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Picture of Jecca Craig's Wedding Leaks + Easter with the Middletons

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Given how private Jecca Craig is, I don't think many of us thought we would see a picture of the heiress from her wedding at her family's Kenyan estate last Saturday. But, thanks to camera phones and social media, these things have a way of slipping out and the Daily Mail is running a picture of the bride in a simple white dress exchanging her vows with now husband Jonathan Baillie. 

Via the Daily Mail 
Prince William flew to Africa for the Easter weekend to attend the wedding, where by all counts guests were treated to a champagne reception Friday night. Some sources have recounted that Prince William only sipped on Coca Cola rather than indulging in the bubbly, although I hope he had at least one glass! 

The Duchess took her little ones to enjoy their grandparents' company for the Easter holiday. We have sense of the weekend the little family enjoyed because Miss Pippa has already shared with us some of the family traditions that are enjoyed in Bucklebury. In her book Celebrate, Pippa wrote about an average Middleton Easter: 
As children, the day before Easter we would make marbled eggs by hard boiling them, cracking the shells, and leaving them in water colored with food dye, which would seep through the cracks. It was always fun eating our creations for breakfast the next morning. We would look forward to a huge Easter egg hunt, which was (and still is)  quite competitive in our household, and then have a family lunch, often with roast spring lamb, but always with plenty of chocolate before and after. 
Since George is old enough to participate in these traditions, I am sure it was quite a Saturday of egg-coloring and an even more rambunctious Sunday morning egg-hunt. In 2014 paparazzi shots of William and Kate teaching George the ropes charmed hearts around the world, but this year I doubt he needed too much encouragement.

Prince William returned to Britain on Sunday and he is doubtless participating in more than one Easter week egg hunt! 

"Our Queen at 90" Featuring Kate et Al.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Happy Tuesday! I think most of you have already seen this link which I posted both on Twitter and on the blog's Facebook page, but for those who don't wade into social media quite as much, below is the link to watch the highly anticipated documentary "Our Queen at 90" which aired on Easter Sunday. 

Royal fans in general were excited to watch the program celebrating the extraordinary life (to-date) of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but for Kate fans it was particularly exciting to see Kate interviewed and to enjoy the little glimpses she gave us into her royal life and her relationship with the Queen and Prince William's family.

I am disappointed to say that I have yet to find a moment to sit and watch this, but I have been enjoying all the excitement and comments from those of you who have. I am sure I will comment when I do sit down and view it.

Prince William Has Flown to Kenya for Jecca Craig's Wedding

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Speculation has been circulating for some weeks now on whether or not Prince William will attend the wedding of his close friend Jecca Craig this weekend in Kenya.  It has now been announced that Prince William has flown solo to Kenya. The Duke wisely made the long flight count doubly by incorporating some official duties with his personal trip.

The Palace press release states:


The Duke of Cambridge will visit Kenya over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend between 24th and 27th March 2016, on a private trip.

At the start of his short visit to the country, on Thursday 24th March, the Duke of Cambridge will attend a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta. The meeting is taking place at the request of Her Majesty's Government, and His Royal Highness is pleased to have the opportunity to meet the President while he is in Kenya. They will discuss the relationship between the United Kingdom and Kenya, to deepen relations between the two countries on a broad range of topics including defence and security, and conservation.

The Duke, who is President of United For Wildlife, will spend the remainder of the day seeing first-hand some of the longstanding conservation and anti-poaching initiatives taking place in Kenya, which are supported by Tusk Trust, the charity of which he is Royal Patron.

His Royal Highness will witness vets at work in the field as they fit radio tracking collars to elephants to help with research and conservation. The Duke of Cambridge will also spend time with a team of highly trained rangers in Lewa Conservancy, to learn about their work protecting one of Africa's significant rhino populations from poaching.

The remainder of this short visit to the country will be private.

Pictures were released today of the Duke with Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, in the meeting during which they discussed anti-poaching measures as well as some of Tusk Trusts' initiatives. Interestingly, William also was tasked with discussing security and defense issues. In December, BBC news reported that Prince William does occasionally receive Cabinet papers, and today's inclusion of two very weighty topics underscores that the prince is slowly being prepped for his ultimate role. 

