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Carole Middleton Does Exclusive Interview With the Telegraph

Friday, November 30, 2018

Oh my goodness! My Carole Middletons fans, rejoice! The Duchess of Cambridge's mother has done her first interview (the royal engagement statement to the press excepted)! Cute details that popped out at me--Kate texted Carole during the shoot to wish her luck; in the early days of her business, Carole was inspired by JoJo Maman Bebé; and James lives at home when he isn't in London (a man after my own heart). 

You can tell me if I am being too sensitive, but there seemed to be a bit of an edge to this write-up. It didn't feel hostile, but it didn't feel entirely sympathetic, either.  It seemed to swing between positive and something a little hard to put my finger on--but with a bite. The author gives enough detail that you can get a good picture and make your own judgment.  It's lovely that Carole did this, obviously with the Palace's blessings. The Middletons deserve to be feted a bit more, in my opinion. I think this interview is further proof of the earlier point I made about Kate having been to hidden away and too played down, so this is quite refreshing. Just like it was lovely to see Doria Ragland with Meghan at her book launch, I'd love to see more of Carole and Mike. Carole is lovely and such an example of hard work and creativity and success. The Royal Family really scored when William fell in love with a Middleton. More of Carole and the Middletons, please! 

Read the full article here, complete with great pictures.   This is not a "Premium" article on the Telgraph, i.e. it should be free. All you need to do to read it is register, which is free. 

Kate in Catherine Walker in Leicester

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Today, William and Kate undertook an engagement in Leicester to pay their respects to the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Mr. Srivaddhanaprabha was the billionaire owner of King Power International and the owner of the Leicester City football team. Last month, he was killed along with two members of his staff, his pilot, and his pilot's partner, when the helicopter the five were traveling in crashed just after taking off from the King Power Stadium after a game. William had known Mr. Srivaddhanaprabha for several years, thanks to his involvement in the sport, and had apparently flown with Mr. Srivaddhanaprabha's pilot relatively recently before the crash.  

If I remember the news report from the time, the pilot of the helicopter deliberately piloted the stricken craft away from the traffic that was still leaving the stadium, and nearby houses? At the least, he piloted away from the traffic. In the midst of crisis, and facing almost certain death, he was able to put fear aside and think about others. It reminds me of some of the fighter pilots who have chosen not to eject when their planes malfunction, and have instead flown away from residential neighborhoods, saving innocent and unsuspecting civilians, and died themselves. "Greater love hath no man..."

The couple met Mr. Srivaddhanaprabha's wife and two of his children, in addition to members of the Leicester City team and various representatives of the charities with which Mr. Srivaddhanaprabha's and the club were involved.

After the crash, there was an incredible outpouring from the community, and the floral tributes piled up quickly in front of the stadium.
William and Kate met with local volunteers who helped to relocate these symbols of condolence to the the lot where William and Kate paid their own tribute today. 

Kensington Palace shared this clip of William's comments today:

The football club funds a number of charitable endeavors, and in the second half of the day, William and Kate made their way to Leicester University to see some of the programs financed by the club. The university put together a great video with footage of the visit:
The royals struck a healthy balance by tempering the grief of the stadium with the impact that Srivaddhanaprabha and his football club have on the community. They also scheduled time for a walkabout with locals, so there was an enthusiastic crowd in Centenary Square anxious to meet the couple.


This is an interesting video of Kate chatting with crowds in Leicester. At first Kate remarks she wishes she could go back to being a student, but when she moves to another person in the crowd, that girl asks Kate about Meghan's pregnancy. Honestly, the way the girl asked was a little stilted (I feel like the recent headlines loom as the unspoken question).  Kate immediately kicked into gear with a pleasant quick exchange on how exciting it will be to have a cousin for George, Charlotte, and Louis. Much has been made of this clip. I am not sure what it proves. Did any of us think that when asked about Meghan, Kate would just start airing the BRF's dirty laundry in a public?? Seems unlikely. 

I saw a lot more footage from the crowd on this event than I have in a while, and I loved all the videos. This one is particularly funny. Kate says she is not good with other languages, and is determined that her children will be better, so I guess that means French and Italian tutors are in the little Cambridges' futures. 
And finally, this video of Kate noting how wintry the weather has turned. It certainly has where I am...

