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Sneak Peek: Kate in Glittering Blue Gown for Royal Variety Performance

Friday, November 24, 2017

Quick look at Kate's dress for those you who cannot wait while I write the post. ;) Kate is wearing Jenny Packham, ID by Laura.





And a video of their arrival to give you a better look at the front of the dress:




Full Post: Kate Recycles Another Goat Coat in Birmingham

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Kate seems to have decided this is the Year of the Goat! The Duchess of Cambridge (along with her duke) traveled to Birmingham today for an Away Day that marks their second trip to the city. The duo began at the Jaguar Land Rover plant, and as the Duchess stepped out of her own Range Rover, we saw she was giving her second GOAT London coat a rewear!



The Cambridges toured the plant, which employs over 10,000 and met with workers, including those hired via a program that helps ex-military personnel join the workforce. 



The royals, of course, drive Range Rovers quite a bit, and the company creates various specialized cars for the BRF's public duties, as well. KP shared this snap of the two enjoying a look back at the modified Range Rovers that were used for the Patron's Lunch.

KP

The highlight of the visit saw Kate get behind the wheel of a Range Rover to tackle a bit of off-roading. The Princess had some trouble getting up this very uneven terrain, although let's be honest, I bet she has navigated some bumpy roads at Balmoral. Without the cameras on her, she is doubtless willing to hit the engine a little more aggressively.



Next on the royals' agenda was a stop at the AVFC Foundation to visit with a Coach Core group. We knew when Kate arrived at the start of the day wearing black skinnies that she'd likely shed the coat at some point. Away Days often require ensemble modifications, and sure enough she took her more formal coat off and put on the red duvet ski jacket from Perfect Moment, which she wore for the Heads Together training before the London Marathon.

Gary Laybourne

Kate, ever the eternal optimist, seemed as if she thought she could zip this coat up, but, no. Baby Cambridge #3 is already asserting herself/himself and would have none of it.



The couple finished their day at the ACME Whistles factory, a family business that produces whistles for sporting events and the Metropolitan police, as well as whistles for dogs. Some of the whistles sound at certain levels that only dogs can hear, and Kate pointed out that different dogs hear at different levels. William and Kate said they had one for Lupo, and William was able to give the exact number of the whistle!
Ok, let's talk fashion here. Kate wore the Washington coat, her Lauren leaf earrings from Kiki, and these new Hi Ride boots from Russell & Bromley. She carried her Bayswater clutch which generally appears to be a very flat envelope clutch, but Kate had it full to bursting today and it exhibited a more rounded shape [see opening picture], which was interesting.


I don't think I win brownie points with GOAT London by reminding you all that I haven't loved Kate's Goat Coats to date. I liked her recent recycle of the Redgrave even less than its debut, but today the Duchess took what was an "ok look" in New York to a real stand-out here in Birmingham.


The turtleneck peeking out added a little extra oomph to the ensemble. It made the trim of the coat stand out more and underscored the 60s vibe. So that was really cute. However, the new boots took this ensemble triumphantly into the end zone.



A couple of years ago, Kate wandered away from her trusty Aquatalias and she has, very frankly, been wandering in a bit of a boot wasteland ever since. As I mentioned in the post on the Redgrave recycle, she has been wearing boots with very square and heavy heels, and I just haven't found them flattering.


These Hi Ride boots have two important features. First, they don't hug her legs completely, but hold their structure and give her legs wiggle room, so they are very slimming. Second, although they feature trendy block heels, those heels are tapered, which creates a more graceful and feminine silhouette. They are a throwback to circa 2011-2012, and even before--Kate has been a boot princess for years. Boots can be heavy and are not foolproof fashion accessories. Kate's struggle to find great boots over the fast few years has been (secretly) one of my greatest fashion disappointments, and I am ecstatic over today's boots. Huge home run!


So, to leave no ambiguity, I thought this was a great styling. The skinnies/jeggings are the right way to do black! Unlike her jeans at the start of her pregnancy, these couldn't be darker and as a result, they look polished and put together. Actually, they look like the J.Crew twill jeggings she wore in New York, and I wonder if these are J.Crew as well. Whatever they are, they are black jeans done right. A great day in Birmingham!

Range Rover

Meghan Markle Musing: Meghan has been spotted in London shopping and generally having a holiday time of it. There was a story that she would be heading back to LA for Thanksgiving with her mom, but does anyone else think she'll bring her mom to London and cook Harry his first American Thanksgiving? Maybe even have William, Kate, and kids over? Just asking... That's what this American would do!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American compatriots. I am thankful for a lot of things, among them all of you who faithfully read the blog, even when it's late! For the royal correspondents on the ground who gather such fun quotes, share minute-to-minute videos of engagements, and dig up information, or call and wrangle Palace staffers, for the news we like to chit chat about. And of course, for the photographers who provide the beautiful images we all enjoy!

