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Princess Kate's "Royal Wedding" Ascot Ensemble

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Change can be hard, and over the past few years Kate's style and schedule have changed in various ways that have been bittersweet. She certainly has developed a new style since 2011/2012, and I miss that sometimes, but one positive side of change for a growing royal is how her calendar is evolving. In their early years, William and Kate never attended the Chelsea Flower Show or Royal Ascot, two really lovely staples of the summer. Last year the couple debuted at the Chelsea Flower Show and at Ascot and I was thrilled today to see Kate and William return to the racecourse all spruced up and looking their best. 


The couple took part in the opening carriage ride and sat with the Earl and Countess of Wessex.  They are the third carriage, if you count in this video. The Queen is in the first, and I think she is recycling that neon ensemble from trooping. It takes someone who has lived through a world war to be brave enough to wear that color, let's all be honest.



Sophie and Kate made front page news with these images of Sophie almost tumbling into the Duchess! Everyone seemed in very high spirits and having a real ball as they laughed off the near miss.


Kate and William also enjoyed mingling with other family members including Princess Beatrice, and Zara and Mike Tindall. Zara has always been close to her Wales cousins and I suspect she gets on well with Kate, too, thanks to her very down-to-earth personality, in addition to the fact the two couples are at the same stage in their lives. They always look like they are close family when pictured together at sporting and social events. 



Zara did let her mischievous side get the better of her, and she blew a raspberry at William just as the announcer called for a moment of silence for recent victims of Britain's several recent tragedies. The comment on the video is that Kate gave her a quick "mom look." I am sure Kate was torn between the humor and her more discreet inclinations.

Maybe the most exciting part of the day for me, though, was the fact that Carole and Michael Middleton were at Ascot, too. They have come to Ascot in the past, but never with Kate, so it was particularly fantastic to see them enjoying the sunny weather...with their eyes closed. Mom, this photo is for you. Carole and Kate also blink just when they shouldn't!! [By the way guys, I don't blink just as the camera clicks. I know how it works.] 


William and Kate had some official duties to discharge. The two presented the King's Stand Stakes trophy.  It is interesting how Kate has become more comfortable in this role over the years, often taking charge now, while William plays a supporting role. 


Kate debuted tip to toes. Well, almost. The shoes are her Gianvito Rossi Pralines, which have been her shoe of choice lately, and the earrings are loaners we have seen before, but hat, dress, and clutch are all new/ Kate's hat has not been identified at this time, but it certainly is one of her most elaborate perchers to date. It features a waffle structure with a styled bow and delicate floral embellishments, reminiscent of her all white embellishments on her wedding cake! 



The materials remind me of Jane Taylor's "Una" mesh hat from last year's Ascot, and her Rachel Trevor-Morgan from some years ago at Order of the Garter. If I had to put money on it, I'd say today's hat is bespoke Jane Taylor. [Although, the elaborate details could also make it a Jane Corbett. I miss JC.]


Kate's earrings are another pair of priceless sparklers from the Queen's vault. The Queen received stunning pearls from the Hakim of Bahrain as a wedding gift, and two were incorporated into these drops. Kate has worn them before, but I sense we will see more of them.



Kate's clutch is from Loeffler Randall. It is their "Tab" clutch in a "lizzard-effect" print with gold clasp. I think Kate was due a few new clutches, much as we all love the Muse and Mulberrys, and I like this large style.  

Loeffler Randall on Net-a-Porter


The dress is Alexander McQueen. Kate has had one of the label's shorter dresses customized, and it is a smash hit for me. The skirt is almost bell shaped, a silhouette we don't see on Kate much.  Her Saloni comes to mind immediately, but not many more. It is not a typical look for Kate.


The skirt is described on Harrods website as flared, I have looked at dozens of photos and I am sure this dress has a touch of bustling underneath, similar to her wedding dress. The back of the dress in particular puffs out when she is standing straight, but also when she leans in to hug people etc. It is too pronounced not to be by design. I love it! I think it is absolutely exquisite on her.  

McQueen


Carole Middleton looked the picture of elegance, per usual. You already know the hat she is wearing. It is a Jane Corbett creation and she had it made for Kate's wedding in 2011. It suits her so well. 


Carole turned to Goat London for her midi-length day dress. This is the "Devon" and features a sweet-heart neckline and back, which is echoed at the waistline, too. 

GOAT London

I wasn't a huge fan of Goat when Kate first debuted the label, but the simple and streamlined, yet super flattering ensembles they have produced since have more than won me over. These are two of my favorites: the crepe shift at Blessed Sacrament and the Binky Blouse for the Heads Together Launch.



The verdict today is: big win. Kate loves lace and is a woman of very set tastes. This ensemble today is sort of the 2.0 of last year's lace look, and in my opinion is a slight improvement. It is a little more sophisticated, I think, and I like the details more. The peplum rather than last year's (dust) ruffle, and the softer, albeit far more embellished, topper. Maybe it is because I just got back from Versailles, but I thought Kate looked like a modern Marie-Antoinette with the profusion of lace and the beautiful hat decorated with bows and flowers. To me it was mid-18th century modernized...Marguerite St.Just off for a picnic with Percy. (Great movie, by the way, if you haven't seen it.)



Kate's Percy Blakeney is pretty dashing, too. I love seeing these two living out their happily ever after. Today was so fun. It reminds me why I love royal-watching. :) Until the next time!! 