Kate was wearing Catherine Walker. Although it appeared new at first glance, it was a repeat. Kate was photographed wearing this on her way to a Sunday service at Balmoral with the Queen in August of this year.

This ensemble is a win for me. I know it is striking some of you as a little too girlish, but I think the real problem here is that this coat-dress, as has been the case with many of Kate's dresses over the years, is a little short-waisted. While Kate could get away with that at 29, I think now a more detailed tailoring is in order. If this were fitted better to her frame it would be hitting its high note in tune. As it is, I still liked the cozy tweed and the full skirt Kate loves so much. Today called for a somber color, but grey was a better choice than black, so she really scored in that department, too. Finally..her J.Crew hair bow is picture perfect. If you haven't jumped on fall's sweetest trend...these are still available at J.Crew!

Kate finished her ensemble off with her Cassandra Goad pearl earrings that she has been favoring so much these past few months, her Tod's block heels, and a new Aspinal London bag. You are already familiar with the Midi Mayfair, because Kate has this bag in a light lavender. Kate is a girl after my own heart. If the shoe (or bag) it in every color!

William and Kate have two events next week--the Christmas party for RAF families in London, and the visit to Cyprus the next day.  There was a report that William and Kate attended a reception this evening for the fashion industry--I will let you know if pictures surface. ;) 

Treble's "Fan Wars" Article

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Good morning! We have almost 400 comments on the last post, so I thought I'd pop on here and provide a new post with a slightly different theme to transfer the conversation to a less unwieldy venue.  I think this is a natural progression of the discussion, too. Patricia Treble of MacLean's has written a very interesting and thorough piece on the Meghan/Kate wars and yours truly was quoted among a number of fabulous and familiar names. You can find the article here

The current state of affairs is not a pleasant one, and I think it is unlikely to ease up for a long time. I don't think, however, that it is an insurmountable issue. I think the best way to deal with it is to ignore the angry voices, and to the best of your ability, continue on as usual. As distasteful as it feels, I have found that blocking the primary instigators (those I refer to in Patrica's piece) on Twitter immediately restores some peace. I have also learned to just ignore the tweets that are obviously one-sided and that ignore nuance. That's probably a good life skill to have generally. When I was little, my dad would always repeat to me a saying he learned from his mother (born in the 20s): you have to let these things slide like water off a duck's back. :) That's some good midwestern wisdom there. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the article. William and Kate will be out and about tomorrow, so looking forward to "seeing" everyone then! 

[Updated with KP Confirmation] Harry & Meghan to Set Up House In Windsor

Friday, November 23, 2018

Big, big breaking news from super-star royal reporter Emily Andrews tonight. According to her scoop, Harry and Meghan will move out of Kensington Palace next year and set up home in Windsor! The couple have been gifted Frogmore Cottage by the Queen, which is currently undergoing a multi-million pound, tax-payer funded renovation. Read Emily's full exclusive here

Emily elaborated on her story in her tweets, reporting that despite the fact that the 20-bedroom 1 next to William and Kate will be available next year, the Sussexes have chosen Windsor. As is often the case with royal residences, the names can be a little misleading. Frogmore Cottage is a ten-bedroom home, which should provide plenty of room for the couple, their baby-on-the-way, and some room to spare.

Frogmore Cottage
The house has served as accommodation or staff (currently split into five separate living spaces), and needs significant renovation to "return it to a luxury family home" boasting a gym and yoga studio! Don't get this confused with Frogmore House, where Harry and Meghan's reception took place, although their Frogmore cottage is on the same grounds. Read Emily's full text thread here

I think the biggest scoop of the story is the report that Harry and Meghan were initially going to move into a Kensington Palace apartment, but due to "some friction" between the brothers, are now moving to Windsor. To me this is really just confirmation of a reality I think we all knew to be the case. 

Someone asked me if this move could just be the natural course of life, rather than stemming from tension in the family. I think yes, and no. I do think (as I think you all know I think) that there is tension between William and Harry, but I think it is the most natural thing in the world for there to be tension. I think this for a number of reasons. First, I don't think Meghan and Kate get along, more on that later, perhaps. Inevitably, if there is any frostiness between the wives, the natural result is that the brothers will grow apart. By the way, this is not some unusual phenomena. I think, frankly, it is relatively common. Personalities often clash.