Sneak Peek: Kate & William Start Their Day in Birmingham

I am doing a Sneak Peek today with a post to come later. William and Kate are in Birmingham and the Duchess has recycled her "Washington" coat from GOAT London!  GOAT London is having a really great month. :) 


You will remember this coat from Kate's quick trip to New York in December of 2014, when she wore it without the turtleneck she used today.


Today, Kate is accessorizing with her Lauren earrings from Kiki McDonough, new suede boots, and what appear to be jeans or trousers, rather than stockings. She is carrying the same Bayswater clutch she did in New York, but today it has quite a bit more in it, which has changed its shape. 


A reader at Kate Middleton Style suggests Kate's boots are the Hi Ride from Russell & Bromley. You know how pleased these are making me feel... 


The couple have started their day at the Land Rover factory, and have a busy schedule on this Away Day. 


KP

Just a few fun videos before I go. Here the Cambridges are meeting plant workers:




And here Kate is behind the wheel of Range Rover about to do an off-road challenge. I hope someone asks her if she already has experience with this thanks to holidays at Balmoral or around Sandringham. :)



Full post to come later. Have a great morning! 


Kate Wears the Zarita to Philip & Elizabeth's Dinner Party

Monday, November 20, 2017

Two posts in one day! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were pictured arriving at the Queen and Philip's dinner party tonight celebrating the royal couple's 70th wedding anniversary. [They have been pictured leaving with Harry, and Kate is bundled in a fuzzy coat]


Kate is dressed to the nines in her DVF Zarita, which we just saw on the 7th at the Anna Freud Centre's gala dinner.



By very lucky happenstance, Kate tossed her head at the right moment for James Whatling to catch a picture that included her earrings. She is wearing the Collingwood pearl earrings. I am not an expert on the BRF family jewelry, but a quick Google search pulled up Kate's necklace. It is indeed on loan from the Queen, who has worn it on a number of occasions and loaned it to Diana, too. More from the blog Her Majesty's Jewelry Vault:
The necklace includes four rows of pearls with a central diamond clasp in a curved shape, each side including three rows of diamonds that join at the top and bottom with marquise diamonds. According to Garrard: The Crown Jewellers for 150 Years, the Queen commissioned this from a set of the "finest cultured pearls presented to her by the Japanese government." She made her first state visit to Japan in 1975; the choker was in use by at least 1982.
This is the latest foray into more pearl jewelry for Kate, and I am loving the trend. Here is the Queen wearing the choker on November 16, 1983 in Bangladesh: 


What about Meghan Markle? According to Niraj Tanna, a royal paparazzo who has been scooping royal exclusives for years, says she was not there. I am very surprised, and I think this suggests that Harry and Meghan are not secretly engaged, although I do think they will be publicly engaged sooner rather than later. But, I am still surprised. Meghan has met the Queen, but this underscores (I suppose) how strongly HM sticks to protocol, and I cannot blame her for that. 

Queen & Philip Mark 70 Years + Will Meghan Markle Celebrate with Them?

It is the Queen and Prince Philip's 70th wedding anniversary today! The bells of Westminster Abbey clamored rapturously (for over three hours!) to mark the occasion, Philip was pictured ferrying friends about in his buggy, and Meghan Markle has been spotted in London, sparking rumors that the American actress will attend tonight's exclusive dinner party the Queen has planned at Windsor Castle. It's a busy and exciting day.


The Royal Family's social accounts have shared this two minute video covering highlights of the royal couple's marriage, and also shared the news that the Queen has made Philip a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order on this platinum anniversary. 


You all probably read that Meghan Markle has wrapped filming of Suits. Emily Andrews confirmed the veracity of her earlier exclusive (announcing Meghan wouldn't return) when she found a farewell tribute that Meghan's body-double posted on Instagram. Meanwhile, other reports say she is working on getting her two dogs vetted and cleared to move them to the UK. Her arrival in London in time for tonight's very private dinner party has us all expecting an engagement announcement sooner rather than later. I love pre-Christmas engagements, because it is such a magical time, and the focus on love and family makes an engagement all the more exciting. We shall see. An early December announcement would be very fun!





Coffee & Kate: Upcoming Events + A Regency?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Good morning all! It has been in the low 40s here, and sometimes even hitting 50 during the day, yet I still run round all bundled up with chattering teeth. But, I love this cold weather on a morning I get to stay inside with a steaming cup of coffee and watch the gusty wind blow the leaves all over...from the the cozy side of the window pane. I thought I'd briefly share Kate's calendar updates with you to get us started. 

