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Kate's "Best of" 2017

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The sleepy Januarys of years gone by are officially a thing of the past, as the Cambridges have begun to schedule events in the first month of the year more and more. 2017 kicked off with the release of  a relatively busy schedule. After spending Christmas in Bucklebury with the Middletons, Kate and her family returned to Anmer Hall with a group of close friends to celebrate her birthday, and we had our first sighting of the year when the duchess attended a Sunday service at St. Mary Magdalene.


Kate had three public engagements in January, which means each ensemble makes the list by default. That's just as well, though, because to my mind Kate began 2017 with a series of huge fashion wins. Her first event back was a solo visit for the Anna Freud Centre, before she met up with William for a stop to promote Child Bereavement UK. Seeing these two out together was the perfect start to 2017. This cobalt Eponine London coat-dress is the first ensemble of January, and the year, to make the list. The striking royal hue looks incredible with Kate's hair, and the swinging, pleated skirt flattered Kate's beautiful legs. 


A week later, Kate joined Harry and William for a Heads Together campaign event, and the Duchess absolutely wowed in Erdem's Evita dress. This fitted sheath style is one Kate wore often in 2011 and 2012, and requires a particular figure to pull off to perfection. Kate does it flawlessly, and this dress easily won gold for January. It helped that she styled her hair in the massive, bouncing waves of her early marriage, and matched her eye shadow to the plum hues of the dress.  


The final outing of the month, an event for EACH in Quidenham, easily places on the "Best of" 2017 list. This green Hobbs suit with a ruffled Josephine blouse mixed so many of Kate's favorite elements, and the fitted silhouette injected the youthful vibe fans have been craving. It was a smash-success end to January and an easy win for our list.


February was absolutely packed with events that ranged from the sporty to glitz and glam. The Cambridges and Harry were in full promotion mode for the London Marathon and their Heads Together initiative, and the Trio made a Super Bowl Sunday visit to a training session where they were happy to wade into the fray. Their charming race, showcasing Harry and William's healthy sibling rivalry, wins a place on this "Best of" list.


On the 6th, Kate wore her Luisa Spagnoli for the 4th time when she visited the Mitchell Brook Primary School with William on behalf of Place2Be. It is a beautiful suit and looked lovely on this occasion, but in a month this busy, the competition was too fierce for this one to score a slot. Later that same day, Kate debuted her first full Oscar de la Renta ensemble. The purple suit separates would have easily placed, but for Kate's styling (black stockings and black heels).  I had to decide between this look and her recycle of the Paule Ka later in the month...The de la Renta narrowly prevails:


Just the next week, Kate was out again in an ensemble that wowed us all and easily scored a place on our "Best of" 2017. Kate pulled out all the stops for her appearance at the BAFTAs in this fitted Alexander McQueen. Her gown was a deviation from her usual chiffon and sparkles style, and not only makes one of the best looks of the year, but one of my favorite formal ensembles in Kate's impressive collection.


Just a few days later, Kate was out again on behalf of the Air Cadets. Her casual, but appropriately colored, Valentine's Day ensemble was a liner at the time, but it can't compete against the many options we have in February, and does not make the list. Not all the activity in February was public, but behind the scenes William, Kate, and Harry were churning out material for their mental health campaign. This cute shot of the Trio filming a BBC special makes our "Best of" list, and the cute interaction between Wills and Kate gets bonus points for its proximity to Valentine's Day. ;) 


On the 22nd, Kate and William were out again, and the Duchess was recycling her Paule Ka suit separates from 2012.  I love this suit and it was hard for me to decide whether it would place, but the clunky heels on the boots permitted the aforementioned Oscar de la Renta to edge it out.  With that we tear another page from the calendar! 

March began brimming with excitement as William and Kate prepped for their trip to Paris, and released plans to tour Germany and Poland in the summer. Little did we know, there were some spring showers on the horizon. The two joined members of the royal family at St. Paul's for the Afghanistan memorial service, and then quietly slipped away for separate ski weekends. Pippa had planned an  exclusive hen party at Meribel, and while the girls vacationed in France, William, and some of his guy pals hit the Verbier slopes. Pictures of the tipsy prince lunching with a blond ski bunny electrified the press, before even more titillating images of the prince's drunk dancing moves surfaced later the same day. Ultimately, the incident was embarrassing, but relatively harmless, but the awkwardness still hung in the air when the couple attended the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade at Aldershot on the 17th. Kate was glowing, despite the press scrutiny, and soldiered through with a smile on her face (perhaps even enjoying the awkwardness of the moment?) in an ensemble that easily makes the "Best of" 2017.


Kate always looks beautiful on St. Patrick's Day, but this elegant Catherine Walker ensemble with coordinating topper, might be one of her best. It is possible Kate gave even more careful attention than usual to this look, because after the ceremony, the couple boarded a flight to Paris, where Kate arrived in the same coat, simple discarding the hat and restyling her hair. It was a stunning start to a fabulous trip.


The Cambridges trip to Paris is itself a highlight of 2017, and possibly the highlight of 2017 (for me;)). Is there anything better than the Duchess of Cambridge paired with the most beautiful city in the world? Hard to beat, kids. The  trip was brief, and Kate wore only three ensembles. Her lacy knit cocktail dress at the evening reception on their first night makes the list for its unusual style and throw-back vibes that brought out the best of the Kate Middleton single days:


Kate wore her first full Chanel ensemble (the pink tweed jacket from Canada is thought to be Chanel, too) on the couple's second day to visit a host of iconic Parisian landmarks, but this tweed dress would make the list no matter the locale. Fitted and flared, it draws on Kate's favorite (and best) elements, but she took it over the finish line with a trendy Chanel handbag and her chic Tod's block heels.


But, the Eiffel Tower doesn't hurt. Paris...I love you.


It's hard to come down from a trip like that, but Kate closed the month strong in successive ensembles that made the list. First, on March 23rd, the Duchess made an inspiring speech on motherhood and mental health at the Royal College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians wearing a repeat. This gingham Eponine London ensemble made the "Best of" list in 2016, but it is back to score again this year, particularly in this shot, which is one of my snaps of the year. It's young and fun, effortlessly flattering, and Kate looked like she'd just stepped out of a high-dollar ad campaign. Beautiful!


The Princess's final appearance of the month, on March 28th, takes the prize for the ensemble of the month. This green and gold evening look for the National Portrait Gallery's Portrait Gala was a showstopper.


Paired with Kiki McDonough earrings and shiny chestnuts locks, Kate was absolutely breathtaking.


After a successful March, William's Verbier notwithstanding, April marked one month to Pippa's May wedding, and the Middleton women were busy with planning! Our first glimpse of Kate in April came when she was pictured with William leaving Pip's flat after a family dinner with the in-laws-to-be. Her casual and cute Somerset by Alice Temperley dress probably wouldn't make the list on its own steam, but you all know how much I love a candid of Kate. Bonus points when she has her prince by her side:


Kate's maintained her fashion winning streak as she made her first official engagement of April on the 6th at Drury Lane to see the revival of 42nd Street. This Marchesa Notte dress certainly makes the list for its eye-popping hue and sexy silhouette.


While we are focused on the clothes and shoes and the fun, it was a crushing year for the West in terms of security, and Britain in particular was devastated by a succession of terrorists attacks that rocked the capital and shocked the world. In the midst of a month largely devoted to wedding planning and promotion of the London Marathon, the royals paused for a solemn memorial service at Westminster Abbey that focused on hope for the future. Kate's recycled Salsa hat from Sylvia Fletcher wasn't a win for me, and excludes this ensemble from the list from a fashion perspective, but it certainly scores for gravitas and the beauty of the sentiment - 2017 needed encouragement to hope.


As Easter approached, designers and other party planners were seen coming and going from Pippa's London flat. Carole and Kate were pictured one sunny spring day gathering at the bride's home, possibly for fittings or final consultations. We see so few candids these days, that any that do surface have a shoe-in, but these images were particularly fun because they were imbued with the excitement and anticipation of Pippa's pending nuptials.


2017 was the first year the Cambridges joined the Queen at Windsor for Easter, and so that morning easily takes a place among our highlights. The Duchess's creamy ensemble was a liner thanks to her square pillbox hat, and therefore it's another look that likely wouldn't have made the list but for the notable occasion.


