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Launching a Newsletter to Keep You Up-To-Date with Kate!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I am so, so excited to announce that after many requests I am launching a newsletter this summer! Many of you have emailed me over the years asking me to create the newsletter and I am finally doing it. I know that you all have different expectations for this newsletter and I intend to fulfill them all and add a little flavor of my own. Let me tell you a little of what you can expect. 

The newsletter will go out weekly and will link to every post that went live on From Berkshire to Buckingham  during that week, so you don't miss a single one! I will also keep you up-to-date on any random little Kate news I may not have the time to cover on the blog along with my analysis. 

I will also probably add a little bit toward the end where I update on all my blogs, including Kate's Clothes, A J.D. for Jane, and Charlene: Princess of Monaco

Finally, I intend to use the newsletter to launch various kinds of exploratory content I have not experimented with before. I think it will be very exciting. I hope you sign up so you can stay in touch!

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Kate Takes George & Charlotte to Houghton Horse Trials

Monday, May 30, 2016

Kate spent her weekend at the Houghton International Horse Trials with close friends the Meades. The Duchess was spotted at the equestrian event near her Anmer Hall home on two consecutive days. She brought George and enjoyed the relaxed festivities which included not just the riding, but also a charity cricket match for Walking with the Wounded, a charity with which Prince Harry is very involved.  [Update] According to the photographer who took the pictures of Kate and her family, Helen Mathias, the first day was sunny and lovely. On Saturday Kate was pictured in her Tori Ralph Lauren:

Apparently, on the second day the sunshine broke through and Kate turned to her Ralph Lauren "Tori" Breton top and olive trousers and flats. The Duchess is even sporting an animal print headband! Here she is pictured above wiping little George's face while one of William's very best friends, James Meade, relaxes in the grass beside the two royals. The Duke also made it out. This sweet image of Prince William and little George has also surfaced.

The second day is pictured below, where the Princess is accompanied by (it appears) Nanny Maria and possibly Charlotte. [Most now believe the little girl is in fact the daughter of the Meades.] The below photo was taken and shared by Lou Grey Cashmere & Designs. The owners of the boutique who had a stall at the event said that Kate brought Princess Charlotte. I can't see the little princess in the photos, but I always tend to believe the eye-witness account. 

I am unsure which Barbour this is. It looks like her "Defence" which we have seen on many occasions, but the buttons are missing here. Perhaps they are just blurred due to the poor pixilation? It may, however, be a new version. I'll update when I figure this out.

The photo suggests overcast skies and all the women are in jackets of one form or another. [This was confirmed to be Sunday] Kate wore her Le Chameau wellies and a Barbour jacket. Unusually, the Duchess pulled her hair into a casual chignon, possible because of the threat of rain? 

Le Chameau Wellies

As a close pal of the prince, James Meade goes way back with Kate. Below a much younger James and Kate stroll the cross country course at the Badminton Horse Trials on May 4, 2007. At the time, William and Kate had just had their traumatic and very public break-up. It was nice to see one of William's friends remain loyal to Kate as well, and I am sure it was a crucial point that solidified his position in the royal inner circle once the two reconciled.  

Kate missed James's wedding, which took place in September of 2013 while Kate was still taking time away from the public eye after the birth of Prince George. William was an usher at the wedding, however, and many of the couple's circle were present including Jecca Craig and Pippa Middleton:

James is one of Princess Charlotte's godparents and he lives with his wife Laura near Anmer Hall where they are doubtless some of William and Kate's best and closet companions. 

James's brother Harry--another close friend of the royals--was competing in the horse trial this weekend and also played the charity cricket match. You probably remember Harry better than James only because it was at Harry's October nuptials in 2010 that William and Kate demonstrated they were ready to be more public with their romance. Their bold and beaming entrance into the church signaled to photographers and royal watchers alike that Prince William and Kate Middleton were ready to make an important announcement, and indeed the news of their engagement was released only a few short weeks later.  

Prince George must have had a ball at Houghton. In addition to watching the beautiful horses fly by as they navigated the course, there were a variety of other attractions. According to the Lynn News:
As well as the main horse trials, with its cross country course set out across Houghton’s rolling parkland, other equestrian events included show jumping, dressage and Pony Club classes, with competitors from all over the country and a large number of more local riders.This year was the event’s tenth anniversary and the organisers had stepped up the focus on family entertainment alongside the horse classes. There were more than 70 trade stands and, for the first time, a vintage zone staged by Britain Does Vintage.
The Pony Club sounds like it would be right up George's alley, but Prince William said recently in an interview that Kate won't George on a horse just yet, despite discreet pushes from Her Majesty herself! The grounds alone would have provided a picture perfect day. In 2008 Houghton Hall was considered to play the part of Brideshead for the film adaptation of the British masterpiece Brideshead Revisited--my absolute favorite book--but lost out to Castle Howard.

