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Kate Appearance Rumored and Pink Issa From Rent the Runway

Monday, January 28, 2013

I am going crazy for some Kate.  I would wait until the end of this post to tell you a little surprise  but I know the short attention span of the facebook generation, so I will say right off the bat that a little bird on Twitter is tweeting that Kate will be out and about in the coming week. To which I loudly chirped back, Hallelujah. I am not privy to the original rumor, but it wouldn't be shocker since she hasn't been seen for a while and public opinion seems to be fairly unanimous in the thought that if she is well enough, she should be making the royal rounds.

If she is feeling better, now would be the time to rack up engagements while she can still hide her pregnancy fairly well. As lovely as the hope is, while we wait for actuality let's look back at one of my favorite dresses from the Middleton days.  The Pink Plunging Issa!

Rent the Runway has a pink Issa very similar to this, so now you can have a Kate Middleton moment.  The dresses really are almost identical, although Rent the Runway's has a deeper plunge.  Too be properly princessy you might want to delicately stitch it up just a little to match Kate's sexy, but not exhibitionist, approach.  Nothing says Kardashian, instead of Kate, quite like parts popping out without an invitation.

Soon, I am sure we will be seeing Kate and the comparisons between Elizabeth II and Queen Beatrix will end...

Should Michael Middleton Receive a Title? Teenage Snap of Kate and Pippa Middleton

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Daily Mail published this picture of Kate and Pippa playing field hockey together at Marlborough College in Kate's last year there. Frankly, I think that Kate looks much the same, or at least easily recognizable, but I am always thrown by childhood--or early--photos of Pippa. Kate is a keen hockey player as we all know and as she has displayed many times.

The Daily Mail was full of fun today, with a speculative article that Michael Middleton might be granted a title?  I had never actually considered that possibility.  Although, I do not know the political climate, history and tradition certainly stand in his favor.  The article points out:
For the stark fact is that not for 1,000 years of British history has the grandfather of a future sovereign been without a title.
Not terribly surprising given that royals often marry ladies of nobility, but when that has not been the case, the grandfather has been dealt with:

William’s maternal grandfather was an earl (Spencer) — so, too, was the Queen’s (Strathmore). Even Anne Boleyn saw her father promoted from commoner to Earl of Wiltshire long before she gave birth to their daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I.
The only other non-titled grandpa in the past millennium, the father of Edward IV’s wife Elizabeth, also had an earldom bestowed on him.
It is a fun read. I don't think Michael needs one, but I wouldn't object to it happening. For some reason I think the Queen will not, but we shall see. So, what do you think? Should Michael Middleton be granted a title? If he is granted one, I hope it isn't the Earl of Bucklebury. Ugh, no.

Kate Pops Into Pret a Manger on Friday

Friday, January 25, 2013

This is certainly a first. I don't think I have ever seen Kate wear a cape, but I guess a pregnant Kate is a whole different fashion girl.  She was shopping King's Road today and popped into Pret a Manger for a croissant. This Zara cape is from 2010, so presumably she has worn it before, but never in public to my recollection.  I don't love it, but it might look different from the front? Either way, she is dressed down and relaxed.  It would seem the Duchess doesn't want to worry about sucking it in. Frankly, from this I assume she might be lightly showing.

Perhaps, Kate was celebrating being inducted into the All England Club, otherwise known as Wimbledon. Kate loves tennis, as we all know, and often attends Wimbledon  The Queen is patron of the club and the Duke of Kent is president. Perhaps, when HRH the Duke of Kent steps down, they will promote a lovely young royal to the position? It would certainly be appropriate given her dedication to the sport.

Kate Loves Starbucks and Other Royal Hearsay

Monday, January 21, 2013

Gosh, until this darn Anmer Hall is settled we are going to have to set up some kind of House Watch, like the Royal Baby Watch. A new twist on the ever changing saga is that there is a military base not far from the home.  Perhaps, William and Kate are hankering after some extended normalcy before changing their lives forever, and will remain in the service while they start to raise their first child. The big home could be a perfect upgrade for them as they must expand their household to accommodate a major lifestyle change with the arrival of Baby Cambridge. Even so, it would continue to give them the privacy and sense of a normal life they crave before becoming full-time royals. Supposedly, trees that provide screening and dense shrubbery are being added around the property to further shield it from prying eyes. To be doubt...

