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Seven Septembers with the Duchess of Cambridge

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The autumn is always the most exciting time of the year. After a warm, slow summer, Kate's return to the spotlight is as welcome as the crisp fall weather. Autumn is also especially exciting because as fall transitions to winter, Kate attends the most black-tie and red carpet events of the year. In today's post, I am going to look at Kate's first event each September, and her first red-carpet appearance of the season! 


In 2011, Kate wasn't really returning to a working schedule. At that time, Kate and William were still trying to maintain as much of a private life as a they could while simultaneously the most feted and popular newlyweds on the planet. William had sought from the Queen, and had been granted, permission to spend several years in relative seclusion continuing his service in the RAF and allowing Kate a slow transition into her new position as a royal and the future queen. Nevertheless, in the autumn of 2011, the couple returned to the spotlight in late September (the 29th) as they visited the Royal Marsden where William, as patron, opened a new cancer ward for children. Kate was at the height of her sheath-dress phase and this Sculpted Felt Dress from Amanda Wakeley was a huge hit at the time. 


This post, though, is really focused on the black-tie events (let's be honest) which make the autumn such a glittering spectacle of fashion and fun. Kate and William's next event was October 13th and it marked the Duchess's first formal ensemble of that fall. The event was for the 100 Women in Hedge Funds of which William was patron at that time (although Harry and Kate joined him as joint-patrons in 2013). Kate chose a gorgeous red Beulah London dress with graceful sleeves and a plunging neckline.


We are wandering well beyond September, but I can't resist including the silver Amanda Wakeley Kate wore to a private dinner at Clarence House on behalf of In Kind Direct. It is one of Charles's charities, but when he was called away to attend a funeral in Saudi Arabia, he asked his new daughter-in-law to step in. This dress is from Wakeley's 2006 collection, so it is pretty clear that it was out of Kate's closet. She probably wore it first to some glitzy London bash while dating William. :)


2012 was a bit of an anomaly. The couple toured Southeast Asia on behalf of the Queen as part of that year's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. That tour took up the better part of September. The duo didn't undertake a public engagement in the United Kingdom until early October, when they visited Middle Temple to launch a scholarship for law students in their name.


Interestingly, Kate didn't showcase a floor length gown that year until she returned to Middle Temple for one of St. Andrews' 800th Anniversary fundraisers. If you are a long-time Kate-watcher, you might remember that back in 2011/2012/2013, Kate rarely went with an evening gown. If she could skew on the shorter side, she did, so we didn't see a lot.  This dress was the "Amoret" Temperley, which became one of Kate's earliest multi-wears.


2013 was a hectic year for the Cambridges. They became first-time parents on July 22nd, and Kate didn't make any public appearances until she accompanied William to a small event on the island of Anglesey--an event that doubled as their farewell to their island neighbors. The couple headed to Kensington Palace in London shortly thereafter. Kate only had one event in September, the Tusk Trust inaugural gala, and I believe Kate only attended because of how important that charity is to William.  Although it was first reported as a thrifty piece from Jenny Packham's diffusion line, it was in fact a bespoke Jenny Packham that cost close to £6,000. 


Kate spent all of September 2014 sick with the HG that accompanied her pregnancy with Princess Charlotte. She was glowing, however, upon her return to the limelight in October, and I think that was her most glittering autumn to-date. Kate made her return on October 21st, when after her brief appearance at the kick-off of the China State Visit earlier in the day, she attended the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards at the Natural History Museum. The Princess was a knock-out wearing a daring half-and-half dress by Jenny Packham (which I still suspect was initially made for her canceled trip to Malta).


She followed that up with an appearance at Action on Addiction's autumn gala on October 23rd wearing a Temperley cocktail dress. Although I generally prefer evening gowns to the cocktail dresses for events like this, she was glowing, and this ended up being one of my favorite fall appearances. As I say, when I think about the "autumn return," it is 2014 that sets the bar. She exuded glamour and royal star-power.


In 2015, Kate made her return on September 17th. She attended an event at the Anna Freud Centre wearing a Black Label Ralph Lauren in one of her favorite patterns. :) Kate has a habit of twisting her engagement ring around--notice she was caught in this snap with it twisted inward.


Although Kate hit the ground running that year, she didn't bring out the bling until October when she attended the China State Visit. That was her first State Dinner and we had all waited with baited breath to see what Kate would wear. I don't know that this custom Jenny Packham thrilled everyone, but it was certainly in Kate's style profile and very flattering in my view. I think we all loved to see her sparkling in diamonds.


