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Kate's Chelsea Flower Show Debut

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Kate had a busy day yesterday! Sadly, so did I, which is why this post is coming to you fashionably late. Let's jump right in.

Kate began the day with a morning visit to her Royal Chelsea "Back to Nature" garden. This was a casual visit where she introduced the space to school children and climbed around in the tree house and shrubs making sure everything was neat as a pin for the official debut with the Queen later in the day. Kate wore a Broderie Anglaise blouse by M.i.h. Jeans (a lightning fast ID by Laura), and Massimo Dutti culottes. She finished her laid back look with her trusty Supergas and Monica Vinader Siren earrings. By the by, we haven't seen her wear the Siren earrings in a while, so if you are a fan, yesterday was your lucky day.

This ensemble got mixed reviews from fans. We all love Kate. When it comes to Kate, we all have rose (even magenta) tinged glasses, so although there is something about this look I like, I think it is my tinged glasses, because I deeply dislike this style of trouser. I will admit that as an ensemble, this was super trendy. Culottes are en vogue kids, in a big way. I don't mean to offend anyone who has embraced this trend, and I have some friends who have already done so. We all experiment with trends, sometimes with varied results. Sadly, not even Kate can save these for me. She is slender and willowy, and if these trousers could ever look chic and sophisticated, they'd look chic and sophisticated on her. And yet, if this were anyone else, I think we'd all be giving a huge thumbs down. I do like that she is switching it up form jeans and Bretons, or jeans in general, so I hope she continues to experiment. All I can say beyond that is, do not try this at home. Let's make a pact that none of us will go along with this trend, and we will snuff it off ASAP. This was an A for effort, but not a win in the style stakes.

Later in the day, Kate returned with various members of the Royal Family, most importantly the Queen, to formally visit the garden. For her big debut, Kate chose a floral dress from Erdem, paired with the Castanera wedges she wore on her previous preview visit, and finished off with earrings from Accessorize. It is so fun to see the Cambridges with the Queen. Patricia Treble made the point that William and Kate both kissed the Queen in greeting before their formal bow and curtsy, respectively. It is super cute to see the Queen interact with her grand-children.
Emily Andrews shared video of Kate showing the Queen around, and she noted that Kate was "endearingly nervous at first," but that William held back and let her take the lead. 

I loved this dress. I know Erdem isn't the favorite brand around this blog, or even elsewhere in the royal-watching world, but I think it is on point and picture perfect.  I love the blues and yellows in the floral pattern, and this flirty/feminine style dress is a current trend that I can embrace. Kate braided her hair, just the way she braided Charlotte's when they came for the preview, and the whimsical hair, and the flowing floral dress, all melded perfectly with Kate's theme and the day. Honestly a huge win in my book. William in a suit is always a win for me; William climbing around shrubbery in a suit--super win.

This has been a fabulous few days for Kate, highlighting the hard work she has been putting into this project, and her growing role as the future queen. This was such a great project for her, because it combines her private passions so perfectly with her professional ones--gardening, the outdoors, and family time, bringing mental health and early development into focus. It is nice to see Kate take center stage on a project all her own, too, and it was clear that the Queen, and most importantly William, were very proud of her.

Speaking of William, although he spent most of the time in the "back seat," ever the charmer, he did insert himself a few times to make the ladies in his life laugh uproariously. I don't know what he said, but these two cracked up.

One final note, before I run off to start my day. I think this video of George saying that his mummy scored a 20 out of 10 for her garden is the first time we have heard the little prince speak. Am I correct, or have I missed a video?  

This longer clip from ITV shows how spunky Charlotte is, although we already had that sense, I think. At some point she says, Oh la la! So, someone in her life must use that expression often, and I assume it is Kate or Carole. Super cute. 

Cambridge Family Photos at Chelsea Flower Show

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Kate took her family to preview the garden she co-designed for the Chelsea Flower Show before it debuts tomorrow. Matt Porteous was on hand to take snaps for the family's photo album, and happily for us, for public release as well. The couple has shared six snaps of their family enjoying the hard work Kate has put into this show. 

Kate has kept the focus on mental health with this garden, where Kate is hoping to highlight the positive effects nature has on mental health generally, and in the development of healthy children. 

According to Kensington Palace, George, Charlotte, and Louis all helped Kate collect twigs, moss, and leaves to help their mother's efforts to decorate her garden show. 

It was my opinion that Kate took a step away from the limelight at the start of the year, as Meghan enjoyed the honeymoon phase after her marriage and her busy schedule before her maternity leave. I suspected Kate would shift gears after Meghan stepped away to spend time with her new baby, and if this is any indication, she certainly is doing that. 

I love this shot of Louis looking at William as if to say, "Don't let go, Dad!"

I am so happy Kensington Palace has released these photos so that Kate gets the full attention and applause she deserves on this project. 

Laura IDed the dress as a piece from And Other Stories, the earrings from Accessorize.  Kate's wedges are by Castaner--the brand's Carina wedges. 

