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Pippa Watches Tennis With Downton Star Michelle Dockery As 1st TV Interview is Prepped to Air

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Three awesome things came together today: Tennis, a couple of Middletons, and Downton Abbey. That's right, Pippa and James are back from their 3,000 mile bike trip across the United States and they popped over to the Royal Box at Wimbledon to take in some lawn tennis. Also on hand at the All England Club was the lovely Michelle Dockery, aka Lady Mary Crawley. While Lady Mary is still deciding between two entirely unequal suitors (Mary, marry Tony Gillingham, the competition isn't even close) Michelle seems to be less conflicted in real life. She was accompanied by her boyfriend James Dineen and they were pictured greeting Pippa and James during the match.

You probably have heard by now that Pippa has undertaken her first TV interview with Matt Lauer. It will air on Monday, but E! has a sneak peek focusing on some questions Lauer asked Pippa about her famous sister Kate. He asked if Kate's marriage to William had changed her in her relationship with Pippa:
"Not particularly, no...I mean, obviously she has pressures that she's taken on and things. But we spend a lot of time together. We still do a lot together as a family. And I think that's really the heart for all of us is having a really close family that we can sort of be normal with each other, treat each other normally. And that's sort of kept us all, you know, affixed to the ground."
"So you can call any night and say, 'Hey, Kate, it's Pippa. Let's just do girl talk like we used to'?" Matt inquired, to which Pippa provided a positive response. 
"Yeah. Yeah, we do, we have a very normal, sisterly relationship," she revealed. "We're very close. And, you know, we support each other and get each other's opinions and things."
I don't think this will surprise any royal watchers. Pippa and Kate have always been quite close:

And obviously remain so.  

Kate has clearly been at pains to remain a member of her family despite joining the British Royal Family. Rather than something she has tow irk on, I suspect it is quite natural for the tight-knit Middletons to remain very active parts of each other's lives. I am certainly looking forward to the full interview. It will air in two parts, on Monday and on Tuesday.

I will say that this makes me wonder if Pippa is considering a move to the United States. It is hard for me to imagine her so far from family, but she is under a significant amount of scrutiny from the press in the UK. Princess Diana was considering a move to America to escape the constant paparazzi attention, and while it is unlikely that the most photographed woman in the world would have been markedly more incognito in the US than in England, Pippa could very well find more privacy and perhaps business opportunities in the New World. We shall see...

Bad news in the Kate category. She will not be attending the Order of the Thistle ceremony in Scotland. This is the equivalent of the Order of the Garter for the Scots and Kate was on hand to see William's investiture several years ago.

Unfortunately, it now seems she will give this year's event a miss. It is terribly surprising. She would have had to leave George at home, or cart in north, and little Mr. Grumpy-Pants undoubtedly likes his routine. Babies: they are blessings and curses. ;) We will be seeing her on the 1st in London, though, so keep your spirits up! 

William Marks 32 Years at Anmer Hall With The Middletons

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Saturday was June 21st, the first day of a summer, and a certain person's 32nd birthday! For better or for worse, William doesn't get a lot of attention on this blog, but since it was his special day, I thought it might be appropriate to briefly pay tribute to Kate's prince charming.  In a lot of ways, I think that Kate has made William a more impressive man. He has really shone, in my opinion, in the past few years since his marriage to Kate. Of course, that is what good relationships do--make people better people. At the same time, I don't want to short-change William, who also clearly plays a massively important role for Kate. Relatively quiet and very private, it can be hard sometimes to see past his public persona to the man he is to Kate, but we have been able to observe them enough over the years in different situations that we can now get a kind of picture.  In no particular order and with varying degrees of gravitas, I present some of the ways  I think we have seen William's character and loved him because of it:

Usually the far more reserved half of the Cambridge couple, from the moment that William announced his engagement to Kate he looked lit from within. On his wedding day William was absolutely exuberant, and after the traditional balcony kiss amounted to a pretty short peck from Kate, it was William who coaxed a second and longer smooch from his lovely bride. The Daily Mail lip readers translated their dialogue as follows:
‘Let’s give them another one. I love you,’ said William, as a spectacular flypast of Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft swept into view. ‘One more kiss, one more kiss. OK?’
Kate acquiesced and gave him a smacker that detonated a tidal wave of cheering, prompting William to echo the crowds, and say with them: ‘Come on! Come on! More! More! More!’
Lip reading is notorious for being entirely wrong at times...there is usually more than one reasonable interpretation, but I thought this was a plausible scenario, and it was a breath of fresh air to see William shed his usually fairly somber exterior on such a personal and joyful day. 

We love how he is always helping Kate to get from point A to B. He seems to love it, too...

Or how he charmingly tries to to prevent wardrobe malfunctions... 

