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Festival of Remembrance 2018

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Tonight, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined the Queen, the Sussexes, and other members of the royal family to attend the annual Festival of Remembrance at Royal Albert Hall. Although a fixture in the Remembrance Sunday weekend, this year's event was particularly poignant, because tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. 


This was Meghan's first time at the Festival of Remembrance. She recycled a Stella McCartney coat she has worn before and carried a clutch by the same label. There is a poppy brooch on her left shoulder and she completed her ensemble
with Manolo Blahnik pumps. Her dress hasn't been IDed (to my knowledge), but you can see a grainy shot of it toward the end of this post. It was obviously a rainy night in London-Town, and you can see the raindrops on Harry's pants, and a big splash on Meghan's stockings! 


This is a photo of the Royal Box before the guests began to arrive. You can see the name-cards on the chairs, and some seats already have cushions placed to take into account the needs or preferences of the royals. I am amused to say the cushions are for the two boys--Charles and Andrew.  Also, you can see that each seat has on it a large picture of a soldier from WWI.

@eevriviades

Kate first attended the festival of Remembrance in 2015 (far left), and has attended in each subsequent year (2016 in center, 2017 on the right). It is lovely to add another annual event to Kate's calendar, particularly of this type. This week some of you all got to chatting in the comments about how good Britain is about remembering her fallen. I do agree with those who hypothesized that the cost of war obviously fell very heavily on Britain, France, and the European nations-- a generation was wiped out in WWI. But, all sorts of terrible things have happened in history that have quickly been forgotten, so the United Kingdom should be commended for its dedication to keeping this spirit of gratitude and respect alive in her culture and among her people. 


Tonight, the Duchess arrived in one of her most sophisticated ensemble to-date (for this event), in my opinion. This is a Roland Mouret dress featuring an asymmetrical neckline, subtly fluted sleeves, and a bold exposed zipper down the back. Mouret's signature pieces are generally figure-hugging and incorporate geometric elements in the the design.

Kate's first Roland Mouret was the figure hugging blue dress she wore departing Heathrow. You can't see it, but the dress has crossover straps in the back, in addition to the pleated bodice just visible here. 


Perhaps her most popular Roland Mouret dress, though, was the show-stopping evening gown she wore to the SportsAid Gala at Kensington Palace:


Tonight's dress hit just the right note--it is sleek and streamlined, professional but also a little sexy. It was the perfect choice for this event, particularly as William and Kate clearly continue to take ownership of their senior roles. (Note Kate is caught twisting her ring, yet again. :) I love this particular tick of hers).


While we are on this photo, just a quick fun note about her poppy brooch! In 2017, Kate wore this stunning diamond and pearl brooch at a ceremony commemorating the centenary of Passchendaele. 


She has pinned her poppies on top of that brooch tonight, to create poppies with a diamond-crusted stem. Emma (who also helps me keep track of everything I need to organize on Kate's Clothes) made this cool connection. It's so creative of Kate; I am super impressed. :) 


The Duchess was wearing new Jimmy Choo heels in her favorite towering 4in height, and carried what looks to be a bespoke version of the Celeste clutch. Kate has had it customized in black velvet.  Finally, there has been a lot of chat about her earrings, which some thought might been the Qatar earrings on loan from the Queen. But, I don't think the pearls match. 


The Festival of Remembrance is always a win for substance, although there have been some fashion misses (the coat Kate kept on throughout the program in 2016 was...odd). Tonight hit both notes in perfect tune.  Kate looked like princess from tip to toe, and it was so nice to see the family together, leading the nation on this important weekend. 


This was, of course, the first Festival of Remembrance with the Windsors' new addition, and the seating chart got a little shuffled. Although from this perspective it looks like Harry and Meghan were crammed in the back of the box....


...from a straight forward angle, it is clear they are seated comfortably in the second row. 

Royal British Legion

I didn't get to watch the program, but I have been seeing some of the reactions on Twitter and it sounds like it was, as it generally is, an incredibly beautiful tribute to the armed forces, to those who supported the nation from home, and to the human spirit. William featured in a brief clip that was played, too:



We are certainly seeing a new focus in the family. With Meghan's arrival and Harry's accession to his dukedom, the news that Kensington Palace will likely split, William's presence at the Duchy of Cornwall meetings, and this increasing spotlight on William and Kate as senior royals rather than bench warmers, it couldn't be a more exciting time to royal-watch. Tomorrow we have the ceremony at the Cenotaph and the service at Westminster Abbey. See you then!  