With Easter in the rear view, the Cambridges and Harry threw their efforts on Heads Together into high gear. A slew of promotional events occupied the remainder of the month. On the 19th, Kate met with Heads Together runners at Kensington Palace. Keeping it casual in signature blue skinnies and a luxe Luisa Spagnoli striped sweater top, Kate mingled with the competitors as a camera crew filmed. This was an unusual event, because Kate wore a mic and we got lots of crystal clear audio of Kate.



On the 20th, Kate upped the glam factor a notch in a red Armini suit that clung to all the right curves. This was another Heads Together event, but this sexy suit takes a place on the "Best of" list all on its own:


On the 21st, William, Kate, and Harry released a series of videos on mental health that revealed the idea for Heads Together came first from Kate, and also included an interesting discussion between the Cambridges about the early struggles of parenthood. It makes the list for its unprecedented glimpse into the personal lives of these simultaneously public yet private celebrities.
The 22nd saw William and Kate make an unexpected appearance on BBC Radio 1 program where the couple undertook an extensive interview that was full of laughter, personal anecdotes, and personality. Kate's ensemble--an edgy Temperley blouse and black trousers--makes the list for its fashion interest, and this photo makes the list for the couple's chemistry. Still going strong... :)


The morning of the 23rd dawned early with the Cambridges and Harry giving a final pep talk to their team before they pressed the buzzer that began the 2017 London Marathon.


The Trio won universal acclaim for this campaign, and they certainly had much to celebrate that picture perfect day.


After a manic April, May began more bucolically as the Cambridges released a sweet photo of Princess Charlotte taken by Kate at the family's Norfolk home to mark the little princess's 2nd birthday. I loved this photo with Charlotte in a cute little sweater and hay bales providing a calm and country background.


Kate kept with the country theme for her first event back, and this stop at Farms for City Children makes the "Best of" list both for the "casual Kate" ensemble I love, and for the awesome work this charity does--getting kids out into nature and interacting with animals. 


Meanwhile, Kate's circle looked to be expanding as Harry's American girlfriend made waves with a trip across the pond to cheer her prince on at a summer polo game. Her public appearance set tongues wagging that an engagement was on the horizon.


On May 11th, the Duchess flew to Luxembourg for an afternoon of engagements. Her sweet Emilia Wickstead makes the list with relative ease. Closely patterned off of her green Wickstead from the first year of her marriage, this light dress was elegant and flattering, young and fun, and the perfect choice to mingle with fellow European royals. 


On the 13th Kate repeated another win at a Buckingham Palace garden party for children who have lost a parent in the armed forces.  The Trio put on an afternoon full of games and fun, and Kate recycled the Chloe she first wore in Canada in 2016. It was a win then, and it was a win here in 2017:


Kate's next event was one of the Queen's more formal garden parties for which she wore another recycle, but it misses the list. You all know how I feel about the shiny Christopher Kane... May 20th was perhaps the most anticipated day of the royal watching year. Pippa Middleton's wedding to James Matthews in her home village of Bucklebury was the perfect blend of country wedding and lavish society affair, and it is difficult to envision a more breathtaking bride than Pippa. It was truly a Middleton triumph. 


Kate's McQueen wasn't a home run for me, but it worked beautifully with Pippa's overall color palette, and with the mossy stone surroundings of the country wedding. 


Just days later, Kate closed the month with a visit to the Royal Chelsea Flower Show in a new French label. I loved this Rochas midi with Kate's hair in a cute pony. May wasn't super full (and so not overly competitive), but this would have made the list regardless.  


The month closed out with GQ's interview of Prince William that included several black and white images of the Cambridge family. Although this picture got a variety of responses, I really loved it, because it conveyed an easy and happy portrait of the family's private life. It was certainly a highlight of my royal watching year. 


Kate started her June with a visit to victims of the London Bridge and Borough Market victims, followed closely by a visit to the 1851 Roadshow in J.Crew crops. Her first ensemble to make the list in June came when the Duchess appeared at Trooping the Colour in bubblegum pink. Great color, and even better design!


Kate's next smash success of the month, and the year, was her lace McQueen at Ascot. I am still swooning over this dress...


...and the absolutely stunning hat with which she paired it. If anything was going to knock out our ultimate winner of Best Ensemble of the Year, this was it. 


Kate's penchant for midi dresses extended from 2016 into 2017, so fans who have been pining for shorter hemlines were thrilled when Kate wore this super cute sixties style Gucci frock to the Victoria & Albert to visit the newly created Exhibition Road expansion. It easily scores a slot on the "Best of" 2017 and closes out a relatively light month. 


And with that, kids, we are halfway through 2017! Take breather and give yourself a pat on the back as we jump back in at July. This month featured two trips to Europe, and a generous selection of UK engagements. As the Cambridges worked to prep for their trip to Germany and Poland, Kate started her month with some world class sport as she appeared at Wimbledon. The polka dot Dolce was cute, but in a month with more than a few adorable dresses, this event makes the list thanks to the added oomph of the engagement itself. It was Kate's first time at the All England Club officially as patron, which makes it a personal and professional highlight for Kate. 


The Spanish State Visit took place shortly after, and presented Kate with a bit of a fashion challenge. Queen Letizia of Spain is one of Europe's most glamorous royals, so Kate brought her A-Game when she arrived at Buckingham Palace in a bespoke Marchesa evening gown that featured a full skirt, trendy bell sleeves, and a daring, plunging neckline. 


Although it divided fans, this dress makes the list for its  royal pizazz and that plunge...


The Duchess had two more events before she jetted to the mainland. Her Preen day dress at the Natural History Museum on the 13th is narrowly edged out, however, by the Catherine Walker floral she wore to Wimbledon on July 16th. The origin of this pretty summer dress had royal watchers stumped until someone remembered Catherine Walker's Chelsea Flower Show shoot! This wins for its fresh vibe and for the best styling of Kate's sometimes contentious shorter hair.


The Cambridges week-long trip to Poland and Germany was stellar, and Kate's tour wardrobe was absolutely top-notch, but the Best Day Dress goes to the purple Emilia Wickstead she wore for the final few events and the airport farewell. This was a perfect purple with Kate's coloring, and the tailoring was oh-so flattering. Plus, her hair was still on point!


The Best Evening Ensemble goes to the Markus Lupfer. It was another dress that was out of Kate's general royal style, and boasted a touch of va va voom. Her heels added the final fun punch of style.


As gorgeous as the clothes were, Kate's little ones really stole the show. I think the two kiddie highlights both belonged to Princess Charlotte, and presented two different moods. The little princess's carefully practiced curtsy was the first moment that melted fans' hearts:


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But, so did her stubborn little temper tantrum before the family made their final farewell. These pictures will have us smiling for years to come:


The Cambridges closed the month with a two day commemoration of the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium. Both Kate's creamy coats were gorgeous, but those chapeaus put them out of the running for the "Best of" list.

After a busy summer schedule, the royals retreated for their August holiday and royal-watching slowed to almost a standstill, as it does almost every year. 2017 was unusual, however, because it marked twenty years since the death of Diana. William and Harry had been releasing various specials and tributes throughout the summer, all of which would culminate in a final event the day before the anniversary of her death.

It is still not clear to me how successfully the two balanced the tributes. Certainly the stories and the memories of the tragedy stirred up warm memories of the princess, but some of the angry resentment toward Charles was dredged up, too. William and Harry were in a nearly impossible position of praising their mother while tiptoeing around the drama connected with their father, but all in all, I suspect the Crown is happy to have this summer of tribute in the behind it. We saw Kate just once before the KP event as she was pictured on holiday at Balmoral. This didn't win in the style stakes, but we love our annual Balmoral snaps. 


On August 30th, William, Kate, and Harry visited with representatives of charities Princess Diana supported during her life. The Kensington Palace Sunken Garden had been transformed in her honor, and the event itself would merit a mention here. Kate's floral Prada makes the list for its sartorial strength, too, though. She hit just the right note in a frock that was true to her own style, and paid tribute to her late mother-in-law. 


