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The Queen Passes Kate Another Royal Patronage

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Yesterday, Kate attended a photography workshop with Action for Children and the Royal Photographic Society. As you know, Kate's unannounced visit marked the passing of another baton. It was announced just before Kate's visit that the Queen, patron of the Royal Photographic Society since 1952, gave the it to Kate. The Duchess's visit, therefore, marked her first engagement as patron. Given Kate's background in art and her passion for photography, everyone is agreeing that it is a match made in heaven. Apparently, Kate intends to continue her mental health theme here, too, highlighting how children can work on mental well-being by pursuing their passions.  

I often get emails asking how Kate's clothes are IDed so quickly, and the answer is that clothes are IDed in various ways. Sometimes--often in fact--the Palace releases the details to the media, and the royal reporters can then immediately announce the label as Kate arrives at an event. Sometimes we need this help, other times fashion fans ID the look even without the Palace's help. When Kate is repeating an outfit, most everyone immediately recognizes it. When she isn't, she has such a preference for certain brands, it is not hard to ID the ensemble simply by looking at it, and then confirming with the likely brand. Every now and again the Palace doesn't give any details, Kate isn't wearing a usual brand, and it can take an arduous search to finally ID. It is ironic that the Palace seems to not brief when the ID is the hardest. Yesterday's dress sparked a very involved search, because the Palace didn't give any details about Kate's dress, and she wasn't wearing anything from her usual stable of labels. 

Any time I discuss researching Kate's clothes, I like to point to the Michael Kors she wore for ANZAC Day in Australia. That piece actually stumped us entirely. It was not IDed until the label press-released the next morning announcing that the piece was one of its own. As the search was on yesterday, a number of you messaged me suggesting that the dress was a Liberty London piece, and you weren't far off. After an exhaustive search of all Kate's favorite labels, as well as labels she hasn't worn, but are in this style profile, Bethan Holt of the Telegraph IDed the dress as the Virginia Midi from Ridley London. It has been customized in a Liberty London paisley print! Susan of What Kate Wore pointed out, and I agree with her, that these tougher IDs are not usual anymore, but really quite fun!

Now we know who made the dress, let's chat a little about the style. Yesterday's look is clearly Kate's style for the summer. It was right in line with the ensemble she put together for the Cambridges' family preview of her garden. Indeed, these Casteñer wedges are the ones she debuted that day, but the dress is down the same alley, as well. Busy prints with busy designs are currently very en vogue, but I think they can confusing from a style perspective. Do they actually look good, or are we all just going along with the look because it's "in style"? I don't know the answer to that. I think this is a pretty tricky style to pull off.  I genuinely like today's dress, but I am not in love with it. 

Paisley prints are fabulous when the colors are right and the design is sassy enough. This Liberty London print is a little too small for my taste, but it has nice colors, which saves it. The bohemian design with its fluttering sleeves and ruffled skirt is soft and summery, and the fall of the fabric is very flattering on Kate. The ensemble was also a little unexpected, which is a virtue in itself these days. Usually we'd expect to see an L.K. Bennett midi with Gianvito Rossi heels and a polished clutch. As I have noted in previous posts, I have been pining for a change of pace, and Kate seems to be on a roll to do just that. I have been hoping for a trend back toward the sheath dresses circa 2011/2012, but going in this other direction is fun, too. 

These wedges have received mixed reviews from a number of you already. I like pairing this dress with wedges, and I am even on board for the ankle ties, but I am otherwise crazy about them. The suede-looking uppers aren't quite polished enough for me. Although, I wouldn't buy them myself, I do like them on Kate with this dress. Perhaps they are simply a win I wouldn't wear. 

Finally, Kate finished off the look with her Catherine Zoraida Fern Hoops. These are both delicate and bold, which is probably why they are fan favorites.  

All in all, Kate looked fresh, youthful, relaxed, and down-to-earth, which is a very authentic representation of her all around.  The ensemble was a flattering and fun summer look. It's not hitting my "SuperStar" list, but it's fun, and Kate looked fab. 

What Does the Royal Foundation Split Mean?

Friday, June 21, 2019

On Wednesday, William and Harry met at Kensington Palace for a board meeting of the Royal Foundation at which they formally agreed to break it apart. The Royal Foundation was launched in 2009 as an umbrella organization for Princes William and Harry to better pursue their charitable endeavors. When Kate married William in 2011, she was added, and when Meghan joined the family last year, she, too, was added, making it The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Heads Together and the Invictus Games are just a few of the projects that the Royal Foundation has driven. Harry and Meghan will split away, leaving it The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge only. Yesterday, the Royal Foundation made the official announcement to the press. 