Kate's Calendar 


KP announced yesterday that on the 22nd, William and Kate will pay a visit to Birmingham for a Coach Core appearance. Then on the 24th, the couple will attend the Royal Variety Performance, and finally on the 28th, Kate will visit the Foundling Museum in London. It's a great line-up! I am, of course, massively excited for the Royal Variety Show, at which these two made their debut in 2014 while Kate was pregnant with Charlotte. They were representing the Queen, and it was a big event for them, since generally only Charles stands in for his mother. More passing the baton, me thinks, which, brings us to the next chit chat.


Is Elizabeth Preparing for a Regency?

I know there has been quite a bit of conversation in the comments this week about whether the Queen is slowly moving toward a regency or abdication, and I wanted to add my two cents, or two pence depending on your side of the pond. ;) 



The Queen is 91 years old. When her time comes, she might die quietly in her sleep. She could drop dead on a brisk walk with the corgis. She could catch a cold that takes her quickly... My point is not to muse darkly about death, but to highlight that some people are hearty and hale until one day they just go. My grandmother was fit and seemed set for some years, and one day she suddenly declined, and was dead within two weeks. But, other people decline more slowly. They move from walking without assistance to needing a walker, to a wheelchair etc. Perhaps they begin to slip a little mentally... You see my point. Aging can culminate in an abrupt end, or a slow descent. 



We seem to assume, I think, that the Queen will be as she is until the day she dies. The narrative that her life, be it long or short, will be devoted to the service of the crown, has created this idea that she will be able to serve to the bitter end. I saw a comment on Twitter that essentially asserted that it is all in the attitude, "you can will it." Well, no you can't. Unless you are hiding the fact you are God, which would be very interesting, none of us can will reality into existence. Positive thoughts can only take you so far. I think that Philip is declining, just in the general aging process, and the Queen knows that if she is lucky in years, it is inevitable that she too will grow frail. She will not be able to carry the full load her whole life. So, she can either still undertake every single duty, or she can start to lighten her load, which is the same thing as beginning to pass the baton. It does not mean that she will ever complete the transfer. I do not believe she will ever abdicate. She will die the Queen. 



From a PR perspective this is a good move. She still looks healthy, but she is (of her own volition) choosing to begin to transfer some of the burden. That way, she can also keep her health private. She can minimize the possibility she will have to publicly alter her pattern due to health, because she will already have set a precedent for a slow transfer. The Cenotaph is a prime example. Royal reporter Richard Palmer (and I confirmed this with him) asked the Palace reps if the Queen would lay the wreath in the future, they said no, she would never lay it again. That duty has passed to Charles. 



What about a regency? Depending on how long she lives (the Queen Mother lived past 100), Elizabeth may very well need a regency of some kind. That's just the reality. Or, she may just reduce her duties more and more and prioritize big State events. Only time will tell that, but I think we can certainly see a plan in motion here, and that's not a bad thing. 


Roger Federer & Family Visit the Cambridges

Federer and his family are in London for the ATP Finals, and they were pictured leaving their hotel with two wrapped gifts and then arriving at the Kensington Palace gates! The family spent about two hours visiting with William and Kate, according to the Daily Mail's report. You can see pictures of the family leaving the hotel and arriving at KP here. As you know, Kate loves tennis and has admired Federer for years. Since becoming a princess, it appears she has developed a social relationship with Federer and his wife. 



The connection has extended to Kate's family, and you all know that Roger and his wife Mirka were guests at Pippa's wedding in May.  A month or so ago I did a post on Kate and tennis, if you missed it you can read it here. It would be so fun to see Kate do some kind of joint engagement with Roger! 


Ok, I better leave this post here, because the day and other duties, beckon. If you are feeling nostalgic for school days and the joys of intellectual (over) stimulation, I have posted a Kate fashion quiz on my Instagram stories (Stories are only available on the mobile app, and only available to those who have updated their phones within the last year, *cough* Mom!). Don't miss it! It will expire around 9pm EST today. Lots have already taken it, and I hear it is hard. I thought it was hard, too, but I hope you still enjoy it!  Good luck! 

Kate Dusts Off the Goat Coat for Hornsey Road Children's Centre

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I told you that GOAT is Kate's maternity label! Ok all, it's time to talk about the Duchess's visit to the Hornsey Road Children's Centre yesterday. If this event sounds familiar, Kate was scheduled to visit the centre on September 4, but instead she announced her third pregnancy and stayed in bed, poor girl. Yesterday she made it up to the charity by going through with the planned visit, but blooming with health thanks to the delay. 