2016 was one of the Cambridges' busiest years. They returned early from their summer holiday making appearances on the 24th and the 25th of August. Then, the 1st of September on the dot, the couple undertook a two-day visit to Cornwall. Prince Charles is the Duke fo Cornwall, but it will eventually fall to William as the heir. Kate began the two-day visit in Truro, Cornwall, wearing this gorgeous pink Lela Rose. (By the way, I have Poldark playing in the background as I write this post and the location only now strikes me--Truro!!)


The Cambridges travelled to Canada later that month for their wildly popular second tour of the northern nation. It was during that visit that Kate wore her first formal look of the fall. Who can forget this striking red Preen cocktail dress for a party at Government House in Victoria?


September of 2017 was another missed month for Kate, as the Princess announced her third pregnancy! She returned in October (the 10th) for a reception celebrating the royals' mental health initiative. I still love this frilly Temperley, although I am trying to veer in another fashion direction myself. :)


Kate didn't wear a formal dress that year until November when she recycled the Zarita at the Kensington Palace Orangery for an event benefitting the Anna Freud Centre. I think what I have learned from this post is that although Kate returns to the spotlight in September, she doesn't really break out the glitz and the glam until a little later in the season.


When will we see Kate? The Independent reported when Louis was born (and several of you have noted this in the comments) that Kate felt she returned too quickly to the spotlight after her previous pregnancies, "Kate is said to be extending her leave an additional few months to spend as much time as possible with her new family before returning to her royal duties, after feeling that she returned too quickly to public life after giving birth to Prince George, when she opened a marathon six weeks later and with Princess Charlotte, after two months."  Kate was spotted recently at Peter Jones shopping for children's shoes with George and Charlotte. George's school is now back in session and the Cambridges are getting into the swing of things at Kensington Palace after a summer in the country. There are currently no engagements listed for Kate. Generally engagements are listed about two weeks in advance. Kate has been known to make surprise appearances, but barring those, we are looking at the end of September at the earliest--I think likely we won't see Kate until October.





43 comments:

  1. I loved this post! Thank you so much for your work. It's always a treat

    Sissi

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  2. I suspect Kate has opted to take maternity leave for six months, which means that her first appearances could coincide with the State Visit of the King and Queen of the Netherlands. Any appearance prior to that would be a much welcomed bonus!!

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    1. I think we’ve had all the bonuses we'll get until the state visit or Eugenie and Jack's wedding whichever is first.. This has been a very busy Royal year, with 2 babies and 2 weddings!! We'll probably have more baby news by the end of the year, I'm hoping anyway.

      I've always LOVED the JP half n half dress!! Top 3 fav if not of all time, I've hoped she'd rewear it. I've also hoped she'd rewear the AW from 2006 and the silver JP with all the glitter she really stands out. I really wish we could give her a tap on the shoulder and tell her 11,12, and 13 were her best satorial years!

      As always thanks Jane!!

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    2. I agree with Valerie. While Kate has far more sartorial hits than misses, she had so many wonderful looks from 2011-2013.

      Jane, thanks for all your hard work. I enjoy looking back at Kate's fashion choices over the years.

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  3. Awesome post, Jane. I love looking back at previous years. I’m happy Kate is having a long break, but definitely can’t wait to see her in October.

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  4. I love your writing. Your posts are a joy to read!

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  5. I wonder if the fact that Meghan is now in the family factors in to Kate being able to take extra time off? It seems to me they may be able to cover for each other - royal watchers can get their "fix" now from Meghan then maybe she gets pregnant and Kate steps back into the spotlight.

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    1. I had kinda thought that myself.. Kate helped her at the very beginning and now she's stepped back, I'm sure with no argument, to let them have the limelight..

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  6. Thank you Jane! Great post as always 😊

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  7. Thanks for the post! so LOVELY!
    XOXOXOXOXO

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  8. Fun post Jane! I was listening to OnHeir! And I think Omid and Emily reported Kate is due to return in October. I do feel it will be after the wedding. Or perhaps leading up to the excitement of the wedding with one or two engagements before? Jane I'd love to see a post about Kate's hobbies. That would be so fun!