Remember, though, that this isn't breaking news. It is great to have it confirmed, but Emily Andrews scooped this story on the last day of May. Despite the skeptics, she has been proved right...unsurprisingly. I wrote most of my thoughts at that time, and the lawyer in me will just say that that earlier blog post is herein incorporated by reference. I haven't changed my mind on anything written there, but I have, perhaps, a few thoughts to add. 

From what I can see, the Palace is spinning this split as a natural progression, and one for which, as Richard Palmer phrased it, neither couple provided the impetus. Palmer thinks that smells fishy, and so do I. I already read elsewhere that the Cambridges initiated the split, and that the Sussexes would have stuck together longer, which makes sense. Despite their own popularity, the Sussexes do benefit from the prestige of the Cambridges' position and the Cams' international popularity, and that boosts the Sussexes' overall charitable work.

I think we can see simply from observation that this split is not a natural progression. No one denies that at some point the Royal Foundation was going to split. That is so obvious it doesn't need to be stated. What I am saying is that although it would have been perfectly reasonable to split the Foundation when Harry married, they didn't, and it does not make sense to split it a mere year afterward. The actions of the four make clear that when Meghan married Harry the two couples determined to forge ahead as a unit of four. They added Meghan's name to the Foundation and they hosted a big, splashy forum to discuss their work moving forward as a group. They even dove into new initiatives as a team. That is not the behavior of people who plan to split up within 18 months. This choice to part ways is a change of course that comes earlier than originally planned, even if not earlier than possible.

So, is this a good thing, or a bad thing? I understand and appreciate that some people feel very sad over the sooner than expected demise of the four royals' partnership. Given how badly the relationships had deteriorated, I think the split is for the best. Good fences make good neighbors, and this professional divorce might provide the relief from friction necessary to repair their personal connections.

Splitting the Royal Foundation, though, might not be enough to ease the tension. The issue is very simple. Harry and Meghan appear to be attempting to forge a path that isn't proper to their role. Meghan was an actress who was working very hard to become a star when she met Harry. The problem is, she took a part in a lifelong drama of which she can never be the leading lady. She chose that, and kudos to her. If she loved Harry, I am glad she didn't let anything stand in her way. People and relationships are the most important things in life. Meghan didn't have to marry into the Firm. Chelsy Davy, who clearly loved Harry, couldn't take the plunge. She didn't want to live her life in a fishbowl, so she walked away. Meghan's problem is the opposite. She is very comfortable with the fishbowl; in fact, she has actively sought it for the entirety of her adult life. Her problem is on the other end of the spectrum, and that is she can't advance beyond the role she has chosen. As I mentioned in my earlier post, a global Sussex brand isn't what the monarchy is about. There is no global York brand, or global Princess Anne brand. The royals who aren't in direct line play supporting roles...forever. Meghan is the Duchess of Sussex, her spouse is a popular prince, but his position in the BRF will drop, and his star will inevitably fade as the years roll on. See, e.g. Prince Andrew. The tug-of-war between the Cambridges and the Sussexes comes down to a power struggle--the outcome of which has already been decided: William and Kate are the winners. But, how Meghan and Harry finish has yet to be determined.

That is why I am skeptical this split will solve the BRF's problems. When Archie was born, Harry and Meghan not only duped the media, but from what we could gather, it looked like they left Buckingham Palace in the dark, too. If they did, their PR snafu not only alienated the media, but likely raised hackles at the Palace, too. Again, it has been reported that the Cambridges initiated the split of the Royal Foundation, which was likely precipitated by a decision on William's part that he was unable to work with Harry, and a decision by the Queen that it was time for William to step more solidly into his role as a king-in-waiting. The way Harry and Meghan handled Archie's arrival is almost certainly not the way William wants the monarchy to run, which is very obviously the right reaction. So long as the Sussexes are running the ball without direction or input, we are going to be in for a bumpy ride. I hope sincerely that they take a breath and reevaluate. They will be happier and more successful in the long run if they stick to the age-old royal playbook.

Kate Debuts Elie Saab at Ascot; Will She Wear An ES Evening Gown?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

In May, Kate attended one of the Queen's garden parties wearing a beautiful, bespoke coat from Alexander McQueen. I thought it was objectively lovely, but found it too "buttoned-up," for lack of a better word, for a garden party. (BTW, it would have been much better for Garter Day) I pointed out that garden parties are better suited to floaty and feminine pieces. At Ascot yesterday, Kate the Great came back with a dream ensemble that fit that bill to a T. 