Second, I think now that Harry has stepped into his role as a husband and a Duke, he has truly left behind his single, party-prince days, and it is again, natural for him to seek a more prominent role. I think Harry is flexing his muscles, and pushing the envelope in areas that likely make William a little uncomfortable. William is the future king. Ultimately he will be the boss, and to the extent that any part of Harry and Meghan's message is not the message or the mode that William thinks is appropriate, there will be some tension. I am sure Harry feels he is just as much a royal as William (he is), but William knows he is the monarchy at the end of the day (he's right, too). That's a strange conundrum fraught with potential tension. 

I think that point bears repeating. William and Harry are in the strangest of positions. William is the future king, so he is like Harry's future boss, and already outranks him. That must be a little irksome at times. They have been like equals for years, but now the difference between them will be highlighted more and more. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that Meghan is not the type of personality to wear that second-tier royal status super well, and although that doesn't mean she is the source of this part of the tension (it is natural between princes), she doesn't ameliorate it. That's not her personality. 

So, I think there are two sources of tension. The first is a clash between Meghan's operating style and Kate's, and the second is the hierarchy that exists between William and Harry that, due to personalities, is probably proving challenging right now. I think when people hear "tension" and "clash" they imagine some ghastly Real Housewives of Windsor, and there is no need to run to that extreme. But, as one of you mentioned at some point in the last six months, good fences make good neighbors, and it is probably for the best that Harry and Meghan and William and Kate all can have their own space.

Saturday morning update: Kensington Palace just confirmed that the Sussexes will move to Frogmore Cottage in the new year:

[Full Post] Kate at UCL for Early Prevention

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

This morning, the Duchess of Sussex made an unannounced visit to the Hubbub community kitchen. After she wrapped her event up, there was a bustle of activity in another quarter of London, as the Duchess of Cambridge made a similarly unannounced engagement!

I am keeping this picture from the Sneak Peek, because, you know, Mr. Security.

The Duchess was at UCL to learn about the research being done on the effect trauma has on young minds. This is another event that is part of Kate's ongoing work in early intervention for mental health.

For those who track these things, you can see Catherine Quinn, and Mr. Security in this arrival video. ;) 
In this video by Richard Palmer, Kate is hearing how environment can shape a child's development.
From all the videos I have seen, Kate seemed very well briefed and very engaged in discussion with the researchers and staff.

Rebecca English has some great clips, such as this one:
There were plenty of people excited to meet Kate:

I loved this suit when she first wore it, partly because it was at Middle Temple where William and Kate were launching a scholarship for law students. But, I also loved how young and fun, as I like to describe things, the short flared skirt and little jacket were. I don't think it has ever garnered top marks from fans generally, though. 

This is the third wear for this suit. Kate recycled it in February of last year for an event in Wales on behalf of Action for Children. I really didn't love that rewear, because I felt the Half 'n Half boots were too clunky for the short skirt. 

Today, she stuck with the turtleneck styling from the second wear, but subbed out those clunky boots for streamlined Tod heels. So much better! I do prefer this with the original cami. No doubt. The turtleneck is a little suffocating. Someone called it severe, and I think with this suit that is a good description. She should go all out (lacy cami).  But, I think the footwear makes or breaks it, and changing that to a smoother silhouette meant this broke toward a hit rather than a miss.

Kate wore the Asprey Oak Leaf earrings she has been favoring of late, and carried a Bayswater from Mulberry.

Best of all, she wore a darling velvet bow in her hair. I love this trend and it looks so cute with her flirty skirt. The bow/ribbon is a J.Crew accessory. I was telling someone on IG that I shopped these bows several weeks ago, because all my favorite style bloggers on IG have been sporting them. But, for whatever reason I didn't buy. When I saw Kate wearing this it tipped the scales and I ran off and bought it in two colors. J.Crew has a 40% sale right now, too, so they are a steal.

