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Middletons Enjoy Family Lunch on Boxing Day in Berkshire

Saturday, December 29, 2018

While the Cambridges celebrated Christmas at Sandringham in Norfolk, the Middletons gathered together in Bucklebury for the family holiday. Carole, Mike, James, Pippa and James Matthews, and their baby Arthur, were spotted out and about on Boxing Day for a relaxed lunch. 

I love a Middleton sighting, and it is particularly fun to see the whole gang (minus Kate, of course) out together. I am also getting very excited to have our first proper peek at Arthur. The Daily Mail has a great selection of photos, so pop on over to see them here

Royal Christmas 2018

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The royals have walked to church. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined senior members of the British royal family today for the Christmas morning service. The two couples walked together to St. Mary Magdalene, and in contrast to last year, we got lots of fabulous photos.

This is a great video of the two couples and Charles leaving the gates of the estate and walking the last stretch of road up to the church.

And a fun video of the them emerging from the church. Kate looked quite commanding and regal this morning. Her streamlined silhouette helped, but that aura of authority she has taken on since she remerged after Louis's birth, is still going strong. I think she has really embraced her future queen consort role thanks to the addition of Meghan to the family.

Kate always gives the crowds lots of love on Christmas, and this year was no different. The Cambridges mixed with Norfolk locals and were as charming as ever. 

Kate has continued her penchant for "variations on a theme" ensembles. She has ordered the same style from Catherine Walker on multiple occasions, and for Christmas this year she had her green St. Patrick's Day coat made in a red colorway. She also dropped the hemline a little, which gives her an even longer and leaner silhouette than ever.

This Jane Taylor hatband is winning in every category for me. Kate's other hatbands have been quite tall, which might be what has some of you shying away from the fan club. This one has a more subtle outline and from the front or side could have been a low pillbox. I also love the color and the cute detailing at the back that completes the circle. So, unlike the other headpieces she has worn, this is more hat than hatband, and the greater subtlety makes it a little more sophisticated than her other hatbands have been. I already liked the general hatband look, but this more mixed piece is an even bigger hit with me. A+!

Kate finished off her ensemble with her beautiful Asprey oak leaf earrings and a brooch she has worn a few times over the years. I have seen some speculating the brooch is a loan from the Queen, but I wonder if it isn't a gift from her family. It features a large golden oak leaf with delicate little acorns made of, I think, small pearls. She first wore it to a reception at Buckingham Palace in 2012...

And she wore it again in 2015 for Christmas at Sandringham. It is exquisite. 

The Duchess of Sussex wore Victoria Beckham from tip to toe. She caught some flak after her tour for not wearing enough British labels, so it was a nice gesture on her part to fly the British flag on Christmas. I hear all of you who want to see her wear more color, but I am wearing a very subtle black and brown animal print today with a black sweater, so I don't know that I can judge her on this one. ;) I am wearing a burgundy bow in my hair, though....

There has been a lot of speculation about the Cambridges' decision to spend Christmas at Sandringham rather than in Bucklebury. I am among those who think this was a change in plans, and not the original arrangement. Meghan has been the subject of some punishing media headlines over the past month, and I think the family decided that a united front on the holiday would be in everyone's best interest. 

Again, there is a bizarrely prevalent idea that tension somehow means that the Cambridges and the Sussexes can't be civil to one another, let alone attend an event in a group and look composed. Obviously, families all over the world function under varying degrees of tension and disagreement, and the Windsors are no different in this respect. I thought this was a pretty successful display of unity. The girls worked overtime to chit-chat like old-home week and the resulting pictures are full of warmth and Christmas cheer. 

I expected nothing less than the full battery of togetherness, although I will say the boys got mixed grades on this. I don't think the event does anything to change the reports that all is not rosy in private, but it is a nice antidote for the front pages of the papers. This picture taken by a local has made the rounds:

This is a video that shows the exchange:

I know this isn't the narrative everyone wants, but at the end of the day, I think this Christmas walk was very obviously a choreographed photo-call to generate positive PR (nothing wrong with that). It doesn't prove the papers are wrong, it just underscores what I have been saying all along, which is that families can have internal tension without internally combusting. The Christmas walk accomplished the goal of generating positive photos, and I am sure that they all went back to the main house and enjoyed a wonderful Christmas luncheon together. But, I don't think the press, public, or the royals themselves, are under the impression that a happy holiday erases the problems of day-to-day life, or the friction that can be generated in the ordering of a modern monarchy. What today did tell us is that the royals can push forward despite their differences, and that's certainly a good Christmas message. Speaking of messages of unity, the Queen had a similar theme in her annual address:

I had such a hectic run-up to this holiday (thank you for your patience on late posts), I have hardly had time to slow down and soak in the silence and the reason for the season. I hope you all have had a chance to do that over these past few weeks, and that today has been filled with family, fun, and much love. I am going to catch up with you all this week. ;) The Queen mentioned that 2018 has been a year filled with centenaries, and last night was the 200th anniversary of the debut of the sublimely beautiful "Silent Night," so that is my chosen carol for this year's post.

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, oh, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth

 A Merry Christmas to you all, wherever you are in the world!

"Sneak Peek": Christmas at Sandringham

The royals have walked to church. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined senior members of the British royal family today for the Christmas morning service. The two couples walked together to St. Mary Magdalene, and in contrast to last year, we got lots of fabulous photos. 

I will do a full post a little later in the morning. In the meantime, Kate was in a Catherine Walker coat and Jane Taylor "Halo band," which she paired with her Asprey leaf earrings and that beautiful oak leaf brooch of unknown origin. Meghan is wearing a coat from Victoria Beckham's line! 

Duchess Kate Snapped Shopping in Norfolk

Sunday, December 23, 2018

If you haven't quite finished your Christmas shopping, take comfort in the fact that Kate isn't too far ahead of you. The beautiful Duchess of Cambridge was snapped in a check-out line yesterday in Norfolk, still picking up items for the holiday. Kate and her family are at Anmer Hall on the Sandringham Estate for Christmas, and we will see the Duke and Duchess on the Christmas morning walk to St. Mary's. 

You can see Kate's PPO, Emma, with her here:

George and Charlotte were with Kate. The Daily Mail has a sweet story with eye-witness remarks, if you want all the fun details. That article is here. Kate was wearing Dubarry's Bracken Utility jacket.

Kate & Family Attend Queen's Christmas Luncheon

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Today the Queen hosted her annual Christmas luncheon at Buckingham Palace. She hosted the party every year for her extended family--those who won't be joining her at Sandringham, where only her immediate family gathers. We never see pictures from inside, but we always get arrival shots, so it is an annual little treat for royal watchers. 

It has been suggested that Kate is wearing the salmon-pink Stella McCartney she was pictured wearing 2011 to a birthday dinner for Prince Philip at the Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire. Obviously, the ensemble Kate is wearing today looks like a lighter pink with a more matte finish, but that could be the car deflecting the light. 

I am not sure. We just don't get the best photos for IDing with these car shots. I suspect all the sartorial-sleuths will figure it all out by the close of the day. It does, though, take me back to when Kate wore this Stella. I remember at the time this was the craziest (and in my mind) most disastrous ensemble she'd ever worn. Now seven years later, she has had a few more flops, but the experimenting has been so fun. And, although I think that dress creased terribly, it has grown on me! 

George and Charlotte were in the back of the Range Rover. The lens got a straight shot of Georgie, but we only see the back of Charlotte's head in the above shot. But, you can see her here below, and appears that she is busy waving to her fans.

Harry and Meghan were, of course, also in attendance today. The Duchess of Sussex might be wearing a tartan pattern of some kind, but it is very hard to tell.

I'll update you all if we get an ID on Kate's dress! 

The Royals Release Christmas Card Pictures

Friday, December 14, 2018

We have a fun surprise to kick this weekend off! The royals released their Christmas card pictures today. William and Kate chose a relaxed family shot taken by Matt Porteous at their Anmer Hall home in Norfolk:

Harry and Meghan decided on a romantic shot from their wedding reception. This snap pictures them by the lake at Frogmore House watching the fireworks over the water:

Finally, Charles and Camilla's photo is from the 70th birthday shoot at Clarence House. I think this is a sweet photo that is both formal and intimate. Well done. 

What do you all think? Quite a treat this year to get these photos. 

Duchess Kate New Patron of Evelina London Children's Hospital

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Today the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge undertook two public engagements in London together. Before the couple arrived at their first destination, though, Kensington Palace announced that Kate is the new royal patron of that first stop, the Evelina London Children's Hospital.  This patronage obviously falls within Kate's expressed interest in children and families, and seems a perfect fit for the princess. I think we are seeing a build-up to Kate's 2019 launch of what she has communicated will be her lifelong charitable endeavor. 