99 comments:

  1. Oh, she looks unbelievable! Truly stunning. And I LOVE CAROLE MIDDLETON! If I had to pick, not sure if I'd choose to have dinner with her or Kate :)

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  2. Is there a peplum or is that tier of lace underneath the skirt? I have been staring at these photos but can't figure it out! Love the sophisticated look and adore the detailing of the hat. I feel like Kate is coming into her own again style-wise, this time as a Duchess not just a royal newlywed. She's fantastic.

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    1. I totally agree I'm not sure how she'll up her game from this?!? She is stunning!! I love her I'm lace, but this is my new favorite lace, and favorite topper, maybe all together favorite to date!! She's a 20!! Not sure about the hair net though???

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  3. Love it! Not usually a fan of lace or white but for some reason this one works. Only slight glitch is the slight transparency of the skirt in the bright sunshine. It doesn't show any more than what would be seen with a pair of jeans or pants and less than if she wore the skirt in the original version but it is just the teeny misstep that takes away from total perfection.
    Mel in NOnt

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    1. The lining of the dress is way too see-through with the sunlight shining behind her. Very reminiscent of Diana. But I love the dress, regardless!

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  4. Is it just me, or does it look like she may be leaning forward just a bit in most photos? I suspect those heels were a poor choice for the turf.

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  5. I love the dress! But do wonder if it's a touch see through....I seem to have an image of Kate's thighs....or am I just imagining this?

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    1. I do not see anything to be concerned with:)

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    2. You are right! Comparisons to Diana's see through skirt are on the daily mail.

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    3. Oh I looked back again, and I do see the photo you are talking about, I lay this issue at McQueens doorstep. The design team should have known that lining would not work in bright sunshine or bright lights. You can not see anything but the outlines of her thighs but it is not a good look.

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    4. The dress was translucent, not transparent, (plastic wrap is transparent, for example; that bottle glass thick tile used sometimes as a screen or room divider is translucent-it lets the light in, but you can't see straight through to objects behind- you may see hints or outlines but no clear view.) and it is fully lined in a pinkish/ skin-toned fabric. It is a look Grace Kelly used and was popular in the 1950's, probably an era second only to the Victorian in public prudishness. Organdy, lawn. lace,and Batiste and other fabrics allowed a peek-a-boo effect without loss of modesty. It was considered ladylike, although slightly flirtatious. There was a lining or slip underneath that was meant to be seen through the over-dress.Certainly nothing to make an issue of..
      DM likes to stir things up to get clicks.
      At least I know where this nonsense started now.

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    5. Could you provide a reference on the Grace Kelly style point Anon 6:47? I recall the 50s looks pairing "translucent" skirts with flowing (but really pretty solid) linings or underskirts. I also recall the long split skirts combined with trousers underneath (presumably more acceptable than trousers worn alone.) But I don't recall styles that combined translucent or lace skirts with translucent linings/slips as Kate's does. It's hard for me to believe McQueen (or Kate) intended this dress to show Kate's thighs as clearly as it does when back-lit. I know many say Kate's wedding dress was a copy of Grace's so maybe a nod to GK was intended with this Ascot dress. But I don't recall ever seeing the style you describe and can't find it by a quick googling.

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    6. Lizzie, you may be accurate in saying the 1950's dresses did not have translucent underskirts/linings. They were mostly opaque. I wore an overlay dress to a junior high dance with white embossed organdy type material over a pale green muslin under dress. The under dress was separate, sleeveless. and could be worn as a separate garment. My Mom made it to my specifications. However, I was saying that Kate's lining was Not transparent. It may not be translucent. I think I figured out where the confusion arises: look at the side view of Kate and Zara. It clearly shows the light traveling through the lace portion flaring away from her body but not through the part showing the lining. In the front view, we see the outer outline of her thighs where the lace stands away from the lining. We really don't see the inner or front part of her leg. I think it may be one of those tricks the mind plays, or an optical illusion, that fills in what we know must be there-but really isn't shown. I think a careful examination of multiple views in various positions and lighting will bear this out. I think the dress was flirtatious, but not risqué and certainly not inappropriate as some commenters hinted.

      Grace Kelly. I still can't find the image I had in mind. Short of a Vulcan mind meld...I am not sure I can give you a link to my mental image. Ha! I am now beginning to think that I had my sister in mind. :+) The best illustration I could find on the internet is under "Grace Kelly high society." There are a number of overlay-type dresses, the most famous one being the diaphanous one she wore as Tracy Lord when she was playing lady of the manor for the society reporter. Katherine Hepburn wore a similar outfit in an earlier version of the film- The Philadelphia Story." There is also a dress from Rear Window with an overlay effect, as well as several others.
      Incidentally, under Grace Kelly vogue-images, I noticed a photo of Catherine and Charlotte from a cover of Royals magazine, I believe. It was a lovely one I don't believe I had seen before, taken in Canada.
      It was interesting in that Catherine's style was being compared to Grace Kelly's. I guess that is how it ended up on that image page. anon1

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    7. Thanks for the additional info anon 1. (Didn't know the 1st anon was you :) I have seen the style you are describing after all. The difference is in the underskirt and I agree the 1950s weren't big on translucent linings but were big on diaphanous overskirts. I also agree the mind may fill in missing details and that could be what's going on with the photos *in this article.* But I also think the photos published by the DM require very little filling in. I don't blame Kate and think its ludicrous to think she intended to copy the photo of Diana taken when she was a naive 19 yr old. (Think I remember reading the photographer later admitted he manuvered Diana into a sunny spot so he could get the "money shot.") I DO blame the McQueen folks. The designers had to know Kate would wear this bespoke dress at a daytime summer event (I mean really, where else could it possibly be worn) and I suspect they knew it was for the Ascot. The lining needed to be different as it was not a classy look when back-lit.