Kate's Visit to Bletchley Park in Alessandra Rich

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Good evening all, and Happy Monday. This afternoon, Kate visited Bletchley Park for a second time. She first was a guest of the park in 2014; this return was to see a D-Day exhibition in the run-up to the 75th anniversary of the landing. Kate visited with the young and the old, joining school children who were at Bletchley as part of their STEM programs, and also chatting with veterans of Bletchley--women who served at the park during World War II. As I am sure you all remember from Kate's visit in 2014, as well as subsequent war-related events, Kate's grandmother and great-aunt both worked at Bletchley during the war, so there is personal touch when Kate comes to Bletchley. The Duchess even wore a brooch today that belonged to her grandmother, Valerie Middleton. Some of Kate's events catch my attention more than others, and I love the war-related events she undertakes. Bletchley Park in particular has such a fascinating history. I looked forward to this event, and loved looking at all the coverage today from the royal reporters, and from Kensington Palace's Instagram. 

Ok, let's talk fashion. As you recall, Kate wore this Alessandra Rich dress for the Wales family photo-shoot to celebrate Charles's 70th birthday. We've seen a couple of sweet family snaps from that, so most are familiar with the dress. I loved it in all those photos, and I love it today, too, but for two drawbacks. We will come to those in a minute. Still focusing on the good things, many people have pointed out, and I agree, that this dress has a vintage look. Rich's Spring 2018 collection, from which this dress comes, was actually inspired by the World War II era, so Kate knew the convocations the dress would raise. Kate is the queen of occasion dressing--a very royal talent--and I do see why she zeroed in on this beautiful piece from her closet. The dress is made of delicate material and only buttons to just above the knee, so it floated in a graceful ballon around her when she bent down to accept flowers, and revealed her stunning legs when she walked. You all know I love a piece that features a nice mix of staid and sexy. In this video from KP, it looks quite glam, really.
Nevertheless, I have two problems with this dress. The first is that it is too long to properly perform as a midi-length day dress with heels. This is our first full view of the dress, despite its previous appearance, and it is so long on Kate that I would relegate this to a hostess garden dress only, which is almost exactly the context in which Kate seems to have worn it. I'd pair this with woven shoes (I am in love with Tory Burch's new flats) or pretty sandals, or artsy mules. Styled properly, it would be the perfect ensemble to enjoy idyllic English garden during a tea party or similar intimate, yet fancy, gathering. But, on an official function at Bletchley today, it looked odd to me, and I think it is down to the length. It is not a maxi dress, but it is not a midi-dress. I loved all the pictures of Kate that didn't show the full dress. When we couldn't see how long the skirt was, this was a win. As soon as that awkward length was apparent, it was most definitely not a home run. 

The other issue was far more minor. Simply that given its length, the delicate nature of the fabric, and the high slit, there were some strange shots as she arrived. These snaps from Mark Cuthbert have a good example--the picture in the bottom right shows the billowing skirt well. This "flaw" really just highlights that the dress is too long and not quite the right style for a public engagement like this one.

It's a B+ from me. The color and style on top were all lovely, but that weird length... Oh well. Kate paired the dress with Emmy London Rebecca pumps in "Riviera" blue (how appropriate for Cannes week), and she carried the Panama envelope clutch from Smythson. Kate added the perfect touch with her beloved Annoushka Baroque pearl drops. 

On another note, Kensington Palace has been doing a fabulous job on their social media. Today, on Instagram, they shared maybe six photos, all stunning shots that clearly highlighted Kate. In the past, it has often felt that the social accounts downplayed Kate in the posts, sharing pictures from an event that only had her in a few shots, and then didn't really celebrate her. Now, the Palace has started to license the images from PA and the professional images keep the beautiful princess at the center of attention. I do think this is partly to do with Meghan's influence in the family. KP had to step up its game. ;) 

FAQs About Archie Mountbatten-Windsor's Debut

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Good evening all ya'll. Happy Wednesday. We've had quite the day of royal news, and I am just going to run through a bunch of different questions that have been pitched at me throughout the day. 

Harry and Meghan named their little tyke Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. My first question was whether Archie was short for Archibald or Arthur, but I think that because they named him formally, with his last name, they would have said Archibald "Archie" Harrison etc. Because they did not, I believe that Archie is his legal name. Obviously the birth certificate, whenever they file it, will confirm that.

It is true that George told someone that his name is Archie. The royals do love to use nicknames, and it appears Archie is his. If there is already tension between the couples this might be irksome, but at the end of the day, I think parents have the right to name their children what they choose. In my family, there are repeated names among the grandchildren on both my mother's side and my father's side. I don't think it is a huge deal, and as I say, if you like a name, you like a name. 

It isn't a super traditional name, but at the end of the day, little Archie isn't like George or Charlotte, or Louis. He isn't an heir to the throne. He is in line to succession, but he is his generation's Beatrice and Eugenie or even Zara and Peter (no royal status). He will never be king unless something catastrophic happens, so Harry and Meghan don't have the same need to conform to expectations or take into account history books when naming him, because Archie will be a celeb throughout the course of his life, but he isn't scheduled for the royal history books. 