The "private" part of his visit is, of course, Jecca Craig's wedding, and much has been made of William's decision to attend, but ultimately it shouldn't be surprising. A wedding is generally (hopefully) a once in a lifetime event. William and Jecca have been close friends for many, many years, and more than that, William is close to the entire Craig family. It makes perfect sense that he would attend, and that given the long flight and upcoming tour of India, that Kate and the children would stay home. 

It is important to remember that William spent some months at the Lewa Reserve in Kenya during his gap year. The reserve was formed by the Craig family, who owned and ranched the property since the 1920s! The time William spent working at the conservancy obviously had a profound impact on him and solidified what will obviously be a life-long bond with the Craigs. In 2008, Prince William skipped the wedding of his own cousin Peter Phillips, to fly to Kenya for Jecca's brother's wedding. 

Kate Middleton with Harry and Chelsy at the 2008 Wedding of Peter Phillips

Suppositions that this trip is in anyway a snub to Kate are unfounded. To review, William married Kate. He dated her, he broke up with her, he came back to her. William chose Kate.  In 2010, William brought Kate to Lewa to propose to her, highlighting just how important both Lewa and Kate are to the prince. There is no competition here and there is no cause for residual jealously. Not only did William marry Kate, but he is going to Kenya to celebrate Jecca's choice to share her life with another man! The idea that there is tension between Kate and Jecca is largely the fabrication of tabloid magazines. The more mundane reality is that Jecca and Kate have been socializing happily for many years.  Here they are whispering away at Boodles in 2008:

And celebrating William's birthday at a polo game:

In recent years they ladies have continued to be pictured at weddings around Britain. The three (Wills, Kate, and Jecca) see one another at many different social events and William and Harry have flown overseas to hunt with Jecca and friends since William's marriage.  Stories that William and Jecca may have shared a high school crush are hardly relevant well over a decade later. Everyone has experienced youthful infatuation or even more serious romantic inclinations, that are never realized. Once the intensity of actual infatuation has passed--sometimes completely undetected by the other party--it isn't unusual for a warm friendship to remain, particularly when the connections are as strong as William's are with Jecca's family. The idea that Jecca and William are like boxes of dry tinder, ready to ignite and explode in romantic chemistry at the slightest provocation, does not square with the vast majority of human experience. Seriously, think about it for a second. 

It will undoubtedly be hard for William to miss Easter with his own family, and to miss Charlotte's first Easter, but he and Kate obviously decided that it was important to represent at this milestone in Jecca's life, and I frankly would have made the same decision. The Craigs obviously hold a position akin to family for William, and he treats them accordingly. People and relationships are important and although blood is thicker than water, some of the most important familial bonds we have in life can be those we create ourselves. Given some of the dysfunctional elements of William's clan (I'm thinking mostly of the Spencers right now...) it isn't shocking that William has formed this alternate alliance. Kate, George, and Charlotte will celebrate Easter with the Middletons and assuredly have a second Easter Egg hunt when Daddy gets home. 

New Documentary Features Duchess of Cambridge Interview + McQueen Evening Gown

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Good morning and Happy Saturday! The Queen will turn 90 on the 21st of April. In anticipation of this milestone event, the Palace has produced a documentary on Her Majesty featuring many tributes to Elizabeth from members of her family, and full of interesting footage, some form behind the scenes. Obviously, we are fans of the Queen around here, but it would be hard to deny that the most exciting element of this video is Kate's participation.

The Queen at 90 Documentary

The program will air on Easter Sunday, but a preview has been released and the royal world is going absolutely wild with excitement. The Duchess of Cambridge was interviewed for the project and she is featured in the preview. In the first short clip, Kate is dressed in her Rebecca Taylor suit, which the princess has worn on a number of occasions, including for her video promoting Mental Health Awareness Week this year, which was so very successful.