47 comments:

  1. Lovely post Jane. Kate's dress is beautiful. And yes - these are exciting times. I'm looking forward to the ceremonies tomorrow as well. It's so very important to commemorate these events. I just read an article in an Australian newspaper about the history of the moment of silence. Apparently it was started after world war one. I always find it particularly poignant and moving to hold space for these people who fought for our freedom.

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  2. My take on the ring twisting is not that it's a tic or habit. I think the ring has never been properly sized for her finger. It dangles too much compared to how it sat nicely and centered on Diana. I looked at old pictures of Diana and the ring was rarely, if never not exactly straight when she wore it. With Kate, it almost hangs at times and can be seen off to one side or the other. If I wore a ring that shifted that much, I would be greatly annoyed. I think it also may be possible that the eternity ring serves a dual purpose. A sentimental gift that is also designed to ensure the precious sapphire ring can not slip off her hand.

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    1. You may have a point, Kailaa3. I agree the ring appears to fit Kate's finger differently than Diana's & maybe it wasn't properly resized. But I think it's also possible Diana's finger was just "wider" side to side than Kate's. This allowed the stone and surrounding setting to settle securely on Diana's finger facing outward. Resizing the ring by making the *band* smaller wouldn't help if the ring's "motif" (motif for lack of a better word--the central sapphire and surrounding stones--a part of the ring that wouldn't be altered in resizing) is so wide it's going to settle to one side or the other on Kate's slimmer finger. (Or for resizing to help the ring would have to be made so tight as to be circulation-damaging!)

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    2. It's possible that the fit "changes" when her hands are cold. I have this problem with a larger cocktail style ring. If it was an ongoing issue, I believe it would have been dealt with given the significance of the ring on a personal and historical level.

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    3. I have the problem of my wedding rings fitting looser when my hands are cold! The one thing Kate can do with her rings a bit looser is that she wears them throughout her pregnancy. Many people I know have to take their rings off around the 7th month. I do agree, lizzie, that Diana's hands were shaped differently. For her height Kate has very small bones.

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  3. Out of curiousity, how come Kate’s brooch isn’t on the left side?

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    1. I think we can blame that on the asymmetric cut-out.

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    2. It should still been on the left IMO. However the British Legion says it doesn't matter where you wear it, as long as you "wear it with pride" and I assume that the DoC is doing that. It does look out of place but she is no idiot and up until now has had her poppy firmly on the left. The Canadian Legion wants it on the left...so perhaps she should have chosen a frock that allowed placement on the left?

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    3. Perhaps she should have chosen a different outfit Margaret, one that would have allowed her to wear her poppies on the left; however, for me, the important thing is that she's wearing poppies to commemorate the fallen, and I'm almost sure she's wearing three in remembrance of her three great-grand uncles who paid the utmost sacrifice with their lives. I think many will agree that Kate cares very deeply. As you've pointed out, she's always worn them on the left. I'll give her a pass this year.

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    4. First time responding on this wonderful blog. Just like Margaret, I have been told to wear my poppy with pride wherever I want, however another veteran I met years ago told me to wear it on the right - in the 11 o’clock position. 11th day, of the eleventh month, at the 11th hour. It just made sense, and I’ve been doing it ever since. All other brooches go to the left.

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    5. That's what I've heard, Anon. 9:42, leaves at the 11:00 position for very symbolic reasons and worn on the right. But, since everyone wears them on the left, I figured that wasn't the important part.

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    6. Many years ago, in my youth, I was told that women wore brooches or buttonholes on the right. Made sense as the way coats or jackets fastened left a long enough line to take any size
      brooch. However HM always wears her brooches on the left, so take your choice.

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  4. I like Kate's dress but think I'd like it better worn at an event that wasn't so somber. (Feel the same way about what I can see of Meghan's dress.) I'm also just not a fan of exposed zippers on dressier clothes especially "gold" zippers. Ugh...Time for that trend to go away IMO. But R. Mouret seems permanently wedded to it as his trademark. (NYT said a few years ago in an article *complimenting* Mouret's designs the gold zipper suggests the woman can be easily "opened like an expensive suitcase." Ugh again.) But from the front Kate does look pretty! I don't think I've ever seen her wear poppies on the right side but agree that was necessary given the neckline.

    Does Will usually wear blue to these events? His suit
    seems sort of out of place to me. (And Harry's looks even lighter.)

    Love the Queen's outfit!