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  6. It was confirmed by Jane Taylor to Annie Elizabeth N on Twitter that this isn't her hat.
    And I don't know if it's good to look like a modern day Marie-Antoinette xD in Europe, she has quite a bad Reputation.
    I love this look wat better than last years. I like the shorter skirt and the hat is gorgeous.

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  7. Wow, wow, wow. This dress is perfection and she looks gorgeous. This is inspiring me to find an appropriate occasion for a white lace summer dress but if you don't have Ascot on the calendar they're surprisingly hard to come by! What a fun outing.

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  8. I never like the lace looks Kate picks, but this is really pretty. I wish she wore her hair down though. The soft, delicate nature of the dress would have worked well I think with long, curled hair.

    Seeing her legs through the dress... go Kate, go Kate! I mean, come on, that's nothing, even for a princess. Just a little bit sexy. I say, go for it!

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  9. Utterly gorgeous Kate! What a stunner of a day too. Such fun!

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  10. Hate it. It looks like a cheap lace dress and what hat is that?? A look too fussy imo. She still looked comfy and happy tho!

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  11. This is a lovely dress and Kate looks wonderful from head to toe. I am not a lace dress fan but this is beautifully tailored to Kate and structurally crisp enough that I like it very much. I find it to be much different from last years lace dress. The hat is fascinating, it really is full of lots of Frou Frou but I like it:) To me that means a really outstanding designer. Loved all the interaction. I did not see Kate as giving Zara a Mom look at all but a "what are you doing" and then "how cute" smile look:) Thought everyone looked really wonderful. Loved Sophies hat and dress and necklace. Loved the shadows cast by her hat. My only quibble is I do not think stark white is the best on Kate, but maybe better in person. Love love the tailoring and the lace is gorgeous

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  12. I have read the scarlet pimpernel but didn't know about the movie! Thank you for the tip! Kate was ravishing today, love it

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    1. Just fyi. There are two movies. One is from th 30s with Leslie Howard as Sir Percy. The other is from th 80s with Anthony Andrews in the lead. Both are good to warch!!

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  13. I love this ensemble. It is just so elegant, and the whole event is a much needed relief from all the horror. Kate is gorgeous, and it was such a lovely day. Thank you Jane.

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    1. I liked it too, Tedi. Very Kate and perfect for Ascot.

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  14. Love, love, love it! She looks fantastic! I also love how the mock turtle neck in lace sort of echoes Pippa's wedding dress...

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  15. The lady sure loves lace! Initially I was disappointed to see an ensemble so similar to last year's Ascot. At first glance before I saw the shorter length I thought it was a repeat of last year's outfit. But I like this dress much better. I had the same thought as you Jane, that the back looks like it was made to have a bustle effect. To me it also looks like a modern take on Victoriana. Very elegant.
    ~Mo

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    1. Yes, Mo! And Jane. Glad someone else saw the bustle effect. anon1

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  16. Very My Fair Lady. Elsewhere someone mentioned that lace has a natural wrinkle-resistance (see above photo of Kate next to the lovely Zara) that keep the wearer looking like a cool cucumber.
    The only see through portion of the dress are scant inches on the bottom under the silk lining and the arms/shoulders. A fortunate choice in the heat.

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  17. The dress is really nice, much better than last years Dolce&Gabbana, the shorter hemline is more youthful but the white colour reminds me on a wedding dress, would be interesting to see it in a different colour. The hat is just to much, florals, bows, waffle structure.... Carole Middleton is as elegant as always

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    1. Carole won in the fashion stakes on this day, IMO.

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    2. Carole looked fashionable and svelte. A Mum like that is a tough act to follow, but her girls aren't too shabby, either. Michael so handsome and dignified.anon1

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  18. Love everything about this appearance! I'm curious, does anyone know what the different colors of name badges signify? I assume it also serves as an entry ticket to certain areas, with the purple color being the most prestigious as it says Royal Box and all the senior royals had purple. However, I noticed Zara and her husband had yellow badges...does that mean they are relegated to a lesser seating area? If it is a ticket of some sorts, seems odd Carole and Kate's friends would get purple over Zara, but maybe not. Also, anyone know who the couple is in the picture with Kate and Carole?

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    1. Laura and James Meade. They are very close to Kate and William.

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    2. Love the whole outfit--very Ascot.
      Some gorgeous photos and Catherine looks so happy--in fact, look a happy family enjoying each other's company.
      Sad the news tha Prince Philip is in hospital again.

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    3. Emily, I wondered the same thing about the different badge colours.
      The website lists four different enclosures - Royal, Queen Anne,Windsor & Village.
      But of course doesn't say how things are assigned.
      I also would have thought that Zara & Mike would be "Royal!"