As the carriages carrying the royals swept onto the course, it was revealed by the Palace that the Princess was wearing Elie Saab. Saab is a Lebanese fashion designer, and his ultra-luxe evening gowns have made his label a mega-brand. He specializes in gorgeous feminine pieces, usually with intricate beading, clever appliqué, and geometric structuring. I love Saab, because although he is a creative genius, he doesn't feel the need to get weird. High fashion can go off the rails pretty quickly, and he has yet to succumb to that ridiculousness. He creates timeless and breathtaking pieces that always flatter and delight. Elie Saab is worn by many royals in the Middle East, in addition to European royalty, and many of us have been hoping that Kate would join the ranks. Good to see her do that with these lovely separates. 

At the end of the day, we all want Kate not only to wear our favorite label, but to wear an evening piece from the label. That is especially true when the label in question is famous for evening wear, as Saab is. Happily, as soon as Kate wears one piece from a label, the likelihood that she will branch out to evening-wear skyrockets, obviously. 

Kate first wore Roland Mouret in 2011, just after her marriage, and even though the brand doesn't make appearances all that often, she wore an evening gown from the French designer in 2016.

Gucci got its first big debut with the tweed mini in 2017, and Kate followed that debut up with a pink evening dress in February of this year. 

Still, there are other labels we have loved and hoped for evening pieces, and have yet to see one. Most prominent in my mind is Oscar de la Rent and Carolina Herrera. Kate has worn suit separates from Oscar de la Renta, and a number of pieces from House of Herrera, but we have yet to see an evening gown from either label. Similarly, D&G is a label you'd think she might explore for evening wear, but no luck thus far. To be fair, I never think of D&G for evening gowns, but there are options...

The Duchess of Cambridge wearing D&G

Kate already gets her beading-fix with Jenny P, so I wonder if Elie Saab would tempt her given her strong loyalty to JP. We shall see. 

Princess Kate wearing beaded Jenny Packham in India
Bouncing back to yesterday's overall look... Kate wore a customized Elie Saab blouse (IDed by Laura at UFO No More) and a matching skirt. She carried a new clutch (also by Elie Saab) that featured metallic striping across the front, and paired these three pieces with new metallic Gianvito Rossi pumps that complemented the silver embellishments on her blouse, skirt, and clutch. Her hat was a huge hit with me. It is a Philip Treacy--the same style she wore to Trooping in pink, but this time in blue. This hat is flawless. It has decent depth across the head, and just the right size brim.  It does make me chuckle a little. Even on the day she debuts Elie Saab, Kate is still a creature of habit. This ensemble was a big win for me. It was very exciting to see a new label, and an interesting designs. Ascot continues to be a super-win for fashion for Kate. 

Kate Needs an Update to Her Closet After Garter Day 2019

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Recently, I have been taking stock of my wardrobe. I still have clothes I was wearing when I was 22, despite the fact that my style has (or should have) changed. Professionally, I have worn suits exclusively for the last few years, so I am looking into alternatives to the suit... Do I want to wear jeans and a top to evening parties, or should I inject some more spice into my after hours look? Long story short, I am thinking of switching up my fashion a little. Throwing out some of those clothes from my twenties, and updating my closet to reflect who I am today. Why am I babbling on about my wardrobe? Guys, it is time for Kate to give her closet an update. Let's talk about that right after I give this quick promotion of the day.

Yesterday was the annual Order of the Garter ceremony. The Most Noble Order of the Garter was instituted by Edward III, one of England's most powerful monarchs, who reigned over a golden age for the island kingdom. He launched this order of chivalry in 1348 (some dispute the exact year) and it has become the most prestigious order of chivalry in the English speaking world. 

I did get an irritated email one year from a Scottish reader who pointed out to me that the Order of the Thistle is also a prestigious order of chivalry and of equal rank to that of the Order of the Garter. She was absolutely right on that point, and I meant no disrespect to the Order of the Thistle, or Scotland. In addition to exalted or exclusive, the word prestige includes the idea of notoriety, and I would say that the Order of the Garter is better known around the world. But, certainly no offense meant to the Order of the Thistle here! William is a member of that order, too, and we have seen the Duke and Duchess at the bi-annal ceremony. Hopefully we will again, soon.  

The Duchess of Cambridge at William's investiture to the Order of the Thistle in Scotland, 2012

The King of the Netherlands and the King of Spain were both inducted into the Order of the Garter yesterday as honorary Knights, which is why they (and their wives) were at the ceremony. As I say, Garter Day is pretty well-known, though, so I am going to get right to fashion, which is what captured my interest yesterday. 

Queen Letizia and Kate via Casa Real

Let's start with the good things.