Meanwhile, on January 11th Kate was spotted walking Lupo, accompanied by a security guard, around Kensington.  The Duchess stopped into a nearby Starbucks, where she is described as a regular, to order a decaf skinny latte and a cookie. Frankly, if you are going for sweets why anyone would pass up on the salted caramel cake pop is beyond me, but I suppose if their is a chance of paparazzi around it is for the best. They are quite tricky things to consume with dignity. The above picture is actually from last year. No quick photo was snapped. Starbucks isn't that fast, I guess everyone was thoughtful of her privacy. Kate is a long time fan of the coffee company as we have old photographic evidence.

The Daily Mail reports that Harry is envious of William getting to fly and then go home to his wife and cute dog:
'Before coming out here I was very jealous of my brother,' he said.
'It's operational flying back home. You get all the luxuries of operational flying - the pride, as you call it - and the reward of basically saving people's lives, which is exactly what we try and do as well.
'And back home he gets to go home to his wife and dog, whereas out here we don't. We're stuck playing PlayStation in a tent full of men.'
Harry said William is a little jealous in his own right, wishing he could be flying in Afghanistan:
'I think there is a bit of jealousy, not just the fact that I get to fly this, but obviously he'd love to be out here.
Oh boys and their manly-man rivalries. If you want more on the story, check out the full article here.

Emerald is the Official Color of 2013: Kate's Green History

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kate Wearing 2012 Official Color: Tangerine 

Last night I downloaded Vogue UK's February edition to enjoy their much talked of Katepedia special. It was a visual feast and fun to see in statistics the various inclinations of the Duchess that most us of us have already noticed. Easy examples: Kate's most worn color is blue coming in first in the color crowd at 24%, she really likes LK Bennett as evidenced by their column's double lead over every other label on the graph, she holds her clutches with both hands 48% of the time, etc, the list continues. In all seriousness, it was very fun and a very friendly piece on Kate.  Numbers tend to give us a sense of veracity, but I do question the accuracy since they kicked the stats off with Kate's height reported as 178 cm with no shoes.  For you Yanks, that is 5'10".  We have had this argument before, eh? Even my ex-boyfriend snorted in disbelief when I said Kate was reputedly 5'10", and I didn't even know he knew who Kate was, so it is more obvious than I thought! Perhaps this will be a myth that is never put to rest.

Blue may have won Kate's year, but the experts at Pantone have declared the official color of 2013 to be emerald. We have seen Kate wearing this shade already with great success, even if it only garnered 6% of the Duchess's attention, according to Katepedia. As you search for inspiration to add this vibrant color to your spring wardrobe, let's look at some of her most outstanding choices. 

Kate dazzled last year in this aqua green Jenny Packham gown at the Our Greatest Team Rises Gala in support of the British Olympic team. Jenny Packham may not be McQueen or LK Bennett, but she has certainly had her fair share of royal attention. Kate might not wear her as often, but when she does it is high profile.  Remember that her first evening gown appearance was in Jenny P at the ARK Gala. I would say the label has essentially filled the evening gown gap left when the she quietly distanced herself from Issa. 

On the job, Kate wore a deeper teal when she joined the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as they kicked off the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. Word to the wise, when you go out with Granny, try and coordinate color scheme. Kate and Elizabeth didn't make this mistake twice.  The next time those two were out and about they complemented each other perfectly in blue. 

In a very unusual move, Kate went American in an olive green Ralph Lauren (Blue Label) knit dress when she visited Centrepoint with William. This look is classic Kate Middleton. A streamlined silhouette in an understated color, black stockings and her iconic black suede boots. 

Was Kate ahead of the curve with her green choices this year, or still trading on 2010's official color: turquoise.  Let's not split hairs.  That girl is the Queen of Style, let us simply follow. :)

Still waiting to see her out and about again.  I think we will in a few weeks.

Kate's Baby is Due in July, Palace Confirms

Monday, January 14, 2013

No sooner asked than answered. Yesterday, I wondered when the baby was due and if Kate is carrying twins.  This morning at 11am London time, St. James Palace announced:
Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to confirm they are expecting a baby in July...the Duchess's condition continues to improve since her stay in hospital last month.
The wording would also seem to imply she is not pregnant with twins, but with the Palace, who knows! They did say there were no plans to announce gender.

The Cambridges Hire More Staff: A Move to Full-time Royals?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Prince William with a mug saying, "Big Willy" which supposedly was the pet name Kate would call him.
There are a lot of big questions surrounding our favorite royal pair. Will the baby be a boy or a girl? Just one or twins? What is the due date?  The list may continue, but one questions that hangs in the air is, what are William's career plans? Is he sticking with the RAF or transitioning to full-time royal?  The announcement was supposed to be made by now, but we are still waiting for word, possibly because of the hoopla from the baby announcement, or perhaps in true William fashion he is waiting to announce. So what do we know?