Hornsey Road Children's Centre provides a variety of support for parents, including mental health support, which is a subject Kate has been very focused on of late. Kate chatted with support staff and parents and children who benefit from the centre's services. 

KP

According to Richard Palmer, Kate told one single dad, who initially struggled with raising his daughter, that William found fatherhood a tough transition, as well. Kate connected with the kids, too, telling one sweet little girl that her own daughter Charlotte's favorite color is, of course, pink! I don't think that Kate makes up all the events she has to cancel while pregnant and sick, so this was a special event and highlights her commitment to this cause.

KP

Although Kate has certainly been down on the ground before for various events, particularly sports, this video of her on the floor with other parents struck me. Coat and all...

Family Action runs the centre, and the Queen is patron. I suspect that Kate will take this over when HM decides to hand over the reins. 


Kate likes to recycle, but for some reason I was astounded to see her wear the GOAT Redgrave coat again. Talk about a blast from the past! Perhaps because Kate has recycled very few (read almost no) maternity ensembles, or maybe because she doesn't wear all that much GOAT to begin with and we just saw her in what I thought would be the single GOAT sighting of the maternity line-up. Maybe because I never felt this was her best look, I don't know, but I was very, very surprised. [Look who was on the look-out! The one and only Mr. Security was on duty.]


If you need a refresher, and I suspect all but the die-hards among us do, Kate debuted the Redgrave at the Child Bereavement UK headquarters on March 19, 2013. This was back in the good old days when the "Redgrave" was affectionately referred to as The Goat Coat, because it was the only GOAT London piece in her closet! 


Underneath the coat on that occasion (and yesterday, too), she wore the Topshop "Contrast Collar" dress that features her favorite kind of collar--a Peter Pan!


Yesterday, Kate did a complete recycle (but for the Bayswater clutch), wearing both the dress and the coat, and the Annoushka pearl drop earrings with which she accessorized on the first wear. As I mentioned, I didn't love this ensemble when she first wore it. The collar contrasts with the coat just enough to be noticeable, but not enough to look planned, so I felt it lacked a certain polish. And as mentioned very recently, I also don't love the bell shape silhouette Kate has championed in her maternity wear, although I am acclimating quickly.


However, I am warning to the Goat Coat (I am going to go back to calling it that). We didn't get to see that much of this coat on its first wear, because the Duchess removed it for the majority of the visit. We got more angles and shots on this most recent event, and I admit it is a lovely coat.


This is a win for the novelty. It is a win because it was fun to see a complete ensemble recycled four years later, and it was very interesting to hear how many people really loved it the first time around! I might have come around to finding a win in the style stakes, too, had she worn this with heels, or even better, with her Aquatalia Rumbas. But, I am very picky about heels on boots, and I find these Half n Half boots too heavy for this look. I am not warming to the boots. So, although it was super fun to see this ensemble again, when we thought it was out to pasture permanently, I don't think this was her best fashion moment. But, more of those to come, certainly, in the weeks ahead! 

A Momentous Remembrance Sunday 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Of all the annual events on the royal calendar, Remembrance Sunday is without a doubt the most somber. Every year, the senior royals gather at Whitehall for a ceremony paying tribute to the fallen who have, throughout Britain's history, protected and defended their homeland.


As reported earlier in the autumn, this year saw a seismic shift as the Queen announced she would no longer lay the wreath on Remembrance Sunday. Instead, Charles would take her place and she would watch from the balcony with her spouse Prince Philip. The announcement caused considerable shock to the public when the decision was released, but today it seemed to be particularly difficult for the Queen. Her Majesty, generally quite stoic, was pictured with tears on her face as she played the spectator in an event she has almost invariably been the lead for over fifty years.


Prince Philip has been enjoying retirement at Windsor Castle and Wood Farm at Sandringham, but he returned to the City for this very important weekend of remembrance. He too, showed signs of fatigue as he leaned against the wall of the balcony for support.


With Philip and he Queen on the balcony, our usual cast of characters was shuffled. Camilla, who usually stands with Kate and Sophie, took her place with the monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh. Kate and Sophie were joined by Princess Alexandra.


The Duchess of Cambridge is always immaculately turned out for Remembrance Sunday and today was no exception. She chose a black wool coat from Dolce & Gabbana with a neat and slim double-breasted closure that featured the large buttons she has been preferring recently. 