As September brought balmy weather and the promise of a beautiful fall, we all thought our royal watching was about to get back into gear, but Kate and William had a very special surprise. On September 4th Kate was scheduled to visit the Hornsey Road Children's Center, but instead announced she was expecting her third child! And that made the "Best of" list pretty easy to write for September. ;)


Even without Kate, though, we had some highlights that cannot be ignored, chief among them was Prince George's bashful beginning at school. The sweet little prince looked none too pleased to be starting the long journey of formal education, but a later picture released from KP showed a much more upbeat little man. I am sure he settled in quickly. 


Kate was featured in a promotional video for the Anna Freud Centre which was released September 18th. The Duchess was wearing the same Eponine London dress we swooned over back in January. This makes the list for the shear dearth of Kate sightings in September, but she looked camera ready enough that it might have made the cut even in a busier month. ;) 



The Princess made an earlier than anticipated return in October when she attended a reception at Buckingham Palace hosted to thank those who'd worked to promote mental health. Kate's return would have made the list no matter her ensemble, but this blue Temperley, with its paneled skirt and ruffled cuffs, deserves the accolades and makes the list for October on its own merit:


October was the month of surprise appearances as Kate eased back into royal duties slowly by accompanying her husband and brother-in-law when her health permitted. Her surprise stop at Paddington Station and her dance with Paddington lands on the list easily, and the floral Orla Kiely waltzes effortlessly in as a win, too. 


Kate wobbled a little with her maternity wear on a Coach Core engagement, but was back on track and in her element as she closed the month playing tennis with kids participating in the LTA training programs. As fun as it was to see her with a racket in hand, it was her school run the same day with a casually dressed little George that makes the list tonight:


Kate began November with a maternal health roundtable event at Kensington Palace wearing what was probably one of her best maternity ensembles had we been able to see the whole picture. Kate's recycle of her DVF Zarita at the KP Orangery for the Anna Freud Centre is the first smash hit of the month, though. Kate has certainly gotten her money's worth from this stunning dress. If I named an annual MVP, it would be the Zarita. 


On November 8th, Kate debuted a new GOAT London dress that makes the list. This burgundy mini dress with opaque stockings and suede accessories was just what fans had been craving, and hit the bulls-eye in Kate's favorite maternity style profile. 


The Festival of Remembrance was next on Kate's calendar and next on our "Best of" list. This custom Catherine Walker in a luxe velvet easily scores a slot. It was the perfect blend of coat and dress, and where last year's brocade faltered, this beautiful design transitioned effortlessly from outdoor to indoor. 


The very next day the Duchess was on the balcony of the foreign office for a landmark Remembrance Sunday as the Queen stepped back from her very public role to permit Charles a more prominent position. The Princess honored her earlier commitment to the Hornsey Road Children's Centre with a make-up event on the 15th, recycling the original Goat Coat, and the next week was pictured on her way to BP wearing the Zarita for a second time in a month. (I'm telling all y'all, MVP of the Year...if I awarded one.) None of these makes the list because this month was just so downright competitive.  Instead, it is another Goat Coat that elbowed out its peers for the next place among the highlights. The Washington Coat was great on its debut in New York, but I think pairing it with a cozy turtleneck and these tapered boots, on an Away Day in Birmingham, carried it across the finish line. 


Kate brought out the glitz and the glamour for her second appearance at the Royal Variety Performance, but that night was quickly eclipsed by news that set the royal watching world (and beyond) alive with excitement. Harry announced Kate will get a new sister-in-law come May 2018! ;)


The Duchess finished the month strong in Kate Spade at the Foundling Museum, where she gave a few brief comments congratulating the royal-couple-to-be. This final ensemble makes the list both because I loved the pattern and colors, but also because the event was so, so sweet. This "Best of" list glosses over the shortcomings of your blogger, but of all the events I was not able to fully cover, this might have been the one I regretted missing the most. 


By now you all know that if Kate wears a Barbour, it makes the "Best of" list. The Duchess's day at Robin Hood Primary School (including and peek at Bug-ingham Palace) is no exception. The fact she paired this with my all-time favorite Honeycomb sweater top from Temperley, makes this a smash hit. Casual Kate for the win...every time. 


Kate began December on some private business of her own. After Harry and Meghan's engagement announcement, photographers and paparazzi were on high alert and she was pictured in a dressed down Zara coat at King's Cross. These were some fun pieces individually, but the pictures make the list for Kate's fresh face and the novelty of candids these days. :(


The annual Diplomatic Reception revealed that Kate has a new gown in her collection, but we will have to wait for a better view for it to compete for the highlights. Another GOAT London debut is the first ensemble of December to make the list from a purely sartorial perspective. The Elodie was one of my favorite maternity dresses thanks to its gathered collar and ruffled cuffs.


Kate recycled her Séraphine purple maternity coat for a Christmas party with families of the Grenfell Tower blaze, before joining other members of her family at a memorial service at St. Paul's just a few days later. The blue Carolina Herrera wins for its classic style, and the event places on our list for its importance to the London community.


Mid-December, the Cambridges released an official Christmas portrait. We don't get one every year, and this easily scores one of the few slots left before we ring in the New Year.


From there, the Christmas season accelerated in a flurry as the Cambridges attended the Queen's pre-Christmas lunch, and Kate was spotted enjoying the Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House. Kate's final public appearance of 2017 was her Christmas morning walk at St. Mary Magdalene wearing Miu Miu. This bright and festive coat was a fitting end to what was a remarkable year of royal watching.



Best Ensemble of the Year

Despite Kate's time out with HG, this was a fantastic year for fashion, so Best Ensemble of the Year could have been any number of pieces. Ultimately, though, I think from the moment I saw this dress almost a year ago, I knew it would win the crown. The Erdem Evita was a throwback to one of Kate's best and most popular style eras. This dress hit every element perfectly, and these images stuck with me throughout the year. Despite the competition, this was a well-deserved win and relatively easy choice.



Designer of the Year

It's the year of the Goat!! I mean really, what a year for GOAT London! Kate practically made them the official sponsor of Cambridge #3. Who would have thought that back in 2013? Not only did Kate debut a number of new pieces from the label, she recycled both the coats from her previous pregnancies with complete success. The brand has fit perfectly in her style profile and certainly won this girl over. Huge congratulations to GOAT's founder Jane Lewis on a fantastic royal year that showcased her lovely designs! 




Best Evening Gown of the Year

It's the customized McQueen from the BAFTAs. This year was a little light on the full evening gowns, but this dress was an absolutely stunning piece and was head and shoulders above the crowd. Kate's full chignon and giant earrings added just the right polish to complement a truly royal gown. 


Love from Jane 

As I have noted in previous years, if you've made it this far, you are a real fan. :)  Thank you, thank you for joining me this year following Kate and the royals. This was, without a doubt, the most difficult year for me balancing the blog against other commitments, and I am so very grateful for those who encouraged me to keep blogging, and for everyone's patience when I couldn't pull the posts together in good time. My commitment to you for 2018 is to do better in that department! I wish you and yours health and every happiness in this new year!!






86 comments:

  1. Happy New Year, and thanks for all the thoughtful, upbeat posts! I don't know how you do it, but I'm so very grateful that you do.

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  2. Lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely recap of the year!
    Thank you for your post and your personal comments which make this post/blog so much different and unique from others!

    Happy New Year!

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  3. Great post, Jane, thank you. Happy New Year!

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  4. Fantastic review of the year. Cannot decide which outfit I like best, but the photo is without doubt the one of the trio with their hands on each other's backs.
    great relationship they have and Meghan looks as though she will fit right in.
    Thanks for all your hard work in the year Jane and wishing you and every one who comes to this site, a very happy and successful 2018.
    Looking forward to the events of the coming year.

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    1. Sorry, somehow chopped off the "From Lancs".

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  5. Happy new year to you! So happy to follow your blog, totally love it, thank you! Federica

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  6. A fun way to start the new year! My fave of the year was the Catherine Walker Wimbledon dress (hairstyle included). It feels to me as though there were fewer repeat outfits this year, which I guess is nice for us but there are some outfits I would love to see again, especially from the India tour. Happy new year!