Harrison does seem like a very American name to me. It means son of Harry, but it also makes me wonder if Meghan is a Scandal fan. ;) They were certainly going for modern and unique, incorporating both of his nationalities, and I think these names hits that. Archie sounds quite British to me, and Harrison kind of screams American. 

Archie is a member of the royal family and he is seventh in the line of succession, but technically he is not "royal." He is not an HRH. HRH stands for His (or Her, for a female) Royal Highness. The reason he is not an HRH is because in 1917, George V issued the following:
George the Fifth by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith To all to whom these presents shall come Greeting: Whereas Her late Majesty Queen Victoria did by Her Letters Patent dated the thirtieth day of January in the twenty seventh year of Her Reign declare her Royal Pleasure as to the style and title of the Princes and Princesses of the Royal Family in the manner in the said Letters Patent particularly mentioned  And whereas we deem it expedient that the said Letters Patent should be extended and amended and that the styles and titles to be borne by the Princes and Princesses of the Royal Family should be henceforth established defined and limited in manner hereinafter declared  Now Know Ye that We of our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion do hereby declare our Royal Will and Pleasure that the children of any Sovereign of these Realms and the children of the sons of any such Sovereign and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour And We do further declare our Royal Will and Pleasure that save as aforesaid the style title or attribute of Royal Highness Highness or Serene Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess shall not henceforth be assumed or borne by any descendent of any Sovereign of these Realms excepting always any such descendant who at the date of these Letters Patent holds or bears any right to any such style degree attribute or titular dignity in pursuance of any Letters Patent granted by Ourselves or any of Our Royal Predecessors and still remaining unrevoked it being Our Royal Will and Pleasure that the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms  Our Will and Pleasure further is that Our Earl Marshal of England or his deputy for the time being do cause these our Letters Patent or the enrolment thereof to be recorded in Our College of Arms to the end that Our officers of Arms and all others may take due notice thereof.  In Witness whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent Witness Ourself at Westminster the thirtieth day of November in the eighth year of Our reign.
Essentially, George V limited royal HRH status (and the title prince/princess) to the children of the sovereign, the children of the sons of the sovereign, and the eldest son of the Prince of Wales's heir, i.e. the heir of the heir. Elizabeth II amended those Letters Patent in 2012 by issuing her own declaring that all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (aka William's children) would be HRHs and bear the title Prince/Princess:
The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 31 December 2012 to declare that all the children of the eldest son of The Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of Royal Highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour.
Although according to the 1917 Letters, Archie could take HRH status upon Charles ascension to the throne, because he would then be a child of one of the monarch's male children. The fact that Harry and Meghan have decided not to use the courtesy title suggests Charles andWilliam have decided to limit HRH status, or the Sussexes themselves will decline royal status for Archie at that time, as Anne and Edward declined it.

That rolls us into another question, what about this courtesy title Earl of Dumbarton. The idea here is that if you a person who will inherit a title, your dignity requires that you have some form of an appellation while you wait. Therefore, the sons of aristocrats who will one day pass their titles down may use a secondary title of their father while they wait to inherit as a courtesy. One of Harry's secondary titles, his Scottish title, is the Earl of Dumbarton, so Archie could have been Earl of Dumbarton, as Prince Edward's son is Viscount Severn. The Sussexes have declined to use this, which again, suggests that Archie will never be an HRH. 

Why was Doria featured in the photo released by the Royal Family? Meghan has gone out of her way to include her mother in her birth process. She went out of her way to mention her several times. I don't have a problem with this at all. I understand the frustration of Kate fans who feel that Kate never had the option to include her family in this way. I think that is true, and I understand why it feels unfair, but just because Kate wasn't able to highlight and promote her family, doesn't mean Meghan shouldn't be able to. Meghan's mom is also in a different position than Kate's family. Kate has an intact family, but Doria is a single mom and Meghan is her only child, so it makes a little more sense that Meghan is pulling her into her new royal family a little more closely. I don't think we should begrudge her this. 

I think I got most questions. Let me know if I missed yours--there were a lot!

Video & Pictures of Baby Sussex Presented at Windsor

Meghan and Harry have presented their new baby to the media at Windsor Castle. The couple will go introduce the baby to the Queen afterward. Rebecca English speculates that the couple will tell the Queen the baby's name and then release it to the public. 

In their interview, the couple said they'd bumped into the Duke of Edinburgh in the hallway just before the photo call. 

Watch the full interview here:

Wills & Kate at Cutty Sark

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Earlier this week, the story started circulating that the Cambridges would participate in a regatta this summer. This morning, Kensington Palace shared a new video announcing that the Cambridges will indeed take to the water in August as they skipper competing boats in the inaugural King's Cup regatta. This is the video:
Then, Emily Andrews, super awesome royal reporter, tweeted she was on the road headed to the Cutty Sark for an event with the Cambridges to promote the regatta! Sure enough, a few hours later the couple arrived at the previously unannounced engagement. 