In the clip, Kate reveals that George calls the Queen GanGan and said that the Queen has been delighted to have a great-granddaughter. I was interested to hear her talk about the little gifts HM always leaves in the guest rooms when the Cambridges "go to stay." It makes me wonder if Kate is referring to Sandringham and Balmoral only, or if the Cambridges stay at various other palaces at times for weekend getaways, such as Windsor, or even Buckingham Palace. See that part of the preview here:

For the fashion focused among us, the most exciting moment of the clip was abolsutely the short glimpse of this year's Diplomatic Reception. For two years we have seen Kate in a lace McQueen through the window of her Bentley...

...and at last we have seen the design in a more complete form. It is so much more beautiful than I had imagined it!

For some reason, my imagination had created a straight, figure-hugging dress, sort of like her sparkly Jenny Packham, and in my head, the lace extended down the entire dress. Instead, the actual dress is more like the red Jenny Packham from the State Dinner, with a graceful A-line skirt. I am thrilled that the reality is far more beautiful than what I had envisioned. This might be my new favorite evening gown, and I hope she recycles it to an event where we can get glossy high resolution photos.

In addition to the iconic Cambridge Lovers Knot tiara, Kate paired the dress with the two bracelets we first saw at the State Banquet and she is carrying her Jenny Packham "Casa" clutch:

Jenny Packham "Casa"
Kate carried this clutch first to the James Bond Spectre premiere:

Many other members of the Queens family are interviewed, including Harry, William, the York girls, and more. I think this program will draw a wide audience when it airs on Easter Sunday. I am not yet sure what viewing options will be for international readers, but I will update when that information becomes available. You can watch the full clip at the Mirror here. If you missed last night's post on Kate's EACH visit to Holt, you can pop on over to that post here.

Kate Opens Charity Store in Holt, Norfolk

Friday, March 18, 2016

Today, Kate was right in her own backyard, both in terms of the location and the charity! The Duchess was in Holt, Norfolk, just a hop, skip and a jump from her Anmer Hall home-base and she was appearing for one of her very first charities, EACH. 

On the off chance you are rummaging crazily about in your memory to recall the significance of Holt, let me ease the struggle. Holt is very close to Anmer and we have seen Kate shopping there on more than one occasion. It's sort of her local village and while she was there in an official capacity today, I imagine she is a bit of a regular to the locals. You might recall the afternoon she was spotted in 2014:

Or the early days as the couple scoped out their new digs and started the whole furnishing process. Below is Kate antiquing in 2013. So, it is a town with which you are somewhat familiar. 

Kate was opening a charity store today. It is something of a consignment situation, where they accept donations from the public which they then sell to aid the charity. In fact, if you live in the area, you are encouraged to consider donating! Kate shopped around a bit herself, inspecting the merchandise and even trying on a hat that coordinated well with her blue ensemble.

Ultimately, Kate bought a Fireman Sam book. Perhaps she is trying to lure George away from the siren call of helicopters and back to a dream that keeps his feet on the ground.

North Norfolk Radio

Appropriately, Kate recycled an oldie, but a goodie. She wore the M Missoni jacket she first wore to the St. David's Day event with the Queen and Camilla at Fortnum's. Underneath, she recycled the cornflower Zara dress that she publicly debuted on the green lawns of Buckingham Palace the morning after her marriage. She also wore it under her beautiful Jane Troughton coat at Prince Philip's 90th birthday service in 2011. 

This coat has been worn for both public and private events, so it has taken on a certain familiarity and was a very comfortable recycle. Because of this, I felt it seemed to match the tone of the event today.  Kate, in a favorite coat, in her "home village," appearing for a long-standing charity. Plus, Mr. Security was on duty. How much better could this get?

If we have said it once, we have said it a million times, Kate is wonderful with children. Seeing her care and attention for them today was heart melting. 

Kids are usually excited to see Kate, but the crowd today might have displayed the highest energy I have seen in Kate's five years as a royal. They were so, so charming, and she matched their enthusiasm. 

I have loved this coat from the first. I love the texture and the especially the lovely blue. The structure is very flattering on Kate, showing off her beautiful legs, but maintaining the "work-appropriate" line. 