Christmas activities are everywhere and William and Kate tried their hands at a number of crafts with the children and families. As always, the little Cambridges came up, and both William and Kate remarked on how much George and Charlotte enjoy these types of pastimes. I imagine Louis will be getting in on the fun sooner rather than later. KP shared this video which features a little snippet of Kate's thank-you speech on her first visit as patron.

I am loving seeing the Annoushka pearl drops. Several of Kate's other everyday pearl earrings (the one son loan from the Queen) are cool for their connections to the royal vault, but I prefer these larger pearls on Kiki hoops that give them a little more swing.

The couple's second stop was the charity Passage, which aids the homeless in many of their different needs, including working to combat drug addiction and mental health struggles. So, again, a charity that is right in step with both William's and Kate's interests.

There were arts and crafts to work on here, too, and Emily Andrews shared this video reporting that William told those gathered that Kate is much better at the creative crafts. Not breaking news. ;) 

Kate looked fabulous today in this green L.K. Bennett, which we will get to in just a second, but in this lighting you can really appreciate the Christmas-y forest green.

A fun little video from the Royal Family Channel:

Ok, fashion! Kate tapped L.K. Bennett again today as she debuted a new silk tea dress from one of her favorite retailers. This dress is the Mortimor and is kind of the wintry version of the Montana dress. It has all the elements Kate has been obsessed with of late, including buttoned cuffs, a big bow at the collar, and, of course, polka dots. The oversized pearl buttons are the icing on the cake, and pair perfectly with her Annoushka pearl drops. 

Kate accessorized with Gianvito Rossi 85 heels and the Dora clutch from L.K. Bennett. Kate paired both these with her ensemble in Cyprus last week. I think the olive works with the darker green of this dress. I like that she is changing it up from the usual nude or black accessories. 

It looks like Kate has weaned Louis and is back with her dermatologist. Last week you could see a relaxation in her brow, and today she is even smoother. It just goes to show how moms always put babies first, even before beauty--whether it is refraining from hair dye during pregnancy or skin treatments while feeding. Given Kate's very public profile, her priorities are all the more impressive. And she was radiant today! 

Kate's Old Church Street Flat For Sale

Sunday, December 9, 2018

This morning Majesty Magazine tweeted the news that Carole and Michael Middleton have put their London flat on the market. The Middletons bought this flat years ago when Kate and Pippa moved to the city. 

For longtime royal watchers, you will remember the Old Church Street property, which featured often in the papers as Kate was photographed coming and going. Here Kate, and Carole in the background, head out to do some shopping at the neighborhood stores. 

Kate leaving on her 25th birthday, when everyone thought we'd get a proposal, or her departure for the Diana concert in 2007, are all snaps that were taken right on the doorstep of this flat. Now with the property shots online, we finally get a peek inside!

The property description gives a sense of what a nice apartment it is. The Middletons apparently bought it for around £1.2million and have placed it on the market for £1.9million. 

A fantastic and private apartment for sale in Old Chelsea, SW3

A well-appointed 3 bedroom apartment for sale in the heart of Old Chelsea. The property is offered to the market with a Share of the Freehold.

Found on a favourable part of the Old Church Street, this charming three bedroom, upper floor maisonette provides a peaceful, light and spacious home. The flat is accessed on the first floor and there is an internal flight of stairs which leads up to the second floor, comprising of a double reception room, kitchen and guest W/C. 
On the third floor there is a master en suite with a picturesque view onto Justice walk and over the chimney pots of Old Chelsea. There are also two further bedrooms and a family bathroom on this level. The front of the building faces east to west, providing lovely morning light and this continues throughout the day, as the sun beams through the reception room into the afternoon. The property is presentable but still allows an incoming buyer scope to put their own stamp on the property. 
Location information
Old Church Street runs north between the Kings Road and the Embankment and is approximately 0.9 miles from Gloucester Road tube station, and approximately 0.9 miles from Sloane Square.

I covet this dining room set and that mirror! 

I don't really know what I imagined the interior of this apartment looking like, but this seems to fit whatever amorphous scenes I had in my mind. I think the style is just the type we have seen from Kate and Carole in other areas. A mix of classic and modern, crisp white neutral colors paired with with pops of color. I really like it. It is very bright and pleasant balance. 