This was a very fun surprise to end the holiday weekend. Prince William competed in the Audi Polo Challenge this weekend, as he does most years, and I was disappointed that Kate did not make an appearance. This certainly made up for that. It also gives us a peek into the private and quiet life the Cambridges lead when they are away from London. With an intimate social set, plenty of sunshine and grass and fresh air, it isn't hard to see why they love to flee to the country and spend their days in Norfolk. You can expect they will hold onto this ideal lifestyle for as long as they possibly can. 

Kate Wears Creamy Alberta Ferretti for 5th Wedding Anniversary Shoot

Sunday, May 29, 2016

It pays to be polite. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge mailed a special thank-you picture to fans who sent them congratulations and best wishes on the occasion of the royal couple's 5th wedding anniversary in April of this year. Photographer Paul Ratcliffe revealed the photo of the smiling couple on his Twitter account last week. William and Kate are pictured standing together in a garden and smiling for the camera in what appears to be early spring.

The card had an accompanying message of thanks from Their Royal Highnesses:

I was a little surprised and disappointed that William and Kate did not release a new portrait in the run-up to their tour of India. Occasionally, the couple will have a picture taken generally for a tour or to use on these sorts of thank-you messages. You might recall the picture they released before heading off on their first tour to Canada. 

The couple used almost the same shot, but with a neutral background, when they travelled to Copenhagen later the same year. That photo provided a longer perspective of the two and we got to see more of Kate's Amanda Wakeley suit and her sparkling sapphire ring. 

In addition to the sweet portrait of the family of three sitting in a window of Kensington Palace, you probably remember that the Cambridges mailed a select thank-you to some of those they met or who hosted them while on tour Down Under:

For other events, such as George's birth and Charlotte's birth, the couple chose one of the Lindo Wing photos. William and Kate get their money's worth from these shoots and Kate almost always recycles an ensemble. This shoot was no exception to the expedience rule. The Duchess used a solo shot of herself to send to the International Children's Palliative Care Network with a letter of support for their conference and work. It gave us a better look at her jacket and earrings. 

The Princess wore a label we haven't seen her in before, although I suspect it came from her closet, too. This creamy tweed jacket is from Alberta Ferretti's diffusion line Philosophy and features the 3/4 length sleeves and embroidered trim of which Kate is so very fond. It is a piece from the 2013 resort collection and so fits into Kate's pattern of wearing recycles for these work photos, although for fashion fans, this is the first we have seen it. 

Although there are other possible pieces, the skirt looks very much like the white Whistles we saw the Duchess wear while on tour in Los Angeles in 2011. It has also been suggested that Kate is wearing a similar piece from Joseph, but because Kate turns so often to her closet, the Whistles is the front runner unless we get a photo that shows the skirt in the new photo is longer. 

These photos are so lovely. Because they shot these for their 5th anniversary, I particularly like that Kate wore white. The Duchess told fans that her favorite color is white and it is a great throwback to 2011 when she wore so, so much cream and ivory. The color also corresponds nicely to her engagement photo in the Reiss petal dress:

To my American readers, a very Happy Memorial Day. To those who are serving, have served, have family members who have served, and most especially to all of you who mourn a precious life lost in our conflicts for freedom--thank you. Although we will be barbecuing and celebrating with loved ones, we remember that the luxury of safety and security has been bought at an eternal price. God bless you all! 

Candid Kate: Duchess Takes George and Charlotte for Walk in Park

Thursday, May 26, 2016

This week there was a rather surprising Kate sighting. The Duchess of Cambridge decided to get some fresh air, but rather than stay in the confines of Apartment 1A's private walled garden, Kate decided to venture out into the crowd. She was spotted wheeling the pram through the public areas around Kensington Garden, with George in tow.

At first I was not certain that it was Kate from the back, but a snap from the front makes it clear it is indeed the Duchess. She looks to be wearing her RayBans to shield her from the sun and possibly maintain an incognito status on some level. Trailing the royal trio at a discreet distance is a PPO. These photos were shared on Twitter by an American fan in London. 

It is likely that Kate takes far more public walks than we would imagine. A certain percentage of the crowd doubtless blows right past the ordinary little group, and those who do recognize the future little king and his world famous mum don't always take a snap or share. For her part, Kate probably likes to get out herself and to expose George and Charlotte to an average day at the park. Kate has long enjoyed walks in the public Kensington Gardens. You might recall she was spotted walking with her brother James in 2012:

She has been pictured on many occasions, particularly in the year after George's birth, taking long walks through the Kensington Gardens, often kitted out in sportswear. Prince William, possibly a little more averse to paparazzi than his wife, would take George in his pram on walks through the gardens, too, but he would do it in the very early hours of the morning before the gates opened to the public. I like that Kate doesn't shy away from the camera, but something about William's dawn walks in complete solitude appeals to me, too. 