I think its finest wear remains its debut, because grey with this cornflower blue is just drop dead gorgeous. But, the navy certainly doesn't clash and looks polished and pulled together. Since the day she wore it with a daffodil, I have not been really fully satisfied seeing it without that pop of springtime yellow, which is why I was absolutely delighted that among the many poesies the princess received, someone had the good sense to present her with some daffodils. My day was made!

Speaking of wishes being granted, Kate was wearing her sapphire and diamond drops and carrying her suede Muse clutch in navy, but she was wearing new Prada shoes. They are "Prada Pointy Toes" and available at Nordstrom for $650...if the spirit moves you. I hope that all y'all who have been dying for new shoes for several years now are feeling the comparable joy I am at the sight of the daffodils! 

Happy weekend, kids! I have a bit of a surprise post coming tomorrow. Some of you may know what it is, but either way, come back and chat on the morrow...after a restful sleep and with a steaming mug of coffee! [New Saturday post now live here]

A Deadly Tempest In A Tea Pot: The Recent Royal Media War

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

There has been quite the negative hoopla lately surrounding the royals. The headlines have been pretty intense, from declaring the public love affair with the Duchess to be at an end, to tolling the death knell on the monarchy thanks to William's lazy shenanigans.  The majority of these negative headlines are fabricated by the media. The impression of widespread anger and discontent is at best a misrepresentation of a (far smaller) ordinary ebb and flow of public interest. At the same time, the media has not been treated as well as they should be, either by the Palace, or by many well-meaning, but misguided fans. This rift is caused by an increasing hostility between the Press and the Palace that could permanently damage both parties. The sooner they kiss and make up, the better.

To begin with, I saw a piece on E! the other day that confidently stated this tempest in a teapot was William and Kate's first scandal. Proof of the complete craziness that this has become. The Duke and Duchess have been through a number of crises and the claim that they don't work enough is as old as their relationship. Does anyone remember the days of "Waity Katie?" William has been the subject of numerous articles questioning his commitment to his royal status for years..and years!  Nothing new under the sun, but my gosh, E!, isn't there some mandatory attention span/retention level required in this business?

This particular media storm began with a piece in The Sun by Emily Andrews. Among other things, Emily wrote that Prince William doesn't work all that much at his job with the East Anglian Air Ambulance, which was...interesting. At least I thought it was interesting. She is a journalist, Prince William is news, and--assuming her sources are valid--it is an interesting article. There are a few problems here, though. The first is that much of today's news is simply rehashed from others, so Emily's article sparked a rash of news sources writing up headlines about lazy William, and that spread to lazy Kate (we'll get there in just a second), and the headlines kept running, and the Palace tried to make some half-weird statement to mitigate the damage, which was a wasted effort, and as the news headlines continued to generate they fed off of each other and suddenly E! Online was screeching hysterically about this fresh, and as yet never before seen, crisis in the monarchy and announcing that everyone loathes William and Kate, and in the midst of all this, we are all sitting here scratching our heads as Eponine London's website literally crashes after Kate wore one of their pieces and half the world lurches after her fashion wake. Was that too long of a sentence? But I mean really. The headlines just aren't commensurate with reality at this point!

The point I am sarcastically, and perhaps ineptly, trying to make is that there is no massive public backlash. The majority of the public is not obsessed with how many hours a week William or Kate works. Deep down, you either are a royal fan and you enjoy the tradition, the fashion, the people-watching, what have you, or you aren't really a fan of the monarchy. There is a subset of people who closely follow the monarchy and yet are very critical. I can't say I have ever been able to understand the psyche there, but you know it takes all kinds to make a world.

Keep in mind that there is, as mentioned earlier, an ebb and flow in general public interest. Most women know who Kate Middleton is and many emulate her style and admire her from a distance. Only a subset of those women are the dedicated followers we have here. Although I don't miss even the most insignificant pap shot, many women who count themselves fans couldn't list for you every event Kate has done in a single month. Those sorts of fans come and go as time and interest allow. Just because Kate isn't front cover every week, doesn't mean people are having a negative reaction to Kate. They are busy doing other things, and they will circle back around.