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    1. Lol You just killed for me the zipper that I was loving, Lizzie.

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    2. I didn't care for the exposed zipper that much, and now the NYT statement has totally killed it for me too. I'll never look at a Roland Mouret dress the same way again, although I still love the blue gown that Kate wore to the Sports Aid Gala and also the cream gown that she "recycled" for the Mandela premiere. This black dress tonight is, indeed, more classy and sophisticated than those she has worn in previous years, and I'm excited to see what she'll wear tomorrow.

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    3. I'm don't like the zippers either but now I'll never get that description out of my mind!

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    4. Ha! This just goes to show that fashion really is in the eye of the beholder. In my opinion, I think you might be hard pressed to find a dress that goes better with a somber occasion than this one. Agree to disagree :)

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    5. Sorry all! The phrase from the NYT article stuck in my mind. Guess I should have realized it might stick in yours too before I posted.

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  5. Jane, We had this discussion tonight, according to the Royal British Legion, it maybe worn on any side with pride plus told the same thing by my old boss, the British Ambassador in Cairo.

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  6. I love the impressive display of falling poppies during the moment of silence. It must have been an emotional experience for all there.

    This is my favorite Kate outfit for this event. The dress is elegant and sleek with several unique details to make it something more than the requisite LBD. Very pretty. 3/4 length sleeves always scream for a bracelet to me but I understand the desire to be understated for this event. The use of her pin as a poppy holder is genius.

    Meghan looks very nice as well. Not a fan of the shade of her stockings though.

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  7. Btw the fourth photo from the bottom is a beautiful image of Kate.

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  8. Everyone looked quite smart! Kate's hair colorist is quite the talent; she's always had lovely hair but the low/highlights add such dimension. My vote for best dressed: the Queen - she looked *great.* Random note: Sophie wore a dress similar to Kate's first lace - very pretty. Always nice to see the family all together for such an important event:)

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    1. I like the dress and think the asymmetrical neckline adds interest while still allowing the brooch to shine. W&K really do appear to be embracing their roles as senior members of the Firm, and they're doing it in a dignified manner.

      And I couldn't help but giggle at Jane's reference to the boys' cushions. Not a shock for some royal followers. ;-)

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    2. Oops, I inadvertently maligned Andrew. That second cushion would have been for Camilla. The Queen's chair (no pillow), Charles (with a pillow), Camilla's was next (with a pillow), and we actually can't see Andrew's in that shot. Sorry!

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    3. My apologies to Andrew in that case. :-)

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    4. Charles and Camilla both have trouble with their backs.
      Camilla always has a cushion at her back in the car.

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    5. I thought wow when I saw the Queen. I so agree Anonymous, she looked great.

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  9. My rambling thoughts:

    Thank you, Jane, for doing such a nice job on this blog.

    Catherine's hair looked spectacular tonight. The color is delicious, and the bounce is perfection.

    I mostly love the dress. Elegant and sophisticated, it's perfect for a future queen. I like the neckline, it's unusual without being weird.
    I, also, do not care for exposed zippers. I think they're jarring.
    I'm also not crazy about the length. It makes her legs look dumpy, and we know that's not even close to true! Knee length would look better on the Duchess, I think.

    The poppy/brooch was very attractive. Adding the stem was clever.

    Shoes and purse are lovely with the dress.

    Overall, definitely a win for me.

    Others:

    I do not like the belt on Meghan's coat. It looks bulky and just odd. I'm not a fan of big bows on adult women in general.

    Sophie looked lovely. I almost always love her look. Tonight was no exception.
    Have you seen the video of her reciting "In Flanders Field?" It was beautiful.

    The Princess Royal was dignified. As was Camilla. They always are. Never showy, just appropriate for every occasion.

    Her Majesty was perfectly regal. Her beautiful silver hair is sensational against black.

    I wish Americans had the same respectful dignity for this day the British do.

    I'm looking forward to everyone's comments!

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    1. When I saw the first picture of Meghan in the coat, I thought, gosh that looks awful. And then I remembered she is pregnant! So, in case you forgot, I think that is contributing to the weird look of the coat. (Pregnancy is beautiful, it just throws the fashion analysis if you forget. ;))

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    2. I too wish Americans had the same respectful dignity for this day as the British do. I have watched a few clips on YouTube of the evening and it was incredibly moving and did an excellent job honoring those who fought, and their families.

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    3. Julie, no truer words spoken. The British are outstanding on their "Veterans Day". I've seen alot of photos and they are breath taking. They have such an honor and reverence.

