fellows.

Kate had a matching custom topper created by one of her favorites, Jane Taylor, and completed her ensemble with custom earrings from Kiki McDonough. Her striking morganite drops are a style Kate has been favoring of late and I am enjoying her move toward bigger earrings recently!

The Bride

Kate and the little ones were the last in before the big arrival. They were followed closely by a open-topped car with the bride and her proud father. As Pippa got out of the car and arranged her dress, Kate and Charlotte watched with anticipation from the doorway. Charlotte was visibly excited to see Aunt Pippa arrive looking like a princess. 

There was a lot of speculation about what Pippa would wear for her wedding. Because she is edgier in her fashion than either her mother or her sister, some felt she might choose a very daring dress, but I think that Pippa was equally conscious of the need for the dress to be classic enough to age well. Super trendy doesn't always manage the passage of years as well as more conservative counterparts.  I think she really balanced her personal style with traditional aesthetic in this bespoke Giles Deacon gown. The entire dress is lace with a spattering of pearls on the bodice, and just like sister Kate's McQueen, Pippa's gown held its structure beautifully for the "action" shots.

The high collar and keyhole cutout provide a sporty touch and highlighted Pippa's figure perfectly.

After Stephen Jones was spotted at Pippa's flat, a lot of us assumed he would design Pip's headpiece. Instead, he made Pippa's veil, which was light tulle without embellishment save for delicate, scattered pearls. According to Vogue, this spartan style was by design so as not to draw attention from the tiara, or the dress. The delicate tiara the bride wore was from Robinson Pelham, which Vogue reports was a "maidenhair fern tiara and matching headpiece, crafted with diamonds and 18-karat white gold."

Robinson Pelham did the bespoke jewelry for the Middleton when Kate married, and Pippa chose those diamond earrings from April 29, 2011, for her wedding. Perhaps they were her something old?

As I mentioned earlier, although the two weddings differed significantly in scale, we saw the same sweet and intimate moments at both Kate and Pippa's big day. I love this moment when Pippa took Michael's hand...

...and her final glowing smile back at the bank of photographers.

According to a press release, Pippa's bouquet was a mixture of peony, sweet pea, freesia, waxflower and green bell.

She had St. Mark's adorned with breathtaking florals, which according to an interview the designer gave to People, were meant to "reflect[] the British countryside in early summer and were filled with fragranced flowers including Sweet Peas, Peonies, garden Roses, Philadelphus, Freesia, Astilbe, and Jasmine."  Pictures taken inside the church after the ceremony show the lovely interior that greeted guests as they made their way to their pews on the morning of the 20th. These flowers, of course, matched the arrangements that were visible to the public outside the church. 

Kate added a creative and personalized touch by sketching the image of the church that the couple used on the program. Obviously we all know Kate loves art and photography, but I didn't know she was so talented an artist herself. This is really beautifully done and displays real talent:

@irishsara1980 via Instagram 

The beaming couple exited the church to the excitement of well-wishers and the click of cameras. Kate and the little attendants moved to the side to give the bride and groom space for a full photo. I don't know what Prince George and Kate saw here, but it appears to be exceptionally "oooh" worthy:

Charlotte behaved like a zen angel throughout.

George seems a little more high-strung than his calm sister and he had a brief meltdown which elicited a swift rebuke from Mommy Kate.

The explosion of tears, however, was very short-lived. Kate ushered her kiddies into the car and George was quickly back to the work to which he was born: waving to the adulating crowds as he was chauffeured away. 

The Reception

The guests made their way immediately after the ceremony to Englefield House where they enjoyed a champagne reception before Pippa and James drove off in a vintage Jaguar:

The real glitz and glamour took place in the evening back at Middleton Manor. As has already been reported, the Middletons imported a massive glass reception "tent" from Belgium and set it up in their garden.

via Chris Ship 

Pippa had the interior decorated with cherry blossom trees and complementing pink roses from her ceremony. The floral designer for the reception described the night as a Cherry Blossom Fairytale on his Instagram.

Perhaps the single misstep of Pippa's reception was the flypast. Unless a flypast is par for the British country wedding course (which maybe it is!) I thought it a little too royal-weddingish. Pippa's big day was a smash hit because it danced to the beat of its own drum and a single Spitfire flyover seemed an unnecessary addition to me.  [Update: Louis from the UK commented to tell me that the pilot was a friend of the Michael Middleton's. He owns a flying school and did the flypast as a wedding tribute. I agree with Louise that that changes the flypast from a misstep to a sweet gesture. ]

According to the Telegraph, Pippa changed into "an elegant, white floor-length gown with v-neck and sparkle details" for the reception. There was a light show that celebrated the couple and included a projection of their faces onto the side of the manor house, which was visible from the road:

Apparently, not all was perfect at one of the receptions. Several sources reported the Best Man gave a cringe-worthy toast that included some very crude sexual references. My mother has always warned me that something will go wrong on every wedding day and just to take it in stride. I guess that was Pippa's little irritating blot on what certainly seems from the outside to have been a flawless day.