The Duchess predictably came under fire not long after her husband did. Her engagements were tallied and the Mail ran a piece itemizing the cost of her work-out ensemble while shopping in London. It was too tedious to address. I don't know I can muster the energy even now. Kate can afford $300 track pants. If that still bothers you, hang up your royal-watching hat. This angle is mean, not in the unkind definition, but in the sense of smallness of spirit. I feel like we are back on the playground in middle school. It's a cheap and ugly ploy that attempts to foment discontent via the "us v. them" mentality, which can only hurt you. When the "have nots" focus negatively on the things of the "haves" no one is benefited. Feeling angry that Kate can afford $300 track pants won't take them from her or give them to you, it will only rob you of your ability to enjoy life. I don't think I will spend more on this. You can see my post from several years ago about my position: Does Kate Really Work...Enough? True then, true now.

I want to address the two primary problems with complaining about how much the royals "work" and then I want to talk about the fault of the Palace and the fault of fans.  Everyone is in trouble today, apparently. :) Generally, the first complaint is that William doesn't work enough as a royal. To be precise, various papers have tallied the number of engagements he has undertaken and compared that number to that of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.  His activity isn't even in their league. 

We've heard this before, and I have to frankly say that I cannot understand why it is still a talking point. Elizabeth is the Queen, Philip is her spouse. They are the senior royal couple. If Her Majesty wants to abdicate because she is getting elderly, that is her prerogative, but her grandson's workload should not be held up against hers for comparison. This is for two very important reasons. First, William hasn't reached that stage of his royal career yet. He isn't the King, he isn't even the Prince of Wales. By happenstance, the public is extremely interested in him, but public opinion does not make or break your seniority within the royal family. Kind of like Kate at the Trooping, William is still in the wings, he isn't on center stage. 

The second very relevant factor is that the Queen does not have the same obligations beyond her duty. She has raised her children, she has navigated the rocky shoals of marriage (in those sometimes tense early years) and she can now devote her twilight energy to the role she promised would be her life's work. It's admirable. It's also not William's situation. William is a young father. He is raising small children and holding together a marriage still in relative infancy. This is a reality that is always either glossed over, or diminished by some irrelevant comparison to those in worse scenarios.  

The second big complaint is that William doesn't work all that much at his air ambulance job. This might be true. Maybe it's not. Ultimately, it actually doesn't matter. I hear the gasps echoing across the globe. It really does not matter. Right this second, does it make any difference to...anything, if William is home sipping tea in his garden and watching George root up a flower pot, or on shift at work? It really doesn't. The only people who should be assessing this are William and his bosses. The prince should not be taking a role that another needs, but beyond that, if he wants to keep busy, but not all that busy, (and he has the option of such a luxury) it really isn't any of our business. 

There is only so much time we can or should devote to micromanaging the lives of other people. Whether it's your best friend, your worst enemy, or celebrities, everyone has to make their own way. That means William has to make the choices that make him happy and it means you can't spend too much time worrying about what those choices are.  

I have heard that William secretly just wants to live the country lifestyle. Gosh, that sounds pretty good to me. I'd love to be Lady Mary in my own Downton Abbey. I don't think, however, that it is true that William would like to walk away from his royal responsibilities. He is heavily influenced by his grandmother and clearly has a drive to "make a difference." He just intends to go about that in his way, and he also insists on putting his family life first. The British public holds the royals to a pretty stiff standard, and I think it is bound to be a losing game for the public. 

I know the age-old argument. William is funded by the taxpayer and needs to work for his keep. But, William is independently wealthy. He'd scrape by if the taxpayer base were denied him. Is life easier with it? By a mile, fair enough. However, if you break down how much a British taxpayer spends to fund the monarchy it is not all that much. In turn, the mystique of the monarchy drives a remarkable revenue for tourism.  If you are unaware of the economic drive the royals generate, you really should try Googling that. 

The Brits get more than bang for their buck. England has the most prestigious monarchy in history. Britain boasts the most glamorous young royals--veritable super stars who literally out sparkle the Hollywood stars. That's not bad. The legacy, history, and tradition of the institution is something to be proud of and to protect, not something to gripe about. 