Whenever there is big royal family news (engagements, babies, etc), the royals arrange to pause and give a statement to the media at their first public engagement after the news breaks. So, today the couple paused to express their congratulations to Harry and Meghan on the birth of their baby. William was asked how he felt about becoming an uncle, and he was quick to point out that it is his second time becoming an uncle. Pippa and James's little Arthur made him an uncle for the first time.  Both Wills and Kate had sweet comments about the arrival of the Sussexes' baby. Again, Emily Andrews provides our scoop here with this great video of the couple. For you super groupies, keep an eye out for James Whatling among all the photographers right at the end. 

Do you remember the quasi-culottes Kate wore to the 2017 1851 Trust Roadshow? They were J.Crew and they were a major fail in my book, chiefly because of the cut. I loved the look from her knees up, but when I saw the full shot... woah. They were too, too short. She looked like a deck-hand circa 1851. 

Today, she fixed that earlier problem and scored a major win. Laura told me that these trousers are J.Crew's L.K. Bennett's Parker trousers. The Duchess's sweater top was a little tougher to ID, but the current theory is that the top is Arket's Merino Marinière jumper. There have been a number of theories from various fashionistas, and I think this looks the closest. Kate debuted new Josie block heels by Emmy London (great spot, MiddletonMaven). Kate added a pop of color by carrying a red clutch, also from Emmy London, and her touch of sparkle came from her sapphire and diamond drops. 

This was a forward leaning look for Kate, and she really pulled it off well. In some sense it was her usual--trousers and Breton top--but the modern twists gave it an injection of sophistication and style. I think it was such a great success because the length of the trousers was hip and modern, but long enough that they looked sophisticated, rather than school-boy. The block heels worked with the trousers for that modern vibe. It was a great look on Kate. Kate has been trending in this direction for three years now, and it is working really well for her. 

Tomorrow, we see the Cambridges return to Anglesey. See you then! 

Watch Prince Harry Talk to Press About His New Baby

Monday, May 6, 2019

So, Baby Sussex, aka the Earl of Dumbarton, has arrived. Prince Harry spoke to the press at Frogmore cottage and Sky News shared the coverage in the video below. It sounds both from this video and from the press release that stated Doria is at Frogmore Cottage with Meghan, Harry, and the baby, that Meghan did, indeed, deliver at home. 


Update: It's a Boy! [Meghan is in Labor!]

Update: The Sussexes just announced on their Instagram (😉) that the baby has arrived and it is a boy! He was born in the early hours of this morning. 

Good morning all, y'all. The Palace just announced that Meghan went into labor in the wee hours of this morning. Prince Harry was at her side. 

I am still getting messages from people who are confused, because they thought the Sussexes said they were going to keep the birth private. As I explained in this post at the end of April, Meghan and Harry’s statement had a second part that was released to the media in which it detailed plans for a press announcement. They said they would tell the media when she went into labor. It was inconceivable they'd commit to informing the press and then not tell them after all. 

Again, the privacy they said they wanted to maintain was (1) they didn’t say what hospital she would deliver at (if she would deliver at a hospital at all), and (2) they said they would enjoy family time alone before telling the world the baby had actually arrived. Number two is probably what really sparked the most confusion, because it made a bigger deal than necessary out of the few hours they'd keep to themselves. The baby might very well have arrived hours ago and they haven’t yet told us. Kate and William did the same thing. Kate arrived at the Lindo Wing in the early morning. We all knew she was there and we were waiting, and then in the very late afternoon they announced that George had been born earlier in the day. The Cambridges explained they enjoyed those hours privately as a family. Meghan and Harry didn’t need to emphasize that they, too, would take private time after the birth before informing the waiting public, but they did, and that is where the confusion really launched, I think.

Wow, I am glad this baby is here or almost here. I bet Meghan is, too. Prayers for a safe delivery, and can't wait to see the baby when the happy parents present him or her (I am betting her) at the planned photo call at Windsor in the next few days! 

Kate's Forest Green Emilia Wickstead for Anna Freud Centre

Friday, May 3, 2019

Clearly one of Kate's favorite maxims is "never change a running system," or "if it ain't broke don't fix it." Hopefully the former for grammar's sake... The Duchess of Cambridge stepped out this week (May 1st) on behalf of the Anna Freud Centre to open the charity's new National Centre in London. The princess kept things simple by ordering a new Emilia Wickstead dress in the same pattern as her lilac version from Germany. It looks to me like the only thing she changed for this forest green dress is the neckline, opting for a square-cut (like the neckline on her EM dresses with the pleated skirts).

Kate is a beautiful woman and most everything looks good on her, but this pattern is really magic. It is simple and straight forward, but the tailoring is impeccable, the a-line silhouette is youthful and sophisticated, and the fabric has perfect movement. I saw some videos on Kensington Palace's Instagram and the dress looks fabulous in motion. It is almost as if this dress and the lilac dress make up for the bizarre tailoring on her Emilia Wickstead pleated pair. Those dresses, although utilizing a hugely popular design, really started to wear on people thanks to the uneven seams and visible stitching for the buttons. See below. 