A story circulated that Prince Harry drove all the way back to London to pick Meghan Markle up and bring her to the evening reception, but Rebecca English revealed that Meghan Markle was in the area during the ceremony, staying at a "country house suite." Thus far, there has only been one photo of Meghan from the day, and that was barely visible windshield snap which you can see here on the Daily Mail.

I think more details will come out on the reception, and I frankly hope that Pippa and James contracted with someone to release pictures to the public. The couple are currently honeymooning on a French Polynesian island where they have been photographed walking the beach, books in hand, and paddle boarding and enjoying the crystal water. I will likely write a separate post on that.

I always wondered how Pippa would meet the challenge of creating her own special wedding after Kate's incredible marriage in 2011, but she found the right blend of country chic and lavish super party reception. It really was the wedding of the year. Congratulations to James and Pippa Matthews! 

Pippa's Mini Royal Wedding

Sunday, May 21, 2017

I am posting from my phone, which I have never done before, to start a thread to discuss the wedding. I know lots of you want to get chatting, and although I can't blog about the wedding for another week, I thought we'd open the discussion anyway. 

I did peek at photos yesterday and thought Pippa was an absolutely beautiful bride. She was so radiant and her hair, make-up, dress, and delicate tiara were perfect. I am frankly happy to see she wore a little sparkling head piece. She deserves the accessory!  Kate and the kids were so cute and there was even a moment when the future little king got a scolding from his mom. :).

Ok, I am back to vacation. See you in a few days!

Kate In Christopher Kane at Buckingham Palace Garden Party

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

This morning the Queen kicked off her first garden party of the season at Buckingham Palace. Kate likes to bunch her engagements, so I don't think anyone was surprised to see the lovely duchess behind the the Sovereign on the steps of BP. Prince William, who only attended his first garden party last year, seems to have acquired a taste for it, and was at his wife's side. 

This is the third time Kate has worn the shiny Christopher Kane. All who know me know I am not the first huzzah when this ensemble is trotted out. Let's review the illustrious history of the Shiny CK. Kate debuted this at a reception for the London Olympic in 2012. There were limited photos at that event, so we didn't get a fair view of the coat. It is not at its best in truncated version, and I intensely disliked it at the time. No way to sugar coat it... 

To my surprise, Kate gave it a second wear, and at the prestigious Order of the Garter, no less! Kate wore this in 2014 and paired it with a new hat that I have dubbed "The Oyster" by Lock & Co. The full-length view of this coat vastly improved my overall impression, but I can't say it edged it into the win category. 

I am surprised to see it again today. I just don't think the sheen works. Kate likes materials that are traditionally associated with night, most obviously lace, but also her penchant for chiffon. I am almost always up for lace and I have welcomed the near universal acceptance of lace as a day-time fabric, but to me, this super satiny coat is still just a little too "boudoir-ish" for my taste.

It is better in motion, I give it that:

I think Kate is wearing the silver dress she wore with her Jane Troughton coat in 2009 to the wedding of Nicholas van Custom. I loved that ensemble so much, and because Kate tends to keep her clothes for years and recycles with regularity, I think this is likely the same dress.

The Duchess wore her brand new Kikis a second time today. Kiki McDonough truly produces mouth-wateringly beautiful brilliants.  These eye-popping earrings were just debuted in Luxembourg by the Duchess and match her ensemble today perfectly. I am not in love with the coat, but the accessories are A+.

Kate's clutch is new, too, and I absolutely love it. The pattern looks like a medieval tapestry or the border of an illuminated manuscript! This clutch is unusual for her style as a Duchess, but Kate has shown interest in vintage purses in the past, so perhaps this is an older piece. I will let you know if there is an ID on it. 

This week has been full of Pippa news. One of Kate's own hair stylists, Amanda Tucker, was photographed at Pippa's house along with her signature suitcase full of (presumably) tools and products, and assistants have been seen entering with large dress bags holding Pip's wedding gown. Additionally, the big headlines just today report a massive glass menagerie is being erected in the Middletons' garden. It is going to be a very chic wedding.  Kate told guests that she is nervous about whether George and Charlotte will behave in their respective wedding roles, and excitement is clearly high for Pippa's big day. 