Prince William is a wealthy man who plays a glamorous role for the satisfaction of fans, for the good of multiple charities, and (to my mind) for the benefit of history. What if he woke up tomorrow and said, I quit. What then? I'd be pretty upset, and my guess is that a whole heck of a lot of people worldwide would be equally distressed.   William is a modern prince who has made it crystal clear he is going to prioritize his family, and these are busy years for couples with young children. Those babies grow quickly and most parents try to spend every minute they can capturing it all. William has more time than most to spend with his family. He is a lucky man.

Were William to add five or ten new engagements a month, would it really make a huge difference? Even more interesting, in a culture that is saturated with news and with celebrity, are the royals smart to pair down the number of charities they undertake?  I don't know the answer to all these questions, but I know it is a new world from the one in which the Queen was raised, or even the one that Diana and Charles inhabited. The internet truly changed the world. There is only so much time in the day. What if the royals are right and less is actually more. If we saw William every day, I am not sure he'd sustain the interest he does now. After all, people are following politics, other celebrities, personal interests, fashion blogs, writing their own blogs, and so much more thanks to the internet. We aren't buying a newspaper or two on the way to work nor are we limited to a few major news networks on the television at night.

That being said, I know there has been tension between the Palace and the press, and that sounds like the fault falls with the Palace. Part of this certainly stems form William's hardline on privacy, which he can bee too extreme trying to control. Part is due to problems in the royal press office. I am not privy to the back and forths and don't follow it closely, but I get the distinct impression from the reporters I know that the Palace has not handled the media well for some years. That is a huge problem. I have said it before, and I will say it again. If the monarchy is to survive, they need the media and they need exposure. They need pictures being printed, there have to paparazzi shots. The royals have to be glamorous and official, but also real and approachable. We need to see them on the road, but we also need a certain number of stories about where they were dining or when they vacationed. Variety is the spice of life. I loved the released photos, but the candids are necessary, too.

There is a tension that has risen thanks to William's hardline on paparazzi photos. You know how I feel about this one. :) I think the Cambridges should lighten up a little. We should get more officially released photos, and William and Kate should carefully choose their battles when it comes to contesting a paparazzi photo. When it comes to their children, the line is a little hazier. They should object when they feel they are not able to maintain proper security, however, they should not take the public for a collective fool and package all paparazzi shots together in a terrorism plea. That's dishonest and not helpful. The balance here has to be reasonable. Not all paparazzi shots pose a security risk.

I don't have all the answers of the clash between Press and Palace. Part of the problem is that the press blames the Palace for restricting their access and damaging their ability to report effectively and, frankly, stay in business. I know some of you have gleefully cheered Kensington Palace for tightly running their own media and shutting out the press, but this is not a good thing. This is very, very bad on a number of levels. It's bad in this particular situation because if you think that following Kate would be the same if suddenly the royal reporters were out of the picture, you are sadly misinformed about the way this whole process works. From whom do we get the first glimpses of Kate arriving at a royal engagement? From assembled media tweeting it out! Who stands and listens to the chatter and reports all the sweet off the cuff comments that Kate makes to fans, so we can share in the fun? The reporters. Who snaps the wildly popular shots of the royals on official engagements, but also at events like polo? Royal photographers. Who does research on these ski vacations and family holidays? The press, reporters. How many fun exclusives have we seen from People and from Hello!  And from...The Sun?  I just raised my hand. As fans, we need the press. I am not in London attending every event Kate goes to. Someone has to do it. More broadly, I am distressed by the general decline of the press. As paper after paper struggles and goes is not good. Don't cheer that. We need a free press--preferably reporting in a balanced manner.

Press and Palace need to make up as soon as possible and find a healthy compromise. They need each other to survive. If you side with either party, you won't rejoice in this ongoing drama, you will hope it ends as soon as may be.  I know I do.

Kate Stuns in Grey Erdem at Westminster Commonwealth Service

Monday, March 14, 2016

Kate's appearance today was the perfect Monday pick-me-up! Who knew grey could banish the blues? These appearances that are either family events or anything directly related to the monarchy are my favorite. Partially because they often take place somewhere historic and magnificent, like today's service, which was held at the breathtaking Westminster Abbey, or because they center around the aspect of Kate's role that is historic, hearkening back to the pomp and pageantry of the Middle Ages. I just love these events, and it helps that they require a fantastic dress code! Kate didn't disappoint today.