Is this what the apartment looked like when Kate lived there? Who knows. I don't know if the Middletons have been subletting this place, or if James has been living here. We did find out in Carole's interview that James lives with his parents "when he is not in London," so this might have been his London crash pad. 

It looks like a beautiful flat and I expect it will sell quickly. Time marching on...  :)

Sneak Peek: Kate Arrives in Cyprus in Jigsaw Trousers

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

William and Kate have arrived at Raf Akrotiri in Cyprus where they will meet with service members deployed to the island. To the absolute delight of many, many fashion fans, Kate is wearing trousers today!

The blazer looks like Smythe to me. Laura has IDed the clutch as an L.K. Bennett piece, and the shoes as Gianvito Rossi 105 heels.  I am loving this olive color way.

Perth's Fashion is guessing these trousers are MaxMara in deep blue:  As the day progressed, these were positively IDed as Jigsaw. 

This is a new-do for Kate. Her hair is half up and half down, but in the back it is like a mini-ponytail. I like the look from the from, but I am not sure what I think about it from the back:
There is also a velvet ribbon back there, which you can see a bit of in the last picture.

This is yet another hit for me. Kate looks fabulous. I love Kate in skinnies, but I agree there is a time and a place and it is nice to see trousers at an event like this. I suspect we will see more of this style.

P.S. Due to the time constraints I have this week, and as mentioned in yesterday's post, I won't be doing a full post on this event. :( 

Duchess of Cambridge at the Diplomatic Reception

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

In a significant break from their recent modus operandi, Buckingham Palace permitted a rota photographer to snap tonight's Diplomatic Reception. This is such a big shift, and is further proof that the winds of change or blowing strongly at BP. 

I do think this is a continued effort on the part of the Palace to put the spotlight on the primary stars. I don't mean that in an unkind way, but Meghan has certainly shaken things up (whether you consider that a great thing, or not such a healthy thing) and the Palace, as I said they would, needs to keep the boat balanced. 

Kate is wearing a dress by Jenny Packham, and carrying JP's Casa clutch, too. We all recognize her beautiful Lover's Knot tiara and Collingwood pearl earrings, both made famous by the late Princess of Wales. 

This is a huge win. It's delicate and sparkling, which is right in line with Jenny P and Kat's usual creations, but the neckline and sleeves are a new style.  The draping gives it a softer and more romantic look, and really makes the dress. I love it so much. After several rocky choices, Kate really has hit a home-run with this one.

Today at the Christmas party and now this evening, Kate has been glowing. She looks fabulous. It was raining in London, and this was the shot James Whatling snapped of Kate and William leaving Kensington Palace on their way to BP. Usually, this is all we would get, so I feel like quite the lucky duck tonight.

This is actually a very busy and stressful week on this end, so I am not going to update the Christmas party post any further (although I will clean it up next week). I did like that ensemble. Kate could have made it trendier with a hipper top, but I don't mind the classic button-down sweater. It was very much in her style profile. You can see that post here.

Ok kids, see you tomorrow! ;)

Sneak Peek: Duchess Kate in Tartan Ensemble for Christmas Party

William and Kate have arrived at a Christmas party at Kensington Palace's Orangery. Co-sponsored with the Poppy Legion, the party is for the families of RAF service members from Coningsby and Marham who are deployed in Cyprus. 

A quick arrival video from Rebecca English:

And a second showing the couple dodging some of their fake snow as their staffers trail along in the background wearing an array of Christmas jumpers. Cue Bridget Jones soundtrack. 

Laura has IDed Kate's skirt as Emilia Wickstead's "Pris" tartan midi.

Richard Palmer reports that Kate's top is Brora. Kate has worn Brora accessories (earrings and a snood), but I don't think we've seen her wear any of the company's clothing until today. I can also see her Mappin & Webb "Empress" earrings peeking out!

Kate gave a sweet speech to the families, noting as a former RAF wife herself, how hard it was when William deployed, but also noting she never had to miss him for Christmas, as these families will miss their loved one:
And finally, a little snow ball fight on their way out:

It is a crazy week for me, but I will pop on later today to update. I am still thinking about this ensemble. I like it, but it seems like an ensemble that only Kate can pull off. More this afternoon...