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  7. McQueen is lovely evening gown but her head looks huge and out of proportion. Who designed the bubblegum pink for trooping the colour? It is gorge. Thanks for your posts

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  8. Thanks so much for this. I look forward to these reviews! Happy New Year!

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  9. What fun!
    Thank you so much for continuing even when so busy. This was so much fun to read through today, started my day out just right. May you and yours have a Happy New Year.

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  10. My favorite outfit of the year was the sparkly Erdem she wore to the India Reception.She looked very pretty on that occasion.

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  11. Jane thank you so much for this roundup of the year..it was such an enjoyable read. Thank you again for all your posts throughout the year. Happy New Year!

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  12. Wow, super fun read. Great way to start my New Year. Thanks Jane. I love your best ensemble pick but I think my favorite was the Orla Kelly floral at Paddington Station. I agree with with the evening gown pick it was so different from her usual and sooo glamorous. Looking forward to 2018!!! -J

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  13. Marie from ChicagoJanuary 1, 2018 at 10:20 AM

    Jane, I know I speak for many of us who are balancing multiple commitments, when I say thank you for continuing this blog with your busy schedule. You have a unique voice as a royal watcher, and your posts are worth the wait, the few times you’ve had to delay. Happy New Year to you!

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  14. Jane, I scrolled right down to the bottom to see what your best ensemble of the year was...
    And I couldn't believe you passed over all the pretty outfits pictured to choose that uninspired black and yellow dress. It looks like it is a retread from the 70's. The only reason that dress looks good is because Kate is wearing it. Black and yellow is the color of angry yellow jackets. It is not flattering. Kate overcomes it's stridency, barely.

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  15. Beautiful post! And such a fun royal year; Kate seems very comfortable in her life and role. Lovely to see them building such a happy little family.

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  16. A big thank you for this great article !!! Thank you very much for your wonderful work !!! There were so many beautiful pictures and nice outfits this year !!! Happy New Year to you, Jane !!!

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  17. Happy New Year Jane and to all FBTB readers!! This will be an exciting year for us.

    Thrilled you voted the Erdem Evita as your favorite dress, Jane. Its mine as well. I think she looks best in this silhouette, and it does hit all the right notes. Her whole look that day harkened back to her original duchess roots which, I think, were her best days fashion wise. Besides, a floral on black print is almost always welcome in my book. Overall, a sophisticated and chic look.

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  18. What a great summary. The green lace in March gets my vote for best of the year.

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  19. I love your blog, Jane. Thank you very much for every single post.
    Happy New Year to you from Czech Republic! <3

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  20. What a wonderful way to start the new year--a mug of chai, and my favorite Kate blog! So hard to choose a favorite Kate ensemble from this year. From Jane's list, my favorites are the tweed Chanel and the Orla Kiely (I think Kate looked amazing in every Orla Kiely she has ever worn!). Least favorite for me has to be the McQueen evening gown from the BAFTAs.

    Happy New Year to Jane and all the readers!

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  21. Happy New Year! I always like this blog the best for the Duchess fashion — classiness here on your blog!
    Julie

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  22. Happy New Year, everyone! And many thanks Jane for this fantastic post, it was a wonderful look back at so many gorgeous outfits!
    I really loved the Trooping of the Colour pink, the purple Emilia Wickstead in Poland/Germany, and the red Marchesa at Drury Lane (that felt a little outside Kate’s box for me and I loved it!)
    I didn’t love, nor did I hate, the outfit she wore to Pippa’s wedding, but do think it matched the color-wave of the event. It was sort of MEH.....I was hoping for WOW.....but I guess that would have been bad form.:-)
    And......still cold here -14F here this morning, so I was very happy to have this wonderful post to study!
    Thanks Jane!

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  23. Happy 2018, Jane! Such fun reading this and reliving Kate’s fashion through the year with you! And I’m so glad you’ve kept blogging despite all your commitments - following Kate’s style would not be the same without you!

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  24. Yay! I was so looking forward to this list, Jane! We agree on many points; thanks for including the Walker @ Wimbledon & the Temperly blouse/black pants. Happy 2018 & thank you for this post!

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  25. What a wonderful recap of the year! Such a great way to spend time huddled indoors against the freezing cold. . Thank you Jane! . I agree with your top pick of the Erdem. I loved that dress since the first time Kate wore it. I do wish Kate would rewear some of the beautiful outfits, such as the green suit, red suit(I love Kate in suits, wish we’d see more) , the very first blue coat dress, and the purple dress. Such a pity to see them closeted away.

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  26. Happy New Year to you too. I think you do a fantastic job at this blog Jane. Thank you for your hard work.

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  27. Lovely post as always, Jane. Thank you for keeping such a nice forum for us even though we may get a little strident in our views here. My vote closely matches yours- best outfit was the Chanel suit in Paris and best evening look was the Bafta McQueen- precisely because Kate surprised me with this choice. If I were her dresser, I'd choose Roland Mouret or McQueen for her evening looks over Jenny Packham hands down. I love that she may be branching out to Marchesa too. I hope she recycles both the Emilia Wickstead dresses she wore this year- the ice blue one from Luxembourg would be great for Easter at Windsor or at Harry and Meghan's wedding..... Can't wait for Baby Cambridge and Kate the Great at the Royal Wedding where she can sit there as a senior Royal Lady!!! Here's to a great 2018 for all us!!! Thank you again, Jane, for the time and effort on our behalf!!!

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  28. Happy New Year to you, Jane!
    Awesome annual summary. A treat to look back and revisit many favorites.
    I loved the Trooping the Color dress and HAT!!! Gorgeous. She was so spectacular that day. Ascot dress and hatttttt!! ♡♡♡

    My 2 favorites.

    Thanks for all the hard work. It us much appreciated.

    2018, New baby, major wedding, couple of mini-tours (hopefully). Yay!

    Thanks! DabosCO USA

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  29. Jane, I always love your end of the year "Best of" posts and this year was quite busy for both you and Kate! Happy 2018 to everyone!

    I have to categorize my favorites from what you've shared because that way I get more favorites!

    Favorite total ensemble: Arrival in Canada. That blue Jenny Packham and the gorgeous matching hat were all that is perfect for an official overseas visit. Runner up: The St. Patricks day Catherine Walker with matching hat.

    Favorite day visit: The Gucci retro outfit. It even beat out the Chanel and, for me, that says something! The Chanel was my runner up - although the purse is one of Kate's best.

    Favorite evening wear: I guess I'm on a retro vibe this year because I love that beautiful cranberry Marchesa Notte dress. Runner up: The black DVF has always been on my list of favorites so I'm happy to see it recycled so often!

    Favorite maternity wear: The Kate Spade - even though she was hardly showing it was still worn during pregnancy. Runner up would the Goat (of course) Elodie.

    I think my least favorite outfit was the dress she wore to Pippa's wedding but it's OK because the focus should be on the bride and Pippa was stunning on her special day!

    Two favorite moments: Charlotte's little curtsy (followed up her little foot stomping tantrum) and the photo of "the team" with William's hand on Kate's back and Harry's hand on William's back.

    Next year we have a new baby and a royal wedding! Exciting times. Although, I look for Kate's dress for the wedding to be as low key as possible. I remember Diana wearing a very simple dark teal dress with black spots for Andrew's wedding. She did not stand out in the crowd even though she was in the "spots period" of her wardrobe. As I recall, Princess Anne committed the ultimate faux pas by wearing a white suit.

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    1. I loved the Canadian arrival dress too, Robin. It's one of my most favorite day dresses Kate's ever worn. But I'm pretty sure that was in 2016 not 2017. Time sure flies! Think we'll ever see it again? I'm thinking not, unfortunately.

      I don't think Anne wore white to the Yorks wedding. She wore yellow but it may have looked white in some photos just as Donna A's yellow dress did at Pippa's wedding. See this link of Anne & Diana:

      https://i.pinimg.com/originals/73/da/3e/73da3eb5d389c140920bba46c186a5dd.jpg

      Anne's suit/dress looks a bit lighter here, last picture down:

      http://royalweddings.hellomagazine.com/prince-william-and-kate-middleton/20110324591/kate-middleton/royal-weddings/westminster-abbey/

      A number of women DID wear white though to the York wedding. See this link, 11th pic down:

      http://funpanorama.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/televised-celebrity-weddings.html?m=1

      I do hope Kate & her team think about how the outfit she chooses for Harry's wedding will photograph. (So no solid light yellow or super light pink!) I'm not convinced that's always considered by her team (as it reportedly was by Diana's) as too often posters here have to conclude when an outfit is criticized "well it probably looks much better in person than in photos." But it wouldn't do to be too much of a standout colorwise in the wedding *photos* even if it didn't look so much that way in person! 