The way he beats Kate in competition:

The way he loses to her:

The way he takes care of her when she is sick:

The way he gets angry when she has been hurt:

While on tour in South East Asia, the Cambridges were informed that grossly invasive photos of the Duchess were being published by French tabloid Closer. The timing made the situation even more painful, as the couple had to paste smiles on their faces and go greet their fans. The stress of the day was palpable, with William often unable to keep a scowl off his face. One sweet moment occurred when William jokingly presented his wife with a single rose, despite the fact she already had a handful. He created a moment of levity for the public, but also managed to ever so briefly create a personal moment to support his lovely wife.

And of course, we now love him as he takes on a new, but seemingly well-suited, role as not just husband, but father. 

We love him, and it seems so does Kate...

As William marks his 32nd year, the obvious question lingers...what next? Will he undertake full-time royal status, or will be continue to balance both a private and a public life? It seems that answer will be revealed very soon, and the whispers are that earlier rumors will be confirmed: William will take a job as an air ambulance pilot in Norfolk. Norfolk is, of course, the location of the Queen's Sandringham Estate and of Anmer Hall, the country home on which William and Kate are currently completing renovation. 

I predict that William and Kate will finish the renovations and will move to Anmer Hall using it for some years as their primary residence, although their official residence will remain their Kensington Palace apartment. Kate was raised in a leafy countryside town, and I think she will want to give her children a similar upbringing.  Furthermore, as the Cambridges fight to protect their children's privacy, Anmer Hall's more removed setting will afford greater protection from prying eyes. 

It was reported that William spent his birthday weekend with Kate and George, and Carole and Mike Middleton at Anmer Hall, so it must be fairly close to being done. Carole and Mike were celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary together, in addition to Mike's birthday, so it certainly made sense that they would all come together to mark these special events. 

The announcement on William's job should be imminent, and I am excited for it.  The final point that needs to be made is that William is not the Prince of Wales. He isn't the next in line, and I think we are seeing him continue to hold back, and continue to maintain a private life with a "real" job both because it is his preference to stay as low-key as possible for as long as he can, but also because I am sure the Palace and the PR people are advising this course of action. Prince Charles is sandwiched between two very popular and dynamic couples, and the Palace must carve out some room for him to breathe. William and Kate will continue to slowly increase their workload as they inevitably creep closer to stepping up a run in the ladder. I think it is a wise and measured move, and one that will benefit William and Kate's family life in the process, which can only ever be a good thing.  

A very Happy Birthday, Prince William!  Many more years of joy...

Pippa (and James) Bike Across the United States

Friday, June 20, 2014

Let me just say before I speak another word that Pippa and James are the cutest...and what the heck is going on with that beard? Hello, how can James stand these tropical temps with that beard? I think it is because he looks like George V with it...

Sorry, I have been wanting to get that off my chest for a while... It is pretty hot in the the Midwest of the United States. It is possible that the 9th circle of hell is warmer, but I think the competition would be closer than the Nadal/Djokovic final from the French Open... It's hot. Nevertheless, the heat has not put off everyone's favorite royal sibling from competing in yet another jaw-dropping athletic feat. The Pipster is cycling with her team across the United States in the Race Across America. The course started in Oceanside, California and ends in Annapolis, Maryland. That, my venerable friends, is 3,000 miles and 12 states. It is daunting in a car, but bicycling...Vive l'Angleterre! The last few days saw them come through the Midwest as they sped across Kansas and Missouri, ending in St. Louis last night.

Pips was snapped in rural Missouri on a short break:

And with a very cute little Cards fan:

She was photographed zipping through St. Louis proper by local newscaster Leisa Zigman:

Skiing, running, bicycling, Pip inspires us all to push ourselves to the limit, but just this once, I am glad to be a back seat spectator. We don't often get to see James with either of his glamorous siblings, so it is fun to see these two competing together. The Middletons are famously close and they couldn't be cuter in this race. We are cheering for you, two!! Annapolis is the best town to relax in when it is over. Enjoy those bars while the Midshipmen are on break. ;) Nico is watching...

P.S. Kate was at Treehouse Hospice today. If you missed it, get caught up here.

xoxo, Jane

Kate Recycles Favorite DVF For Treehouse Hospice Visit in Support of Children's Hospice Week

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Kate made a little private visit to Treehouse Hospice in Ipswich to mark Children's Hospice Week. Treehouse is an EACH hospice, of which Kate is a royal patron. Whether you realize it or not, if you follow Kate, you have witnessed a number of EACH events. 

EACH Facebook

Kate has marked two milestones in her public life on behalf of EACH and Children's Hospice Week. She gave her first speech in 2012 at the Treehouse Hospice:

EACH Facebook

And she again reinforced her commitment to her cause when she delivered her first video plea last year in support of Children's Hospice Week and East Anglia Children's Hospices (EACH).