The news that Amner Hall, the house on the Queen's Sandringham Estate, has been slated for refurbishments in preparation for the Cambridges was leaked in the past week.  I was skeptical. I mean, we have heard this before, right? But a recent development seems to add hitherto unseen element: the royal couple have recently advertised internally for more help. The Sunday Express reported some of William and Kate's requirements,
“Main duties included: ensuring all areas of the residence are cleaned and maintained to a high standard at all times. Caring for and maintaining TRH ­personal clothing, cleaning silver- ware and glassware and in-house laundry.”
Apparently, this position is quite a multi-tasking one, the couple requested someone with strong written and verbal communication as well as a mention of walking dogs. I guess Lupo won't be feeling as much love from the duchess?

As I say, the position was only advertised internally, so only current royal staff may apply.  This does seem to be a shift for William and Kate, as they have previously tried to live as normal a life as possible, resisting les domestiques. It seems to me more likely that we will see these two moving to full-time royals.

It makes sense, a baby changes your life.  Now there are three. When they were newlyweds they could rough it in Anglesey and enjoy the isolation of their remote home while William worked like any other person. With a baby they will probably want to be closer to bigger towns, closer to family, and probably in a home with more amenities and perhaps more security.

Amner Hall won't be vacant until 2017, though, so either the Queen has struck a deal with the current tenet to move him along faster, or we are looking at some long-term planning.

Kate and Family Attend Unveiling of Her First Official Portrait

Friday, January 11, 2013

History and tradition are two very important words to any modern monarchy. As much as every royal family needs to bend with the times, none can fully let go of the pomp and circumstance of the past or in some sense they will lose their relevancy.  Today was one of the more historical days as the first, and much anticipated, official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in London.  The subject herself was in attendance, of course, accompanied by William and the Middletons.

Kate is thought to be a little over twelve weeks pregnant, but you couldn't have told that from her figure flattering red Whistles dress. If Kate had not gotten so sick, we would all still be sitting around speculating.  I like this dress a lot, the chiffon like sleeves and fluid skirt are all very feminine, and the v-neck, so popular with Kate, keeps it from looking matronly. Her bangs are starting to grow out a little, but her hair looked great and she was smiling and healthy. So much for the great fashion, let's briefly consider the star of the show, the portrait.

Photo of the Duchess of Cambridge that was used for the official portrait.
On first look, I don't love it. He seems to have highlighted her light imperfections, without capturing her beauty. Her nose looks flat and it looks like she has bags under eyes and creases in her skin.  The artist specializes in pictures that are very realistic, and The Sunday Times says,
Paul Emsley, a 65-year-old artist based in Wiltshire who says he likes “to emphasise veins, bones, folds and muscles” in his work, was chosen from a shortlist of four drawn up by the National Portrait Gallery, of which the duchess is a patron.
I had hoped for something more regal, something that highlighted she is a princess. Diana's first official portrait was painted while she was engaged by Bryan Organ and is even more relaxed, although brighter, than Kate's, so that put a lot of things in perspective.

 With her usual care and tact, Kate chose to view it privately before publicly thanking and congratulating the artist and his wife.  She said it was, "just amazing, absolutely brilliant" while William concurred it was, "Beautiful". I don't think it is dreadful, because in many ways it does look like Kate, but it misses the mark in certain areas.  She is a much more radiant and beautiful woman than portrayed here. Nevertheless, it isn't a complete disaster as many critics seem to be claiming. It is natural, as she requested and dignified as is appropriate to her position. I particularly like that she is wearing the sapphire earrings that match her famous engagement ring.  Sapphires were made something of an official stone for the Princess of Wales by Diana and now have a certain historical signification. Honestly, the portrait gets better the longer you look at it.

Kate's family was also in tow to view the portrait, and while I am sure they are very proud to have their daughter's painting at the National Portrait Gallery, I have to wonder what was said over tea this afternoon...

Kate knew the Emsley's work and she requested that he be the artist, so she knew what she was getting into and I think she probably is truly happy with it.  Art is interpretation, not just reality, and she must like what she sees represented.  Kate left the museum with what looked like a red wrapped gift.  Apparently, they were postcards with her portrait on them.  If you can't live without a few of your own, click this link to buy online.

Until next time...

Pictures of Kate's 31st Birthday with the Middletons

Thursday, January 10, 2013

That's a birthday girl who knows she is being photographed:

The whole family was in tow to celebrate with Kate as they attended the show in London.  The Telegraph reports more here. All I know is that woman has champagne, and it is about that time for me, too. Check back tomorrow. Word on the street is that Kate's portrait will be unveiled...