      AND, as much fun as it was to see Sophie's little stumble, I wonder if anyone knows why she wasn't on the Trooping balcony? -Prince Edward was by himself.

      Love Kate's ensemble, almost like she wanted a "do-over" from last year's white lace.
      My only quibble is the neckline - looks high, tight and scratchy in summer heat.

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    4. Apparently it was Sophie's father's birthday so she and the children were with him.

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    5. Oh, thank you for that Anonymous, it makes perfect sense.

      Today is the Middletons' 37th anniversary as well as William's birthday,
      so the family has a lot to celebrate even without the Summer Solstice!
      (Wonder if any of them slip away to visit Stonehenge?)

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    6. Can you imagine how Twitter and some blogs would explode if Kate had missed Trooping for her Dad's birthday? Look what happened when she missed an event to attend a celebration connected to her sister's wedding. Sophie missed that event, too. Good excuse, I'm sure.
      How long are they on the balcony, anyway? Does Sophie's father live in Wales or some distance that necessitates travel? I hope everyone remembers this the next time Kate misses a big family event. Actually, Trooping is the major royal event of the year.
      I am not saying Sophie should have missed an hour or two of her father's birthday to attend the Queen's birthday. That is between Sophie and her MIL.
      I do think the same consideration and benefit of the doubt should be afforded Catherine. Next time.anon1





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    7. The couple in that picture are not the Meades. That is James and Florence Tollemache. The Meades were there though

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    8. I see your point anon 1. Kate does sometimes receive undeserved criticism. Still I think it's risky to try to elevate and defend Kate by obliquely criticizing Sophie for taking her children to visit their grandfather on the day of the Trooping. Sophie's father is an 86 yr old widower. Kate's father is in his 60s and has a living spouse. Sophie's father used to attend some royal gatherings as HMTQ is said to be fond of him but that hasn't been happening much recently (to my knowledge anyway) so I wonder about his health. Michael certainly looked healthy enough at the Ascot with Will and Kate a few days after the Trooping. (The color of the badges he and Carole wore suggested they were seated in the royal box.) Sophie's children are old enough to appreciate spending the *actual day* of his birthday with their grandfather. Kate's are not. Sophie's children are also in school which likely limits their free time for visiting relatives during the school yr. While George attends nursery school "a few half-days a week" (according to reports--we don't really know how often he goes) there are likely fewer constraints on the Cambridge children's schedules right now. Finally, while Sophie and Edward are considered "working royals" Edward is WAY down the line in terms of succession. That can hardly be said for Will.

      You wondered if Sophie had a "good excuse" to miss an important service earlier in the year. I assume you are referring to the Commonwealth Day service, and yeah, she did. As I expect you already know she was on an official 5-day trip to Malawi as the Patron of the QEII Diamond Jubilee Trust (and as the patron of a charity that combats blindness.) As I am sure you know, Malawi is a member of the Commonwealth. It is among the poorest of the CW countries so supporting schools and medical charities there as Sophie's visit did is important. Perhaps the trip should have been scheduled at a different time so Sophie could attend the CW service in the UK at Edward's side rather than celebrating CWD in another CW country like Malawi. But frankly it likely would have been even easier to have Pippa's French Alps "hen party" at some other time. The wedding was still months away. The party was said to be organized by the Middletons. Kate and Pippa weren't tied to regular 40-hr week work schedules. But I doubt Kate's absence from the CW service would have been remarked upon nearly so much had **Will** attended. But no, he was seen on that drunken "boys" Swiss ski trip. So neither Kate nor Will attended the CWD service for personal social reasons that were likely well within their control. Edward did attend and Sophie's absence was for official reasons. Trying to make the couples attendance or lack thereof equivalent in terms of the CW service does not work. All absences aren't viewed as equivalent. 

      Honestly I think it's really apples and oranges to compare Sophie and Kate's attendance at particular events. And if we make it into apples and apples, according to reports, last yr between the two of them Will and Kate carried out 328 royal engagements while Edward and Sophie did 538. 

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    9. You make good points, Lizzie, and I agree it is apples and oranges to compare in one respect, but I don't think Anon1 was criticizing Sophie to build up Kate. She was making a point, I think, to Kate criticizers. I think both sides have a point.

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    10. You may have ignored or just plain missed my fairly obvious point, lizzie-which Jane seems to understand. I was not criticizing or really comparing. I merely said I thought Kate should be allowed the benefit of the doubt next time (as you have generously afforded Sophie.) I think they should BOTH be allowed to make personal family choices. In other words, if Kate feels her family member's needs warrant missing a big royal event we should let her be the judge, knowing the queen would likely be privy to her reasons, and as she allowed Sophie to choose. I think it is unwise to assume we know what is going on in either Sophie's family life or Kate's.
      Also, there is no wondering in my statement. I said, "Good excuse, I'm sure."
      I am at a loss as to how you extrapolated comparisons and wonderings from what I said or why you reacted so strongly to my request for fairness for Kate.
      All I am saying is give Kate a chance. {+)anon1

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    11. I apologize anon 1 (& Jane) if I misunderstood your original post. In my reply to that post I agreed Kate sometimes receives undeserved criticism. However, the following quotes from the original post suggested to me the post was about much more than a simple request for fairness for Kate as my parenthical comment after each quote explains. (I have included those parentheticals to explain how I "extrapolated" my interpretation from your words, anon 1 since you said in your response you don't understand how I could have missed your point.) As I said before and as I still feel, I truly don't think Kate is helped by criticizing other members of the BRF.  Criticism of other members for its own sake, fine. Criticism (or making comparisons) for Kate's sake isn't helpful IMO and it may backfire. And it seems the latter is often done, even here! It's usually not a comparison with Sophie being made although that HAS happened before but the York sisters, Camilla, Charles, Harry, Diana and even HMTQ have been held up as "bad" in clear service of making Kate "good" (and I'm not talking about fashion.) In this case, comparing Kate to Sophie is an apples/oranges comparison for many reasons-- a big one IMO is the rank of Will vs Edward in the line of succession.