I loved the black & white theme. White looks so good on Kate generally, and the black really adds a very crisp and polished look.

That hat! The "Lion Tamer" from Lock & Co. is an old favorite and still looks fabulous on Kate. It's big enough to carry a day like Garter Day, but not overwhelming. It also always provide a faultless wear--you can't mess up the angle, as can happen (and has happened) on some of her berets and perchers. It's just an awesome hat. 

The flare of the peplum. You don't see this in a lot of pictures, because Kate kept her arms by her sides, but when she walked down the stairs and held the rail you could see that the peplum of the top had a real flare. I liked that a lot. It injected some personality into the coat.

The accessories. I love those Prada cut-out heels, Diana's pearl Collingwood earrings, and Kate's black Muse clutch. All fan favorites for a reason.  

The not so good. 

The Peter Pan collar. You all know I love a Peter Pan collar, but even I am tiring of it a bit. At this stage, I feel she has overdone it, and frankly, it came off as too juvenile yesterday. Order of the Garter is one of the most prestigious days on the calendar, and she had two of Europe's most glamorous Queens at her side, too. The day called for more va va voom than a Peter Pan collar. 

Not to give you whiplash, but while the Peter Pan collar was too youthful, the piping down the front of the bodice was super stodgy. Yikes. So, this coat was running in both directions.  

Catherine Walker is a royal staple. Diana wore CW, and Kate turned to the label often in her early years to lend her new wardrobe a beautiful touch of sophistication and gravitas. But, lately the designs have been a bit cookie-cutter and frankly a bit off. This isn't the first time that Kate has worn a CW and we have looked at it and loved so much about it, yet found it wanting in some way. Axing the Peter Pan would be a good first step, but I'd encourage a break from the label altogether for a bit. Branch out, try bolder profiles, and come back to Walker down the road a little. 

Kate needs to take stock of her wardrobe and ask, where am I persisting in certain styles because they are timeless and I look fabulous in them, and where am I in a bad rut? And then she needs to start to add some pizazz back in. At the end of the day, as Garter Day is full-color reminder, part of royalty is the pageantry, and the royal wardrobe falls in that category. Yesterday was a bit of a dud in my book, sadly. 

The Cambridges will be at Ascot today, so stay tuned for an update on that. 

New Talk That William "Dined Alone" With Rose Hanbury

Saturday, June 15, 2019

First of all, if you missed my first detailed discussion of the affair rumor, that article is can be found here: Did William Cheat on Kate With Rose Hanbury? [Spoiler: absolutely no evidence at the moment that he did]

Now, to today's non-update.  The Sun ran an article on Rose Hanbury that is getting a little traction--not a lot to be honest--but enough. Right now, if you read the article there really isn't anything of substance there. It claims that Rose's marriage to David Rocksavage is not a particularly happy one, which if true is unfortunate, and says that Rose is a little blue over the cooling of her friendship with the Duchess of Cambridge. If there was a falling out between them, this would also be a natural reaction--it is natural to be sad that your friendship has cooled. 

There was, however, an earlier version of the article that included a paragraph in which "a pal" said that the cause of the rift stemmed from two occasions on which Rose joined William at Anmer Hall for dinner while Kate was away. That just sounds weird, but we will go with it for the moment. The paragraph noted that Kate was aware that the two were dining together, and didn't mind the platonic friendship. This paragraph has since been removed.

Much has been made of the removed paragraph, but I think it is a nothing burger. First, let's take worst case scenario--that it is true Rose and William dined together twice (weird), with Kate's knowledge, but that it precipitated a cooling between friends. So what? Adult men and women who are married to other people, shouldn't be dining with each other while their spouses are away. It is recipe for disaster. If you think that's a silly stance, see the average divorce rate, or just about every couple in Hollywood. If you want a stable, happy marriage, you work for it, and you protect and defend it. That includes not putting yourself in a position that could create trouble. Maybe they did dine together on a few occasions (weird), and maybe Kate and William gave it some thought and decided, you know what this isn't a great idea. Perhaps after a bit of reflection they decided a little space was needed. No crime there, just mature adults steering the ship away from the shoals. 