The Duchess of Cambridge arrived accompanied by her duke and Prince Harry. She was wearing a dove grey ensemble that was sure to incite an absolute flurry of fashion chatter. Here is a short clip of the trio arriving at the Abbey:

Certainly the piece that caused the most kerfuffle was Kate's new picture hat. This striking broad-brimmed chapeau was made by John Boyd, a milliner who made a number of hats for Princess Diana and other members of the royal family.  It has been likened on social media to some of Lady Mary's (Downton Abbey) hats.

I think there has been talk, too, that these hats remind some of Camilla, or other major royals world wide.  If you only consider the recent past, this is a new look for Kate, but cast a little further out and it is actually very in-keeping with her early style. Before anything else, this hat reminded me of the Philip Treacy that Kate wore to William's passing out parade at Sandhurst in December of 2006.

Today's hat is more elegant and more sophisticated--Kate's 2006 style all grown up, you could say--but the roots are still there.  It has been some time since we have seen this look on Kate, and I have to say that I welcomed this confident statement piece. I love Kate's many and very beautiful toppers, but I get very excited when she throws in a bolder piece like this.  

The coat was a custom piece by Erdem, adapted from a trench they showed in their pre-fall 2015 collection. It is the same collection that debuted the Alouette dress, of mixed popularity. 

I liked this a lot. Erdem is probably one of, if not the, "busiest" labels Kate draws from, and by busy I mean Erdem designs have the most going on. Even say, Roksanda Illincic, which can be quite eclectic, has a certain geometry and order.  

Kate's Erdems have represented the far end of the spectrum in her style. Usually tending toward the minimal in her tastes, the royal Erdem collection features unusual patterns or bold textures. Kate started off carefully with the label, picking the simpler looks, like the lace she wore to deplane in Ottawa or the slim, blue sheath dress she wore not long after. 

But, recently, she has been drawing from Erdem more, and she her choices have been increasingly  adventurous. Today might have been the most daring yet--even more than the Alouette. This really mixed a lot in one coat!

Under the coat, Kate was wearing what appeared to be a chiffon-like, grey dress. In some pictures I think it might be pleated, above it seems smooth, but in this close-up it looks like there are ridges. I hope we get a peek at this in the future. I love grey! 

[Update] No one trusts me, so I have to show you. ;)  Kate isn't wearing the Orla Kiely. For one thing, I would think it unbearably stiff and hot under an already heavy coat. It is a substantial piece. Second, it is shorter than the dress Kate is wearing today, and finally, it is not the same color. Today's dress is a light fabric in a homogeneous grey, as opposed to Orla Kiely dress. The grey matches the rest of the ensemble, I suspect it is bespoke Erdem, but whatever it is, is not the Kiely. You need pictures, here they are. This is her dress today:

You can see the longer hemline, the light crepe material, and the stitching at the bottom? Compare this to the Orla Kiely, which has no stitching, more defined pleats, different fabric weight, and a different color grey.

Kate kept the debut trend going by wearing new accessories. Her pumps were by Rupert Sanderson, whom she has tapped in the past, and her clutch was yet another addition to her growing collection of "Natasha" clutches from Emmy London.

This look clicked, perhaps in part because it was all perfectly planned. Kate didn't go to her closet last night and "put-something" together. This was made-to-order, so the hat perfectly matched the coat, and the shoes and clutch polished the look. I really, really loved it. I loved the big hat and I love the interesting elements of the coat, and I love grey and the suede accessories. It is a real hit. (Have I over-used "love") Kate, too, looked radiant, particularly as she went to greet the many admirers who had gathered to catch a glimpse of the royals. Despite the recent storm in the press, Kate looked absolutely unfazed:

It was a smash hit event. As disappointed as I am that we won't be seeing Kate on St. Patrick's Day, this should keep me smiling until Friday, when we see Kate in Holt, Norfolk, as she opens a charity shop for EACH. It was a great start to the week!