Kate kept her accessories simple and mouth-wateringly. She wore her diamond encircled amethyst drops from Kiki McDonough and the green amethyst "Candy" pendant. Kate is obsessed with Kiki, as are we all, I think. It's just a pleasure to scroll through her site--its just visually stunning. These were perfect colors to complement the forest green of the dress, and all the colors of the ensemble working together are gorgeous with Kate's coloring. I think everyone else is getting off the nude/neutral bandwagon just as I am getting on, but I loved her Mulberry "Amberley clutch" and Gianvito Rossi "Pralines" with this dress. It kept the look streamlined, springtime, and fresh. 

This was a huge A+. Happy Weekend all--thank you for your patience with this late post.

Princess Charlotte's Birthday Photos

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

William and Kate shared these sweet images of Princess Charlotte this evening to mark her fourth birthday tomorrow. As is her habit, Kate took the images last month at the family's Norfolk estate, Anmer Hall and at Kensington Palace. Which do you think was taken at KP? I think the picture of Charlotte in the blue dress...

Watch Kate's Royal Wedding Again (Plus Eugenie's and Meghan's, too)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

If you want to re-live Kate's breathtaking Royal Wedding, here are two links where you can find it. The first is from the Royal Family's official YouTube channel:

If you are a real die-hard (aren't we all?), you can watch this five-hour long version,

Kate & Papa Middleton at the Royal Wedding

Monday, April 29, 2019

I loved every bit of the Royal Wedding. I loved the splendor of Westminster Abbey, the breathtaking bridal gown by Sarah Burton, the profusion of greenery and flowers that brought the church to life, and soaring, traditional music carefully selected to celebrate the best of Britain. One of my favorite parts of the day, though, had to have been watching Michael Middleton give his daughter away. There were so many moments where the camera caught him watching her, and I still think about what was going through his mind.

Why Did Harry Rank Above Kate at Westminster? The Order of Precedence

Thursday, April 25, 2019

As I have highlighted ad nauseam on this blog in the past few months, the British Royal Family is one of hierarchy. The hierarchy (rank) is obvious, but the "order of precedence" is a tougher set of rules to learn. This can be a puzzling area, because the rules of precedence aren't set in stone--the monarch can switch them up--and they are not published for public examination, so we rely on "insiders" and observation to figure out how everything is working.

Harry & Kate At the ANZAC Service

Kate attended the ANZAC Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving today at Westminster Abbey. With William in New Zealand and Meghan out on maternity leave, Harry and Kate arrived  and walked in together. After the awkwardness of Easter Sunday, their joint-entrance was undoubtedly by design, which is not to say that the two were pretending to get along, but it's good PR to highlight good will between the two. These more relaxed and happy snaps were highlighted on all the royal accounts. E.g. this smiling picture of Harry on @KensingtonRoyal's IG:

Has Baby Sussex Arrived Already and We Just Don't Know It?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

There are lots of rumors running around that Baby Sussex might have arrived already. While anything is technically possible, I think we can be essentially certain he or she has not, for the simple reason that the Palace said they would tell us when Meghan goes into labor. The confusion started in early April when Harry and Meghan issued a press release announcing the media procedures for their baby's approaching arrival. The top half of the press release said:

Princess Eugenie's Rising Star Balancing the Sussexes?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

HRH Princess Eugenie and Her Majesty the Queen, Maundy Thursday, 2019
Every year on Holy Thursday, the Queen attends a service marking Jesus's Last Supper. The service has become known for the tradition of the monarch's almsgiving. This year, I was delighted to see that Eugenie joined the Queen at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, for the service. The newlywed looked striking, in my opinion, wearing a floral Erdem (I loved it!!) and a Juliette Botterill braided pillbox. Today, I saw that the event caught Ephraim Hardcastle's eye, and he made the following interesting point:

Prince Louis's 1st Birthday Photos

Monday, April 22, 2019

As anticipated, William and Kate released photos to mark Prince Louis's first birthday tomorrow, and as anticipated, they are darling. He is such a handsome (and striking!) baby. The pictures of Louis from Charles's 70th birthday gave us a hint of bold brows, but these birthday photos certainly place them front and center. Louis has the signature Cambridge cheeks, but of all Kate's children, I think he is the most strikingly Middleton, in no small part thanks to these brows and dark eyes. I see a lot of Mike Middleton here. 

Easter Sunday at Windsor 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019

It was an interesting Easter morning at Windsor. At midnight London time last night, the Times's Sunday edition went live online, and it included not one, but two different articles about the significant tensions that are currently cleaving the senior British royals.  Roya Nikkhah's exclusive was the featured article on my Times app, and it discussed how the Palace has been attempting to formulate a plan to ease the tension between Harry and William. According to the reports, the Palace is now kicking around the idea of sending Harry and Meghan to live in Africa for a few years.  They are trying to find something for Harry and Meghan to do that will keep them happy, while also maintaining some order within the BRF. I intend to opine on these articles at a later date, but for the moment, both articles served to underscore just how uncomfortable the relationship between the Cambridges and the Sussexes has clearly become.