Perhaps Rose's marriage is on the rocks. I have no idea if this is the case, but briefly for the sake of argument, let's assume that it is. Perhaps, in the course of one of these supposed dinners (weird), she confided her unhappiness to William. Perhaps he realized that given her situation, he needed some space, because he can't be the shoulder she cries on. Maybe Rose herself realized given her situation (again, we are assuming for skas of argument), she shouldn't be turning to a married man with her problems. Either party could have realized that lonely and unhappy men or women shouldn't spend time alone with people married to others! We could go on and on. I won't walk through all of the scenarios, but you can in your head. There are multiple possibilities, none of which include impropriety by either party, in which the Cambridges and the Marchioness of Cholmondeley decided that wisdom counseled space. (P.S. there are also plenty of scenarios that explain a break-down of their friendship that have nothing to do with marriage or relationships)

Some people poo poo the idea that even married people need to be careful and guard their hearts and emotions. There is a silly fantasy these people like to perpetuate--the farcical idea that adults have super powers that permit them to control their emotions and feelings by rational choice. It's a laughable absurdity, since these sophisticates who want to claim there is no problem do so in the face of overwhelming statistics to the contrary. 

If Rose and William dined alone, it would be a bad idea at the best of times. I think it sounds pretty weird, and I am skeptical, but whatever. Married people just shouldn't do that.  But, if Rose's marriage to David Rocksavage is on the rocks, it is a particularly bad idea. Any one of the three could have recognized that and decided space was the best course of action. And they'd be right. 

So, that's the first possibility--that the story is true. But, since that paragraph was pulled, the more likely possibility is that it is not true. Papers pull paragraphs like this from stories when they get a notice from an attorney that reminds them that unfounded speculation (that is stories without any actual proof or person willing to stand behind the story) is actionable. I suspect the Sun pulled the paragraph because "the pal" didn't actually know anything at all, and while the Palace might not bother with any number of other silly stories that are backed up by "a pal," when the story is of this nature, they do. This type of unfounded speculation is very damaging to the lives and reputations of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley and both couple's children, and lawyers tend to lay the law down awful quickly when these are the stakes. 

When a paper pulls a paragraph like this, it does not lend credence to the information, it detracts from its credibility. It suggests that the paper couldn't actually prove the statement and had to get it down fast before they had a legal proceeding launched. Keep in mind that if/when reporters are able to substantiate this rumor, the major papers will run it. It won't be an obscure article from a staff writer, it will be front page by the prominent royal reporters. Until that time, it isn't on the front page because no one has any evidence. And as I said in my first article, with respect to the charge there was an affair, you really do need to assume nothing happened until it is shown definitively that something did. If you don't, it says nothing about William and everything about your lack of character.  

William & Kate in the Lake District

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge headed to the Lake District yesterday to visit with the farming community there. They met with families that have been working the land in the region for several generations, as well as local organizations that support their communities, and, of course, members of the public out to greet the royals. In the course of the day, the couple interacted with a variety of animals, too, and even tried a hand at shearing sheep. It was a perfect day for cute pictures of both Wills and Kate, and a great day celebrating Britain and supporting families. 

In the video below you can hear William mentioning that Kate brought the kids to the Lake District for three days over half-term, and some of her quick comments about the trip. This is actually something we'd heard already, so it wasn't breaking news, but fun to hear them chat about it.

The fashion! Kate sure loves Troy London, and she is quickly converting me to a fan, too. Kate wore black skinnies, a ruffled blouse (currently no ID)(reader Rebecca tells me her shop sells Kate's blouse, and that it is Dubarry's Chamomile! Jury is still out, but it is a good option), and her Fjällräven Övik Re-Wool sweater, which she has worn before. She debuted a new Troy London coat, the Tracker, for the first part of the visit and switched to her Barbour Defense jacket when she headed to the sheep farm. She began her visit wearing See by Chloe combat boots, but switched those out when she headed to the farm, as well, with her Berghaus Supalite II GTX boots. Kate carried a tote, which was visible in a picture shared by Inn on the Lake. That is the Panama East West tote slung over her shoulder. She polished the entire ensemble off with her Lauren leaf earrings from Kiki McDonough. The Lauren collection was inspired and created in collaboration with Principal Ballerina Lauren Cuthbertson. Kiki mentioned that yesterday was Lauren's birthday, so a fun royal coincidence!  

Kate has been cultivating this new casual style for a few years now. She trends toward Troy London for more urban outdoors events, while still bringing out the Barbour for more rural or "involved" outdoors activities. Barbour is such a classic royal favorite,  I never want her to stop wearing it (nor do I think she will), but it is always fun to see new labels, so I think she has hit a great balance here. These Chloe boots weren't a huge hit for me when she first debuted them, but they are growing on me. They work when she has a substantial enough jacket to balance out their substantial heft. Chunky feet need to be balanced on the other end! I especially loved the ruffled collar with the sweater. I have been wearing this look for a few years now (despite my family's protestation it makes me look like a librarian) and I feel very validated right now. A validated librarian...