      "Does Sophie's father live in Wales or some distance that necessitates travel?..." (Seemed to imply if he does not, Sophie should have not missed the Trooping)

      "I am not saying Sophie should have missed an hour or two of her father's birthday...." (Sounds like you are saying exactly that--she ought to have been willing to miss a mere "hour or two" and attended the Trooping)

      "How long are they on the balcony, anyway?..." (Obvious implication. Still, participating in the Trooping ceremony involves more than the balcony scene anyway.)

      "Look what happened when she [Kate] missed an event to attend a celebration connected to her sister's wedding. Sophie missed that event, too. Good excuse, I'm sure." (To me that tended to invite a comparison. It also tended to imply no one (including you anon1) knew where Sophie was on the day of the Commonwealth service but she likely had a "good excuse". It was well-known at the time Sophie was on an official 5-day overseas trip. If we are forced to compare the two absences on CWD as your post seemed to invite us to do, a hen party abroad planned by one's own family months before the wedding just isn't the same as an official trip. However, I still think (as I thought back in March) if *Will* had attended the CW service as Edward did, Kate's absence would have been noticed and remarked upon just as Sophie's absence from the Trooping was. But little would have been made of Kate's absence if Will had not also been absent. So how the absences of the women *at these particular events* were perceived depended mostly on choices made by their royal spouses and not so much on prejudices held by the public or unfair rushes to judgment.
       

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    12. She was talking about a double standard and she is right.

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    13. Christopher Rhys Jones is 86 and a widower. Sophie's mother died quickly after a sudden illness at only 71.
      Her father probably faces the struggles of all 86 year olds and may not have many more birthdays at all.
      I suspect when Michael Middleton is 86 and if he is alone, people will be quite understanding if Kate chooses to spend a birthday with him.
      And again, bored saying this, the expectations for Kate and Sophie couldn't be more different. Kate and William receive a lot of perks because of their stature. And they have to do a lot in return. At their level the Crown always comes first. No comparison with anyone else. To whom much is given much is expected.

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    14. I see little difference in the perks between the two families.

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    15. Agree, anon 3:53. Although I did not directly compare them previously, Sophie (including her Father, who lives with her), as the wife of a Queen's son and reportedly a confident of hers, as well as a resident of a home on the Windsor grounds, enjoys a much more intimate association and resulting perks than do the Queen's great-grandchildren and their parents.. Possibly even closer than Camilla's relationship to HM, although she is the wife of a Queen's son who is the next heir. Proximity to the Monarch is always the greatest and most sought-after perk of all- which has been evident in recent jockeying's for position both physically in balcony, event, and carriage placement and figuratively through publicity and publishing of books, among other tactics. Sophie actually highlighted that proximity she and her children enjoy in her interview for the 90th birthday film.


      Don't feel sorry for Sophie. She is a valued representative of HM as well as a confident. She has taken the lemons of her earlier royal life and made lemonade, just as Harry has. She doesn't need to ride next to the Queen in a carriage at Ascot; according to her own words,she spends virtually every weekend with HM at Windsor.

      I don't understand why the need to fiercely defend Sophie almost as an underdog when the only royal privilege she seems to lack is the attention and scrutiny being related to a close heir entails. Since she protected her children from such microscopic living for years of their childhood, I would imagine this is no great loss to her.anon1

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    16. True...Sophie's father is elderly and that may be a factor (although he does live with Sophie and Edward).

      But I can appreciate Anon1's reference to the double standard. What about the two Christmases that W&K chose to spend with the Middleton's despite the fact that the Queen and PP are elderly and may not have many left to celebrate?

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    17. There may be double standards at play but I also highly doubt that every reason given for a particular royals absence is 100% the whole story. How many of us have given a generic excuse to beg off an engagement rather than get into the gritty details? Surely the BRF is no different.

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    18. Yes, royalfan. When it comes to Kate, the Queen is elderly and may not have many more birthdays. HM apparently is not as elderly when it involves an activity Sophie prefers. Clearly, a double standard.anon1
      My original reply was several paragraphs longer. I realised that I'd be preaching to the choir and that it would be a waste of time, anyway.



      Sometimes it seems to me that just about any excuse is acceptable for other royal family members, while just about No excuse is acceptable from Kate.anon1

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    19. And what if Sophie's father is very ill and might have fewer birthdays than the Queen anon 1? Should Sophie need to make that point explicit in order to satisfy you that there may not be a double standard at play in this particular instance?

      Anon 10:44.