Did William Cheat on Kate With Rose Hanbury?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, June 22, 2016

Many of you have asked me to write about the rumor that Prince William cheated on Kate with the Marchioness of Cholmondeley (obligatory pronunciation guide: Chumley), aka Rose Hanbury. I have hesitated for a long time, because I subtly polled my Instagram followers several weeks ago and only a little over 50% knew about the rumor. I didn’t want to perpetuate the story if it was contained.

More Photos of the Cambridges and Tindalls

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Daily Mail has a few more sweet shots of the Cambridges and Tindalls online today. You can find the photos here. Several of you have messaged me to point out the missing background and sidebar elements, and a slow loading time on this front page. I have contacted some coders and I hope to have everything whisked back into shape this next week. Apologies for current mess. 

The Cambridges and Tindalls Enjoy a Day at Burnham Market Horse Trials

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Cambridges have been pictured enjoying a family day out with Zara and Mike Tindall at the Burnham Market international horse trials. In this first snap, Kate and William are both carrying little ones on their shoulders (Kate has Charlotte and William has Mia Tindall) while Zara walks next to them.

Prince George has made the front page of the Daily Mail's Sunday special with this shot riding on Mike Tindall's shoulders. Everyone is remarking on how much he has grown since we saw him last. 

William is particularly close to his cousin Zara, and I suspect this is one of many joint outings the two families have enjoyed together. Kate and Zara have gotten on well from the very start. Both women are very genuine and down to earth, and the warmth between them has been evident from the start. We've witnessed many sunny afternoons where Kate and Zara have mingled at various polo events while William competed, but now we are seeing more of the two couples enjoying outings together as families. I think both couples love to get away from the glitz and glam of their royal lives and work and enjoy time in the country. 

Kate the Great was looking fabulous today wearing a quilted Barbour jacket, skinnies, and from what I can see here, maybe short boots?

And one final shot:

Palace Announces Details on Baby Sussex's Impending Birth

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Duke & Duchess of Sussex in the Atlas Mountains, Feb. 24, 2019

This morning, Buckingham Palace announced the media plans (or lack thereof) for the arrival of Baby Sussex. The couple will keep the birth plans private, and have chosen not to disclose where the baby will be born. Lots of you have been wondering whether the Lindo Wing will be the location of choice, and Emily Andrews reports that wherever the baby is born--at home or a local hospital--he/she will not be born at the Lindo Wing. 

The media will be informed that the baby is on the way once Meghan has gone into labor, and then that the baby has been born. There will be no photos at the hospital (if she delivers at a hospital), and instead the couple will have a photo call on the grounds of Windsor several days after the birth.

Several royal reporters have noted that this plan, although very different from what many of us have grown used to (thanks to following the Cambridges) is not really unusual. Chris Ship of ITV commented that the Sussexes decision isn't unlike that of other secondary royals like Zara and Mike, noting "the baby won't be an HRH and is 7th in line..." Ship, and everyone else, agrees, however, that this is obviously quite a bit different from Zara and Mike, who were and are, living relatively very private lives. My perspective, and from a perusal of Twitter a perspective shared by a number of others, is that the Sussexes aren't so much retreating from the limelight on this one, as managing it. 

I do think the Sussexes plan to make a splash with the arrival of their little one, just in a different and more controlled manner. My guess is the couple will release the first picture on their Instagram. Whether it's a full picture or just a tease shot, like a little hand or a little foot or a patch of baby blanket, as some celebrities have done, my money is on an Instagram debut. 

Royal Court v. a Household: Splitting Households & What the Sussexes Wanted

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace, Feb. 17, 2016

A number of you have reached out to me via social media expressing confusion about the Sussexes having a separate household, but also being denied independence, so a quick post to (hopefully) clear this all up. The key is that it all comes down to autonomy. 

A royal court, as it is used in this context, denotes an “autonomous” royal household based at a physical location. When William and Kate moved to Kensington Palace, much was made of the fact they were establishing a new court. Before William’s marriage, the brothers had operated out of Clarence House—Charles’s staff took care of all W&H’s charitable activity. After their marriage, and once William and Kate ended their Anglesey hiatus, the Cambridges established a separate household at Kensington Palace in 2013, where Harry joined them. This shift was significant. They no longer used Charles’s Clarence House staff, and they operated independently—I remember some royal reporters were excited to start heading to Kensington Palace for briefings! A new royal court had been formed. 

Back to the present, when the Cambridges and the Sussexes announced their households would split, some people were confused and thought the royals would be portioning up drawing rooms at Kensington Palace, but it really referred to a split in staff (household). While both couples are now to have their own royal households, William and Kate have retained Kensington Palace as a separate “court.” Some people kicked around the idea that the Sussexes would establish an autonomous court, too, and perhaps call it Frogmore House. Indeed, the Times reported that Harry and Meghan wanted just that, and through it to develop a global Sussex brand highlighting their philanthropy and activism. Apparently (and logically), they wanted to base their staff at Windsor. As I noted in yesterday's entry, the Queen said 'no' to that plan. She did not permit Harry and Meghan to establish a “Frogmore House,” aka their own court, like C&C’s Clarence House or W&K’s Kensington Palace. 