Meghan was also out earlier today for a stop-in at the Hubb Community kitchen. She wore a Club Monaco dress and complementing coat from the same label. I was wandering in Georgetown on Saturday and Club Monaco has a gorgeous grey/black coat in the window, so I have been shopping their collection online since then. I almost bought this coat (it's on awesome discount right now), but I have a different coat I have committed my heart to already. But, this was tempting. Anyway, I loved this look so much, although I am not a fan of those booties. For some reason, they make me think, "the witch is one her broom."

A got a lot of questions asking if I think Meghan and Kate coordinated. Quick answer: no. I do not think they did this on purpose. I think that would be weird, if I am being blunt. I don't think it is natural for women to seek out situations where they can be easily compared. That's why women aren't thrilled when they show up at an event and someone else is wearing the same dress (I know some people are like, I couldn't care less, but there are always exceptions to the rule, most aren't thrilled).  It was not strange that they both settled on "similar outfits." Burgundy and black tights is about as ubiquitous in the winter as pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Meghan almost always wears her hair in a pony, and Kate has been trending more toward that style of late, so it was a coin toss. It makes sense that they could both have settled on this color combo independent of each other, and I can't for the life of me come up with a reason that they would coordinate. Again, total honesty, but I think it would be weird if they had. It's not a show of solidarity to wear the same looks--it's just odd. My "unvarnished" opinion, but there it is. I don't think it is even plausible that they coordinated. [Back me up, Carole. ;)]

Ok, kids. If you are traveling for the holiday, be safe!! 

New Photos of Prince Charles with Louis Cambridge

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The London Times has just released a special on Prince Charles featuring a bunch of "behind the scenes" pictures of Prince Charles taken by royal photographer Chris Jackson over the past year. For fans of William and Kate and their babies, two photos are of particular interest. This first one features Charles holding Louis, and it is the clearest photo of the baby prince we have seen yet. Look at those sparkling eyes! 

The Royal Family by Chris Jackson
I think that Louis looks the most like Kate of all her children at this age. Those dark eyebrows! A bit of a crop for a better look:

Another sweet shot of the Cambridges was an outtake of the family photo. Here, Louis and Charles again take center stage with some darling antics, but I also love how Charlotte is over on the right, cool as a cucumber, just waiting for the photo-shoot to get back to business. 

Also freshly released was this snap of Harry and Meghan with Charles and Camilla before one of their earliest (if not their first) appearances as a married couple. Meghan's ensemble here was picture perfect.

Finally, you have probably seen the new stamp featuring Charles, William, and Harry. This is an outtake of that photo, and it is pretty cute.

There are a ton of sweet photos. You can see them on The Times here, or you can pull them up on Twitter. Heaven has done a yeoman's work.

THREAD: Photos of Charles from the photography special in The Times! (All photos by Chris Jackson) 1/10
— HeavenLM (@HeavenQRF) November 18, 2018

Kate Repeats Her Red Preen at Royal Foundation Dinner

Friday, November 16, 2018

Last night was the annual Royal Foundation dinner, and although we generally don't get pictures from this swanky event, the singer who performed as the guest of honor posted several snaps featuring our favorite royals! 

I am not familiar with Tom Walker, but he is apparently a Scottish singer/songwriter, and he was the headliner at the event last night:

Kate recycled her red Preen. This is the dress's third wear, I believe. She seems to like to wear it to private charity functions. The first wear was obviously very public--to an evening reception during her last tour in Canada. Note that last night she was carrying the same bespoke Casa clutch by Jenny Packham, that she carried in Canada:

Kate wore the Finella in black for a November 2016 Place2Be event:

Then in December of 2016, she recycled the red Finella at a private fundraising party:

Kate likes this dress, and I think we are all on the same page with her on that score. Her Preen dresses are very popular, and although she looks stunning in both the black and the red, I like the red better, because the beautiful folds of the bodice or more visible, and the color really pops with her complexion.  She looked drop-dead gorgeous last night. This is an easy win. 

Harry and Meghan were also at last night's dinner. The Duchess of Sussex was wearing a black evening dress--I expect there will be an ID on that shortly. 

Samantha Salazar has IDed the dress as a Roland Mouret!

I will update when I have an ID on Kate's new earrings and Meghan's dress!