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    20. I am not sure that my comments constituted a "fierce defense" of Sophie. But if they were perceived that way, I'm surprised that's seen as problematic in any way. Defending one person isn't equivalent to attacking another unless everything is seen as a zero-sum game. (And I guess it sometimes is ;) I have repeatedly agreed Kate has received criticism for things others might not have and think that was often unwarranted. But for a true "double standard" to prevail, one must believe the individuals being judged are equal and should be treated as equal. Hardly true here. No monarchy anywhere in the world is based the principle of egalitarianism. In fact, aren't all  monarchies hierarchical? People aren't thought to be equal and therefore should not expect equal treatment. Kate and Sophie aren't equal in the hierarchical sense--Kate's rank is higher (and technically Sophie should curtsy to her.) While W&K have and will continue to reap certain benefits lower ranking royals do not AND their work receives more attention and "credit" (just ask Princess Anne :) the "downside" of a higher ranking is that more may be expected in terms of *upholding particular royal traditions.* (Not the *number* of events attended necessarily since E&S usually have done more official events than W&K) The differential treatment of W&K's children vs E&S's is likely partially reflective of their positions in the hierarchy (just as Charles's children were of more interest to the public than Andrew's when all the children were young.) Unfair? Sure, but couldn't one easily argue unfairness is inherent in a monarchy?

      We don't even know for sure why Sophie and her children weren't in attendance. The only official statement I've seen is that she had a private engagement. A post HERE said it was a birthday. Gospel truth? Maybe, maybe not. But as another poster indicated, no matter the royal, we likely don't really know. 

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    21. Good point at 10:44 anonymous; however, regarding your 6:44 comment- I doubt Sophie would have shown up everyday at Ascot, looking relaxed, happy, and charmingly attired if her Father had been seriously ill. She wanted the day off. The Queen must have approved. It is simple as that anon1

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    22. It could also be as simple as he was ill on that day (perhaps a fall that sent him to the hospital, an important doctors appointment to discuss the results of a test, etc) and the end result was a recovery/good news. Sorry to put too fine a point on it but managing schedule and emotions surrounding an elderly relative is anything but
      predictible. I happen to agree with your initial point that there may be a double standard applied at certain times but I can't understand how the solution is to refuse to give Sophie the benefit of the doubt that something might truly have been wrong with her father the day of the trooping.

      Anon 10:44.

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    23. I clearly stated more than once that I thought BOTH should be allowed to make family decisions. If Sophie felt she needed the time off for whatever reason-we really don't know why, do we?- and the Queen agrees, it is none of our business. A supposition was presented that she took time off because her Father was ill. I presented evidence that pointed in the other direction. Sophie has said nothing. I was responding to a commenter's excuse, not Sophie's. My objection was with the commenter's remark, not with Sophie. No benefit of doubt required there. If Sophie had put out a statement personally or through her PR that her Father was ill and she was spending the day with him and if I then had said, "I doubt that" -that is a different situation.
      I repeatedly have said, if we give Sophie the benefit of the doubt, why not do the same for Kate? I don't know how much clearer I could be. I don't mind being countered for what I actually have said, but several commenters have criticised me for remarks and opinions I simply did not say.

      Lizzie re: your 6:52 reaction to my 2:24 comment: I was responding to 3:53 and 7:56 comments, which were immediately preceding mine. Whew! Try following that. At any rate, I did not direct my comment to you. As I have now. Of course, if you thought you saw your ideas in my comment, that is another matter and one out of my control.

      It is fairly obvious to me that responses to me when I am shown as Anonymous are considerably less combative or emotional than those headed by anon1; although I do try to identify both places, sometimes the anon1 heading goes missing.
      It may be time for me to join Diane, Robin, and others. This is supposed to be fun. Some people think running with the bulls at Pamplona is fun. I do not.anon1

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    24. From what I can see Sophie's family enjoys the same benefits that William's family does. They should both be given the same consideration.

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  19. I'm not sure I could ever pull off so much lace but it looks lovely - also one to note, totally wrinkle proof which is particularly useful in this beautiful weather we are having.

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  20. I think it I would like this ensemble more if it wasn't so very similarly to last year's Royal Ascot - I know she has established a theme with her preferences, but she could literally wear anything she desires and she trots out the pretty much exact same look as last year, bar a shorter hemline and higher neckline.

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  21. Love this dress, and the hat, but the hat looks to me like a wedding hat! Agree with ~Mo that it's very similar to what she wore to the same event last year, only better :p

    Love that green color on the Queen, and surprised to know it's an exact re-wear from 2014--including the same hat! Looks like she's embracing her granddaughter-in-law's re-wear habits. Beautiful clothes deserve more than one wear! Still, I love the outfit.

    Belle

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    1. The queen often re-wears whole outfits because each is bespoke and hats usually have very specific decoration to match dresses or coats.

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  22. Just can't get onboard with this look. Jane, you absolutely nailed it with the mid 18th century correalation, although I quibble that it is a modernized version. Make it a full length dress and you have a 150 year old outfit. While the dress has some attractive features, all that white lace with the bustle effect, full skirt, high neck and the long sleeves evokes suggestions of a bridal or first communion dress. Add the top tier wedding cake hat to it and it is just one big over the top overly sweet confection. Big huge miss for me but I do lovevthe earrings.

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    1. Very good summary Faitha I agree wholeheartedly. That last pic (with William in his top hat) it looks like a bustle on her bum and if I didn't know it was a short dress, I'd think they were about to board a train for the Wild West.