The final picture below shows the princess either checking on Charlotte, or possibly taking her out of the pram to enjoy time on the lawn with George. 

Kate looks like she has taken inspiration from her tour to India. I am still searching for this skirt--shout out if you know the label--but it appears to have a little border at the bottom in a darker blue or purple.  Kate wore a light t-shirt and a sweater over her shoulders in case it got too chilly.

I wouldn't have expected this ensemble from Kate, who often chooses skinnies for her dressed down moments. Nevertheless, Kate has a long history of gravitating toward skirts even for casual moments, as fully documented throughout her university days and years in London as a single girl. I will be interested to see if this skirt turns out to be something she picked up on tour or in the run-up to her trip.

We will be seeing Kate at KP again, but in an official capacity, when she attends a dinner on behalf of SportsAid on June 9th! 

Kate & William Attend First Garden Party Together

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kate and William attended a Buckingham Palace garden party today where the Duchess recycled the cream McQueen she wore for Prince George's christening!

Some recycles are more exciting than others, but certainly topping the list of most coveted rewears would be those pieces at which we never actually got a full look. This stunning ensemble from Alexander McQueen certainly is on that list! Thanks to Prince George's beautiful baptismal gown, he obscured a good view of his mother's fashion in every photo we had from the christening.

Today, that fashion injustice was finally rectified and we got a really great look at this creamy peplum perfection.  Today also marked a special occasion, as Kate brought along her best accessory. Prince William, handsome in topcoat and tails, was at his wife's side. William has never attended one of the Queen's garden parties; today marked his very first appearance! 

This was the final garden party of the season and Rebecca English, who was reporting from the event, Tweeted this photo (below) of the Duchess flanked by Natasha Archer and Amanda Cook Tucker. These ladies help Kate with her hair and clothes, although Natasha's role in choosing Kate's clothes is still a hotly debated topic. It is nice to see that they got to get all dressed up and enjoy the event, too. 

Kate's hat is by Jane Taylor and was made specifically for the McQueen ensemble. Usually, I would prefer a new hat, but because the hat, jacket, and skirt are so perfectly paired, I thought this was a fun recycle of the complete ensemble. 

This was most certainly a win for me. I like soft shades at the garden parties and this cream hit the spot while also setting Kate apart from the crowd. 

Kate loves ruffles and peplum and given her slim frame, she can really pull them off. McQueen incorporates these elements often and I always love to see them on Kate. The only drawback of this ensemble is the ruffle along her waist. It short-waists her just a hair, and given this is a piece that was customized for Kate, that should have been taken into consideration. 

That aside, I still love this on Kate. The creamy white is gorgeous against Kate's skin and the fabric looks substantial and luxurious. Seeing this from a distance also highlights the beautiful folds of the skirt and the ruffles of the peplum. Kate again carried her Nina clutch and wore her Annoushka Baroque pearl drops. Her pumps are new and I am still working on an ID. 

If you missed the post on Kate and Prince George playing on the police motorbike, see that post here

Kate Wears New Great Plains Dress While Out With George

The Duchess of Cambridge loves her C├ęzanne Great Plains dress and just a week after the company released the dress in a new ebony/navy print, Kate has been spotted wearing the frock while out and about with Prince George. These photos were taken by a photographer on Twitter under the handle: @PolticalPics


The Duchess was snapped smiling as police officers near her London home showed Prince George their motorbikes. The little prince was doubtless delighted to get to sit on the motorcycles, although since Kate won't let him ride a horse yet, I think motorbikes are ways off for him yet. 

The sighting took place after Kate and George had watched the helicopter leave KP. I imagine the exciting comings and goings of the heli are a favorite past-time of the little prince. The photographer described the event:
I was walking to Notting Hill from Kensington to go to the gym when I saw a helicopter taking off at the back of Kensington Palace. I noticed George and his mother watching Princess Anne take off. The Princess was wearing a Navy uniform. After the helicopter took off, the prince had a go on a policeman's motorbike for quite a while. Kate was really smiley. There were about three or four hundred people watching. It was so lovely.
As discussed last week, the Duchess first wore the dress in a red colorway while visiting Grimsby. The dress complemented her rusty Hobbs coat perfectly on that occasion, although she never took the coat off to give us a better view of the dress. 