Finally, a fun fact I learned from KP's increasingly great Instagram account, Ullswater inspired William Wadsworth's poem "I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud." I love that poem. Anything that talks about "dancing daffodils" is a winner in my book...It was a great day following the Cambridges.

Happy Wednesday, All. 

Trooping 2019: The Royal Family On Parade

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Trooping the Colour is a red letter day for the royal family. It is one of their biggest "royal days" of the year, when they put on their best and present a spectacular show for the nation. They always seem to get lucky with the weather, but yesterday was particularly perfect, and we have yet another fabulous celebration of the Queen's birthday in the books. 

Kate looked radiant this year in a new, bespoke ensemble by McQueen. I know several people have hypothesized this was originally intended as Kate's ensemble for Meghan's wedding (because it is a much more obvious primrose yellow than the coat-dress Kate did wear to Meghan's wedding), but I think that is unlikely. After much disagreement and picture comparison, it became clear that Kate's May 19th dress was the most delicate of pale yellows. Also, this Trooping design is not the one I would expect Kate to pick last spring. It really highlights Kate's incredible figure, and it wouldn't have been a design she would have chosen so soon after delivering Louis. Kate was obviously very comfortable last summer and took her time "losing her baby weight." I don't think she had any plans to slim down to fit this style.

This ensemble was a huge win for me. Someone was saying last week that Kate and Sarah might be starting to drift toward boring designs, but this was a beautiful bounce back. The softly layered collar and coordinating peplum are classic Burton and fit Kate's style profile to a T. Kate's hat is the Philip Treacy she debuted at Meghan's wedding. I loved this hat so much yesterday; for whatever reason, this was a better wear for it. Kate was sporting the Bahrain earrings on loan from the Queen, and to my delight, a cross pendant. Kate used to wear a cross with regularity. The cross she used to wear debuted in 2005, and the last (public) wear was 2012. This might be a different cross, or perhaps just a new chain? It featured a little diamond above the pendant, which her older cross did not have, and I believe this chain is shorter. So, I suppose it could be the same cross with an upgraded chain. 

Meghan wore Givenchy. I think Meghan has fabulous style, but I can't say this was my favorite choice, and I found the black, leather gloves far too heavy for a bright June morning.  Her hat by Noel Stewart was not as flattering as it could have been, either. A style with a bit more of a brim would have helped. We all have wins and misses, but this was a miss. She shed the cape for the balcony appearance, though, and I liked what I could see of the ensemble at that stage. The white capped sleeves had little epaulettes, which you know I love.

The big surprise this year at Trooping was to see that the Sussexes were placed in Kate and Camilla's carriage. Trooping features two carriage rides--from the Palace to the Horse Guards Parade and then back down the Mall to the Palace--and they provide the opportunity for stunning photos of the senior royals. There is no doubt there is prime seating and not so prime seating. The prime seating is always facing forward. It permits the crowd the best view of the royal passenger and it also provides great lines of sight for photographers, which is how we get so many portrait like photos of the royal women. Before his marriage, Harry always sat opposite Kate and Camilla, but when he married, he got an upgrade. 

Trooping 2018

Last year, Harry and Meghan got their own carriage, and there were beautiful shots of the newly minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Putting the Sussexes with Kate and Camilla, in the "B seating," was definitely deliberate. The Palace was highlighting its major players, its two future Queens, and  without being inflammatory, deliberately shifting the spotlight away from the Sussexes.  

I saw the Sun ran some article about the body language in the carriage, with the headline that Kate looked uncomfortable. I couldn't help but peek at the article. I don't think Kate looked uncomfortable, but if there was any hint of awkwardness at any point, it would have been because everyone in the carriage understood the score. Harry most of all, because he has been raised a royal and understands the niceties of placement better than anyone, but both Camilla and Kate have been playing this royal game for years, too. Even Meghan is enough of a PR guru to get what was going on. She kept a smiling face on throughout, which is always the best course of action. Harry's sometimes sullen looks didn't help the situation.

The Sun's expert also noted that the Palace missed an opportunity to put on "a display of solidarity and friendship" by not placing the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex in close proximity on the balcony, but the Sun's expert is missing the entire point. It was very clear that at this event, the Palace was not trying telegraph solidarity or friendship. The Palace clearly placed the Cambridge family in a prime position, as their place in the hierarchy requires, and stashed Meghan and Harry on the other side; it wasn't an accidental choice. The Palace was making a statement--perhaps as much to Meghan and Harry as to all of us. I have said this before, but I will repeat it: you can't fight the Palace.  The primary royals are those who will inherit the throne--everyone else is a supporting character. The extent to which Harry and Meghan attempt to buck, or appear to buck, the system will determine the force of the push-back they receive from the Palace. 