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  9. I do not really understand that article, saying that Kate feels she came back too early also after Charlotte. It says that Kate only took 2 months of maternity leave after having Charlotte. But as far as i remember, it was pretty much the same timeline as with Louise now: several important and occasional appearances such as Trooping and very few engagements over the summer, and coming fully back to work by mid-end Septemeber. This is at least what I remember.
    If Kate resumes activities within the next 4 weeks, I really don't see a meaningful difference between this and the previous maternity leave (so far at least). Tidefi

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    1. That's pretty much what I remember with Charlotte too. Since she was born in early May, and was christened in early July, I don't see how Kate could have come back full-time in the summer two months after she was born since not much happens then. (Or technically one month after her birth since Kate's leave started before the birth.) George was born in late July and I think the family spent close to a month with the Middletons before going back to Wales for a short period before Will left the RAF in mid-September. It was then announced Will would have a "transitional" year. Perhaps Kate was back to work "full-time" that October? I don't really remember many appearances in very early fall. (Jane has mentioned the Tusk event.) So the leave seemed a bit longer than two months. I guess the point is Kate thought it was too short!

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  10. And by the way I do not entirely understand why the palace is not more specific about Kates return. At least tell the month. I fully understand why they would not tell her due date for example which is a very personal thing, however when she resumes her work is of public interest (you know, tax payer etc... :) ).
    This is not to criticize Kate, rather this communication.
    But maybe I simply do not get the point of that. Tidefi

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  11. I hope Kate does not have a fourth child, because if she does she will take a longer break than this one. I don’t think the public( tax payers) will like that.

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    1. as a taxpayer I DO HOPE PRINCESS KATE HAS A 4, 5 ,6 AND MAYBE EVEN 7TH BABY AND TAKE AS MUCH TIME AS SHE NEEDS THE TAX PAYER DOES NOT SUPPORT HER OR HER FAMILY AND WE SHOULD NOT EVEN THINK OF DICTATING HOW MANY CHILDREN OR HOW MUCH TIME SHE SPENDS WITH THEM BEING A MOTHER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD FOR ANY AND ALL MOTHERS THIS TIME IS SHORT AND SPECIAL SHE HAS THE REST OF HER LONG LIFE TO WORK AND BE QUEEN!

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    2. Actually the tax taxpayers do support her they payed for the renovations at KP. And why would you wish for her to have more children knowing that she has a debilitating illness with it. To me it sounds like you want her to suffer more. Also, you are not the only British taxpayer there are tons of other who’s opinions matter as well.

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  12. I believe that a five-month maternity leave of the duchess is a very long time. She should return to her duties, given that her meetings always last about an hour. Since Nanny accompanies her with walks with children, she can probably stay alone with them. That's why they supposedly hired her ...

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    1. There is quite a lot of prep work involved in any public engagement, both in terms of learning about the program and briefings related to that side, and hair, make-up, etc. While she might come back before the six months are up, I don't see why she shouldn't take the time, nanny or no.

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  13. While I have missed seeing Kate at appearances and am looking forward to her return, I don't understand the issue with her taking as much maternity leave as she wants. Women *should* get loads of time off to spend with their new baby. Just because many women cannot afford to or do not receive a long maternity leave in their country doesn't mean that Kate should be forced to come back before she wants to. In fact, I think the push from people on Twitter and on other blogs (from self-proclaimed feminists no less) for Kate to begin appearances immediately after having a baby because other women around the world cannot take as much maternity leave is a disservice to women. We all, especially feminists, should be arguing for all women to have extended, paid maternity leave, rather than arguing for a woman to take less maternity leave. Pregnancy and having a baby is tough and women *should* be given a chance to heal and bond with the new baby. If I were in Kate's position, I would take at least 6 months to spend with my baby, too.

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    1. Preach! Couldn't have said it better myself.

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  14. I'm unsure why it's such a problem for Kate to take so much maternity leave. She's a little older now and the body just doesn't bounce back quite as quickly. We have actually seen Kate several more times during this leave than in the past. Let's not forget she was at Harry's wedding and in full view just three weeks after giving birth. I'm just hoping that while she's away she is accumulating a boat load of new fashion to share with us when she gets back!!

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    1. Yes! I can’t wait for the fashion, too :)

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  15. I am from the states and I dearly enjoy hearing about the Cambridge's and the Sussex's. Thank you.