It is always great when you have a print that really works well with other pieces in your closet, and this dress is something of a staple for Kate. The Duchess bought the dress in "pine" and wore it at Christmas of this year, but one of my eagle-eyed readers pointed out that Kate might have worn it under her Reiss "Angel" coat in 2012 on a visit to St. George's Park. I searched around for a photo and sure enough, Kate is wearing the Cezanne here:

So, when Kate wore it again on Christmas morning, it was not the first time after all, but it certainly looked gorgeous with that SportMax coat.

Great Plains rereleased the dress just last week in this new blue and grey print. Although Kate has been pictured wearing the dress casually and on its own, I am not surprised Kate snapped this up. 

The print will work very well with many of Kate's cream coats as well as several of her blue pieces, thanks to the dress's navy hues. It would be lovely styled with a grey coat, as suggested on the Great Plains website. 

Happily for fans of the Duchess's style, this versatile dress is still available at Great Plains. You can purchase it for £75 here. The Duchess attended the Queen's final garden party of the season today, and that post is up next!


Kate Wears Spring Green to Chelsea Flower Show

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their first appearance at the Chelsea Flower Show this evening, joining the Queen, Prince Harry, and a generous sprinkling of other royals who had turned out to view the show on its opening night. It is always a good day when Kate is surrounded by flowers. Such a plethora of loveliness in one place can only ever put a smile on one's face. 

There are a number of activities that strike this American as quintessentially British and a flower show is one. Certainly the Chelsea Flower Show is now world famous as Britain's foremost horticultural presentation, nevertheless, the broader category of flower show conjures up all sorts of visions of perfect English summers. I think of the competitive rose show in Mrs. Miniver, or more recently the Dowager Countess's floral battle in Downton Abbey. It seems to bring out the best of Brits love for all that is charming, bucolic, and gracious.  

Beulah London, a brand Kate favors heavily and one that champions causes fighting modern slavery, designed a special dress for the Garden Show. The company announced the dress would be unveiled at the show, and shared a sketch of the springtime frock on Twitter several days ago.

Beulah London

I was excited to see that Eugenie was wearing this dress this evening. The princess was at the show with Beatrice and their respective boyfriends. Eugenie looked lovely in the dress, and I also think that given the design, this dress is very suited to Kate's love of white. It would be fun if she wore it sometime in the future.

Rose Tinted PR

Harry, for whom the Flower Show is old hat, seemed to enjoy showing his brother and sister-in-law around as they navigated the colorful displays. If Harry ever does find "the one" his knowledge base gleaned from his time at the Chelsea Flower Show can only be an advantage to locking her in. 

The Duke and Duchess seemed delighted to view the chrysanthemum named after Princess Charlotte. I am sure they were also pleased to know that 50% of the proceeds of the special flower are set aside for one of Kate's favorite charities, EACH. 

Rebecca English, Daily Mail

In 2013, Prince George got a special daffodil named after him. Daffodils are my favorite, so I am prejudiced towards those, but these mums seem to fit what we have seen of Charlotte thus far. The colors are particularly suited to her.

It was quite the family affair. The trio bumped into other royals who were wandering the exhibit, keeping royal reporters and fans plenty busy track of them all:

It has been noted and I admit that William did look like a bit of a Moody Judy several times today. Let's just say his energy didn't seem to be at raging 100%, shall we? 

It is possible the Duke (as well as the Duchess) was having a light allergy flare up. Kate was snapped powdering her nose, which I am not sure that I have ever seen, while William wiped his eyes. You have to assume that the pollen concentration around that place was higher than average. Ah well, roses all have thorns, what? 

The Duchess recycled her green Catherine Walker first worn in Canberra while on tour in 2014. This bright green coat dress is a mix of two Walker styles, melding the zippered top of one coat with the flared skirt of another. Perhaps even bolder than the design is the bright, nigh neon, hue. 

I don't have the aversion to this dress that many of you have expressed. I like the tight zipped collar and I think it has a modern and trendy edge. I would use a different belt with this, something that isn't so matchy matchy, but in every other respect I don't dislike it at all. This was a win for me, although it wasn't perfect.  

Perfect for today would have been pastel, something that complemented the delicate and feminine nature of the flowers. Despite that, Kate's coat was a shade sharper than the greenery that surrounded her and she seemed to almost stick out as the chief stalk. I liked it. She popped out particularly well by the poppy display, a sweeping carpet of red blooms paying tribute to the fallen. (Rebecca Deacon alert!)

Kate accessorized in nude, carrying her new Nina clutch from LK Bennett and her Fern pumps by the same brand. She chose to wear her Lauren diamond studded leaf earrings, presumably in a nod to the theme, although as we have noted here before, these earrings seem to be fast becoming a staple in her everyday wardrobe. All in all, the rain held off and the royals seemed to enjoy their evening in the garden. I was delighted when it was announced that the pair would attend, and although they might have made an exception because it is the Queen's 90th birthday year, I hope we see them at this lovely event many times over the years.