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    2. Generally speaking, I may be in the minority, but I liked the dress Kate wore to Pippa's wedding. So what do you think, ladies, will it be new or a recycle for Harry's wedding?

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    3. You're right, lizzie, that is a yellow dress on Anne. All this time I thought it was white! I do hope Kate and her team think about the impact of what she wears to Harry's wedding. I think Kate would be conscious of that.

      royalfan, I think it will be new. It probably needs to be just from a PR standpoint. Can you see the critics claiming she couldn't be bothered to get something new for the wedding? But, it does need to be understated.

      Next question: Do you think Meghan will stick to the British tradition of having mostly children in her wedding party? I'm sure George & Charlotte will be included - I hope!

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    4. :-)

      Robin, I agree on the "couldn't be bothered factor". The only recycle that I have wondered about is the dress she wore to Pippa's wedding. It was a very special day for Kate and here she would be wearing it to her husband's sibling's wedding. Just a thought, but if it is new, yes, understated is the way to go and no doubt Kate will come through. I think she has been extremely considerate in this department (as a wedding guest).

      Good question on Meghan. Having children would certainly solve some problems where interesting family members are concerned. And I don't know enough about Meghan to discuss close friends she may reach out to for the honor, but I *do* believe that we will see G&C in the wedding party. If they managed it for Aunt Pippa they can do so for Uncle Harry. :-)

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    5. I am sure it will be a new dress and I hope she will be stunning, not too understated! I hope it won't be too uncomfortable for her, so soon after giving birth. The first 3 month you usually feel you look awful.

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    6. I really think she will - aside from anything else, I’m sure Harry will want his niece and nephew in the wedding! I also really think Kate will have to wear something new and I’m sure it will be well considered. I wasn’t a fan of what she wore to Pippa’s wedding but I do think that the whole bridal party considered it closely and that Kate wore what her sister wanted.

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    7. I liked the overall style of the dress Kate wore at Pippa's wedding royalfan especially since she was acting as the defacto matron of honor--to me, the dress's "frothiness" had a bridal attendant feel. But I didn't like the fit/styling through the bustline or the waist flaps & also thought a less "muddy" pink color would have been prettier on Kate. While a rewear/recycle for Harry's wedding would be one way to avoid the risk of *appearing* to want to be the center of attention,  I agree with others that tactic could carry the risk of appearing "not to bother" to wear something new. Plus, I can't think of anything in Kate's closet that *in my mind* would be ideal. In my mind, ideal would be seasonally appropriate but not so light as to risk being mistaken for cream or white in ANY light. And not too bright or shiny (like the blue Kane coat) to "pop" in a group photo of the family. I do hope Kate wears an actual dress, suit, or dress/open coat ensemble rather than wearing a closed coat as a dress. Ideally I would like to see her take a page from Diana & wear a slightly subdued/muted seasonal print. As Robin said, Diana's print colors at Andrew's wedding blended in nicely in group photos but in photos of Diana alone or with Charles she looked very pretty. Subdued doesn't mean hideous sackcloth or a semi-funeral outfit!

      Although I read somewhere that if George & Charlotte participate, Kate will be "in charge of" all the children in the wedding pre- & post-ceremony like she was at Pippa's, I kind of doubt that. Meghan most likely will have an attendant who is not a child & I'd think that person would corral the children as Pippa did for Kate. (I don't recall seeing any mothers lurking around the children at Kate's wedding!) Charlotte will be a year older & will have attended nursery school for months so she'll be more used to following the lead of others than she was last May. So I think Kate will be free to dress more as a guest would rather than as a quasi-member of the wedding party. I think if Kate wore the dress from Pippa's wedding it could raise questions about whether she expected/wanted to be in the wedding party (although having Kate in the role of sole adult attendant wouldn't make much sense from a British or American custom standpoint.)

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    8. You have a good point, royalfan, on the dress from Pippa's wedding. It could be the only recycle that might make the grade - so to speak. Not that I liked it all that much but nobody could claim she didn't wear something special to her. I'm not sure Pippa would love it thought since Kate was the unofficial maid of honor at her wedding.

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    9. Ladies, whatever path Kate decides to take on May 19th, I'm sure she will make a very considerate choice. As, I stated previously, I think she manages quite well as a wedding guest. I recognize that I am in the minority, but at some point I would like to see her dress from Pippa's wedding. I thought the vintage vibe was sooo Kate plus it was perfect for the setting, and ideal for a future Queen as she did her best to NOT overshadowing her sister.

      Lizzie, I, too, cannot see Kate being in charge of the children at Harry's wedding. If G&C are included as we are speculating, perhaps Lady Louise will be included as a senior bridesmaid and will manage the little ones. Meanwhile, Nanny Maria can be on hand to assist as needed, and Kate can keep her fingers crossed and hope for the best! Like any family wedding. ;-)

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  30. I completely agree about the best dress!!❤️💃💃

    What I find particularly funny about it is this... the elements of the dress alone, pattern, ribbons, skirt, etc., I don't like.

    BUT, when they are put together in the cut and style of this dress, something amazing happens and every time I see it, I think WOW!!

    It just all works together and Kate's gorgeous shoulders are perfection in it.

    May everyone here have a healthy, happy, and amazingly blessed 2018.🎉🎉

    Katie

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  31. A very happy new year to you, Jane! What a fantastic end-of-year wrap-up. Such great analysis, pics and writing! The Duchess is so exquisitely beautiful and her style and level of fitness are an inspiration. Here's to a fantastic 2018 full of royal events, royal family milestones and drop-dead gorgeous fashion! Cheers! Sylvia.

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  32. Although loved this post, what amazes and disappoints me so much is how little engagements she had this year! And she was only pregnant the last three months (and if we compare her to the Countess of Wessex who did more when she had an ectopic pregnancy, was pregnant, and almost died giving birth, Kate should have been working every single day lol), so she wasn't ill, nor she had family leave for Charlotte anymore, and she had George at school so that'd freed her up... It's becoming tiring defending her when it seems all she wants to do is be at home, instead of her job.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. She was quite ill with HG Ashly, and perhaps the BRF learned after what Sophie went through that letting women with challenging pregnancies ease up a bit is a better plan.

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    2. Hi Ashly,

      I can see this comment directed at William, but Kate's the mom of two young children. She has decided they are her priority. I understand she didn't spend much time on engagements before she had kids either, but I guess that was the choice she made.

      Sometimes you just have to move past certain things to enjoy royal watching. Otherwise, it's too tiring. What I'm saying is, don't feel like you have to defend Kate. Maybe the detractors have a point. Maybe it's not the choice they would make. She's not a saint and that's ok.🤗

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    3. I don't mind if all she wants to do is be at home, instead of her job...some people want to be at their job instead of at home. It's a matter of choice and one shouldn't impose one's preference on others. In don't think she must be defended because she stays at home.

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    4. The only royals working every single day are the Queen. Then come Charles and Anne. It’s a decision the Cambridge’s have made with the blessing of the Queen and Charles I am sure and obviously no mosning from whomever is going to change that. Her numbers would have been close to where they were last year if the tour had not been cancelled. It’s a monotonous story every year which some seem to enjoy,

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    5. William and Kate only became full time royals mid 2017. Then she got pregnant and was ill for a couple of months. I think they did quite a bit last year considering they were part-time for the first six months. A lot also goes on behind the scenes in planning and preparing as well as William assuming more and more responsibilities for investitures and the like from his Grandmother. Does anyone else find it curious that William does the investitures in HM place instead of Charles? Maybe Charles doesn't like doing them.

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    6. Both W & K, and H, have very low numbers of engagements. Very low. But if you want to follow them, you have to be willing to overlook things.