Kate carried a clutch that hasn't been positively IDed yet, and wore the Oscar de la Renta Pearl Sun earrings she debuted in Germany. She recycled the Philip Treacy hat she first wore to William's passing out Parade at Sandhurst, and recycled for Remembrance Sunday in 2012. 


Perhaps most interesting was Kate's hair, which she had styled by curling in the ends to create the illusion of an elegant bob. This was very unusual and I really liked it. Getting her hair off her shoulders and keeping it more controlled was a good idea with this hat, but this mix of chignon and bob made it a really striking look. 


As I said at the start, Kate doesn't really go wrong with Remembrance Sunday, and she looked picture perfect today. This is probably the most momentous Remembrance Sunday in a long time. Pictures and video from today will feature in historical accounts in the future as a turning point in the Queen's reign and, of course, a beginning for Charles. As the Queen steps back and Charles slowly moves forward, Kate and William draw closer to their future, as well.   As the inevitable complete transfer has been invisibly drawing closer, today certainly made it all very visible, both for the royals and those watching. I think it must have been a day of significant introspection for all of the royals as they contemplated the past, faced the future, all while paying tribute to generations of fellow Brits who also did their duty, played their parts, and passed the torch of responsibility to a new generation.





Kate Wears Gorgeous Velvet Coat to Festival of Remembrance

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Tonight the Duchess of Cambridge joined members of the Royal Family at the Festival of Remembrance that takes place annually at the Royal Albert Hall. William is in the dog house for skipping tonight's event, but he committed to the Wales v. Australia rugby match instead. He is patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, so I am giving him a pass. 


I love the Festival of Remembrance because I love anything that is annual, takes place at the sumptuously velvety red Royal Albert Hall, and includes oodles of royals dressed to impress. But, this event is far more than that. It is one of those tricky events that straddles celebration and mourning. It's a "festival," which denotes society's celebration and thanks for those who have served, but it is heavily imbued with solemnity and sadness for the lives lost and the commitment many have given at crushing personal sacrifice. 

British Legion

"Beautiful" is a word that captures both emotions, and it is good to see the Royal Family out in force for these sorts of events. 

British Legion

Kate made her first appearance at this event in 2015, four years after she joined the royal family. It was after Charlotte's birth and part of William and Kate's first clear steps toward more active senior status. They came last year, too, and I expect they will attend most years from here on out. From a quick fashion perspective, Kate was on a major lace D&G streak in the autumn of 2015 and she wore a black lace that I thought was gorgeous, even if it was very similar to the aubergine D&G she had just worn for the Chinese State Visit. 



Just last year, Kate sparked pregnancy rumors by wearing this boxy, heavy coat, which she never removed! It ended up suffocating all of us, if not her. People wondered if she was hiding a bump, or unnaturally cold...because she was pregnant? I don't know how the second part worked, but people wondered, as we do. :) It was Temperley's Callas coat, and gorgeous in the stock images. It just didn't work on her. Anyway, water under the bridge. 



This year, she's back and this time she is pregnant and far more appropriately dressed. Perhaps Kate took inspiration from the floor to ceiling velvet at the venue to order up this bespoke Catherine Walker coat. (Carly at Kate Middleton Style was quick to ID this one!)  The full coat is based upon this velvet jacket from one of Kate's favorite royal labels. 



I am looking at the skirt peeking out from beneath the coat, and what appears to be an asymmetric hemline. It reminded me of this dress, which we have only ever seen from under a coat and has never been IDed. Kate wore it on a night out with William and friends at LouLou's.


The obvious problem is that Kate wore this mystery dress in October of 2012--before she was even pregnant with George--and tonight she is some months into a third pregnancy and showing. But, depending on the material of that dress it could work underneath the coat. I'm open to other options! 


The Duchess accessorized with her Collingwood pearl earrings, which are (to use an overused word) divine, and she carried her Magid clutch which happens to look nothing like the majority of the product shots floating about, but that is a story for another time.  Also making an appearance tonight was the absolute biggest poppy any of us have ever seen. I am confident it won the flower show at Downton Abbey and doubtless beat out Mrs. Miniver's most voluptuous rose.  I liked it. It has oomph. 


Tonight was a huge win in my book. Do you know what it reminded me of? One of Kate's SuperStar looks, the Libélula that she wore to the Harry Aubrey-Fletcher and Sarah Louise Stourton's wedding the day before her 29th birthday in 2011. Both these coats have structure, but lots of movement, and the velvet is so elegant.



Kate was charming and lovely tonight. The black of her ensemble, slimming color it is, entirely obscured her bump, and the coat over her dress provided a polished look that didn't look like she was dressed for the Arctic. Big win. :) 

Royal British Legion