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  23. The dress is perfection. But... TBH at first I thought she is wearing her Ascot dress from the last year.

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  24. The overall look is attractive enough (while obviously repetitive), the hat is lovely, but I think parts of the dress look cheap, particularly at the top of the neck and at the ends of the sleeves. I guess it's an intentional part of the design (antique trunk from the attic chic?) but all those loose ends sticking up look frayed. For a dress that had to have cost 5K or more (given the cost of the non-bespoke version), it seems those edges should have been finished/smoothed off within the design of the lace itself. I realize this is a custom piece made for Kate and the original version may have had better "detail finishes" but I still think the McQueen Co ought to have done better. The lining also seems a bit see-through. 

    I actually like Carole's outfit better. Simple, and not too fussy. I don't dislike Kate's, its pretty,  but it seems more suited for a wedding vow renewal ceremony or maybe as a second marriage wedding dress to me. I thought last year's white lace "prairie" dress was more suited for either an adolescent or for an informal wedding with a *young* bride  (the designer's description noted it was intentionally "bridal") so maybe I'm just not crazy about all-white lace "dressy" dresses with ruffles on women over 21 except at weddings. 

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    1. Im not crazy about frilly white lace dresses ( unless one is a bride) on grown women either, Lizzie. However, I think a white lace dress could work if it were more on the avant-garde side. McQueen is a label with that kind of vision but this dress is not that unfortunately.

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    2. Agree. To me she looks like a 50-something woman at her 2nd wedding. So I don't get it at all.
      This may sound weird but you have to have a little edge and a lot of fashion confidence and stature to wear dated looks but have them look en vogue as they're intended. And I don't think Kate does. So when she wears something like this she doesn't pull it off IMHO.
      Agree Carole was stunning.
      No other royal really stood out for me to be honest. Ho hum all round.

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    3. lizzie, those ends are a design element. You can find it on many dresses. I like the look.

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    4. I expect you are right Faith that it is possible to design an "edgy" all-over white lace dress but agree this isn't one and I'm not sure I've ever seen one. The original in the mini length was definitely edgier but I can't picture that working very well for many women over about 21 either. Anon 10:04 you have a good point about wearing vintage designs. In my admittedly rather limited experience it seems to work best when those designs are worn a bit "carelessly" or worn with interesting accessories that don't have a vintage feel. Like a vintage jacket thrown over the shoulders when wearing a more modern outfit. Or a vintage "shirtwaist" dress worn with the sleeves rolled up or worn with the top buttons undone with a tank underneath or worn with a modern belt (or all 3 :) Or if the hairstyle and jewelry one wears isn't "vintage" too--- a kicky super-short cut or messy casual bun and dramatic boho earrings can give an eclectic modern feel to an otherwise "staid" 1950s "house dress." Kate often seems to like everything to "match" and that's fine if that's what she likes. But I think that sometimes gives the effect that she's wearing a costume (here if not bridal wear, a period costume, with some tour outfits, ethnic costumes) 

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    5. I am on the search for an edgy white lace dress, Lizzie☺ You may have limited experience with vintage clothing but I think you've hit the proverbial nail on the head with your ideas. That's exactly how to make vintage look not old and frumpy.

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    6. Looking forward to seeing an edgy white lace dress Faith! I can imagine an edgy white dress without lace. And obviously there are edgy black lace dresses around. But edgy white lace? Do post if you find one please!

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  25. Absolutely lady like and fashion forward. Love it! The color is perfection on the Duchess and the fit is spot on. A proper skirt lining was much need though. Its the only "miss" of the ensemble.

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  26. Love Kate's hat! Love Carole's outfit too. I think Carole's wedding hat is so much better with her hair in an updo. I didn't love her hair at Kate and William's wedding.

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    1. Agree on the updo! Much better

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    2. She looks younger with her hair down.

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    3. I think she looks younger with her hair down too.

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  27. Another fantastic post, Jane. Love your references, as always, to history and literature, especially as they've been brought to us from Versailles, so to speak. Fab. This photo of Kate and Carole is one I haven't seen, and it's gorgeous. When I first saw Kate, I thought of Diana's Klondike costume of the early 80s, so though that's a later period (Klondike gold rush, that is), I enjoyed all the references here to an earlier period--Kate's hat looks like period fabrics, etc., and the bustle reminiscent. I agree that it's all a bit bridal. But Kate looks fabulous, happy, contented, and very well put together. Perfect comes to mind. The Middletons with the Cambridges so naturally inspires me. I wondered if we'd see that in public. Reminds me of Charlotte's absolute delight at seeing Pippa on the arm of Mike at her wedding last month. Family time and such beauty. Ah. . . . Katherine USA

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  28. I appear to be in the minority but this dress doesn't work ... it looks much better with a shorter hemline than it does here. The proportions are off. I loved the hat. And a huge Loeffler Randall fan.

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    1. I much prefer the shorter hemline on the original dress, but I'm guessing that wouldn't be appropriate for Ascot.

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    2. https://vipticketsandcorporatehospitality.co.uk/images/Royal_Ascot_Dress_Code.pdf

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    3. Thank you Anon 11:15 for the link. Loved reading it, fun to see it all spelled out:).

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    4. Long or short, I just find this look terribly boring. I really enjoyed it last year, but such lack of fantasy bewilderes me.