      H recently said he didn't understand why people needed coffee to wake-up in the mornings until he produced that radio show for a day. 😳🙄 Um, people drink coffee because they work hard and are tired. (I'm not a coffee drinker and I get it!!)

      Those three are lazy compared to everyone else, really, they are. But I overlook it because I follow them for other reasons. And no one is everything.

      But let's not paint them as these hardworking royals, whether FT, PT, they just aren't.

      They have a life of leisure that they enjoy. The end.

      9:59

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    7. I think it is sometimes a matter of quanity versus quality. Numbers don't always tell the whole story.. To illustrate:
      A baker made 12 serviceable loaves of bread. They were bought, taken home, and consumed.
      Another baker only made five loaves of bread but they were so attractive that people flocked to the bakery to purchase the bakery's other wares.
      Which baker was the more useful to the bakery firm? anon1

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    8. I can't find the remark now-someone said some would rather not stay home but prefer/value going to their outside work. Some prefer/value their job at home

      I think the royals are no different. Also, some are suited to one more than the other They are each blessed to have the choice. Some non-wealthy don't have a choice and that point has been greatly promoted in the Kate-work argument; but it is beside the point. We are not talking about them in this particular point. We are talking about this particular royal family.

      The fact is-William and Kate had a plan from day one--to put their marriage and family first. They are fortunate enough, as they have repeatedly stated, to have the opportunity to have a choice. The reason they have a choice is partly William's position as a royal. They also have inherited wealth and assistance from family. Most significant inherited wealth originally came from public contributions of some sort. I don't think that means they shouldn't be able to pass the inheritance on. The Ford and Rockefeller families would be very surprised to hear that, although they would not have their wealth without public input.
      I don't think the convenient taxpayer-funded spiel is a valid argument against the Cambridges having a choice.
      Realistically, how does one decide the work required to pay for royal family privilege? There is no written job specification, except for the monarch, and no written salary scale per position. It is a waste of time and not even rational to use the tax argument until there is a specific, written protocol that has intrinsic, measurable means of comparison. Even political polls (and I suspect this poll is a least partly politically inspired)- even political polls specify by age, gender, education... Those year-end numbers polls generate a lot of talk and sell a lot of papers, but they are imperfect measurements because THERE IS NO WRITTEN BASIS FOR COMPARISON. They are simply isolated numbers without meaning. There is no scale that says one knighting equals five charity luncheons, for example. Does one count each event attended at a multi-event function? Each event at the Olympics or Invictus Games or just the whole as one? Should each entry in the Garden Show visited be counted as a separate engagement? Are arrivals and departures truly separate events as counted for some? If one looks behind those numbers, even broken down into broad classifications, it is easy to see they really don't mean much. There are no rules and no basis for comparison of one royal job to another.
      The poll takers aren't interested in proving the validity of their polls. They are designed and produced for a particular purpose. It is not surprising when their numbers promote the purpose. Who are those poll takers, anyway> Who are their backers and supporters? I really want to know. Do those who like to bludgeon the Cambridges with those numbers know?

      Regarding the inherited wealth that allows the choice: Many spouses of families with inherited wealth spend their days playing polo or going to spas and luncheons while their mate handles the responsibilities of the family firms.
      Kate balances her home job with her charity interests and her responsibilities as William's wife.
      I realise it looks like a life of leisure from the outside to those perhaps dissatisfied with their own lot in life.
      To me it looks like a very complicated, demanding life, when one looks beyond the dazzle.


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    9. I agree they don't have the usual kind of job, but I am not sure about the life of leisure. One thing is certain, I don't believe they are lazy

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    10. Interesting analogy anon 1. I don't know if it applies but it might. For me though, I think part of the problem (& I'll try to adopt your analogy) is that baker #2 likely runs out of bread daily (if he only bakes 5 loaves) and daily bread may be what people want and need, not eclairs, fancy cakes or even "attractive" but scarce bread. And if baker #2 is subsidized or thought to be subsidized to produce bread, then baker #2 will be found lacking no matter the quality of his eclairs or the beauty of his bread. Plus, the Queen's "I have to be seen to be believed" approach may have led people not to expect such scarcity. This, coupled with higher output (daily bread) from royals who aŕe much older than WK&H makes it hard to see the "young" (but almost middle-aged) trio's activities as automatically "more valuable" to the firm. As I've said before though, I lay much of the blame on clumsy PR from KP. For example, the flap caused by KP erroneously claiming Will couldn't do much royal work because civil air regs required him to "rest" when not working a shift was SO unnecessary. And I think that gaffe led to an unfortunate devaluation by the public of his work with EAAA. And W&H have really come up with some zingers themselves. Harry's latest-- referring to Christmas Day as involving "work." I know the church procession and walk-about collecting flowers & other gifts counts as work (& I'm glad I'm not photographed going to church), but why say that? The percentage of people who think of W&H as "boys" or more specifically as Diana's boys is diminishing. But even if that wasn't true, one can capitalize on youth for only so long. And while younger generations frequently point out the flaws in older generations, it's not clear to me how that supports the monarchy if it appears the younger generation is simply saying "we will be seen less than they were because we are more special."

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    11. Many excellent points, Anon1. :-)

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    12. It helps to have a definition of "work," which is the weak point in all the royal work arguments. Does work only involve something physically demanding or physical work in general- must one sweat for it to be work?; does that mean that Wall Street stock market and financial advisers don't work but the jack-jammer operators outside their offices do? Waitresses work, but secretaries don't?

      There are so many suppositions and rumors that have become accepted fact with frequent repetition. The few that do get fact-checked are often found to be false or only partially true--half-truths. I do agree that KP has put out some mis-leading information that was exploited by tabloids. William's
      actual flight hours turned into his total hours of work in the tabloids. Flight hours and hours spent on the job on call are separate items and added together constitute total hours on the job. A fireman doesn't just get paid for hours he actually is fighting a fire. His time on the job includes down-time. They are paid to be on the spot available when needed. I think William gained life experience that has not been seen since Elizabeth leaned how to grease an engine. I also think he was courageous to try to have work that was both meaningful and involving activity and skills he enjoyed, knowing the track record and criticism of those who had tried outside work before.

      As far as I am concerned, any time I have to appear somewhere that is not where I want to be---that's work. On the other hand, there are moments I've had on the job that I would not consider work because I enjoyed doing it. If Harry was required to show up at Sandringham church because of his position/job expectations when he might rather be sunning himself of the Riviera --yeah, that's work. If you think it is only a family event, what are all the on-lookers and photographers doing there? Do photos of families on the way to church usually end up n the front page? No. That appearance was part of his job.


      I don't quite follow you extension of my analogy. Call it a parable. Ha! The point was--what comes as a result of the labor. William and Kate make the royal family look good. A smile always wins over a sour, frowning aspect. HM knew the value of a smile and used it often. It humanizes the "firm" when Kate is seen sitting happily amongst a group of children, digging around their plants. Harry has upped his game considerably the past year. It makes the royal family look caring when he is photographed with orphans or wounded vets. It doesn't hurt that these particular royals are all nice to look at, but that certainly isn't the focus. William's campaign against internet bullying and wildlife preservation is bringing him international recognition and with that, recognition for the Firm.
      One can make five stops a day--appearances-- stop by a women's club in the morning, eat lunch with book club members, unveil a plaque, and walk around a factory/hospital in the afternoon, nodding one's head and that is counted as impactful as the projects the three have undertaken under their foundation. That type of drive-by royal attention might work for those of the older generation who are used to the traditional royal visit, but it isn't going to convince the generations to come.
      Spin it any way you like-the attractive loaves led to further interest in the bakery's products. That original five loaves turned into a magnet drawing customers to other features of the firm. The twelve loaves were consumed by a limited group but there was no incentive to buy more at that shop. (my analogy had nothing to do with feeding the hungry)
      Numbers don't tell the whole story. They are touted for some of the royals because that is all they have going for them. It is not just youth and beauty that is attractive: It is caring and personal involvement and the ability to bond with those they meet. And that doesn't need to deteriorate with age. (For that matter, I think Alexandra is still a beautiful woman.) anon1

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    13. I think it’s a bit of a slippery slope if we start a “quantity vs. quality” discussion by suggesting that the appearances of the popular royals should count for more than the less popular ones. Should 1 appearance by Will and Kate be equivalent to 5 by Edward? It’s difficult to quantify the work the royals do- it is nothing that the rest of us can relate to. There is no performance review, no increase/decrease in salary based on how well they do their job and they will never be fired. In short, there really are no adverse consequences for them, other than some nagging by the media, if they don’t make as many appearances as the others in their family.