A statement announcing the Duchess's visit was released on the Children's Hospice Week website, but the actual date of her visit was not mentioned. I really doubt the visit was today, but suspect it was in the past two or so weeks. 
The Duchess of Cambridge recently visited EACH’s Treehouse hospice to learn more about the services that are required for families with seriously ill children, and especially the role that volunteers can play for children's hospices, which is an issue she is exploring further with her Foundation.
Kate was wearing a recycle, her pink and navy DVF. This is longtime inhabitant of The Kate Closet, dating back to 2002, I believe. She was photographed in it twice as Miss Middleton and twice as an HRH.

Kate on Tour 2012
This is not the first time that Kate has turned to DVF and she never fails when she does. Every single DVF wear has been a stunning success. The green shift in LA and recycle at Zara's rehearsal dinner:

The black Remembrance Day coat:

The gorgeous ruffled coat that Kate wore when leaving Edward VII after her hospitalization thanks to the ever troublesome, but always charming, George.

The striking and lovely blue and white wrap for the Blue Mountains visit:

Kate has never done anything less than stun in DVF. It's a win, kiddos. Seriously, can Diane von Furstenberg do wrong? She can't. This isn't cutting edge fashion, this is tried and true, feminine, perfection. Kate has the body of a goddess and Diane caters to just that, so it is a recipe for success. I like that Kate wore something that is such a wardrobe staple. It is so normal. You stand in front of your closet having a meltdown on what you need to buy and suddenly you realize that dress you have had for a million years is perfect. Crisis solved.  Great feeling.

Most of all, it is lovely that Kate is out walking the walk as she throws her weight behind a cause near and dear to her heart. These are the times when Kate reminds us she is determined to make a difference.

Kate Wears McQueen for Visit to Bletchley Park

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We certainly have been spoiled this week(end) with a string of public engagements from our favorite princess. Kate arrived at Bletchley Park this morning a little after 11am to tour the newly renovated facility that served as the Government Code and Cypher School during World War II. 

Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park has some very cool wartime history:
During the Second World War [Bletchley Park] regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers...Properly used, the German Enigma and Lorentz ciphers should have been virtually unbreakable, but flaws in German cryptographic procedures, and poor discipline among the personnel carrying them out, created vulnerabilities which made Bletchley's attacks just barely feasible. These vulnerabilities, however, could have been remedied by relatively simple improvements in enemy procedures, and such changes would certainly have been implemented had Germany any hint of Bletchley's success. Thus the intelligence Bletchley produced was considered wartime Britain's "Ultra secret" – higher even than the normally highest classification Most Secret – and security was paramount. Few outside Bletchley knew its mission, and even fewer (inside or outside) understood the breadth of that mission and the extent of its success. All staff signed the Official Secrets Act (1939) and a 1942 security warning emphasized the importance of discretion even within Bletchley itself: "Do not talk at meals. Do not talk in the transport. Do not talk travelling. Do not talk in the billet. Do not talk by your own fireside. Be careful even in your Hut..."
If you watch Foyle's War, you probably remember one of the episodes revolved around a secret code breaking house, which was modeled after Bletchley Park. If you don't watch Foyle's should start. 

Kate has a family connection to Bletchley Park--her grandmother (Michael's mother) worked at Bletchley Park during the war. Clarence House tweeted a photo of Valerie Middleton during the morning. I think you can see a resemblance to Kate's dad around the eyes. Victoria Murphy of The Mirror reported that Kate said she asked her grandmother about her time at Bletchley Park, but that her grandmother revealed very little, even so many years later.

Below, former Hut 16, now restored as Hut 6, was the hut where Kate's grandmother worked:

Hut 6 in Disrepair
Hut 6 Restored

While touring the newly renovated site, Kate had the opportunity to visit with a woman who worked with her grandmother in those pivotal years. 

Clarence House Twitter

Clarence House Instagram

It is old home week for Kate's closet. We already saw several recycles from the first year or so of her marriage, including the lace McQueen and the blue Christopher Kane. She really dug into the archives this morning when she recycled the McQueen military-inspired ensemble from her visit to Birmingham in August of 2011.

William and Kate in Birmingham, UK August 2011

Thankfully, I love this, and I am fairly sure it is wildly popular with the rest of you as well! It is certainly a win. I wasn't over the moon about it the first time she wore it, but it grew on me quickly and I am now a fervent fan. Kate really looks fantastic in the pencil skirt, and the slits in the front give it just the edge that the hemline needs. Again, Kate is sticking with the lightly more demure hem-length that she has been favoring since the tour.

Kate at Bletchley Park June 2014
In terms of styling, today's appearance was almost identical to the debut. Kate wore the same shoes, and only changed her earrings and added a clutch. This outfit is so flattering on Kate it should come with a warning for your credit card--you will be heading to the store to stock up on a few more pencils yourself.

It was a fun event and I hope you watch the video from The Telegraph (found above) with raw footage of Kate trying out the morse code machine as well as greeting the veterans of the "Bletchley Front" of WWII. As always, she exuded grace, charm, and warmth.

Hopefully, we won't have to wait until the 5th to see the Duchess again...