      Even Carole's outfit is too predictable. Nice, but they both used to be so much more interesting. Classy and boring aren't the same.

      I guess it's not easy, clearly you can't please everyone. But for me this just doesn't work

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  29. I love this look from head to toe. This dress is much better than last years white lace. The close up details of that hat are amazing.


    Future possible post idea...

    It would be interesting to compare Kate's style in 2011 compared to now. I occasionally see people wishing for Kate to bring back her 2011 style and IMO I don't see much of difference or improvement between then over now. I think her style has gotten better over the years. Are people letting three great evening gown appearances in 2011 cloud their memory of what she actually wore on day to day engagements?

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  30. My very first thought when I saw Kate from the side with the hat, lace neckline and her hair up - Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady! I'm over the lace dress thing, but this was such a different silhouette from her others that I really liked it. And LOVED the hat. I'm not a Carole fan but she really looked nice. I think its the hair up, and her make-up didn't seem so heavy. I still think she needs color on her lips to lighten up her face.

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  31. I thought Kate looked very nice at Ascot. The hat was fun (thanks for the detail zoom). She loves her lace, eh? I just wonder... Can she wear short sleeves, or more cropped sleeves? Or take the neck down a little? The lace thing is starting to bore me in the sense that it gives Kate a way to look more modest, and while I understand that she must maintain a certain level of modesty, it's almost as if she's covering up too much - like a 3/4 sleeve here might've been okay, or a curved neckline. Kate looked lovely but... A bit boring?
    To end positively: I loved the skirt on this dress with Kate's figure. The side angle pic really showed how nicely it looked.

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  32. I'm having significant problems dealing with the hair net. Why must she wear that silly thing? On the other hand......OMG she looked fabulous! The dress was superb, the hat a dream, loved everything about it, sans the whole net thing.

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    1. I am not a fan of hair nets either, but maybe everyone who wears those bigger looser buns uses them these days. I have to say I can barely, barely see it, so might not show up at all in person.

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    2. I didn't even notice the hairnet. Ick.

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  33. Kate looks very nice, and it looks as though they had a fantastic day at Ascot, however, it's odd to me that she would choose a look very, very similar to last year. Why bother to purchase new items when it's nearly a carbon copy of the previous year? It's like Kate is implementing an Ascot 'uniform'. She does look wonderful but why not try something different? Surely she has the resources to explore other options, perhaps the reality is that Kate is just not all that interested in fashion. It's like that boring blue coat dress in Luxembourg all over again - same look we've seen before. Very nice, not exciting. Yawn. Carole does look fabulous! As does Sophie. Beautiful vibrant green with a gorgeous necklace and great straw hat - love that it's not matchy-matchy too.

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  34. You replied that the couple with Kate and Carole are Laura and James Meade. But what about the lady behind Carole in some pictures wearing a square print dress? Is it just me or does she not look a lot like a younger Kate?!

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  35. Is the close-up photo of Carole with Kate photoshopped?
    Very odd hand placement!
    The sun/shadows look out of sync too.

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  36. Kate looks very pretty but I am a tad tired of lace. Obviously Kate is not, and she should wear what she likes! I do like her earrings and her clutch.

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  37. I love Zara. She seems like great fun but I'm a little surprised by the timing with her "raspberry" to William. Interesting that William didn't bother to even look though he did give a little look at Kate when she turned to look. Must be his 35 years of "training" coming into play.

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    1. I thought it was inappropriate as well. She's old enough to know better. It did not reflect well on her, and it certainly put her cousin in an awkward position. So true about the "training" factor! :-)

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    2. I agree. Very inappropriate. What if William had started giggling as intended? How disrespectful of the victims.

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  38. It may be that we are seeing the continuation of some on-going by-play. I feel like she is reacting to something, not starting it. It seems out of character for what little I have seen of Zara through the years. She is fun-loving, apparently, but I have never seen her deliberately disrespectful in public. Just a thought-along with Kate's resting her hand on William's back -we may be seeing efforts to jolly him out of a mood or cheer him up.
    I also noticed Bea staring straight ahead during the moment of silence. She also had this almost glassy eyed stare in another situation that day and on the balcony at Trooping. She usually seems more relaxed and deferential around the Queen, as was evident with her appearance at Ascot with her Mum . She may simply have had a contact lens problem or the behavior could reflect other concerns.

    Some of the RF behavior seemed a little off to me that day-not just Zara's. Charles ended up accompanying the Queen to Parliament the next day instead of the hospitalized Phillip.. Charles then rode in a carriage with her and Diana's brother-in-law, Lord Fellowes, of all people. What's up with that? Very interesting carriage mates. The carriage assignments at Ascot never cease to intrigue me.anon1

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    Replies
    1. My 2:53 comment is a reply to 1:35's comment. It has since migrated south of there and is now located under replies made two and four days after mine..anon1

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  39. Kate's white lace dress here is just so reminiscent of last year's: this makes it a little 'tedious'.

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  40. I loved Kate's outfit from head to toe. It was beautiful and very flattering to her. I loved the hat. I think it was her best percher yet. Carole Middleton's outfit was not so flattering. She looks so much better in dresses with more structure and with a definite waistline.

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    Replies
    1. I am a huge Carole fan, but I thought this made her look very matronly - hated it.

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