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  16. I think the toxic tradition of the wife of the heir emerging hours after birth buys her a good six months out of sight. Not to mention they pull her out whenever Megan's relatives get weird. See the K park "surprise" photos right before the wedding and latest trip to Crathie Kirk duded up like a future consort with the queen. It drums up suspense/excitement before she does emerge. She probably won't be out until after Megan first goes out in evening clothes.
    I am curious if they will put them both out for the state dinner. I think it would take away from a respectful focus on the Dutch. Maybe not even though Max can more than take the heat in full Queen mode.

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    1. I don't disagree with your point grtlf. But emerging from the hospital a few hours after giving birth to an heir isn't a long-held "tradition." It pretty much started with Kate. Diana left the hospital with both Will and Harry after spending a full night hospitalized after their births. And of course TQ didn't give birth in a hospital.

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    2. I never correlated the events between Kate's appearances and Meghan's family's bad behavior but they do seem to coincide. Intentional or not it has served a purpose. I am doubtful the Sussex's will be at the state dinner because that would be a "too much in your face" PR move. Besides, Maxima and Kate will be more than enough glamour for an evening. Add however many karats HM breaks out for the occasion and it will be glitzy enough!

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    3. RobinfromCA Harry and Meghan won’t be at the state banquet they will be in Fiji on tour.

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  17. Jane, I can’t wait until Kate returns. It’s been a long, dry summer only highlighted by a few appearances and this post gears us up for her return. The times she appeared were family-related except for the RAF Centenary Service when she was appointed Honorary Air Commandant in 2015. I believe it was said that she could pick and choose what she wanted to attend. As Prince Louis is probably her last child she is entitled to take the customary six month maternity leave. She is spending this time to really bond with her children as her duties as a Royal will increase. I don’t begrudge her for a bit for taking all the time she has been allowed. We should be grateful she values her family. I’m looking forward to seeing her at the State Banquet and Prince Charles’s birthday party. This is a great post and I’m really looking forward to the future ones.

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  18. A very interesting post. I love looking back at Kate's appearances over the years. I do miss some of her earlier fashion choices. Thank you, Jane!

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    1. I miss her sheath stage. She wears them so well!

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    2. Bring back the sheath! :)

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  19. Considering we take a full year maternity leave here in Canada....I think she comes back incredibly quickly. Momma and baby still should always come first imho....it's the healthy(ier) way for a society to function.

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    1. Tell that to the American politicians.

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  20. Like yourself, Robin, I miss Kate in sheath dresses. But then, I miss that fantastic sweater-jacket Kate wore in Canada--does she still have it? Hope so. And oh how I loved that black lace Temperley evening gown, not to mention the red Preen cocktail dress!

    My great hope is that Natasha, now pregnant, gives up her position of let's-pretend-I'm-a stylist to become a devoted full-time Mum or general staff member, and that somehow, someone who really IS a professional stylist takes Kate in hand, following up on Kate's previous bests and building on them.--Anyone who's looked at old pics of the Queen knows that SHE was once pretty stylish herself, and wore more than one sleeveless evening gown, some strapless; she didn't become frumpy until the sixties.

    Looking forward to seeing Kate in early October! And by the way, how has Catherine Quinn been occupying herself of late?

    JC

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  21. Love this post. So nice to look back at the Kate we all love. I'm really looking forward to seeing her again. I certainly don't begrudge her any of the time she has taken to bond with her baby and assimilate him into the family. I certainly took extra time with my third baby because the other two needed extra reassurance of their continued place in the world. It isn't just sitting around having coffee and cake. Being a mom is hard work - even with nanny assistance.

    See you soon Kate.

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  22. Great post, Jane. You can see Kate's confidence grow with each September. I love her.

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  23. No first day of school photos this year??

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  24. Wonderful post, thank you. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As we wait for Kate to emerge from what is likely to be the last truly long personal sabbatical of her lifetime (she will never retire, likely never take a year off as I did to focus on her teenagers, etc) it is lovely to recall how gracefully she grew into the royal lady that she is today, and to recall the stunning clothing she wore as she evolved. -Ellen

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  25. Such a wonderful roundup of Kate's fabulous fall style. My favorite has to be the simple white dress!

    Stephanie
    Magnolia Stripes | www.magnoliastripes.com

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  26. wow, you can really see how her style has progressed over the years. Can’t wait for the banquet! btw Jane, have you seen Gary Janetti’s Instagram on Prince George? Was curious about your thoughts :)

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