      I find it interesting to look at the number of days a royal works, rather than the number of engagements that they do. They work longer hours while on tour, but those days represent a relatively small fraction of total days worked, so I feel it all balances out. Additionally, Kate (for example) usually makes one appearance on a day she works, but makes multiple appearances on tour days, so it probably balances out. I know my method isn’t perfect, but it puts there workload in terms that I can relate to. I like to follow the site Gert’s Royals for the days/engagement count of Will and Kate.

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    14. Thanks, royalfan.
      I finally saw your replies to my comments on the previous post.
      Hadachol--well-known on college campuses in 1950's South.( My Dad was a professor at that time and I more or less grew up on college campuses) They were mostly 'dry' states and the 12% alcohol fueled many an after party. Ha! the play on words just hit me--Hadachol/alcohol
      Four Weddings...had a number of splendid hats. Scarlett's all-purpose slightly mashed-looking hat was charming.
      What will the future of Sandringham Christmas look like? I am preparing myself for when that car pulls up to the church and out steps Camilla . The first year will be the hardest. I think Charles will make few changes in royal traditions early on. There needs to be a transition. anon1

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    15. Camilla? I. Just. Can’t.😔

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    16. anon1, I particularly like your points about the ribbon cutting royal duties of the past and the newer way of actually organizing foundations and overseeing them with multi-faceted goals for the long term future. Showing up to shake a gloved hand is not the same as spending time getting your hands dirty (sometimes literally) while working with your charities. I'm not diminishing anything HM does, and especially as she keeps going while at an advanced age, but she is of a different era. I think that because she ascended the throne so young people have expectations that those with young children should work as hard as she did while her family was young. But, she was the monarch and had to assume a much heavier responsibility for which some of her children (especially Charles) have been a bit whiney about in their adult years. They missed having their mother around. As hard as Diana worked - and nobody can dispute her work ethic - she organized her time around her children's schedules. She was done by the time they came home from school and did evening engagements after they were bathed and in bed. Again, she was the Princess of Wales and outranked, in position and duties required, where William, Kate, and Harry are right now.

      As for Camilla being the one to step out of the car . . . hard to imagine. She and Charles had to beg, cheat, and steal for it but, in the end, they got what they wanted. If Charles is a successful monarch I think it will be because of respect for the position and not the man who holds it.

      LOL - Charlotte and her slightly mashed-looking hat - "wearing the ecclesiastic purple and the pagan orange symbolizing the mystical symbiosis in marriage between the heathen and Christian traditions." I think splendid!

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    17. I agree anon 1 there are differing definitions for & differing kinds of work. There are also different types of family obligations. And for the RF these things blur together (as they do for most anyone in a family business.) But there's also the old adage, if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging! When a person knows some folks question the amount of work he does, the best defense is probably not to say (in effect) "but I dressed up and went to church on Christmas Day with my fiance and we collected gifts from well-wishers. And we ate a big dinner with my family. And that was work!"

      It's a matter of perception. Your perception anon 1 seems to be that the glass is more than half full & will stay that way. Mine is that the glass will need regular refilling and spills are a problem especially if repeated over and over. A competent communications shop shouldn't have so many mis-steps and I think the principals (W&H) need to be a bit more careful about what they say about work. The tabs may always be waiting to pounce but stop providing ammunition! 

      I certainly don't think youth is the only possible draw. But WK&H are frequently referred to as "young" & W&H referred to as "boys" & neither is really true. Certainly they aren't "old" but according to this link

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/7458147/Middle-age-begins-at-35-and-ends-at-58.html

      the average Brit believe middle age begins in the mid-30s. W&K are there & H is not far behind. So I do think that as time marches on the good PR that comes from the mantle of being Diana's "boys" will lessen. Visible, continuing contributions will be needed to replace that with the emphasis on visible.

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    18. Personally, and I'm not the media with papers to sell, I would give Harry a pass on his passing comment about working on Christmas. Considering the whole world was watching and waiting to judge what Meghan would wear, how she would walk with the family, and how she would perform that all important first public curtsy - it must have felt like work tripled. If I were Harry I would be more concerned about saying that she spent Christmas "with the family she never had." Yikes! Some of her family may be dysfunctional but they are still there. I wonder if he had some 'splainin' to do when he got home.

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    19. I tend to agree that Charles is unlikely to make many changes. But I do see Camilla wanting her children included on Christmas Day.

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    20. I agree, they aren't "young" anymore, even if they are the youngest face of the RF. I suppose the structure of the family, with those very healthy grandparents keeps them in a child and grandchild place for longer than they should be. It is so very evident with Charles, always the queen's son, and the queen always knows better. I see the choice of William of working as an air rescuer as his decision to do something worthwhile with his life, not spend it waiting like his father. Harry very much behaves like a younger man, almost teenager sometimes. It is attractive right now, but won't be in a few years. And the fact he is not single anymore, well, that kind of dismisses the public's curiosity.

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    21. So many interesting remarks! I would like to reply to all of them. However, the flu fairy has visited me and left a pile of misery. I'LL BE BACK.Ha!
      For now I will just say that Harry's charm comes in part from his comparative (to other royals)openness and spontaneity. Those same traits are likely also responsible for his making inopportune comments that the press leaps on and exploits. People may complain about William and Catherine's sometimes cautious or guarded responses; but they are understandable, considering that HM rarely makes any personal remarks, other than scripted Christmas speeches (which she apparently writes, for the most part)..AND, that" Annus Horribilus" speech. Also scripted.. It took a lot to get her going even then. Her historical, narrative comments in an up-coming special on the Coronation and the Crown Jewels is being promoted as rare personal remarks from the Queen.

      William will likely be king. Harry won't. I think, as royalfan says, they are both in the right niche for their talents and personalities. I think I understood the intent of both his Meghan family remarks and his work comment. And, of course, we must rely on the integrity of the tabloid reporters to accurately quote. Sometimes he makes these comments on camera.
      I think if a vote were taken the majority of the RF would give the church walk media circus a pass and just quietly attend on their own, as a family; but they make that walk because it is part of the job.

      Lizzie, I think your KP PR remarks are on target. I have looked daily and still have not seen a correction or an addition to their yearend summery. The engagement announcement reigns supreme and there is still no mention of the expected Cambridge baby prince/princess announcement. That indicates to me that leaving it off and featuring Harry's engagement was intentional.

      Absolutely unbelievable- even though I have been griping for months that Harry was being promoted over William. The Charles/Harry interview clinched it. Charles so blatantly supporting Harry. Perhaps Harry was grateful for the early and warm reception given his fiancé.
      The question is--what's next? Will a similar opportunity be offered William? (perhaps it was offered to William and he refused--William also has developed a relationship with the Obamas) Will Charles lead the way or Will the Queen again step in and promote the succession as she has been doing: i.e.- HM-Charles-William. I was surprised how pointed some of HM moves have been. The first-time photos of the heirs with HM at the Diplomatic Reception. And what was that G&C photo doing sitting right next to her? Probably the generational/family emphasis over the succession, though.
      Now I've run on too long. Time for a nap. % >{ anon1
      PS

      I can't see where all this Harry business is leading. I think it is counter-productive to the interests of the BRF and the Monarchy when it promotes Harry over Charles's heir, William.( I believe I tolerated William's promotion over Charles, but that effort did not last.) The KP emphasis has been on Harry since William and Catherine's tours have received better press than Charles and Camilla's overseas and local visits.

      Constantly putting Harry's activities in the spotlight while down-playing William's less click-inducing organisational work that involves many off camera contacts with media figures regarding bullying and the work of Wildlife and Foundation efforts- not to mention his work in HM's place....this PR approach may get stories viewed because Harry IS charming and "everybody likes a good love story;" but by featuring Harry, KP does not promote what should be the end-game: the strengthening of the Monarchy. I hate to admit it--but, the same applies to promoting William over Charles. I just think Charles has made some rather obvious power-plays that may not endear him to the public.
      I think this is a very serious chess game and Harry just may be an unwitting pawn.