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  10. I wish Meghan had her arms covered like the other family members.

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    1. Meghan also wore a sleeveless dress to a memorial service they attended in the spring. I can’t speak for Meghan on why she does this...maybe because her style is more casual and less formal? Trying to break the mold of how royal women are expected to dress? Doesn’t get advice on what’s appropriate? I’m not sure.

      I was married in a church (winter wedding and it had snowed all week and on our wedding day) and some women wore sleeveless dresses during the ceremony. Afterwards a friend told me she was appalled they would be sleeveless in a church. To each their own, I guess :-)

      ~ A

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    2. Being pregnant she might experience unexpected hot flushes so that could easily be the reason why she's not wearing long sleeves.

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    3. I wish she at least had caplets or short sleeves. I am an American and I visited London on my honeymoon right around this time of year. I bought a poppy and wore it with pride!!! But the one thing I could not get over was how HOT everything indoors was. And I overheat fast and actually get sick to my stomach. So I can kind of feel her on this one. Also, growing up, my church was very casual so I And many others have gone to church weddings etc in sleeveless things. But having said that, if I went to an area of America or another country or married into a very staid institution, where it was frowned upon to wear sleeveless, I wouldn’t. I think she will learn her audiences a bit more in time.

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    4. Are arms offensive or seductive? I guess I didn't get that memo, and I certainly didn't notice her arms until they were pointed out. But then again I don't study every picture with the absolute intent to find fault and be catty.

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  11. So solemn & so elegant. I love the shot of William leaning over to confide in the D of C. Sylvia.

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  12. Granted Canada is part of the Commonwealth, but we also put a huge emphasis on this occasion. November 11th is Remembrance Day in Canada and it is a federal statutory holiday (paid day off or if you work you get paid overtime, plus schools are closed). At 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month we observe a moment of silence. Our Legions (for veterans) are everywhere selling poppies for donations (pin them to clothing/jackets). The poem Flander’s Fields was written by a Canadian and in school we memorized it to recite it at our Remembrance Day assemblies. In the lead up to November 11th, Canadian networks start marathoning shows like Band of Brothers and war movies. Cities will also have numerous events where people can go to partake in honouring our vets and those who lost their lives. It’s a HUGE part of Canadian culture, too :-)

    ~ A

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    1. In Flanders Fields is one of my favorites. It brings tears every time I read it.

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  13. I think Kate looked stunning and I enjoyed seeing her in the front row! I can’t recall why it took her 4 years of marriage before she started attending, but this should absolutely be on her calendar every year. As a senior royal, as someone who’s family served in the wars, and as the wife of a man who served Britain in the military (and her brother in law served in Afghanistan). I think she’s been beautiful every year and very appropriately dressed.
    ~ A

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  14. Kate is just on a roll right now! She looks just gorgeous and the way she styled the poppies is brilliant and it looks as though she took her cue from Her Majesty and the Princess Royal. I am not a fan of exposed zippers but RM's designs are always beautiful and fit Kate perfectly. I agree that the earrings look very much like HM's Qatar pair but just not quite the same. Lovely with this dress though.

    The Queen looked beautiful tonight. Anne, Sophie, and Camilla also looked very nice. The Duchess of Sussex, however, needs to cover her arms up once in awhile and especially at a remembrance event. On a cold, rainy London evening why does she insist on sleeveless? I don't get it. I think her coat was beautiful but a big bow on a pregnant tummy isn't the best look. Once she sees the photos she may make that decision as well.

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    1. Robin-- I don't think a big bow is a great look on anyone's tummy! But even before she was pregnant Meghan seemed to often favor that way of tying a belt. Don't understand myself.

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  15. Very nice post, Jane! I thought that Kate looked like the senior royal that she is. Certainly very regal looking. I think it is wonderful the way Britain remembers their service members.

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  16. My thoughts as a Brit....
    Agree Meghan should have covered arms, it’s just more appropriate.
    Kate’s dress ‘sexy’? I’m sure she wasn’t going for that look. Just an interesting neckline and as for Harry..... there were raindrops on his trousers!

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  17. Duchess fan from DownunderNovember 11, 2018 at 5:52 AM

    Speaking of Kate’s Clothes, is it up and running again? One of my favourite outfits from Kate - nothing to fault.

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  18. A, thank you Canada. I really like the poppy wearing in honor and they are worn in advance of Remberance Day not just the day of allowing more time for reflection. Thank you for sharing.

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