James and Carole in the top row, Kate, William, Michael, and Pippa below. 

[Update] Kate Enjoys a Cirque du Soleil with Family for Her Birthday

Are these photos of Kate from her birthday, yesterday?  MSNBC TODAY Show aired photos of Kate, William, and Michael Middleton--along with other unidentified persons--at what appears to be a theater, and implied that they were from her birthday.  [Update] @iamraena on Twitter tracked down the show and identified it as Kooza, a Cirque du Soleil show, performing at Royal Albert Hall. More on the show here. TODAY was discussing the Letters Patent the Queen issued that ensured that if the couple's baby is a girl, she will be a princess in her own right. So far no one recognizes the photos, so it seems fairly likely they are indeed new.

Yesterday, it was reported that William traveled in from Anglesey, and that the Duchess did not go to their remote country home to celebrate her birthday. That makes it even more likely that this is some London production.

Enjoy the full video here

Kate Turns 31: What is She Getting This Year?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kate turns 31 today, and much the same as last year, she is celebrating in a low key fashion. Not exactly headline news. She is pregnant and suffers from harsh morning sickness, no one expects her to be hitting the tiles.  Big annual events like birthdays do tend to elicit a certain amount of nostalgia. Where was I last year? Who was I with? Never thought I would be here a year later, yadyadayada.

One of my favorite birthdays was Kate's 26th in 2008.  That year she did hit the town with Pippa for some single-girl partying and there were plenty of photos.  Although, William was not with her that night, the two had recently reconciled after their very painful April split the year before.  Papers were speculating that a royal engagement was imminent, and although we all had several more years of waiting in store, the couple was together for keeps. She was clearly one happy--and well dressed--lady as she made the rounds near trendy Sloane Square. This is also an interesting birthday, because it is the last that she celebrated out and about in London. I think she spent her 27th with her parents in Berkshire, her 28th with William at Balmoral, and her 29th quietly with William as she took a break from planning the Wedding of...well at least the decade. 

Above, Kate smiles as she returns to her apartment from work on her 26th birthday--January 9th, 2008.  Later that night, in these photos below, Kate celebrates with her sister Pippa in that famous white coat that everyone loves, and as far as I know, remains a UFO. [The white coat is Reiss's Olivia double breasted coat.]

When Kate isn't pictured on her birthday, papers seem to fill the void with very interesting birthday stories. I think it was 2009 that it was reported that Kate's dog at the time ate the heirloom pearl earrings that William had gifted her. Apparently, retrieval had to wait for nature to take its course. And the next year, unconfirmed rumors spread that the two had a double bath installed in their Scottish retreat... Maybe some stories should be left to the fade into the fog of time.

This year the gift chatter is better and expensive. The Mirror reports:
St James's Palace has said the Duchess will be marking her birthday "privately".
Kate is thought to be with her husband William at their home in north Wales where the Duke works as an RAF Search and Rescue helicopter pilot.
BUT, The Standard adds:
It was recently claimed that William plans to buy Kate a country estate as a birthday gift so they have a retreat out of the city after they move into their apartment in Kensington Palace.
A source said: "They've talked about getting a place where they can get away from it all. And now William has narrowed down the list to a few incredible places in Hampshire and Buckinghamshire around the £5 million mark. They don't want to be too close to London as they are already based in Kensington Palace.
This comes right on the heels of the story that the Queen will give them a large home on her Sandringham estate. I am skeptical of all these house stories. There sure are a lot of houses in the mix right now. How many homes can one settle into all at once?  We have yet to hear what William's career plans are. How soon will the Cambridges be full-time royals?  Big houses require staff--as Downton Abbey teaches us--and Wills and Kate have resisted help from the start.  Lots of houses someday? Obviously, yes, but I am not so sure we will see real estate developments in the near future. Unlike stories of pearl earrings and private bathtubs, time will tell on this one.
"William has gathered together various property details from some high-end retail estates which he will give to her on her birthday on January 9."
I am a flowers and jewelry girl. Flowers to start the day, and something sparkly to close the evening, but I guess I could settle for a country getaway.

Happy Birthday, Kate, whatever your gift may be!

Is Kate's Effect on Fashion Overstated?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Let me just say that I will close this post with a comment on Downton Abbey Season 3 ep. 1. If you are one of my lovely UK readers you are rolling your eyes over old news. If you are an American glued to the telly last night, you also are in the know. If you had some credible disaster that kept you from watching the US premiere last night,but you already know the big news from ep. 1, continue. But, if are not from the UK, were not glued to your U.S. TV last night, and are planning to get caught up this evening, don't scroll to the bottom of the page. I am skeptical that last category exists, but just to be safe. Now to talk of Kate...