I always get a few complaints after I share my thoughts on the Sussexes. I know people want to believe that all is well in the House of Windsor, and that's laudable, but I think at this stage the tension is clear.  Yesterday's carefully choreographed placement was as straight-forward as it gets. 

Watch Trooping the Color Live

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Good morning all. Below is the BBC Livestream of Trooping the Colour:

Kate Accepts the Salute at Beating Retreat

Friday, June 7, 2019

As you all know, last night Kate accepted the salute at the Household Division's Beating Retreat at the Horse Guards Parade. This is essentially a concert/parade that takes place twice in the week before Trooping the Colour. There is marching and drumming, music and fireworks--an impressive and fun time all around.  A member (or members) of the Royal Family generally attend at least one night each year and "accept" the salute.

Kate recycled her popular cream Catherine Walker coat, which she first debuted in Canada in 2016...

...and recycled for Easter in 2017.

The first wear was a huge success, but the second wear was a  bit of a stumble because of the white box hat she wore that made her look like a nurse. With this third wear, I think she is back on track and looking better than ever. Several of you messaged me noting how radiant she looked. In many pictures, she is soaked in the gold of the sunset, which certainly helped her along, but I also thought that Kate looked absolutely stunning. She took her make-up up a notch, and her extra-bold eyebrows made her beautiful bone structure pop even more than usual.

The Duchess accessorized with her Amberley clutch from Mulberry and her Cassandra Goad Cavolfiore earrings. Those are her Gianvito Rossi Praline pumps, with which we are quite familiar.  She added a final touch to her neutral ensemble with the golden Shamrock pin we almost only ever see on St. Patrick's Day. I believe this is on permanent loan from the Irish Guards, so it is almost like a little military pin for her--something of a membership card--and it was a great addition to her ensemble last night.

Although the neutral accessories felt a little flat when I first saw pictures, they have grown on me since. I now think the ensemble was a great success. I like how the golden sunset played with the creams and champagnes of her ensemble, very much like many of the pictures we got from A Taste of Norfolk, when Kate seemed to glow in the evening light during the cocktail party (see above). Her ramrod straight posture also lent her a commanding aura. This was an A+ all around.   

The Fashion at the U.S. State Dinner

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The U.S. State Visit kicked off Monday with a number of events hosted by the royals. The obvious highlight of the day was the hotly anticipated State Dinner Monday night, where we expected Kate to debut her new Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order sash and star. We were not disappointed. Kate the Great was resplendent in favorite old jewels, new honors, and a stunning new dress.

This lacy white gown is by her favorite label for massive state events: Alexander McQueen. I know it got mixed reviews, but it is a win for me. It is such a fun twist on her usual style, and incorporated her love of lace and flounces in a new and unique way. The dress was soft, feminine, and flattering, too--all the things I am looking to see from Kate these days. She looks striking in white, and it was the perfect color to contrast against the deep red of the walls and carpets, and to show off her new Dame Grand Cross, which she secured, by the way, with her oak and acorn brooch. The Duchess walked with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin.

Kate's earrings are the Queen Mother's sapphire and diamond stunners that the Princess first wore to the 100 Women in Hedge Funds gala in 2015.  To no one's surprise, Kate wore her favorite tiara, the Queen Mary Lover's Knot, made famous by the late Princess of Wales. One of you asked me why Kate only wears this tiara. First of all, I think she likes it. Big and bold, it is objectively stunning, but also very feminine thanks to its loops of diamonds and dangling pearls, which Kate loves. But I also believe she wears it because of the gravitas of its history. Kate is Diana's "heir," so to speak, as she has stepped into her shoes, and is following in her footsteps toward her role as Princess of Wales, and ultimately Queen. As a result, I think the tiara holds important significance to her and is something of a statement about her stature within the family.

Speaking of Diana, in the photo above, you can see Kate is wearing a pearl bracelet that belongs to the Queen, but was among the jewelry that she loaned to Diana. Below is a video of the procession into the dining room. Kate paused during the procession to the tables and leaned over to shake a woman's hand. I think that was Mrs. Mnuchin.

Below, you can see Kate behind the President and the Queen in this group shot. She is talking to Donald Trump, Jr. To her right (our left in the picture) are Tiffany Trump and Eric Trump, both of whom appear to be admiring their incredible surroundings. 