In this video, just at the end, you can hear William telling guests that a trip to Norway is hopefully coming up soon for the Cambridges! 

Kate was again accompanied by Rebecca Deacon, who is apparently continuing to work for Kate through the summer. You can see her pictured below, in a navy ensemble and nude pumps, to our right  of the duchess. 

The verdict is a mixed one. Time has not erased my gut-reaction to this coat, but I think it has softened it. The coat is always better in motion and with some perspective. I loved the new clutch and thought it was unusual, but a fun addition to the ensemble. Because I love everything Kate Middleton, a piece from 2009 puts a smile on my face and makes me nostalgic for the old days of royal watching. I don't think this ensemble was a miss, but today is win because we got to see Kate, not on the merits of the Shiny CK. 

The good news is that we saw Kate today. The bad news is that I am going offline for some days and won't be covering Pippa's wedding on the actual day. Yesterday I finished my last final, today I popped by the Passport Agency office and got my new passport, and tomorrow I fly east...sans laptop. As you may have heard, Homeland Security has been mulling the possibility of banning laptops on flights coming from Europe to the U.S., and I don't want that to happen while I am away. I am going to a wedding on Pippa's wedding day and then I am running all over the countryside for some days after, so there won't be much time for blogging anyway. Wherever I am on Saturday, I'll be trying to catch enough of a signal to get a peek at her dress! Enjoy the excitement of the big day and I look forward to catching up with you all when I am back state-side. A bientĂ´t! 

Preview of Party at the Palace

Saturday, May 13, 2017

When I imagined what Kate would wear to Party at the Palace this morning, I saw her in the creamy Chloe from Canada. When the duchess stepped out on the steps, she was wearing the exact dress. It's not surprising, because this was such an obvious fit, and I likely imagined it because the scenario is very similar--a party, in a garden, with children and young people. 

Even though it was so perfect that I dreamed it beforehand, I was a little bored to see it again so soon.  Obviously it was great to see Kate, and it was also nice to get some shots of her in the dress without any obstruction. As darling as Charlotte was, she did make it hard to get a clear picture of Kate on the last wear. Anyway, this is just the preview I promised as I wait for freedom on Monday, so I will leave it at that. Oh, and am I the only one who thinks that Kate's recent hair-cut needs a tweak or two? All those waves running in competing directions and crazy loops...

I thought this ensemble was picture perfect and Kate looked fab. A little twist would have made it fun, even just a high ponytail that wouldn't make it to prim and proper for the afternoon games, but would give us a little new perspective. Garden parties are where Kate loves to recycle, though, and since pictures are so slow and never in abundance, I guess I am ok with that. (Mr. Security!)

And I love to see the Annoushkas back!

It was a great event that supported military families and their children, which I am always excited to see. I look forward to writing the full post. Thanks for all the supportive comments, by the way. They all put a smile on my face! :) 

Harry's hand written invitation:


Kate's Visit to Luxembourg + Blog Conflicts

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Kate was in Luxembourg today for an afternoon of engagements. She debuted a new Emilia Wickstead that is very close in design to the green St. Patrick's Day coat she wore on her very first appearance at that popular event! I love that green coat, so I was thrilled to see the same style today. (It is also almost the same color as the blue maternity dress that Emilia Wickstead made for Kate!) This coat is so flattering on Kate! Sadly, I can't write the post tonight, or tomorrow, or this weekend. I am wrapping up my semester here in a  flurry of finals and I won't be free to pop some bubbly and put my feet up until Monday evening. I will throw a little preview of the garden party up on Sunday, but a full post on that will also be postponed. 

I know these delays are tedious, but summer is so close I can taste it. Send prayers and good wishes my way and I will "see" you soon! 

Harry Hugs Meghan at Audi Polo Challenge

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Another day at the Audi Polo Challenge and both William and Harry played. Obviously, we were hoping that Kate might make an appearance, but it doesn't sound like she did. Meghan was there, however, as you would expect. Who flew across the Atlantic to sit home for day 2? Not this girl. 

She was snapped giving Harry a hug, appropriately by an Audi. This is the picture we were cheated of yesterday, because if there is one thing that happens at polo, it's sweaty hugs. 

Isn't it a funny world where someone hugging their girlfriend is a headline? :)  Kensington Palace gamely tried to get the focus off the hugging and onto the match, but it is a lost cause. I admire their tenacity, though.