If you are like me, you are feeling some light Royal Withdrawal, so while we wait for Kate to either make an official appearance, or pop out to the local convenience store for a snack, let's get caught up on some interesting news stories. 

It has been reported that Kate is planning a menu, with Lorraine Pascale for Prince Charles' Prince's Trust Ball- I know, I saw ball and my ears perked up, too--to be held on Valentine's Day. Pascale explained to the Telegraph that she is designing petit fours and the main dish, but added:
"I will be doing a tasting with Kate, which is very exciting. I’m sure with her help we’ll be developing some beautiful dishes."
Although, she only explicitly said Prince Charles was going, if Kate is helping out perhaps she and her handsome husband will make an appearance. Or they might sit home in Anglesey. We wait. 

Also, intriguing from the Telegraph today was the confusing headline, The Kate Effect Overstated Due to Thriftiness, which left me very puzzled and lightly incredulous.  Those of us who admire Kate know how quickly her clothes sell, and the frenzy with which women around the globe watch her every fashion choice. The argument runs along the line that people who admire Kate Middleton are less likely to copy her exactly, particularly as she transitions from high street to haute couture.  Even sales of the clothes she has specifically worn from the more affordable brands do not sell out for the simple reason they are gone before she wears them:
But the Duchess’s propensity for wearing older designs means that those hoping to emulate her style often find that the creations have long gone from the fashion rails.
Andy Rogers, brand director at Reiss, admitted that while the Duchess raised the profile of the brand, they did not sell “zillions” of that white dress because it was an old style.
These retailers did, however, admit that even if the particular style has worn does not sell out their brand name has seen marked improvement:
Shepherdson has described the Duchess as “a great advert, but no more than that”.
However, such adverts are undoubtedly good for business. Reiss credits the Kate Effect with rapid global growth, while Littlewoods reported a 238 per cent jump in sales of hockey sticks after she took to the pitch at the Olympic Park in Stratford last year.
This is the moment you burst out laughing. This might be clearer to Americans, because many Americans had never heard of LK Bennett, Whistles, Reiss--obviously we have Zara over here, but it was not as popular or well known as it is now.  As my cheeky brother would say, let me break this down for you. The fact is, even if the actual item that Kate wore is not available, women turn to many of these brands for their fashion needs because Kate has worn the label. When a woman shops for clothes, shoes, bags, and so forth, and Kate having worn the label is the tipping factor on whether they purchase, that is significant power.  I know many pieces in my closet were purchased because Kate wore the label, and I also know I am not alone. Rapid global growth is also a rather impressive effect.  In these financial times and the resulting aggressive atmosphere, that kind of edge is golden. I would say the "Kate Effect" is stronger than ever.

One question I had months ago was randomly answered in this article:
He [Mouret] disclosed that the Duchess has specifically requested that a cream Mouret gown she wore to a dinner at Claridge’s last year was cut slightly looser than the sample.
When she wore the dress last year you could see she had plenty of breathing room.

Keep your eyes peeled for the release of an official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge that is set to be displayed at the National Portrait Gallery.  Rumor has it that Paul Emsley has received the commission, and although some have found his work lightly unusual, I think he will stay classical for the conservative Duchess of Cambridge. In any case, rumors are rumors, we will have to just wait and see.

For my American readers, if you are still craving something beautiful, rewatch last night's premiere of Downton Abbey Season 3. That wedding was a mini royal wedding. I loved it! Lady Mary was second only to Kate. Watch with tea and cake...

Telegraph on Valentine's Day Ball
Telegraph on the "Kate Effect"

Kate Spotted in Thatcham Waitrose.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year! Kate was spotted in a Thatcham Waitrose today by a young woman on Twitter, @LisaHewitt12 Thatcham is in Berkshire and this is the second sighting of Kate at various stores near her parents' home.  This answers any questions about where she spent the holiday, although, not a real shocker given William was working. Lisa said that she shook Kate's hand, but there were no autographs given or pictures taken.

Kate was wearing a long blue top, body warmer, and blue skinny jeans.  I wonder if they were this shade of blue:

Or this shade:

Kate has been photographed shopping in the past at local grocery stores, here are a few of my favorites:

She keeps is cozy and casual, and has come to the store both in her Range Rover and Audi, but there are always protection officers nearby. Right now, it is unclear to me whether Kate is staying in Berkshire to be near her family during the holidays, or because they are worried that Anglesey is too remote due to her condition. Time will tell...