[Full Post] William and Kate Mark Anti-Bullying Week at BBC

Thursday, November 15, 2018

William and Kate surprised fans this morning as they undertook a surprise engagement at Portland Place. It is Anti-Bullying Week, and the couple were at the BBC to highlight the fight against cyber bullying. 

You have doubtless seen reports about William's speech, but before his keynote, the couple met with parents and children who have been instrumental contributors to BBC's anti-bullying initiates, induing a new app that will launch next year and is meant to help children and cope with everything from bullying to mood swings. In this video, William and Kate are shown the app:

William gave a speech that is getting a lot of press. Hailed as his hardest hitting speech to-date, the Prince took social media giants to task for not addressing the negative consequences that have grown from these new forms of communication and information sharing.
I believe, as William and Kate do, that we have a cyber bullying problem. The United Kingdom has hate speech laws. In America, hate speech laws are unconstitutional and I would forcefully protest any kind of erosion of our cherished First Amendment rights.  The anti-majoritarian protections within our system are some of our greatest bulwarks in support of liberty. We have always had free speech, we haven't always had this problem, so I think we should look for the source rather than limiting a cornerstone of our Bill of Rights. As a result, I am very uncomfortable with the notion that the tech companies would decide and monitor speech or content on their platforms. Obviously, this is a huge legal and policy debate that we can't unpack here, but because it touches on an area I feel so strongly about, I had to at least throw my personal caveat out there. I agree with William's broader points and I think we share a common goal. Most of all, it was interesting to see William give an edgier speech--again, we are really seeing him begin to step into his role and he is clearly ready to follow in the footsteps of his father. You can read William's full speech here.

William's point about social media creating an echo chamber is very well taken. Most people now get a lot of their news from Twitter and Facebook, social media platforms that tailor your feed to your specific interests. While that seemed a fabulous thing when first introduced (and still has legitimate value in many respects), I do think it has resulted in less information. Less knowledge. I get a paper newspaper delivered to my place every morning. Just the other day I reflected that by getting the paper newspaper and reading through at least the first section, I am exposed to so many topics in the news that would never pop up on any of the social media platforms catering to my particle interests, and that is a really great thing! I read about and learn about and think about all sorts of important issues that would have never crossed my radar screen. So, my small piece of advice is, subscribe to a newspaper. Let's keep tangible print in business!

I think my final comment would simply be that I am skeptical of the app. I don't think that more tech will dig us out of the hole we have fallen into thanks to the rise of smartphones and lives lived on social media. I suspect that the answer is less technology for children whose minds are still being formed and who are still trying to figure out their emotions and the world around them. Less computer time more play outside, fewer apps and more escape into the magical world of books and literature. More real face time with people who love them, less time with algorithms and AI trying to navigate them through difficult moods. Obviously we have a mental health crisis that is continuing to grow, and I applaud the Cambridges for looking to tackle it. I hope they trend more toward Heads Together type projects where they encourage real world connections and meaningful conversations with people who care, rather than more tech for a problem created by tech.

To fashion! Kate recycled a favorite Emilia Wickstead that she debuted in New Zealand on Palm Sunday in 2014, and wore again at least once if not twice. She has the same dress in a light pink, which has also gotten two wears. The dress certainly adds a pop of color on an overcast day in London.

I really like this dress, even though I agree that the visible stitching (not the good kind of visible tailoring) is always a little jarring on what should be an immaculate dress. I have no idea why Emilia Wickstead designed it this way (I assume it was intentional??), but obviously Kate doesn't have a huge problem with it. For myself, I overlook it because I just love the design overall. 

Kate is wearing her Asprey leaf earrings, which we have seen before, and her Cartier watch (Susan at WKW is suggesting the watch might have a new band??). Finally, Kate finished this ensemble off with her black suede Gianvito Rossi pumps.

It looks like I will be relaunching the FBTB newsletter. Keep an eye out for that this week. :) 

[Thurs. Update] Drop Dead Divine: Duchess Kate Attends Prince Charles's Birthday Party

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

I give you Kate the Great.  Mic drop.

Tonight, the Duchess of Cambridge was a guest at Prince Charles's black-tie 70th birthday party. She was photographed leaving Kensington Palace and heading to