Instead, although Harry and Meghan have their own household, the household of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, their staff have joined the Buckingham Palace communications team, and report to the Queen’s communications secretary. Harry and Meghan's operation is, therefore, a subset of Buckingham Palace, like Prince Andrew or the Earl and Countess of Wessex. This limits, although by no means eliminates, their ability to set their own program and create a brand. By contrast, Clarence House (Charles & Camilla) and Kensington Palace (William & Kate) do not report to the Queen’s staff. They are their own autonomous entities—little royal courts—and have more ability to create their own direction and initiatives. 

This is obviously a disappointment to Meghan and Harry. They probably felt and argued that it is a new modern world, and that given how William and Harry (Diana’s boys) have seemed co-equal partners, it would make sense and be appropriate to permit Harry and Meghan to have their autonomy, just like William and Kate. Since there really isn’t precedent for a situation like this, I can understand why they made their play for independence. You all know that I think the Queen and senior courtiers are likely worried about the balance between the Cambridges and the Sussexes, as well as the direction the Sussexes may want to take. But this isn’t as massive a rebuff as it might seem (or it might be peddled as in some magazines). Even if I am right that the Sussexes have caused some consternation, it really is simply a matter of the royal hierarchy, and in the long-run, it doesn’t make sense to establish a separate court for the Sussexes. Even if there were no rockiness at all, it is appropriate for the direct heirs to operate independently, and better for everyone else to function with more central oversight. Because, at the end of the day, the Sussexes (or any other secondary royals, for that matter) should not be creating an overly robust and individualized brand. The entire royal family supports the monarch and the monarchy as an institution. So, this doesn’t have to be personal, it really is just an arrangement that flows from the inherent nature of royalty today. 

Ok all y'all.

Have a nice night,


Musings on Harry & Meghan's New Instagram @SussexRoyal

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The big royal news yesterday was that Harry and Meghan launched their own Instagram account. The account was obviously explosively popular and garnered over a million followers before the close of the day. It is currently just shy of 3 million with 2.9 million. The Kensington Palace account, now transitioned to one exclusive to the Cambridges, also gained about 200,000 new followers and that number continues to climb. The rapid growth of the Sussexes' account produced a flurry of headlines on just about every online news outlet, so both the Cambridges and the Sussexes are benefitting from media exposure their IG accounts are receiving. Free advertising. :) 

Shortly after it was announced that William and Kate would split away from Harry and Meghan, it was reported that H&M wanted to establish their own court (as W&K have with KP) and pushed the Queen to permit them to do so. But apparently the Queen and Charles vetoed that plan. This was not an idle rumor, it was reported in the Sunday Times by Roya Nikkhah, the paper's respected royal correspondent. She has multiple fabulous scoops to her name; you can take this one to the bank. 
A royal source said: “They wanted their household to be entirely independent of Buckingham Palace, but were told ‘no’. There is an institutional structure that doesn’t allow that kind of independence. The feeling is that it’s good to have the Sussexes under the jurisdiction of Buckingham Palace, so they can’t just go off and do their own thing.”
Because Harry and Meghan were told no in this department, there was speculation about whether the Sussexes would have their own social media channels or just use the Royal Family's IG and Twitter.  I think that given their massive popularity and their desire to pursue an aggressive program of charity work, it makes sense they'd want separate social media accounts, and I am not surprised they have launched an IG. 

Right now, royal reporters are saying that the Palace is saying the Sussexes will not branch out with a Twitter account, too. I do wonder if this is by choice or if they had to haggle for the Instagram account and that is as far as they can go for the moment. Or, they might be testing the waters with IG and will in fact establish Twitter at a later date. Whatever happens, this isn't an unexpected breakaway from protocol. Having separate socials from BP is not unprecedented. The Princess Royal and the Wessexes do not have their own IG or Twitter; the Royal Family channels handle all their social media. But, the Duke of York, who is also based from Buckingham Palace, does have his own Instagram, Twitter, and even his own website. Princess Eugenie has an official Instagram account and Beatrice has (or had) a verified Twitter. 

Royal reporter Emily Andrews has noted, and I agree, that Instagram is clearly a platform that Meghan loves. When Meghan joined the family there was a marked shift in Kensington Palace's Instagram activity. The volume of their content ramped up and the presentation got a little more polished, in my opinion. That could have been by her direction, or it might have just been a reaction to a lot of factors surrounding her entrance to the world stage. I think Meghan will be anxious to make the @SussexRoyal account stand out, so I am interested to see how it develops. I could see Meghan wanting to make it a more personalized space, leveraging her star status and making the Sussex account more intimate. I think the Palace would push back on that, but I am going to watch to see what happens. 

At the end of the day, I do think the Queen and Charles are trying to manage the family stars, because as the Times source noted, "there is an institutional structure" they have to maintain, and frankly defend. We might learn a thing or two about that ongoing process by watching how they handle social media.  