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    22. Mary from ManchesterJanuary 6, 2018 at 11:06 AM

      I think Charles is being downgraded here on this thread and it underestimates the British people. The media in Britain is largely responsible for the divide. They elevated Diana well past her pay grade and did the same with William, always suggesting he should be king and not Charles. That is tabloid fantasy, not reality.

      It's an ongoing click bait narrative. But they never talk about the real Charles. At a very young age, Charles developed a charity that actually makes a difference in the lives of the people he wants to help. He saw how things were going back in the 60s and class divide and the social problems. He faced them, unlike the Queen, who pretended they didn't exist.

      Charles was barely out of University when he founded the Prince's Trust. No other heir, including the Queen, has done that. In fact, the Queen was reported to be angry that Charles was making great strides where she had not. She has never wanted to be outshone by anybody, but especially by her heir. But he stuck with it despite her criticisms. He has changed the lives of thousands of young people mired in poverty who were bereft of opportunity, lacking in education, and some even homeless. He changed all that for them and many of them have their own businesses or rewarding jobs.

      As for William, Kate, and Harry, they quickly set up a foundation as a revenue stream. They went to America for the set-up money and keep their donors a secret. The Heads Together bit doesn't actually help any one person. It simply offers an 'awareness' program. Well, we're all aware of 'mental health' but what do they actually do for 'mental health?' Are they helping schizophrenic homeless to get off the streets and onto medication? No, they're not. They simply get grade school children to "open up" about their shyness, or bullying (which is being overplayed), and other tidy issues, things that can be solved in a 20 minute visit. But the charity does pay for their clothing, their transportation, the overhead for their offices, and other expenses associated with their visits.

      As for Camilla, I've never met her, but I did have the opportunity to see her during a visit in Oxford. She was there with Charles and they were both friendly, but Camilla was truly down to earth and chatting up people in a very natural, friendly way.

      People like them, no matter how the press chooses to play it, the people like them. Charles has done a great deal for Britain, but the press conveniently leaves that off their reporting. But the people know. He's also saved London from some truly hideous architecture by using his influence behind the scenes to make projects more in line with tradition and culture and function.

      When Charles and Camilla are king and queen, I hope Camilla does have her children and their families participate in Christmas at Sandringham. She has every right as they are a blended family, just like thousands of British families who no doubt will turn out for their coronation. I know I plan to be there supporting them.

      Delete
    23. Good points Mary. As an American I didn't think I had enough detailed knowledge to post on the topic. But I have felt the benefits provided by Charles' s Prince's Trust are too often overlooked here. While he has been next in line for the throne for a long time, Charles has not been just "waiting around." And he truly was young (28) when he began the Trust. I do wonder what will happen in the future since neither Will nor Harry is apparently willing to take it on. While it is well-established, I'd think it would still need continuing royal involvement, preferably "princely."

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    24. Anon1, I will start out by saying that all of this is speculation on my part, but here are my thoughts...

      When W&H were younger (and W&K were in the early stage of their relationship), I often wondered if some of the negative press (club exits, for example) didn't suit CH in that it made the brothers appear more like rich 20-somthings than serious royals. Similarly, with W&H's military commitments, I thought it served a purpose during those years...i.e. a less crowded stage.

      Regarding the William vs. Harry press debate, I have always thought it was/is quite unfair to William. First, the boys have different personalities. Is this unheard of among siblings? And, second, their paths are very different and both boys have been well aware of this from a very young age. Harry can afford to be the fun and spontaneous royal prince. William, with the responsibilities he has on his shoulders both today and in the future, cannot. As we have pointed out before, just consider Elizabeth and Margaret or Charles and Andrew. Very different roles and expectations. Hello. :-)

      Regarding KP and who's being promoted, or not ..... one can look at it from different angles. Is Harry being promoted to make up for the stable personal life that has been missing until recently (one that William has enjoyed for many years)? Does the pro-Harry PR have to do with what some have described as a rushed courtship? Is this union (H&M) being used to take some of the starch out of the BRF's image (think along the lines of Charles' wish to be "defender of all faiths")?

      Never mind adding family dynamics to the formula and considering the individual relationships that the boys may have with their father. Does one have clearer and stronger opinions about his life, past/present/future? Is one more anxious to please? Again, don't we all know people where some of these factors play a role in both private and public lives?

      Many, many questions and possibilities to ponder.............

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  33. I agree with your best dress, so long as we judge from the ankles up! Her hair, her makeup, that tight but classy dress - it was like she zoomed back to 2012 to remind us of the energy and glam she brought in the beginning. I might say that if we take shoes into account I’d give it to the Ascot white lace dress. Happy to see we’re in such close agreement, fun!

    Happy New Year, what an exciting one we have coming!

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  34. Happy new year Jane! The Erdem dress is absolutely lovely but I prefer the Chanel dress and the whole look, the gorgeous handbag not the usual clutch and the perfect Tod‘s block heels not the usual cout shoes. The McQueen gown from the Bafta‘s is a winner but IMO these shoulder/arm straps don‘t match and look disturbing. What about this ice blue Jenny Packham dress from the Paris reception, it is classic Kate but one of her best.

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  35. Happy new year and thank you!!!

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  36. Mary from ManchesterJanuary 2, 2018 at 2:57 PM

    Wonderful job on the year in review, Jane. The only dress I didn't care for was the Alexander McQueen she wore to the BAFTA's.

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  37. Thank you, Jane, for keeping up with this terrific blog!! It's such a pleasure to read :)

    I too struggle with William and Kate's continuing low number of public engagements. It's baffling, really. Even with the 'behind the scenes' work they do, it's still astonishing how little they do in public, at least in comparison to older royals. By all means, they should make their young family a top priority, however, they are senior royals and don't appear to embrace or fully engage in their public roles and obligations. At least that's the impression they give, even if the reality might be different.

    In terms of Kate's best of the year, I agree that the McQueen gown at the Bafta's was awesome. I also liked the two outfits she wore to Wimbledon, especially the Catherine Walker floral dress on her second visit. And I do love - LOVE - her shorter hair. The longer, bouncy curls look so dated in my opinion. I know you won't agree, Jane, but I hope she doesn't grow it back :)

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    1. William did not leave his job with thee Air Ambulance until the end of July.
      People complain that they should have jobs, but then complain more when they do.
      Unfortunately it is difficult to count how many engagements William has had as they often go weeks before they are listed on the internet and when he stands in for the Queen or escorts her, it is entered under HMs engagements.

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    2. William worked only 2-3 days a MONTH at the air ambulance job.

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    3. Thank you, Jean.

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    4. William may not get credit when standing in for the Queen, but I believe Charles and Anne do. anon1

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  38. What an amazing list--and honestly could not agree more! Can't wait to see all of her looks in 2018! Thanks again for keeping up with this blog. I absolutely love it & look forward to it! Happy New Year!

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  39. Happy New Year Jane! I absolutely enjoy reading your blog :)

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  40. Absolutely love the Chanel outfit. The subtle shading in the hip area and sleeves is so flattering to the Duchess..

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  41. Thank you for another great year of blogging - and thank you for sticking with it throughout your busy year. Can’t wait for your reporting on all the exciting royal events, weddings & Cambridge Baby 👶🏻 #3!

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  42. Don't have time to comment often enough, but want to tell you how much I love your blog Jane. I know how busy law school is and am amazed that you are able to fit this in at all, but I'm so glad you do. Thank you so much for hanging in with us and providing us with your wit and thoughtful opinions on all things Kate. Happy New Year to everyone in the community.

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    1. Miss your comments, Jane in Canada. anon1

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  43. Our tastes must way way off.. I say the McQueen lace number at Ascot or even the Temperley London in blue in October and evening attire I would have to say the green lace Temperley... So It may be the year if the Goat coats but it's the year of the Temperley London dresses! For me.. Thank you Jane we've barely been able to keep up with Kate this year I don't know how you do it but cheers to all!!

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