First Lady Melania Trump was wearing a white bespoke gown by Dior. Melania is drop-dead gorgeous, and she looked stunning in this dress. That said, it isn't my favorite. I am never a fan of mesh tops, so that detracted a little from the dress for me (her D&G arrival ensemble had me swooning and her Givenchy at last night's dinner was picture perfect). Although I wasn't head over heels about this Dior, it certainly wasn't a miss. The gloves were such a touch of elegance--very Eliza Doolittle at the Embassy Ball. A quick note on Camilla. I do love this dress, which is a Bruce Oldfield and absolutely exquisite.

The other ladies all scored in my book, too. Above you can see President Trump's daughter Ivanka wearing Carolina Herrera and walking with Liam Fox. I love CH and her signature shirt-dress style is iconic. I wasn't sure how I felt about the shirt-dress look for a State Banquet--I know it is a very formal style, but I was on the fence. Ultimately, I have come down on the side of a win. I think when you see a full picture it does look appropriately dramatic for a State Banquet, and I do love how this one is embellished. Kellyanne Conway (with the Duke of Kent) is walking behind Ivanka looking sleek and sophisticated in silver Stella McCartney, and the third woman, who is wearing red, is the President's Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I have sadly not been able to ID her dress, @FoxNewsFashion has IDed her dress as a dress from Chiara Boni, which is a label she likes and has worn before. Sarah has coloring similar to Kate's, and she is quite striking in red. She shared behind the scenes snaps on her IG (found here) for anyone interested. 

Finally, it is tough to style a baby-bump, but Lara Trump, who is pregnant with her second, has been absolutely killing it throughout this visit. She wore Monique Lhuillier to the State Dinner, with white gloves like Melania's. Picture perfect. 

@laraleatrump on Instagram
It sounds like we will see Kate accept the salute at the Household Division's Beating Retreat tonight, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, today the President and the Queen are joining other heads of state to mark D-Day. So, busy day all around. 

The Royal Family is a-political. Royal-watching (successful, enjoyable royal-watching) is a-political. This blog and associated social media accounts are a-political. Do not express your personal opinions on politics or politicians on any social channels; I will delete. Thank you.

The Royal Foundation to Split

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Yesterday, Emily Andrews published an exclusive report that the Royal Foundation will indeed go the way of the Kensington Palace court, and split. This was a big question on everyone's mind when it was announced that the Sussexes and the Cmabridges would split households, and even at that time, Emily said she thought the Sussexes would also ultimately split from the Royal Foundation.

The reason this is interesting is that it obviously was not the plan. As Emily notes in her article, and many others have pointed out, too, the Royal Foundation was meant to "harness" the star power of the two couples for some years to come. This split underscores just how deep the divide is between them now. 
A royal source said: “Things did get very bad between the brothers and they didn’t see each other privately for a number of months after the royal wedding.
“Certainly the animosity over status, money and Meghan meant that the split in their joint households had to be brought forward much more quickly than anticipated, so perhaps it was inevitable that their joint charity has to be split too.
I think we saw this was the trend when the four introduced their new project: Shout. The coverage was solidly on the Cambridges, primarily William. He was the spokesman who introduced it, making essentially no reference to Harry or Meghan. Kate was heavily featured in video footage and then there was only the most fleeting reference to the Sussexes in the video. It seemed clear that the project started as a joint effort, but that the trend was toward separate projects. Heads Together was Kate's brainchild, and then it was a successful project pushed by the then cozy Royal Trio, so it makes sense that the Cambridges would maintain ownership of the offspring. Harry and Meghan did some separate promotion of the project, but all the promotion clearly had a hierarchy rather than an equal disbursement. 

From what I have seen, it seems that many fans feel that the silver  lining to this split is that the Sussexes will have a little more leeway to promote their more activist causes, but I do not think that is the case. So long as the Sussexes are HRHs and prominent senior royals, they are bound by the same neutrality that holds William and Kate in check. There will continue to be tension and a tug-of-war between the two couples' offices until the Sussexes either accept a less forward-leaning game-plan or, not to be dramatic, but decline royal status. I think that is the reason the Cambridges were anxious for a split, as the article notes. They understand that if the Sussexes continue as they have started, the situation will ultimately be untenable. 

At the end of the day, Meghan and Harry want to pursue a path that is not a royal path. They have goals and ambitions that would be too controversial even if they were the future king and queen, but certainly is off-message for royals whose first job is to support the monarch--the Queen today, but ultimately Charles and then William. It seems many fans forget this fact, but it is the reality. That is what monarchy is--a Queen (or king) Bee and supporting worker bees. If that isn't your cup of tea, then monarchy isn't really your cup of tea. 

So in short, I think we are in for more rocky waters, but splitting the Royal Foundation is a good start. These four clearly cannot work well together, and hopefully things will settle down with a little more breathing room all around.