That was more than a paragraph. Once I got going... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Still working on figuring out the comment section, but we will get there. 

Thanks Mom

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

It has been a whopping three months since I called it a day on blogging. I am not sure which one of my siblings wins the “office pool” for how quickly I’d go back to blogging—almost certainly my baby brother P—but Mom gets the credit for my return. I did not have plans to blog here again, but what’s that saying—mother knows best? When I decided to stop blogging back in December, she urged me several times not to close the blog, and since then she has occasionally asked me if I have thought about relaunching it. She might have been one of Homer’s sirens in another life… Then, just this past Sunday afternoon she announced (in that voice that says she has given the issue thorough consideration and is absolutely certain in her conclusion) that I needed to start blogging again. I told her it wasn’t on my to-do list, but at the end of the day, I am among those people who generally listen to their moms. Plus, once she planted the seed, I didn’t need much encouragement. ;)

I am not going to go back to the blogging of yesteryore.* The days when I could spend 4 – 6 hours assembling a post are long gone. Instead, I plan to use the blog more like my own royal diary. I’ll pop on when I can to tell you about any interesting royal news I’ve heard through the grapevine, or share my thoughts or hypotheses on current royal events. I will also post about Kate’s engagements, too, but again, in a new format—a photo or two with chit chat about the fashion. Everything will be shorter—sometimes just a paragraph or two—but you’ll be in the loop on whatever royal issue I am thinking about. This is essentially what I have been doing on IG, but writing here will give me just a hair more space than IG, plus at the end of the day, I love this platform. Given all that, I don’t know that From Berkshire to Buckingham is back back. It will look and feel quite different, but hopefully some of the essence remains in this new iteration. 

I am mulling over the comment section. For the time being I am not opening the comment section, but I am exploring options that will permit people to chat without it all becoming an overwhelming job on this end. 

It was good to walk away from the blog for a while. I missed it a lot (serious blogging withdrawal on days when Kate was out and about), but it was also very liberating in many ways. I thought about this type of format back in December, but I really did want to be free to pursue my new projects with a clear head, and just posting quick thoughts in a few paragraphs seemed too strange a shift from the full posts everyone was used to. I think stepping away so completely has given me better blogging balance. I hope this new blog will be manageable, and it should fit in with my new schedule in a way the marathon posts definitely could not.  So, welcome to From Berkshire to Buckingham2.0

*This is not a real word. 

For Auld Lang Syne....

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

I did not write a "Best of" 2018 post (although I did put one together on Instagram Stories). Some posts are easier to start than others, and this is one of the harder ones. In legal writing you are supposed to start with the conclusion and then work through the reasoning, so I will begin with the heart of the matter, which is that I am hanging up my blogging hat. I will no longer cover the royals here on From Berkshire to Buckingham

When I started this blog, I never imagined it would grow to this size, and certainly never anticipated the creative satisfaction I would get from writing FBTB, or the many wonderful people with whom I would be privileged to royal watch. I have been very proud to write this blog, and its success is due to all of you who have come to the blog, enjoyed the content, and kept coming back.

I can't think of a worse time to quit blogging about royals. The Cambridge children just get cuter by the day, Kate is about to expand her charitable endeavors, Meghan has injected a new dynamic into the BRF, a baby Sussex is on the way, and the transition of the old order to the new is providing a continuing, fascinating saga to watch and chat about--in short, the blog is booming and royal-watching is more fast-paced  and fascinating than ever. 

But, the blog is a significant investment in time, and I always wondered at what point I would no longer be able to devote that time to this space. I was in prayer toward the beginning of the month and I was struck with a thought that sat in my heart for a few days, and that thought ripened into the very clear realization that it is time to transition to a new chapter. I love this blog, but I want to spend more time reading, thinking, and writing about the law and policy. As bittersweet as it is to stop blogging here, I am excited for my new horizons, and I know that by depriving myself of this creative outlet, that energy will be redirected toward these other areas. 

I can't quite cut myself off entirely, so for the moment, I will try to continue on with my Instagram, account, and I do plan to update and continue to operate Kate's Clothes ( I am not foreclosing the possibility that I will circle back to royal blogging in the future, and if and when I decide to start the blog again, or launch a new royal initiative, I will be in touch here and on Instagram

I will miss this space tremendously, and miss all of you--those who comment and those who have silently, but faithfully, followed over the years. You all have enriched me by your participation and I am grateful for the fun we have enjoyed together, but also for the serious and thought-provoking discussions we have all engaged in via the comment section. I feel very blessed to have listened and thought about the perspectives on life, motherhood, culture, and much more, that so many contributed from so many varied backgrounds and positions. 

I will think of you all often, and pray God's blessings are on you always,

Jane Barr 

P.S. I can't write a final post without a YouTube video to accompany it, right? I think the theme song of this holiday sums up my mood pretty well. Also, if you need to know more about the origin of this song, this is an great video explanation. Ok. I think that's it from this end. I am signing off. Be well, all y'all. ;)